Oregano Oil: Nature’s Antibiotic

oregano-oil-natures-antibiotic

How often have you heard – or even thought – I'll just go in and get a round of antibiotics – for an ailment of any sort? Usually, the physician concurs, and today's antibiotic of choice is prescribed. Childhood ear infections, cold symptoms, you name it.

The problem with automatic prescription of antibiotics, due to patient demand or physician ignorance, is that they are only effective against bacterial infections. If our illness is viral and we take an antibiotic, we're risking the loss of beneficial bacteria in our bodies and aiding the creation of bacteria-resistant superbugs, all with no healing benefit. Even when we are facing a bacterial illness, finding the right antibiotic is much more effective than prescribing a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

The Wall Street Journal brought this significant public health concern to light in a 2013 article about antibiotic overuse and misuse, stating: (1)

“Overuse of antibiotics, and prescribing broad-spectrum drugs when they aren't needed, can cause a range of problems. It can make the drugs less effective against the bacteria they are intended to treat by fostering the growth of antibiotic-resistant infections. And it can wipe out the body's good bacteria, which help digest food, produce vitamins and protect from infections, among other functions.

  • In a July study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, researchers from the University of Utah and the CDC found that 60% of the time physicians prescribe antibiotics, they choose broad-spectrum ones….
  • A similar study of children, published in the journal Pediatrics in 2011, found that when antibiotics were prescribed they were broad-spectrum 50% of the time, mainly for respiratory conditions….

Both studies also found that about 25% of the time antibiotics were being prescribed for conditions in which they have no use, such as viral infections.”

Essentially, our current approach to prescribe broad spectrum antibiotics out of reflex is like sending the atomic bomb where the A-Team would have sufficed.

Natural Antibiotic Alternative

No, pizza is not going to cure your bacterial illness.

Medicinal grade oregano (Origanum vulgare and Origanum majorana) is grown in the Mediterannean, and its essential oil is extracted via distillation. Each pound of oil is a product of over 1,000 pounds of wild oregano, forming a potent and valuable medicine that has been valued for thousands of years and countless cultures.

Antibiotic Prowess

Most consumers have no idea that antibiotics come in multiple forms. Beyond the indication of broad-spectrum antibiotics, there are more qualifications that determine how an antibiotic is most effectively used – Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria are affected in their own ways, and certain antibiotics will be more effective against one than the other.

The Journal of Medicinal Food published an analysis of oregano oil's efficacy against three Gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and two Gram-positive ( Staphylococus aureus , Bacillus subtilis) bacteria. Medicinal, true oregano (Origanum vulgare) harvested at various growth stages were tested, and all three were effective against all five bacterial strains. (2)

Similar findings were published two years prior, when researchers in Pakistan found oregano oil to be effective against parasites and even cancer cells! (3)

With clear results against these common bacteria – especially the food safety-related E. coli and Salmonella – including oregano essential oil in meals seems wise for gastrointestinal protection and disease prevention.

Beyond Bacteria

We could go on for pages about the antibiotic effects of oregano oil, but there's more to it than that. Unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics that are essentially one trick ponies, oregano oil carries with it so many more benefits. It is truly the ultimate natural treatment and an answer to standard antibiotics.

Within the oregano essential oil extract, a phenol component called carvacol is arguably the reason that oil of oregano is so strong. When you search the PubMed database of peer-reviewed literature, carvacol is referenced in more than 800 separate returns. Researchers are intrigued by this component, to say the least.

Some of the conditions carvacol and oregano oil have been indicated for, aside from bacterial infections, include fungi, parasites, viruses, inflammation, cell death, tumors, pain, histamine reactions, and oxidative stress.

Carvacol stepped out among the crowd of medicinal components when the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences highlighted its ability to detoxify and protect against side effects caused by Methotrexate. (4)  Methotrexate (MTX) is well known as dangerous but used anyway for its treatment capability in severe illness such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis

In order to measure the interaction between MTX and carvacol, MTX-treated mice were observed with and without carvacol. The anti-inflammatory effects were able to inhibit the negative effects of MTX. Similarly, carvacol has also been shown to potentially, “”prevent pathogenic overgrowth and colonization in the large intestine during oral iron therapy” – a therapy for anemia associated with severe gastrointestinal complaints. (5)

The research that follows will be exciting to watch, because the implications of a natural remedy able to limit the effects of necessary prescriptions are vast. Beyond fascination, someone taking harsh treatments such as iron therapy or chemotherapy could face a very different future with the side effects controlled.

DIY

Although the scientific literature is very quiet regarding specific essential oil protocols, many people have found the following to be helpful:

  1. Apply diluted oregano oil on the bottoms of feet. Proper dilution depends on individual sensitivity: 1 drop of EO per 3-5 drops of carrier oil is a good start for adults. For children use extra caution and be sure to use even more carrier oil.
  2. Put 1 drop of oregano + 1 drop of tea tree in a gel capsule and consume. For people battling a cold, consider taking up two capsules a day.

Practical Oregano Oil Use

After lambasting unnecessary use of antibiotics, then singing the praises of a powerful one, you are no doubt wondering what limits we should place on oregano oil and how it should be used properly.

At this point, we can't be sure, really.

Because of its potency and capabilities, oregano oil should be used carefully alongside the guidance of a natural health expert or naturally-minded health care provider. Always dilute it, and be sure to take orally in a gel capsule instead of straight with water.

If it's strong enough to tackle MTX, it's strong enough to be taken seriously. Seek out a natural health provider today and see how oregano oil might fit within your lifestyle and regimen.

Safety & Contraindications

Are you sure you're using essential oils safely and effectively? Are you confused by dilutions and conversions?

 Let me help take out the guesswork and download my FREE roller bottle guide HERE.

Essential Oil Roller Bottle Dilution Guide

When it comes to drug interactions and contraindications, there are literally textbooks devoted to the study of essential oil safety and, as a trained researcher and doctor, I think it’s important to note that there is virtually no research out there discussing how essential oils interact with drugs in human clinical trials. This means that essential oil safety is still a wild frontier in the science community and no one really knows (for certain) how essential oils will interact with drugs or your body.

Nonetheless, properly diluting your essential oils is fundamental to safety and effectiveness because they are highly concentrated plant compounds. To help you along your journey, I have a created an easy-to-use dilution guide that you can download for FREE to make sure that all of your topical applications are safe and effective for the entire family. 

CLICK HERE to download my free EO Roller Bottle Dilution Chart! 

As with as medicine and natural therapies, this is only a guide and be sure to discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur and consult your physician immediately.

Resources:

  1. http://www.wsj.com/articles/sb10001424127887323423804579023113596120826
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3868303/
  3. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/260776284_composition_antioxidant_and_chemotherapeutic_properties_of_the_essential_oils_from_two_origanum_species_growing_in_pakistan
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24302176
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24379194


This post currently has 38 comments.

  1. TERI BARTH
    April 27, 2017

    I have a question for you as I am trying to find instructions on how to blend three essential oils together in a 15ml bottle. My son has special needs and has come down with mrsa and pseudomonas aeruginosa. I have been encouraged to find information on the type of oils to use, but nothing to help me put the blend together. We have done much praying knowing our God is greater than this sickness. If you could help in anyway we would be very grateful. Thank you Teri Barth

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      April 28, 2017

      Hi Teri,

      Unless you have a special recipe you’re following, you could simply put the oils into the bottle in whatever ratio that you want.

      The key is to dilute them to make sure they are safe for his skin. Presumably, a 1% dilution (6 drops of the Blend per 1 ounce of carrier).

      There is no magic formula to make a blonde more effective and it’s really more about trial and error. Instead of a 15 mL bottle, I would recommend making a smaller batch and then tweaking as you feel necessary.

      Praying for your son’s healing!

        Reply
  2. Julian Li
    November 4, 2016

    Hi Dr Eric,
    I have just been introduced to the healing power of EO and was led to reading your article about oregano as an antibiotic to treat infections. I am very worried about my son who has been on 3 consecutive use of different antibiotics to treat urinary tract infection in the past month and half. He was severely brain-damaged at two and since then couldn’t swallow, sit up, talk, walk or do anything. We feed him through a G-tube straight to his stomach. He’s gone through many miracles to still be here with us at 26.
    He’s now finishing his third round of antibiotics and our doctor recommends us to see an urologist. But I’m more interested now to find out if Oregano can treat UTI and what’s the best way to administer if he cannot take capsule by mouth.
    Gratefully,
    Julian Li

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      November 20, 2016

      Hi Julian,

      Internal use is rarely required. Diluted topical use is generally safe (bottoms of the feet, etc.).

      With that said, regarding the specifics, I apologize – I am limited by what I can and cannot say, and giving “medical advise” is definitely a no-no.

      But we do have way around the regulations!

      If you haven’t, please consider joining Dr. Z’s Essential Oils Club – we have lots of people that have joined and they share their tips and testimonials! http://essentialoilsclub.info

        Reply
  3. sharene
    November 2, 2016

    Hi dr Z, I love and use essential oils daily! However I’ve been warned to stay away from oregano oil unless absolute necessary since as a natural antibiotic, it also kills good gut bacteria. Can you please comment on that? Any studies/evidence that it has any harmful effects on gut bacteria? Thank you 🙂

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      November 21, 2016

      Hi Sharene,

      The jury is still out on this, but most experts agree that EOs don’t harm probiotics (“good” bacteria) in the body.

        Reply
  4. Opal morrison
    November 1, 2016

    I am diabetic. I have a terrible yeast infection outbreak. Under breasts folsom of skin and groin.
    I’m taking 6 casuals a day for a week. It seems to be getting worse. Why would that be. I’m in a lot of pain with the break down of the skin. Thank you

      Reply
    • Customer Support
      November 23, 2016

      While we can’t prescribe anything or make medical recommendations, I’m wondering if you’ve tried melalueca (tea tree oil) topically? This is usually a really good oil for rashes and fungal outbreaks.

        Reply
  5. Mohammad Alsaleh
    October 22, 2016

    Hi Dr Z
    Would you recommend using EO as mouthwash( maybe you gargle with it, diluted with water)?

    Kindest
    Mohmd

      Reply
  6. Annmarie Scrattish
    October 1, 2016

    I’m trying to treat Sibo with herbals and would like to rotate with liquid oil of oregano but can not swallow pills so can not use enteric coated oil . I’m assuming not much oil will reach the small intestine if it isn’t time released or coated so my question is will liquid oil of oregano tincture diluted with water reach the small intestine to kill the organisms ? What about taking it with jasmine rice could it catch a ride and make it there?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      October 2, 2016

      Nope, not at all if it’s consumed in food. Sorry, the upper GI will eat it away…

        Reply
  7. Yiyi Diaz
    September 3, 2016

    Thanks for taking the time and effort to educate us. I have a huge Oregano plant in my garden. I use the leaves in everything I can when cooking, since I’m having issues with my stomac..(IBS) How can I make oil out of it to use it as a topical. Any links you can provide me with. I would like to really use it as much as possible. If you visit my blog you’ll see a picture of the plant on a scrapbook page I recently did Thanks Dr.Z!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      September 20, 2016

      Hi Yiyi,

      Making EOs is expensive, timely and there are several distillation kits you can get online. Sorry, I just don’t have a recommendation because I’ve never done it…

        Reply
    • Kathy Hoss
      October 22, 2016

      Dr. Mercola has a recipe for making your own oregano oil. Try his website.

        Reply
  8. Bonnie Schmitt
    August 30, 2016

    Any suggestions for battling a stomach bug? My husband is in so much pain from the excessive vomiting and diarrhea he has had and unable to sleep.I have applied oregano and margarom oil to his abdomen, but does not seem to be helping much, is there anything else I can do for him?

      Reply
    • Customer Support
      October 19, 2016

      A lot of times oils like ginger, peppermint, and fennel are helpful for calming the stomach. We have a digestive blend on our diffusers post that you could make in a roller bottle! http://drericz.com/favorite-diffuser-blends/

        Reply
  9. Doug
    August 17, 2016

    I have extreme food allergy to anything made with corn oil,syrup,starch. What could help? It’s almost impossible to avoid at times.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      August 19, 2016

      Hi Doug,

      Many people are allergic to these food products. They are virtually poison because of how they are process and let me encourage you – it’s VERY possible to avoid.

      Corn oil, corn syrup and corn starch are extremely harmful for our health. There are many alternatives and healthy processed foods companies that offer good solutions.

        Reply
  10. Jessica
    July 20, 2016

    I am currently taking mtx for ra and am wondering if anyone else out there has ra and is trying this? Is it ok to take oregano oil while taking mtx? Thank you!

      Reply
  11. Amel
    June 14, 2016

    Hi Eric,

    I am currently treating candida and following a protocol alongside with other natural treatments, so taking organo ( 3 drops in a capsule with carrier oil) 3 times/ day for 10 days and then resting for 10 other days using diet and other natural antimicrobials. What’s your take on that ? It ‘s difficult to find the right protocol and doses I have seen in studies where a bit too high ….What would you recommend ?
    Thanks
    Cheers
    Amel

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      August 30, 2016

      Hi Amel,

      That’s seems like a safe protocol. I’d just make sure to wait at least 5 hours between doses. It takes the EOs a few hours to metabolize…

        Reply
  12. NN
    April 20, 2016

    Hey Dr! I’ve heard before that prolonged Oregano Oil usage (4 weeks or more) can often be a bad and unhealthy treatment.

    What are your thoughts on the prolonged use?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      April 20, 2016

      Hi NN,

      I haven’t seen that in the medical literature, but it has some validity. Personally, I always recommend switching up protocols – not because of harm – but because of resistance. We see this a lot with antibiotic resistance…

        Reply
  13. Connie Heller
    February 27, 2016

    My first try at organic oregano oil was disastrous. I added a couple drops to 4 cups tea and drank two cups in late afternoon/ evening. It seemed to calm my reflux down for the nite. But with the first bite of food the next day, my stomach grumbled a lot and experienced nasty diarrhea most of the day with anything I ate. It calmed down late afternoon after drinking peppermint in water. I am trying to heal a “leaky gut” and wondering if this oil is too strong for my unhealed system?
    It is the digestible oil and contacted company. They could not offer any reasons for my experience. I am wondering if applying it to my skin would be better and would not cause diarrhea. The oregano oil was the only new thing I introduced, as rest of my diet has been good. Thank you for your time, Connie

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      February 28, 2016

      Hi Connie,

      I’d check out DrAxe.com. He has published several articles on leaky gut, and I interviewed him for my EO summit last year about it. You can still listen to his interview by clicking here, registering for the event and you’ll get access to the Top 5 voted talks: http://healthyoilsummit.com

      Regarding oregano: be careful. It’s a very potent oil, and heavy dilution is ALWAYS recommended when applying topically. Sounds like you should stay away from internal usage based on your symptoms as well. If you ingest, always take oils in a capsule as well.

        Reply
  14. Karen S.
    January 27, 2016

    Is oregano oil useful in the treatment of PANDAS/PANS? How would it be administered?

      Reply
    • kay
      February 3, 2016

      Karen, what is this Pandas/Pans? what is its effect on the body?

        Reply
  15. Lisa
    December 23, 2015

    Hi Dr Z. Would oregano be a good oil to use for a 15 year old with acne? If so how? If not any suggestions would be awesome. Thanks.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      December 27, 2015

      It can help, but be sure to heavily dilute. Not knowing better, I burned myself putting oregano on my skin many years ago. It’s super strong stuff!

        Reply
    • kay
      February 3, 2016

      i have had great results with melaleuca and juniper berry.

        Reply
      • Dr. Z
        February 3, 2016

        That’s great Kay!

          Reply
  16. Christine
    November 15, 2015

    I just read your article “Eating Dirt”, very interesting and informative. Then, I went on to read the article on oregano EO.
    On the first article, bacillus subtilis is listed as a critical beneficial SBO. The second article mentions that oregano EO could be a safer alternative to pharmaceutical antibiotic and could be effective against some bacteria, among them is bacillus subtilis. So a bit of a dilemma, as based on the article, using oregano EO as an antibiotic could also destroy some friendly bacteria! I have personally used diluted oregano EO (oregano + olive oil) in a gel capsule as antibiotic and continue to do so but along the diluted oregano EO I may take a probiotic supplement. Any additional suggestion/thoughts?
    With Gratitude

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      November 17, 2015

      Hi Christine!

      Good point, but we must remember that virtually no essential oils reach the GI tract unless they are in an enteric coated capsule. People can use oregano oil and not have to worry about affecting their gut bacteria. If you use oregano oil with your food, however, then yes, you’re correct. Some strains will be killed off. 🙂

        Reply
  17. CW
    November 15, 2015

    Do you have any regiments for lyme disease using essential oils that are effective? Thanks,CW

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      November 17, 2015

      Hi CW,

      This is a toughie because of the multiple factors associated with Lyme Disease. I’m actually preparing an article on this so stay tuned… 🙂

        Reply
  18. Terri Loveland
    August 6, 2015

    I was just telling a friend that I had heard about Oregano Oil being a good antibiotic. This is a very interesting article. Thanks for all you do to education the public.

    I’m wondering if I could use Oregano Oil as an anti-inflammatory or if you would recommend something better? I feel like I have a lot of inflammation in my system.

    I’m also wondering if you are going to do another seminar on gut health?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      August 6, 2015

      Hi Terri,

      Thanks for the kind comments!

      Inflammation is tricky because so many factors can play into the mix. In my opinion, diet is the #1 area of concern for most people. Essential oils and supplements are a distant 2nd.

      When it comes to EOs, many people have found frankincense, tea tree, oregano, lavender, peppermint and many other oils helpful.

      Yes, we have a Gut Health Summit scheduled for Jan 2016. I’d recommend signing up for my newsletter to get the latest updates as we’ll be announcing that soon. 🙂

        Reply

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