Blog Post

Do Oregano Oil Capsules Really Work?

CR writes: "Oregano oil capsules from Whole Foods seems to help alleviate my sinus pain. Are these capsules associated with the New Age or the occult in any way?"

Other than the fact that supplement usage is very much embraced by the New Age, oregano oil capsules are not based in New Age or occult beliefs.

Oregano is derived from a plant that has long been used for medicinal purposes ranging from respiratory tract disorders (coughs, asthma, croup, bronchitis) to gastrointestinal disorders such as heartburn and bloating. Come people apply it to the skin to treat acne, psoriasis and athletes foot and even as an insect repellent.

It is believed that oregano contains chemicals that can help reduce coughs and spasms and aid digestion.

Have any of these claims been proven by modern-day science?

According to WebMD, “there is no human clinical research to back up these health claims.”

They cite a single study which found that taking 200 milligrams of oregano three times a day for six weeks eliminated intestinal parasites; however, the study was very small, inconclusive, and funded by a supplement manufacturer (which means it wasn’t a very reliable study).

Other studies have shown that oregano or its components can kill some food-born germs, but there is no evidence that it can help prevent food poisoning.

Alternative medicine practitioners also like to prescribe it to treat what’s known as yeast hypersensitivity syndrome which is thought to cause symptoms such as sinus congestion, headache, fatigue and depression. However, science does not recognize this syndrome and there is no evidence that oregano oil can help to treat these symptoms.

They go on to warn that oregano is safe when used as a flavoring for food – but it is not known if it is safe to use this herb for medicinal purposes.

Because of some of the properties of oregano, consumers should be alerted to the following potential dangers:

• In large doses, oregano oil may be toxic -- and even lethal.

• Oregano may have diuretic effects.

• Large amounts of oregano can upset the stomach.

• Oregano oil may cause rash when applied to the skin.

Like so many other supplements, oregano oil capsules are in need of unbiased, serious scientific scrutiny before their true safety and effectiveness can be determined.