Green Living

Herbal Profile: Oregano

January 2, 2017

The final harvest of oregano occurred last week (maybe the week before). The oregano in our raised beds fully served us this year. A member of the mint family, it kept bugs at bay as a
natural pesticide (though it has no affect on cabbage worms). I also harvested it all throughout the summer months, drying it in my pantry and storing it in Ball jars for culinary and
medicinal uses.

Culinary usage? Simple. Use it whenever a recipe calls for oregano or experiment in your kitchen by adding oregano to your own creative recipes. Medicinal usage? Well, by golly, oregano has been known to help with the following ailments and disorders: indigestion, bloating, coughs, urinary problems, bronchial problems, and headaches.

It seems to me that oregano tea is a safe bet whenever you’re not feeling well. It certainly can’t hurt. You can even use unsweetened oregano tea as a mouthwash or gargle. It’s good for the teeth!

Oregano is also ridiculously useful as a topical treatment. It’s packed full of antioxidant and antiviral oils. Have you ever handled oregano? Handling the leaves causes my fingertips to get sticky and fragrant. I love the smell of oregano. Yes, that is why I always have my fingers up to my nose. Grind oregano into a paste (mix pulverized, dry oregano with water) and apply it topically for relief of: rheumatism, aching muscles, and swelling. Add a ‘sachet’ of oregano to a bath for relaxation. (Don’t fall asleep in there. I’m always worried my readers are falling asleep in their bathtubs.)

An herbalist taught me how to make oregano oil this past summer. Add fresh oregano leaves to olive oil and leave undisturbed in a cool, dark place until the leaves have become transparent. Remove leaves and keep oil in a dark glass container to avoid sunlight. Oregano oil can be used topically on toothaches.It’s a simple thing to plant in the garden. It requires little care and reaps loads of benefits. Treat your nose, your body, your garden, and your tastebuds. If you had oregano in your garden this year and it’s drying in your pantry, divvy it up for multiple uses or keep it all together in airtight jars for easy access when needed. If you didn’t have the pleasure of growing oregano this year, keep it in mind when you’re pouring over seed catalogues this winter and spring or look for it at local garden centers.

Grow it in a window or container in a sunroom. Have it around, for pete’s sake! Do you have any uses for oregano that you’d like to share? Go ahead and tell us all about it with a Comment! 

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