Natural Healing

Make your own oil of oregano

By Sari Huhtala

It’s no secret oregano is potent antibacterial medicine. Hippocrates used oregano to ward off respiratory ailments, digestive disorders and for antiseptic purposes. A thousand years ago, Europeans would chew on oregano leaves to reduce symptoms of a cough, stomach upset, rheumatism and toothaches. Why not make your own oregano oil?

Planning a garden? Oregano is the plant to grow. Plus, it’s a perennial so you’ll reap its benefits year after year with little effort.

A 2018 study in Frontiers in Microbiology – Bacterial Property of Oregano Oil Against Multidrug-resistant Clinical Isolates – found oil of oregano can even be effective against antibiotic drug resistant bacteria, including four strains of staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

In vivo, the bacterial load in third-degree burn wounds infected with MRSA was “sufficiently reduced” when oil of oregano was applied topically.

“This bactericidal activity of oregano oil concurred with no significant side effect on the skin histologically or genotoxicity after three topical applications of oregano oil at 10 mg/ml for three consecutive days. The investigation suggests potentials of oregano oil as an alternative to antibiotics for the treatment of wound-associated infections regardless of antibiotic susceptibility.”

Studies on oil of oregano use the type of potent oil of oregano found in health food stores.

A DIY oil of oregano is easy to make, and can be used as good preventative medicine, internally or topically on wounds, cuts, burns and abrasions or skin conditions. Add it to salads for a healthful twist, or take by spoonful.

Make your own oregano oil infusion

It’s best to harvest herbs on a dry day during the morning hours, after dew disappears, to retain the plant’s oils. Fresh or dried oregano can be used. If using fresh herbs, harvest, then allow the herb to sit for about 24 hours so that extra moisture can evaporate before using in an oil infusion. Fresh plants may be more susceptible to mold issues so it’s important to watch the oil for any murkiness or signs of mold during the two- to three-week period of waiting for the infusion to be ready.

Drying oregano is simple. Cut the full stem with leaves off the oregano plant. Bundle up the stems and tie together. Hang upside down in a dry area away from sunlight until leaves are fully dry – about a week. Run hand from bottom of stem up to top to release the dried leaves into a bowl, then package into a glass far with a lid.

Cold oil-infusion

Wash and sterilize jars and lids.

Harvest enough clean, fresh leaves to fill a two-cup mason jar, or fill a two-cup mason jar half full of dried leaves.

Pour cold pressed olive oil over the leaves to fill the mason jar. Ensure leaves are fully covered if using fresh oregano. Put the lid on the jar and place on a sunny windowsill for two or three weeks. Give the jar a shake daily.

After the infusion period, line a measuring cup with cheesecloth secured with an elastic band and pour the oil into the cheesecloth to capture all the plant material. It is important that no plant material exists in the final oil product, to prevent mold issues. With clean hands, squeeze any remaining oil out of the cheesecloth.

At this stage you can make a more potent oil of oregano by repeating the infusion process, adding fresh or dried herbs to the existing infused oil, or simply place a lid on the jar and store in cupboard, or away from sunlight.

You can also pour the oregano oil into smaller dropper bottles to keep in first aid kits, or in the medicine cabinet.

(This information is not intended to replace medical advice and treatment from a health care practitioner).

Sari Huhtala is the creator, publisher and editor of Alive and Fit Magazine. She has over 25 years experience in journalism and over 15 years experience as a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. She is an organic farmer, wild-crafter and grandmother, who has spent over 20 years of navigating a holistic, healthy path for her family.

Photo credit: ©pixelshot via Canva.com

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