Oregano Essential Oil

oregano-bannerAcclaimed as ‘The Mediterranean Miracle’, ‘Mountain Joy’ and as the ‘Wonder Herb in Ayurveda’, Oregano has been aiding people all over the world and especially in the Mediterranean regions to maintain healthy living for numerous centuries.

The most popular Ayurvedic book, ‘Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine’ by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad says “Oil of Oregano is one of the most potent antiseptics known to man.

Botanically known as Origanum Vulgare, Oregano is yet another prestigious limb of the mint family, Lamiaceae and has its origin in the Mediterranean region and southwestern Eurasia. Ayurveda, the mother of all healing sciences used Oregano (known as Sathra) and its essential oil as a heating carminative to treat digestive disorders and was also used for treating toothache, skin problems, pain and inflammation.

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Historical uses of Oregano essential oil and the herb:

Known as the staple herb of the Italian-American cuisine, Oregano is one among the best culinary herbs in the world used in a variety of Mediterranean cuisines, Mexican food, Italian dishes and is also used in making fried, roasted or grilled vegetables, meat, fish and much more food varieties. It is also a part of many Lebanese, Turkish, Palestinian, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, Syrian, Latin American and Egyptian cuisines.

Oregano essential oil is extracted from the leaves of this plant. This oil has been in use since the primordial times in various medicinal practices. The Traditional Chinese Medicine used Oregano for treating vomiting, fever and diarrhea. The fresh leaves were used in tea for strengthening the immune system and for dealing with infections.

Biblical texts denote Oregano as a cleansing tonic. The ancient Arabic medicine used this herb for food preservation and for treating gastrointestinal disorders. The natural medicinal system of Philippines used Oregano and its essential oil for treating cough and ear aches in children. It was also used in curing pain and given for women after childbirth for its emmenagogue properties.

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician and the father of western medicine used Oregano as an effective antiseptic and for treating respiratory and digestive ailments. History denotes that it was the Greeks who discovered the disinfectant and antimicrobial properties of this oil and they used it for treating skin infections, sore throat, wounds, viral infections and for protecting the body from the effect of harmful organisms.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Oregano oil:

Oregano essential oil is enriched with chemical constituents like carvacrol, cymene, thymol, borneol, terpinene, pinene, linalyl acetate, bisabolene, linalool, caryophyllene and geranyl acetate. The remedial properties of this oil are antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, antioxidant, emmenagogue, anti-allergenic, digestive, anti-inflammatory and immune stimulant.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Oregano essential oil:

Ayurveda means ‘science of life’, the science that preaches the simple methodologies to prevent illness, stay healthy and for healthy aging that makes you independent in your 60s or 70s without relying upon anyone to assist your health conditions.

The philosophy of Ayurveda relates the life of an individual with the life of the Universe. Based upon this innate wisdom, Ayurveda further explains that the Universe is made up of five elements namely fire, water, earth, air and ether and it also states that an individual is also made up of the five elements of nature, which is also known as the building blocks of life.

Among these five elements water governs the movement of fluids in the body like blood, saliva, mucus and plasma. Fire determines the digestive power, intellectual skills and body temperature. Air controls the functioning of the heart, stomach, lungs, joints and intestines.

Ether is present in all parts of the human body where the presence of cavity and emptiness are witnessed like heart, nostrils, blood vessels, bladder etc. Earth represents vigor, braveness, constancy and steadiness.

The individual constitution comprises of three energy elements known as doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). Vata represents air and ether, pitta stands for fire and water and kapha stands for water and earth. Imbalance of doshas leads to illnesses.

Ayurveda recommends the use of herbs, essential oils, healthy lifestyle, meditation and yoga to bring the body and mind back to balance. Oregano oil is known to enhance pitta deficiency and reduce kapha and vata excess.

The major Ayurvedic health benefits of Oregano essential oil are:

Oregano-broucher1. Protects the body from infections and allergies:

Oregano oil has been proved effective for treating numerous infections and allergic conditions with its antibiotic, antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties.

The Georgetown University research on Oregano oil’s effectiveness against drug-resistant bacteria, proves that the presence of carvacrol component in Oregano oil lessen the infections as effectively as the traditional antibiotics.

A study conducted by the Mexican researchers on the effectiveness of Oregano to treat giardia, which is a water-borne bacterium that lives inside the intestines. Another study proves that Oregano oil is effective in killing giardia bacterium than the generally prescribed drug tinidazol. Oregano is a powerful anti-bacterial oil that wards off numerous pathogenic bacteria like E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Strep and protects one from typhoid, sores, cholera, infections in the colon, urinary tract and certain other skin infections.

Parasites like tape worms, round worms, mosquitoes, fleas, lice and bed bugs cause innumerable communicable diseases that affect the human body severely. Oregano essential oil has anti-parasitic properties that aids in killing parasites.

Viral infections like cold, pox, mumps and measles weaken your immune power and paves way for other harmful organisms to affect your health. Oregano essential oil is a powerful immune stimulant that strengthens your immune system, fight against viruses and makes your system resistant to other foreign bodies.

Fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm can be treated aromatically with the antifungal properties of this oil. Being an anti-allergenic oil, Oregano acts as a sedative and pacifies the hyper-sensitive reaction responsible for allergies.

A 2001 research on ‘Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from plants against selected pathogenic and saprophytic microorganisms’ proved that among the 11 essential oils tested for effectiveness against microbes, Oregano essential oil showed the highest inhibitory rate against pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms. The carvacrol and thymol compounds in this oil are very effective in killing a microbe known as Candida, which is the reason behind eczema and psoriasis.

To guard yourself against such infections and allergies, you can either topically apply 2 drops of Oregano oil blended with olive oil on the affected area or add 2 drops of oil in your bath or skin care cream or lotions.

2. Promotes digestive health:

Oregano essential oil is a heating carminative oil that aids in increasing the pitta flow and promotes quicker digestion. Massaging your tummy with 2 drops of Oregano oil blended with sesame oil can assist in treating slow digestion due to excess of mucous deposits in the stomach or fullness.

You can also add 2 to 3 drops of Oregano oil in warm compresses to help with stomach upsets, relieving gas, enabling the movement of food and for regularizing the entire process of digestion.

3. Assists respiratory problems:

As Oregano essential oil has warming effect, it can assist the body when it is cold and treat problems like cold, sinusitis, headache, mucous congestion, whooping cough, pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Oregano essential oil is said to be one of the best essential oils for opening blocked sinus passages and treat congestion as a natural decongestant.

Light Miller in her book ‘Ayurveda and Aromatherapy’ says that Oregano essential oil is a warming diaphoretic oil that eliminates surface toxins, provoke perspiration, improve blood circulation and relieve headaches due to congestion or cold.

Add 2 drops of Oregano oil to steaming water and inhaling this medicated steam will aid in alleviating congestion, open blocked nasal passages and relieve pain due to cold and infection. You can also blend 2 drops of Oregano oil with coconut oil and gently massage the soles of your feet or apply on your chest and back or add it to warm bathing water for immediate relief from cold, sore throat and sinus problems.

4. Helps relieve pain and inflammation:

The anti-inflammatory, immune stimulant and warming diaphoretic properties of Oregano oil assist in eliminating toxins from the body, reduce inflammation, increase blood circulation and lessen pain and inflammation in rheumatic and arthritic patients.

Gently massaging the affected area with 2 drops of Oregano oil blended with coconut oil or adding it to your bath helps in reducing pain and inflammation in arthritis. Oregano essential oil has been proved by the Physiotherapy research to contain morphine-like properties that act as a perfect pain relief aid.

5. Fights against prostate cancer:

The University of Arizona research and the study by the Long Island University have proved that Oregano essential oil has antioxidant and anti-cancerous properties that fights against many types of human cancers.

Prostate cancer has been listed as the second important cause of cancerous death in American men. This study found that the presence of the active constituent, carvacrol in Oregano oil helps in the treatment of prostate cancer by stimulating apoptosis (programmed death of cells) in prostate cancer cells.

Other health benefits:

Oregano essential oil also helps in alleviating dysmennorhea, normalizing blocked menstruation and treating menopausal symptoms. This oil is also used for treating intestinal parasites, muscular pain, warts, vaginal candida and asthma.

Disclaimer:

Never use essential oils directly on the skin and always dilute it in suitable carrier oils as essential oils are highly concentrated solutions. Avoid using essential oils internally. Consult your Ayurvedic physician before using the right essential oils for your unique individual constitution and state of health. Avoid using essential oils if you are pregnant or a nursing mother.

Thought for the day:

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.    -Aristotle

Suggested Reading:

  1. Oregano – The Herb that Saved…My Life by Thomas Mayhew
  2. The Cure Is in the Cupboard: How to Use Wild Oregano for Better Health by Cass Ingram
  3. The Oregano Oil Supplement: Alternative Medicine for a Healthy Body (Health Collection) by William Wagner
  4. Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Reference Links:

  1. Oregano Oil May Protect Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria by the Georgetown University Researcher published in Science Daily
  2. Oregano by Wikipedia
  3. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from plants against selected pathogenic and saprophytic microorganisms published in PubMed
  4. Oregano Active Constituent Kills Prostate Cancer Cells by Herbcyclopedia

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint-bannerAs nature’s immaculate coolant, the world celebrates Peppermint as the most distinguished member of the mint family, Labiatae along with Spearmint, Pennyroyal, Corsican mint, Lemon mint, Watermint, Lavender, Field mint, Apple mint or Chocolate mint, Patchouli, Thyme and Silver mint. Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), the Roman natural philosopher, scientist and naturalist rightly said “The smell of mint stirs up the mind and appetite to a greedy desire of food.”

Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the aromatic leaves of this plant and is known since ages as an excellent digestive aid with a bundle of other health benefits as well. The encyclopedia of Ayurveda talks about the notable use of Peppermint essential oil as a cooling carminative that enhances digestion and elimination by eradicating blockages and facilitating the flow of energy from within.

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Historical importance of Peppermint and its oil:

Peppermint dates back to 1000 BC when the dried leaves are said to be found in Pyramids. Indigenous to Europe, this herb was first used by the primeval Egyptians as a natural digestive support. Few mythological studies say that the word Peppermint has its origin from Greek myths in the outline of a love triangle involving Hades, his wife Persephone and the nymph Minthe (who was later turned into Peppermint).

Interestingly, Peppermint is a natural hybrid of Spearmint and Watermint. The ancient Romans loved growing Peppermint in their gardens and in the pathways of stepping stones for greeting their guests with its wonderful aroma and for its innumerable medicinal benefits.

It was also used as a form of currency for the kind of esteem and admiration it had in Egypt. Peppermint was used as a tooth polisher by the ancient monks.

The Biblical importance of Peppermint has added even more to its value. Jesus Christ says to the Pharisees,But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” It was also used as a culinary herb in the folklore cooking for seasoning meat and assisting in quicker digestion.

Listed as a natural remedy for treating all kinds of illnesses from venereal disease, cold, sores, headache and digestive problems, Peppermint emerged as a distinguished species in the London Pharmacopoeia in the 16th century.  It was also mentioned in the Icelandic Pharmacopoeias as a much valued herbal remedy in 1240 AD. Peppermint was used as a prized herb by the Native Americans and now the United States is the world’s largest producer of Peppermint essential oil contributing to more than 75% of the total production.

Chemical constituents Gas Chromatography Report of Peppermint essential oil:

According to the Gas chromatography report, Peppermint oil constitutes of 10 major chemical components that contribute to its distinctive fragrance, remedial properties and quality, among which, menthol has an upper hand with about 38.6 percent.

Just click on:

For learning more about the exclusive information of these key constituents of Peppermint oil.

The table below on the Gas Chromatography report talks about the principal chemical constituents and its role in granting the therapeutic properties and other attributes to Peppermint oil.

Pepper-mint-oilTherapeutic properties of Peppermint essential oil:

The therapeutic actions of Peppermint essential oil are carminative, decongestant, immune stimulant, anti-infectious, febrifuge, cardio tonic, nervine, hypertensive, antipruritic, antifungal, sedative, expectorant, antibacterial, mucolytic and anti-carcinogenic.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Peppermint essential oil:

Known as Pudina in Sanskrit, Peppermint is a popular culinary herb used for its minty, fresh and enriching aroma for enhancing taste and adding extra flavor to the lip-smacking dishes. Ayurvedic remedies wholly depend on Mother Nature trusting that every single thing on the earth is an incredible part of nature including human beings.

The strong principles of Ayurveda establish that every individual is made up of three vital energy elements known as doshas (vata-air, pitta-fire and kapha-water), which determine the personality, character, behavior and health conditions of a person. A person is said to be healthy when there is perfect balance between all the three doshas and dosha imbalances cause illness. Peppermint and its essential oil in Ayurveda is said to calm all the three doshas.

Peppermint according to Ayurveda has cooling and heating energy (virya), sweet and pungent taste (rasa), dry, penetrating and light quality (guna), benefits the nerve, blood and plasma tissues (dhatu), with a post-digestive effect (vipaka), Peppermint stimulates the circulatory, nervous, digestive and respiratory channels (srotas).

Let’s have a look at the major Ayurvedic health benefits of Peppermint essential oil:Pepermint-broucher1. Keeps away from harmful bacteria and fungi:

Peppermint is a powerful antibacterial oil mainly because of the presence of menthol that aids in fighting against harmful bacteria like salmonella, e.coli and staph.

A 2010 study on ‘Protective effects of bioactive phytochemicals from Mentha piperita with multiple health potentials’ proved that Peppermint oil has effective antimicrobial and antioxidant effect that fights against harmful microbes and supplemented for nutritional benefits and food preservation. Bacterial infections are responsible for wounds becoming septic and other skin problems like acne.

The Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran proved that the menthol component in Peppermint oil is defiant to fungus including candida. The State University of Brazil also established that Peppermint essential oil varieties have anti-candida effects. For all these reasons Peppermint oil acts as a natural remedy for treating fungal infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch and other yeast infections.

Applying 2 drops of Peppermint essential oil blended with gentle carrier oils like coconut oil aids in treating bacterial and fungal infections. You can also add 2 drops of this oil in warm foot bath or in bathing water for fighting against such detrimental microbes.

2. Enlivens the mind:

The invigorating, refreshing, cooling and reassuring aroma of Peppermint essential oil boosts mental power.  Inhaling the aroma of this oil grants a complete stream of freshness to fight the challenges of a rising day.

Adding 2 to 3 drops of drops of Peppermint oil in your air freshener, diffuser or in your handkerchief can grant you immense energy and confidence throughout the day. This therapy employed in your study room can help improve your memory skills and concentration power.

3 to 4 drops of Peppermint oil blended with Sesame oil can act as an efficacious massage oil and as a bathing oil for enhancing your mental strength, treating stress, reducing fatigue and anxiety. It also helps in treating anger, mental strain, confusion, nervousness, palpitations, vertigo and depression.

3. Alleviates tension headache better than the other alternative therapies:

Peppermint essential oil is also an effectual natural remedy for treating tension headache. A clinical trial on ‘Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type’ witnessed “Peppermint oil thus proves to be a well-tolerated and cost-effective alternative to usual therapies for alleviating tension-type headache.” This study also proved that there was not much significant difference in efficacy between acetaminophen and Peppermint oil and there are no reported adverse effects as well.

4. Clears all kinds of stagnation:

Peppermint essential oil is a proven stimulant and tonic especially to the brain, pancreas and heart. It is known for clearing away all kinds of stagnations including physical and mental. Peppermint oil clears stagnation in the blood, lymph, stomach and gallbladder. It also breaks emotional blockages.

The expectorant and decongestant properties of this oil help in open the blocked sinus passages and aid in clearing mucus deposits from the respiratory tract by adding 2 drops of this oil in steam inhalation.

The diaphoretic quality of Peppermint oil aids in reducing the body temperature in the early stages of fever by releasing the heat of the body through sweat. Applying two drops of Peppermint oil blended with coconut oil on your foot helps in quicker recovery from fever. This blend can also be rubbed on the chest, back and neck for treating congestion, cough and blocked nose.

5. Stimulates the digestive system:

The essential oil of Peppermint and the herb itself are known to the world as a promising digestive remedy. Numerous research studies have proved that Peppermint oil is effective in relaxing gastrointestinal smooth muscle, more or less due the antagonistic effect on calcium channels in the gut.

The American Family Physician Forum states that Peppermint oil is effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, non-ulcer dyspepsia, tension headache and lessening spasm at the time of gastrointestinal procedures.

Peppermint oil along with the combination of caraway oil has been proved in reducing the symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia like bloating, fullness and gastro-intestinal spasm. Gently rub 3 drops of Peppermint essential oil with Sesame oil on the stomach and abdomen to help relieve indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, constipation and pain.

6. Absolute care for hair and skin:

The skin-friendly attributes of Peppermint oil aids in treating eczema, lesions, acne, insect bites, rashes, allergies, irritation and itchiness. Gently massaging your skin with 2 drops of Peppermint oil blended with sweet almond oil helps in nourishing and hydrating dry, dull and lifeless skin. You can also add 2 to 3 drops of oil in your daily lotions and creams and apply it on the affected area.

Dandruff, dry itchy scalp and lice are the major problems associated with hair. Peppermint oil has stimulating and cooling effects. When added to sesame oil and massaged on the scalp helps improve blood circulation, enrich the scalp, conditions your hair and improves hair growth. Adding 3 to 4 drops of Peppermint oil to your shampoo or hair conditioner can add shine to your hair and make it look smooth and silky.

Other health benefits:

Few believe that adding 1 drop of Peppermint oil besides your pillow can bring dreams that reflect your future. Peppermint essential oil when used in massage, added to diffuser or diluted in bath can help relieve menstrual cramps, muscular pain, urinary infections, belching, nerve pain, uterine spasms and much more. The presence of menthol makes Peppermint, a much valued oil in making toothpastes, mouthwashes, cough syrups, ointments, shampoos and soaps, vaporizing rubs etc.

Disclaimer: Never use essential oils internally or apply directly on skin as essential oils are highly concentrated liquids. Always remember using essential oils blended with carrier oils or diluted in bath or in diffusers. Speak with your Ayurvedic Practitioner before using essential oils for your specific body type and your unique state of health.

The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) of Peppermint oil is readily available for your enhanced safety and better usage.

Gas Chromatography Report of Peppermint essential oil.

Thought for the day:

The world is like a little marsh filled with mint and white hawthorn.
-Mary MacLane

Suggested Reading:

  1. HEALING POWERS OF PEPPERMINT OIL (The Aromatherapy Professional: Healing with Essential Oils) by KG Stiles
  2. How to Use Peppermint Essential Oil (Aromatherapy) by Miriam Kinai
  3. Digestive Wellness: Strengthen the Immune System and Prevent Disease Through Healthy Digestion, Fourth Edition by Elizabeth Lipski
  4. Integrative Gastroenterology (Weil Integrative Medicine Library) by Gerard Mullin

Reference Links:

  1. Peppermint History by Indepthinfo on Peppermint
  2. Peppermint Oil by American Family Physician
  3. Protective effects of bioactive phytochemicals from Mentha piperita with multiple health potentials by Shahed University, Tehran published in PubMed
  4. Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type, published in PubMed

Ayurvedic Essential Oils For Your Face

Your face says who you are and shows better about what you really think and the popular saying ‘Face is the index of the mind’ proves it right. All kinds of human expressions like happiness, sadness, pain, angriness, depression, fear, anxiety, stress, shock, surprise and everything else is first conveyed through your face. It can also be called as your body’s brand ambassador and at times even your hidden feelings are revealed through your face.  People first look at your face and determine you even before speaking with you and it has an upper hand in creating the ‘first best impression’. It is your right and responsibility to take care of your face, the most expressive and the impressive part of your system. I can never think of anything else other than the natural skin care shield offered by the protective and healing Ayurvedic essential oils that has been a part of beauty secrets of many for centuries together.

  1. Lavender essential oil: No one can hate lavender if not for its color but for the mesmerizing aroma that it holds by nature. Even your hectic days that make your face dull and gloomy might revive gradually with the soothing fragrance of lavender essential oil. This calming oil has bactericide, anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-viral properties that help fight facial problems like acne, pimples, wrinkles on the face and tanning of the facial skin. Lavender oil is also said to improve the complexion and give radiant glow to the skin, for which it has been a vital part of Ayurvedic massage therapy, facial creams, lotions and other popular skin care products in the market.
  2. Frankincense essential oil: A firm, fresh and fabulous face is always the symbol of energy and youthfulness. Frankincense essential oil can be your best friend in bringing all the above said qualities with a bracing energy to your face. This oil has anti-bacterial, tonic and antiseptic properties that help in toning, contracting and lifting the facial muscles helping in visible reduction of wrinkles and fights against acne. Few drops of Frankincense essential oil with Jojoba oil can work like a wonder on your face.
  3. Tea Tree essential oil: Tea tree oil is the beauty secret of Australians and more than 300 species of Tea tree has found its native in the land of Kangaroos. This enriching essential oil is known for its immune stimulating properties and protects your skin from the harmful bacteria, viral and fungal infections. Dull, lifeless and oily skin is often treated with the therapeutic benefits of Tea tree oil. This oil is also used as an effective remedy in curing acne, burns, rashes, skin irritations, wounds and tropical infections.
  4. Rosemary essential oil: Dry, tired, mature, sensitive and dead beat skin can be given a new life with a simple soothing massage of few drops of Rosemary essential oil with any of your favorite carrier oils. Rosemary oil works well in treating oily skin as it has been proved to reduce the sebum or excessive oil production when used topically.
  5. YlangYlang essential oil: Extreme secretion of oil or imbalanced release of sebum is the major causes of problems like pimples, acne, dark spots and other bacterial infections. The use of YlangYlang essential oil with its mystical aroma balances the improper sebum secretion and restores the essential oil required for a healthy, glowing and younger looking skin. This anti-depressive essential oil helps calm down the facial muscles and induce a good night’s sleep that would help in vitalizing and reducing dark circles visibly.

Using these Ayurvedic essential oils for your face is not a rocket science and anyone can do it easily with the tip of your fingers as nothing else can caress your face and cradle your tension other than your hands with the magical touch of such enlivening essential oils.

Reference Links:

  1. Health Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil by Organic Facts
  2. The Tea Tree Skin “Miracle” – The 7 Benefits of Tea Tree Oil by Body Ecology
  3. Carrier Oils by Wikipedia