When you hear the word oregano, it’s only natural to think about an herb you put on your pizza. But you may be surprised to learn just how healthy oregano can be—especially in terms of the health benefits of oregano oil. Long hailed for its antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, oregano has a history of being a powerful therapeutic herb.
So, what is oregano oil, and how is it different from the oregano you can find in the baking aisle of your local grocery store? Let’s review where these options come from, how they’re used, and what makes oregano oil such an amazing herb.
What Are Oregano Oil and Oil of Oregano?
Oregano oil contains numerous health benefits, but in order to better understand oregano oil, we must first discuss the oregano plant. Oregano (the culinary herb), oregano oil, and oil of oregano (yep, there’s a difference here!) all come from the oregano (Origanum vulgare) plant.
The culinary herb is made up of fresh or dried leaves of the plants, while oregano oil is oil that has been strongly infused with oregano. This oil can be extremely strong, so cautious should be used. (Note: While some oregano oil can be ingested, do not consume oregano essential oil, which is even stronger than oregano oil.)
Finally, oil of oregano is a more diluted form of oregano in comparison to oregano oil. And it’s commonly used as a natural remedy for many health conditions because, as a rule, it can be ingested safely. (Note: Speak with your physician before trying oil of oregano, especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.)
So, what makes oregano oil and oil of oregano so powerful? Well, they contain a compound called carvacrol that contains inflammation-fighting properties. It’s actually the carvacrol that’s linked to the many health benefits of oregano oil and oil of oregano. Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits this powerful herb can offer.
7 Health Benefits of Oregano Oil and Oil of Oregano
Here are some of the top health benefits of oregano oil and oil of oregano.
1. Fights cold and flu symptoms
Oregano oil is known to help shorten the duration of viral illnesses such as the common cold and the flu. And it’s also been shown to decrease the severity of symptoms associated with these illnesses. Interestingly, it may also help in preventing cold and the flu by supporting the health of your immune system. One study showed that oregano oil was able to inhibit different human and animal viruses in vitro. 
2. Aids in relieving sore throats
As I’ve mentioned before, oil of oregano is a fantastic supplement to take anytime you’re suffering from a sore throat. Many sore throats are caused by postnasal drip, which is often the result of a viral or bacterial infection upper respiratory infection. And a 2011 study revealed that participants with an upper respiratory infection who used a throat spray containing oregano oil combined with other essential oils experienced decreased symptoms within 20 minutes of using the spray. 
3. Helps kill intestinal overgrowth of bacteria and Candida
This is one of my favorite health benefits of oregano oil and oil of oregano. Believe it or not, the compounds in oil of oregano are so powerful that it’s actually been shown to both directly kill and even prohibit the growth of intestinal bacteria, such as E. Coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and others, and fungi, such as Candida. [3, 4] So, if you find you’re experiencing some digestive troubles, it may be worth considering supplementing with oil of oregano.
4. Can assist with improving skin conditions
Oregano oil is loaded with antioxidants and contains anti-bacterial properties, making it incredibly beneficial for promoting skin health. A 2018 in vitro and in vivo study revealed that oregano oil showed promise as an anti-acne treatment.  Another study showed that thanks to its inflammation-fighting properties, oregano oil should be considered for use in skin care products. 
You can either take oil of oregano capsules or, as highlighted in the studies mentioned above, use oregano oil topically by diluting it with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, to help fight troublesome skin areas.
5. Helps provide relief for insect bites
One of the great health benefits of oregano oil is its ability to help relieve the irritation of insect bites. Again, this is largely thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. But that’s not all oregano oil does in terms of fighting off pesky bugs.
A 2018 study revealed that oregano oil also helps repel bed bugs! It was so effective that it performed better than DEET (a common commercial, chemical-filled product)!  Again, before applying it to your skin, make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil.
6. Supports oral health
Due to its antimicrobial properties, the health benefits of oregano oil extend to oral health as well. Specifically, combining oregano oil with coconut oil and swishing around in your mouth for several minutes (a process known as oil pulling) may deliver great oral health benefits. In fact, a 2015 study showed that oil pulling with coconut oil significantly decreased plaque formation on the participants teeth over 30 days, beginning on day seven. 
The next time you’re caring for your teeth and gums, consider adding a drop of oregano oil to your coconut oil and swish it around for a few minutes before spitting it out. (Note: Make sure to use standard oregano oil and not oregano essential oil.) And if you’re looking for a quick breath freshener, consider following one of my common practices and taking an oil of oregano capsule.
7. Helps fight inflammation associated with certain autoimmune diseases
Finally, another of the key health benefits of oregano oil include its ability to fight inflammation. But the truly amazing aspect to this is that it’s shown potential to help alter the immune response in animal studies as well as in early human studies.  An overreactive immune system is at the root of autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and more.
While more research is needed, scientists suggested that oregano oil could help reduce bone degeneration in those with osteoporosis as well as potentially improve bowel inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease.
Using Oregano Oil and Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano is available in capsule form. After consulting with your physician, you can try to take 2 to 3 capsules each day between meals for up to two weeks.
Meanwhile, oregano oil comes in liquid form (not to be confused with oregano essential oil). For respiratory-related issues, consider putting a few drops of oregano oil in a hot bowl of water or a diffuser and breathe it in. Again, for skin concerns such as acne or insect bites, considering mixing a drop or two with a carrier oil and apply it topically.
- Oregano is a powerful herb that contains antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties.
- Oregano is available in many forms, such as the culinary herb, oregano oil (not to be confused with oregano essential oil), and oil of oregano.
- There are many health benefits of oregano oil and oil of oregano, including fighting upper respiratory infection symptoms as well as promoting oral, skin, and digestive health.