Oregano – Herb of the Week

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 Oregano – Herb of the Week

Oregano is not used only for cooking.  It also has some great health benefits.

Oregano is related to the herb marjoram, sometimes being referred to as wild marjoram. Oregano has purple flowers and spade-shaped, olive-green leaves. It is a perennial, although it is grown as an annual in colder climates, as it often does not survive the winter months.

Oregano is an important culinary herb, used for the flavor of its leaves, which can be more flavorful when dried than fresh. It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity. Good quality oregano may be strong enough almost to numb the tongue, but the cultivars adapted to colder climates often have a lesser flavor.  Among the chemical compounds contributing to the flavour are carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene.

Check out this recipe: Chicken Oregano with Sweet Peppers

5 Health Benefits Of Oregano

A popular ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, oregano  has several health benefits. It has good amounts of Vitamins A, C, B6, E and K along with fiber, fotalte, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Here are 5 of its numerous benefits.

1. Powerful Antioxidant: Is a rich source of rosmarinic acid which is a powerful antioxidant. Studies state that fresh oregano has the antioxidant power that is 42 times that of apples.

2. Anti-fungal and Anti-Bacterial: It contains powerful antimicrobials such as Carvacol and Thymol, both of which have proven effective against foodborne pathogens like Listeria and superbug MRSA.

3. Anti-Inflammatory: Contains beta-caryophyllin which is anti-inflammatory in nature. Can help prevent conditions like arteriosclerosis, osteoporosis and even metabolic syndrome.

4. Nasal and Chest Congestion relief: Its high carvacrol levels help relieve upper respiratory infections. It induces sweating which in turn helps expel phlegm in the chest.

5. Cancer-Fighting: Oregano contains a good amount of carnosol which has been evaluated to help fight cancer in the prostate, breasts, skin and colon.