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Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. Additionally, oregano has demonstrated antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens such as listeria monocytogenes. In the Philippines, oregano (coleus aromaticus) is not commonly used for cooking but is considered a medicinal plant, useful for relieving headaches and coughs.

Oregano is used in South India primarily as a medicinal plant (where it is called "karpuravalli"); the leaf is roasted for relief from cold, sore throat, phlegm and cough.

Main constituents include carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. The leaves and flowering stems are strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and mildly tonic.

Aqueous extracts, capsules, or oil extracts of oregano are taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, fungal infections, indigestion, stomach upsets, enteric parasites and painful menstruation.

Oregano is strongly sedative and should not be taken in large doses. Mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep. Used topically, oregano is one of the best antiseptics because of its high thymol content.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used oregano as an antiseptic and as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments. A Cretan oregano (o. dictamnus) is still used today in Greece to soothe a sore throat.

Oregano has recently been found to have extremely effective properties against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), showing a higher effectiveness than 18 currently used drugs.

Oil of oregano has also been found helpful against ear infections.

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