Food Guts - Ingredient Information

Ingredient Lookup


Nutritional Information

1 tsp leaves, oregano

  • Calories 3
  • Calories from Fat 0.9
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 0.1g0%
  • Saturated Fat 0.027g0%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.007g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.052g
  • Cholestreol 0mg0%
  • Sodium 0mg0%
  • Potassium 17mg0%
  • Total Carbohydrate 0.64g0%
  • Dietary Fiber 0.4g2%
  • Sugars 0.04g
  • Protein 0.11g0%
  • Calcium 2mg0%
  • Iron 2mg11%
  • Vitamin A 1%
  • Vitamin C 1%

When In Season:

    Minnesota: April (early) - September (late)
    Rhode Island: June (early) - November (late)

Oregano Cooking Considerations:

No Cooking Considerations yet. Add some!

Oregano Storage Considerations:

No Storage Considerations yet. Add some!

Oregano Substitutions:

No Substitutions yet. Add some!

Oregano on Wikipedia:

This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this article if you can. (August 2008) For other uses, see Oregano (disambiguation). Oregano Flowering oregano Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Asterids Order: Lamiales Family: Lamiaceae Genus: Origanum Species: O. vulgare Binomial name Origanum vulgare L.

Oregano (pronounced /É’rɪˈgɑːnoÊŠ/ (UK), /əˈrÉ›gÉ™noÊŠ/ (US), also Origanum vulgare) is a species of Origanum of the mint family that is native to Europe, the Mediterranean region and southern and central Asia. It is a perennial herb, growing from 20–80 cm tall, with opposite leaves 1–4 cm long. The flowers are purple, 3–4 mm long, produced in erect spikes.



There are a number of subspecies of oregano. For example, O vulgare hirtum (Italian oregano), O vulgare gracile, as well as cultivars, with each evincing distinct flavours.[1]



Dried oregano for culinary use. Oregano growing in a field.

Oregano is an important culinary herb. It is particularly widely used in Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Latin American, and Italian cuisine. It is the leaves that are used in cooking, and the dried herb is often more flavourful than the fresh.[2]

Oregano[3] is often used in tomato sauces, fried vegetables, and grilled meat. Together with basil, it contributes much to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes.

It is commonly used by local chefs in southern Philippines when boiling carabao or cow meat to eliminate the odor of the meat, and to add a nice, spicy flavor.

Oregano combines nicely with pickled olives, capers, and lovage leaves. Unlike most Italian herbs,[citation needed] oregano works with hot and spicy food, which is popular in southern Italy.

Oregano is an indispensable ingredient in Greek cuisine. Oregano adds flavor to Greek salad and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies many fish or meat barbecues and some casseroles.

In Turkish Cuisine, oregano is mostly used for flavoring meat, especially for mutton and lambs meat. In barbecue and kebab restaurants, it can be usually found on table, together with paprika, salt and pepper.

Oregano growing in a pot.

It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste. It varies in intensity; good quality oregano is so strong that it almost numbs the tongue, but the cultivars adapted to colder climates have often unsatisfactory flavor. The influence of climate, season and soil on the composition of the essential oil is greater than the difference between the various species.

The related species Origanum onites (Greece, Turkey) and O. heracleoticum (Italy, Balkan peninsula, West Asia) have similar flavors. A closely related plant is marjoram from Turkey, which, however, differs significantly in taste, because phenolic compounds are missing in its essential oil. Some breeds show a flavor intermediate between oregano and marjoram.


The dish most commonly associated with oregano is pizza. Its variations have probably been eaten in Southern Italy for centuries. Oregano became popular in the US when returning WW2 soldiers brought back with them a taste for the “pizza herb”.[4]

Health benefits

Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids.[5][6] Additionally, oregano has demonstrated antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes.[5] Both of these characteristics may be useful in both health and food preservation. In the Philippines, oregano (Coleus aromaticus) is not commonly used for cooking but is rather considered as a primarily medicinal plant, useful for relieving headaches and coughs.

This section may require copy-editing for transcription from source.

Main constituents include carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. The leaves and flowering stems are strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and mildly tonic. Aqueous extracts, capsules, or oil extracts of oregano are taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, fungal infections, indigestion, stomach upsets, enteric parasites,[7] and painful menstruation. Edible oregano preparations such as these were first introduced to the North American market by an Illinois based company, North American Herb & Spice.

It is strongly sedative and should not be taken in large doses, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep. Used topically, oregano is one of the best antiseptics because of its high thymol content.[8]

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used oregano as an antiseptic as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments. A Cretan oregano (O. dictamnus) is still used today in Greece to soothe a sore throat.[9]

Oregano has recently been found to have extremely effective properties against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), showing a higher effectiveness than 18 currently used drugs.[10][11]

Oil of oregano has been found helpful against ear infections.[citation needed]

Practitioners of alternative medicine often recommend oregano as an herb essential to aid in the recovery of a variety of ailments.

Other plants called oregano

Mexican oregano, Lippia graveolens (Verbenaceae) is closely related to lemon verbena. It is a highly studied herb that is said to be of some medical use and is common in curandera female shamanic practices in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Mexican oregano has a very similar flavour to oregano, but is usually stronger. It is becoming more commonly sold outside of Mexico, especially in the United States. It is sometimes used as a substitute for epazote leaves[citation needed]; this substitution would not work the other way round.

Several other plants are also known as oregano in various parts of Mexico, including Poliomintha longiflora, Lippia berlandieri, and Plectranthus amboinicus (syn. Coleus aromaticus), also called Cuban oregano.

In the Philippines, oregano, Plectranthus amboinicus, is not commonly used as a cooking ingredient but is primarily considered a medicinal plant, useful for relieving children's coughs.


Oregano is the anglicized form of the Italian word origano, or possibly of the medieval Latin organum; this latter is used in at least one Old English work. Both were drawn from Classical Latin term origanum, which probably referred specifically to sweet marjoram, and was itself a derivation from the Greek origanon ὀρίγανον, which simply referred to ``an acrid herb``. The etymology of the Greek term is often given as oros ὄρος ``mountain`` + the verb ganousthai γανοῦσθαι ``delight in``, but the Oxford English Dictionary notes that it is quite likely a loanword from an unknown North African language.[12]

See also