Oregano Oil has a Wealth of History Behind It
Oregano (Origanum Vulgare) is a flowering plant and a perennial herb that belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). Although typically native to Europe, this plant grows in many places around the world. You can find it anywhere from the Mediterranean region to Scotland and Norway, in the Middle East, Siberia and even the Himalayas. The oregano plant grows almost everywhere in Russia, besides the further northern regions. Even though it’s a perennial herb, it doesn’t stand the cold temperatures so well and doesn’t normally survive during winter. This plant usually prefers hot, dry climates, but can do well in other environments as long as it’s not subject to subzero temperatures.
Oregano oil is derived from the flowers and the leaves of the plant. These parts of the herb contain vital minerals and vitamins such as:
Vitamin A and vitamin C are also present, but the leaves contain more of it than the flowers. Oregano additionally contains tannins, which are bitter substances that divide into polyphenols and antioxidants. The oil contains large amounts of phenols such as carvacrol and thymol. The concentration of carvcarol ranges from 50% to as high as 85% and usually the higher the concentration, the more pure the oil is considered to be. There are over 60 different compounds found in it and one of them being geranyl acetate. It is responsible for the unique smell of the oregano oil. Plants are rarely genetically modified. Since oregano is an herb and not a vegetable or a grain, it is a non GMO and fully organic.
The best oregano is believed to grow around the Mediterranean region. The purest form of this plant is usually found in the mountains, where it is grown in the wild, free of pesticides and any other chemicals. In order to fully preserve its properties and protect the land, it’s advisable to pick the herb by hand. Quite often this unique plant is confused with other similar plants such as the Spanish Thymus Capitus and the Mexican Sage. The only thing these plants have in common is the taste, but when it comes to the chemical profile they are completely different. Oregano has been famous since the times of Aristotle, Aristophanes and Dioscorides. This aromatic herb was used in ancient Greece and the Middle East for many different purposes, including being used as a spice for culinary reasons. It is believed that in medieval Europe oregano was considered to be a magical plant. People would resort to it only in special occasions such as the destruction of evil spells or protection against harmful spirits.
It’s best to harvest oregano during the blooming season, when it contains the largest amount of essential oils and other biologically active substances. The most effective way to derive the oil from the plant is through steam distillation. This gentle process allows for the best nutrient preservation and maximum effectiveness of the oil.
Many companies nowadays take shortcuts in the manufacturing process to maximise on profits. We recommend buying only from companies who explicitly state that their oregano oil is non-gmo (not genetically modified), certified organic and of the origanum vulgare species of oregano.
Also, make sure that the oregano oil is steam distilled during the extraction process as CO2 extraction causes harmful chemicals to leech into the product.