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Oregano was already well known as a curing plant by the ancient Greeks. It was used against poisonings. From the 4 th Century BC comes the statement, that Oregano for many purposes has a wonderful effect, for e.g. women giving birth. In the Middle Ages it was well known in Europe as a charm and a welfare plant. Oregano has only been used as seasoning for about 200 years.
Oregano is used as a disinfectant, antibacterial and against inflammation especially of mouth and throat. It is also well known for ailments of the respiratory tract, coughing, bronchial catarrh, as an expectorant and for relief of spasmodic cough. It is used for disturbances of the gastrointestinal tract, bloating, and for stimulation of gallbladder excretion and digestion, and as an appetite-stimulating and antispasmodic agent. Oregano is also used for disorders and afflictions of the urinary tract, abdominal diseases, painful menstruation, as a diuretic, for arthritis, scrofulosis, as a sedative and diaphoretic.
Condiment; Leaves; Tea.
Leaves - raw or cooked as a potherb[5, 52, 183]. Oregano is an important flavouring herb in Mediterranean cookery, and is often used dried rather than fresh. The leaves are used as a flavouring for salad dressings, vegetables and legumes, and are frequently included in strongly flavoured dishes with chillies, garlic, onions etc[2, 13, 21, 27, 183, 238]. A nutritional analysis is available. Much of the commercially available dried oregano does not come from this plant but from a number of different, often unrelated plants. These include Lippia graveolens, L. palmeri and Origanum syriacum.
A herb tea is made from the dried leaves and flowering stems[183, 207, 238].
Dye; Essential; Ground cover; Parasiticide; Repellent; Strewing.
An essential oil from the plant is used as a food flavouring, in soaps and perfumery[115, 171]. The herb contains 0.15 - 0.4% essential oil and makes good herbal pillows and baths. The plant was formerly used as a strewing herb. The essential oil has also been used to kill lice, though some caution is advised since it can cause skin irritations.
A red or purple dye is obtained from the flowering tops[4, 7, 13, 100], it is neither brilliant nor durable.
The plant repels ants. The growing plant repels many insect pests so it is a good plant to grow in the vegetable area.
A useful ground cover for sunny positions, forming a slowly spreading clump[197, K]. Plants should be spaced about 30cm apart each way.