Oregano oil bottle with label
Catalina-Gabriela Molnar/iStock/GettyImages

You feel a sinus infection coming on. Your stomach is upset. You have a migraine, and there's dandruff on your collar. It is possible to combat each of these symptoms with a few drops of oregano oil. Oreganum valgare, part of the mint family, has exceptional antioxidant properties that extend to many different physical ailments. This oregano is not to be confused with the type in pizza sauce. That is common oregano, known as Oreganum marjorum, and far less effective.

Potent and Effective

The most potent oregano comes from Morocco and is called Oreganum elongatum. Two essentials extracted from this plant are carvacrol and thymol. There is approximately 14 percent of natural phenol carvacrol to 27 percent thymol in the most potent oil of oregano. They work synergistically to promote a natural antimicrobial, that works against even staphylococcus. Check the ingredients to ensure that the oil you are buying meets these standards.

How Oil of Oregano is Used

Oil of oregano comes in a liquid concentrate or in capsule form. Either is as effective as the other as long as package directions are followed. The oil can be dissolved in juice or water and swallowed. It can also be used in a dab of shampoo and applied directly to the scalp to alleviate dandruff. Mix 1 drop with a teaspoon of olive oil and apply to skin eruptions. Never ingest or apply to the skin or gums unless it is diluted. A mild side effect of drinking oil of oregano is that it occasionally causes burping. Capsules do not seem to have the same result but are equally effective.

Effectiveness with Certain Conditions

From ancient Grecian times, physicians used oil of oregano to treat viral and bacterial infections. They chased away head and body parasites. Today, oil of oregano has become useful as a cough suppressant, immune system booster and anti-fungal. It also fights off both viral and bacterial infection and can reduce pain and inflammation in joints.

Suggested Amounts in Treatment

If a sinus infection is imminent, take 2 or 3 capsules daily or mix 2 or 3 drops of oil in juice and drink it. If used at the onset of symptoms, it is immediately effective, but if the infection has already started, it can take from three to five days. Repeat the treatment each day until the symptoms are gone.

Treat an upset stomach by dissolving two or three drops of oil of oregano in a glass of milk or juice for immediate relief.

The same two or three drops of oil of oregano are good for coughs, aches, pains and as an aid to digestion.

External recommendations include the same two to three drops, but mixed with oil of coconut or olive oil to dab on anything from skin eruptions to cuts. Dandruff or itchy, flaky scalp is improved within a week by mixing two or three drops into shampoo and applying as usual to the scalp every other day.


Pregnant women should not take oil of oregano on a regular basis, because there may be iron-absorption issues. Except as noted for pregnancy, those who take oil of oregano can take iron supplements if there is an issue of iron deficiency.

Allergies to basil, mint, thyme or sage, all in the same family as oregano, indicate caution if rash or vomiting occurs. If either happens, discontinue use of oil of oregano.