Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Fun fact: The Greek philosopher Aristotle noticed that tortoises who ate snakes, then ate oregano. This appeared to prevent them from being poisoned, so he began to recommend it as an antidote for poison.
Probably best known as a workaholic in the kitchen, oregano also has many valuable therapeutic uses. In fact, it may well have first been used for its curative properties before its seasoning properties were discovered. Ancient Egyptians prized oregano for its ability to disinfect wounds and speed up the healing process. It's also believed that they used it in mummification. Throughout the centuries, oregano has been used to sooth coughs, calm digestive disorders, relax tension, and relieve insomnia. As far as kitchen use, it was the Roman gourmet Apicius who loudly proclaimed oregano to be an important part of his culinary creations, leading it to play an important part in Mediterranean cuisine. When GIs returned from overseas after World War II, they demanded to have Mediterranean herb staple in their dishes back home. Their insistence on enjoying this herb is what helped to make it popular in the United States. Today, oregano not only reigns in the kitchen, but also rules in the world of aromatherapy.
Mixes well with: Atlas cedar, basil, bergamot, citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, orange, rosemary, tea tree, thyme, and wintergreen.
Parts used: Dried, flowering tops.
Extraction method: Steam distillation.
Safety Information: Avoid if pregnant.