A pale yellow essential oil is obtained through steam distillation of the dried flowering herbs and the oil will brown with age. It is used as a fragrance component in soaps, colognes and perfumes, especially men’s fragrances. It is employed to some extent as a flavoring agent mainly in meat products and pizzas.
Origanum vulgare has been used as a stimulant, carminative, diaphoretic and nerve tonic and as a cure for asthma, coughs, indigestion, rheumatism, toothaches, headaches, spider bites and coronary conditions. In European phyto-medicine, oregano and its preparations have been used for the treatment of respiratory ailments, coughing, bronchitis; antispasmodic and expectorant. Also used as an appetite stimulant, diuretic and mild sedative. In China, in addition to some of the above uses, O. vulgare is used to treat fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice and itchy skin conditions.
Psychologically, this oil can be energizing. It is considered to be a nerve tonic and reviving for the senses. May assist in relieving imaginary diseases. It often imparts a feeling of well-being.
On the physiological level is has expectorant, antiviral and bactericidal properties and can prove useful for asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, coughs, colds, fever, flu, sore throats, viral and bacterial infections.
Contraindications: Due to its usually high phenol content, it can be a skin irritant and a moderate mucous membrane irritant. Avoid in pregnancy and on babies and young children under 2 years.
Leung and Foster, Encyclopedia of Natural Common Ingredients
Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety, second edition.