Oregano, scientifically known as Oreganum Vulgare, is a bushy plant native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. The etymology of the name comes from two ancient Greek words: όρος and γόνος meaning the bright mountain. Oregano grows in sunny, arid, stony and dry - arid lands, but never in wet and swampy. In Greece, the most common variety is the Hirtum. The quality of Greek Oregano is probably the best in the world. Wild oregano can be found at all altitudes and in all regions of the country.
It is bushy shrub that reaches a height up to 80 cm with leaves of length up to 4cm and white flowers. It is an excellent bee plant. Oregano is being harvested between June and July, before and during the early stages of flowering when there is a greater amount of essential oil. The essential oil content varies from 3-5% and in exceptional cases and only in Greek oregano can reach 7%.
The main substances contained in the essential oil are the carvacrol and the thymol, to which the potent biological activity of oregano is attributed. Oregano has strong antioxidant activity, which is due to the flavonoids it contains. According to a research study by the University of Georgetown USA the main constituents of oregano (carvacrol and thymol), can contribute to inhibiting the growth of many fungi and bacteria. The study also showed that oregano kills germs in the same way as antibiotics such as penicillin, streptomycin. The essential oil inhibits yeast growth, partly responsible for the oral infections and vaginitis. A study of the University of Long Island (U.S.A.) suggests that the carvacrol preservatives could be used to treat prostate cancer. Its antioxidant action slows down aging because of the cell protection of the cells. In 20gr. Oregano contains 10mg vitamin C and 3.6mg vitamin E that protects the gums, teeth and red blood cells.
How to use
As a beverage: Tea oregano helps in hypertension, atherosclerosis, facilitates the mobility of intestines, digestion and relax the nervous system.
In cooking: Can be used in meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, salads etc.