Oregano or common oregano, also wild marjoram or perennial marjoram, is a perennial herb from the Lamiaceae family. It is used for its aromatic properties in cooking and for its medicinal properties. Oregano oil is used in perfumery and in pharmacies.
Characteristics of oregano:
- Rich in antioxidants;
- Relieves digestive disorders.
What is oregano?
Food identity card
- Type: Aromatic plant;
- Family: Labiaceae;
- Origin: Mediterranean Basin and Western Asia;
- Season: April to October;
- Green color ;
- Flavor: Slightly lemony and pungent.
Characteristics of the food
At harvest, oregano is in the form of green leaves on red stems up to 30 to 80 cm high.
Differences with nearby foods
Oregano is often confused with marjoram which is also called “garden oregano”. What they have in common is that they both share medicinal and aromatic properties.
Word from the nutritionist
To make the most of the benefits and flavor of oregano, add it to the dishes at the end of cooking.
For 100g of ground oregano:
|Vitamin C||2.3 mg|
|Vitamin A||1007 µg|
|Vitamin B9||237 µg|
8 benefits of oregano: why eat it?
- Rich in antioxidants, oregano helps fight the damage caused by free radicals. Thus it makes it possible to fight against certain cardiovascular pathologies and to prevent certain cancers.
- In the form of an infusion and essential oil, oregano has anti-bacterial, anti-septic and anti-infectious properties.
- In infusion, it also helps fight against respiratory diseases and free the bronchi.
- Oregano relieves digestive disorders: it eliminates bloating and flatulence and stimulates intestinal transit.
- As a poultice, it helps to combat aches, stiff necks and pain caused by periods.
- Ground oregano is a source of vitamin E. A major antioxidant, vitamin E protects the membrane that surrounds the body’s cells, especially red and white blood cells (cells of the immune system).
- Ground oregano is a source of calcium. Calcium is by far the most abundant mineral in the body, mainly stored in the bones, of which it is an integral part. It contributes to the formation of these, as well as that of the teeth, and to the maintenance of their health. Calcium also plays an essential role in blood clotting, maintenance of blood pressure and contraction of muscles (including the heart).
- Ground oregano is an excellent source of vitamin K for women, but only a good source for men. Vitamin K is necessary for the production of proteins that play a role in blood clotting (both in stimulation and in inhibition of blood clotting). It also participates in bone formation.
How to choose your oregano
Fresh oregano is chosen with very firm stems, green leaves that are not withered and flowers that are not fully blooming. There is also dried or ground oregano.
Wrap the stems in paper towels and keep your oregano in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for about a week. It can also be frozen or dried.
Preparation of oregano
How to cook it? How to match it?
- The oregano recalls Italian flavors. It goes very well with a tomato sauce to go with pasta and sprinkled on a pizza;
- It also goes very well with grilled fish and meat;
- Being used in Greece, it is found in moussaka;
- it can be sprinkled on a Greek salad with feta, tomatoes and olives;
- it can be used to flavor jokes;
- it can also flavor olive oil by slipping a branch of oregano inside the bottle.
Oregano contains vitamin K. This vitamin, necessary among other things for blood clotting, can be manufactured by the body in addition to being found in certain foods. People taking blood thinners, such as those marketed under the names Coumadin®, Warfilone® and Sintrom®, should eat a diet in which the vitamin K content is relatively stable from day to day. Herbs, including marjoram and oregano, contain vitamin K and should therefore be used as a seasoning only. People on anticoagulation therapy are advised to consult a dietitian-nutritionist or a doctor in order to know the food sources of vitamin K and to ensure the most stable daily intake possible.
History of food
Oregano has been consumed in Greece and Italy since Antiquity, where it had an aromatic role but also a symbolic role of bringing joy. It was used at weddings to bring peace and happiness to the newlyweds.
The term ” oregano ” appeared in the language in the 13th century. It derives from the Latin origanum, which itself borrowed it from the Greek origanon, which means “loves the mountains”, because of the plant’s predilection for the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean.
Sometimes the name of oregano is given to completely different plants, Lippia in particular, which Mexicans use in the same way in cooking.
Both oregano and marjoram are perennial, but since the latter does not tolerate cold temperatures, it is grown as an annual in temperate climates. It can also be stuffed in the fall and brought inside for the winter, by placing it on a window sill to the south. It can be propagated by cuttings the following spring. Both prefer sandy or stony soil, which drains well, and a neutral pH. Sow the seeds in a container in April to transplant them to the garden once the risk of frost has been ruled out.
Prune regularly to promote the growth of side branches or remove two thirds of the plant when it begins to flower. New stems will appear and allow a second harvest in the fall.
Ecology and environment
In recent years, researchers have been very interested in oregano (especially its essence), which could find many jobs in the food industry. By limiting the formation of free radicals, this plant, which is particularly rich in antioxidants, can help reduce the toxicity of cooking oil and the food cooked in it, according to an article published in 2003 in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. For the same reasons, gasoline has the effect of increasing the shelf life of these foods.
It has also been discovered that, thanks to its antibacterial properties, the essence of oregano could reduce diarrhea mortality in piglets by 72% and make them gain 20 g more weight per day. In addition, added to meats and cold meats, it can reduce the risk of contamination by the bacillus that causes listeriosis and which meat processing plants find it increasingly difficult to get rid of, because it is housed in inaccessible places , such as floor drains. However, the losses caused by this bacillus can be very significant: in February 2002, an American poultry processor had to recall more than 27 million pounds of chicken and turkey products because of contamination by this bacillus.
Oregano oil could also replace antibiotics that have become ineffective against certain bacterial strains, notably those of staphylococcus, which is increasingly resistant to it.
This essence has the advantage of not being polluting, unlike the antibacterials and antibiotics that are commonly used in industry.