Known as one of the most popular perennial herbs, oregano can be grown in any garden. We usually put it to flavor foods like pizza and pasta sauce, and you can find it in almost every kitchen for culinary use because it makes every dish taste better.
This herb was first used by Greeks, who believed that it was created by the Goddes Aphrodit who wanted it to be a symbol of joy that grows in her garden. The word “oregano” means “mountain joy”. Romans and Greeks believed it was a symbol of joy and happiness.
Today we know why the herb has been a favorite for so long. It adds flavor, but it is filled with many essential vitamins and minerals as well including: vitamin A, B6, C, E, and K , iron, folate, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Additionally , it contains powerful phytochemicals, responsible for much of its medicinal benefits.
As such a popular herb with an incredible variety of uses, it’s really a must to grow in your garden – if you haven’t planted it yet, take these reasons into consideration for getting inspired to do so.
Here are the 8 reasons why you should grow oregano in your garden!
1. Strengthening the immune system
Oregano is full of antioxidants, actually, according to the physician Dr. Mercola, it has one of the biggest antioxidant activity ratings out there, in fact, 42 times the antioxidant punch as apples. As Mercola claims, a study from 2003 published in the Journal of Nutrition noted that an “…intake of herbs [including oregano] may…contribute significantly to the total intake of plant antioxidants, and be an even better source of dietary antioxidants than many other food groups such as fruits, berries, cereals, and vegetables.”
Oregano contains an active agent called rosmarinic acid, which may help strengthen your immune system, so it is better to fight illnesses like cold, flu and host diseases.
2. Oregano offers the ‘forgotten vitamin,’ vitamin K
Oregano is rich in vitamin K, which is the vitamin that has the role in blood clotting, yet it is extremely helpful for preventing heart disease and builds strong bones and it is an important part of many other processes in your body.
If you lack vitamin K in your organism, it can contribute or cause many problems, including osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, varicose veins, tooth decay, infectious diseases, brain health diseases like dementia, and even a number of cancers, like leukemia, lung cancer, liver cancer and prostate cancer.
3. Oregano provides antibacterial and antifungal properties
One of the most common reasons oregano is sold in many health food shops is because it offers powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. This is because it contains thymol and carvacrol (two oils known for their remarkable ability to fight bacteria and can kill foodborne pathogen Listeria). One of the experts in 2013 study reported and explained its antibacterial abilities: “We have done a few preliminary tests and have found that the essential oil from the oregano kills MRSA at a dilution 1 to 1,000. The tests show that the oil kills MRSA both as a liquid and as a vapor and its antimicrobial activity is not diminished by heating in boiling water.”
4. Oregano is anti-inflammatory
Oregano can be a great way to achieve optimal health and fight the pain of a number of different inflammatory conditions like arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Oregano contains a substance – beta-caryophyllin, known to inhibit inflammation. It is commonly known to be beneficial for health conditions like metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, and arteriosclerosis.
5. Oregano can treat acne
Oregano can treat acne and occasional skin flare-ups because of its antifungal and antiseptic properties. It can often be seen at the back of variety skin products like toner and face wash. If you suffer from acne or oily skin, you can harvest oregano from your own yards or herb garden and make a homemade toner.
- Take a handful of dried oregano leaves and boil them in three cups of water for 10 minutes.
- Allow the mixture to cool.
- Pour it into a lidded glass container through a strainer, and store it in your refrigerator.
- Apply it like you would a toner, all over your face, or onto just the affected areas. In addition to treating acne, it also helps tone and tighten the skin.
6. Relieving cold and flu symptoms
Using oregano when you have a cold, the flu or a respiratory infection, can help bring relief – this has been scientifically shown to be effective, and traditional healers have used oregano extracts to treat respiratory problems like coughs, colds, flu, sore throats and even bronchitis. For this purpose, it is best to use oregano oil.
Oregano encourages sweat production, with the ability to help detox the body, so ingesting it can help the body to get rid of unwanted phlegm in the lungs and bring a fever down. It also helps to clear the lungs and bronchial passages. Just mix in several drops of oregano oil in a carrier oil like almond or olive oil, and rub it onto your chest.
7. Oregano is a great pest repellent
The strong scent of oregano confuses pests who are coming for your crops, which is why it’s a very good idea to plant it near your vegetable garden or under any fruit trees.
You can use oregano oil as a natural bug spray for your household plants. Simply add a few drops to a spray bottle with water, and spray your plants with it. You will keep aphids away.
8. Oregano is a host plant for beneficial pollinators and insects
There are some things in your garden that are beneficial and help plants thriving. Pollinators of all types love oregano flowers and feed on the nectar. For instance, lacewings help get rid of common pests like whiteflies, aphifs and cabbage moth caterpillars. Planting oregano as a border of a vegetable garden, especially near cabbage-family crops like kale, broccoli, and collards can help them stay healthy.
How To Grow & Harvest Oregano:
Now that you now all the benefits oregano brings, you are ready to start growing and you should know that oregano is easy to grow and harvest. It doesn’t need a lot of care, and it is resistant to deer. Oregano is drought-tolerant and prefers a hot and sunny, dry climate with well-drained soil. It can survive wet periods and some shade too.
It is best if you give your oregano lots of space because it can grow up to four feet wide. It is good to cut it each spring and keep it attractive, and harvest it often.
It is best if you harvest it in the morning, after all dew has dried. The essential oils in herbs are highest in concentration on a warm morning. The best flavor can be achieved by harvesting just as flower buds begin to form. You should use garden shears or scissors in order to remove the stems, and then cut back above a growth node or set of leaves. This will allow the plant to branch from the cut area and produce more flavorful leaves. If you happen to have any mulch or dust on them, rinse the stems lightly and shake off any excess moisture before drying.
In order to dry the oregano, pull off the tiny leaves and dry them separately, or just dry the entire stem and crumble off the leaves. Bundle stems together and hang them to dry in a dark and dry area.
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