Why You Need Oil of Oregano for Cold and Flu Season

By Andrea Donsky
Andrea Donsky
Andrea Donsky
Andrea Donsky, who holds a bachelor of commerce, is an international TV health expert, best selling author, and founder of NaturallySavvy.com—a recipient of Healthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019. This article was originally published on NaturallySavvy.com
December 9, 2016 Updated: December 9, 2016

Oil of oregano could win an award for being one of the most effective natural treatments for the common cold and flu. (And by the way, this oregano is not the same species as the one you put in your pasta sauce.)

The oil is made from the leaves and flowers of wild oregano (Origanum vulgare), a hardy, bushy plant that’s a member of the mint family. One reason oil of oregano is considered a health-giving hero is that it contains the chemical carvacrol, which has demonstrated illness-fighting abilities: It is antibacterial, antivirus, antifungus, antitumor, anti-inflammation, and antiparasitic.

The oil contains other potent compounds that also can be helpful when you want to prevent or treat a cold or flu:

• Thymol, a natural antiseptic that can enhance immune system function and promote healing
• Beta-caryophyllin, known for its anti-inflammatory benefits
• Naringin, which enhances the antioxidants in oregano oil, which in turn can improve its ability to fight cold and flu viruses
• Rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant that also is a natural antihistamine

(Kerdkanno/Shutterstock)
(Kerdkanno/Shutterstock)

To enjoy these health benefits, it’s essential to choose an oil produced only from Origanum vulgare. More than 40 other oregano species are available, so be sure to read the label and buy from reputable manufacturers only.

How Powerful Is Oil of Oregano?

For those who want to see what scientists say, a study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology showed that when researchers exposed a mouse norovirus (a human norovirus surrogate) to oregano oil and carvacrol, both were effective against the virus, but carvacrol was better. The chemical treatment inactivated the virus within one hour of exposure. 

If you want to help prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses on your hands and household surfaces, use liquid soap that contains oil of oregano or add it to an all-natural brand you are already using. Another study looked at the use of liquid detergent solution with added oil of oregano (0.5 percent) and found that it was as effective as a commercial antimicrobial soap, but without harmful ingredients such as triclosan and chloroxylenol. (And since the FDA recently banned many antibacterial chemicals, why not make a safer homemade alternative?)

(bokan/shutterstock)
(bokan/shutterstock)

Treating Colds and Flu

Since the taste of oil of oregano can be strong, I recommend diluting several drops in orange juice, olive oil, or coconut oil. However, according to Theresa Ramsey, NMD, if you place a few drops under your tongue and keep them there for several minutes, the strong taste will be minimal and the results will be faster and stronger, because the oil is absorbed faster. If you prefer not to taste it at all, you can purchase oil of oregano capsules at natural product stores. 

Diffusing a few drops of the oil using a vaporizer will help clear up a stuffy nose and sinuses.

The general dosage for adults suffering from a cold or the flu is two to three drops, taken three to four times daily. If you choose to take supplements, use 100 to 150 mg in capsules in place of the oil. To treat a sore throat, you can add five to six drops to a glass of water and gargle several times a day. For preventive or maintenance purposes, take two to three drops twice a day.

Oil of oregano can be given to children, although the strong taste makes it challenging to convince them. Fortunately, there are oregano oil supplements specially formulated for youngsters (including natural mint oil to mask the taste), and dosage should follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. You can also rub a couple of drops of oil on the bottoms of their feet and then cover them with socks to trap the vapors. We call this “pizza feet” in our house. 

Diffusing a few drops of the oil using a vaporizer will help clear up a stuffy nose and sinuses. Breathe in the pleasant aroma for a few minutes several times a day.

Finally, you should limit your use of oregano oil to only seven to 10 days. Oil of oregano is not recommended for infants, pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding or anyone who has high blood pressure, or heart disease. 

And as always, be sure to consult a qualified herbalist or medical practitioner before starting any treatment.

Andrea Donsky, B. COMM, is an author, a registered holistic nutritionist, the editor-in-chief of Naturally Savvy, and the co-founder of The Healthy Shopper Inc. and Naturally Savvy Media. This article was originally published on NaturallySavvy.com

Andrea Donsky, who holds a bachelor of commerce, is an international TV health expert, best selling author, and founder of NaturallySavvy.com—a recipient of Healthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019. This article was originally published on NaturallySavvy.com