When you hear the word “oregano”, it probably conjures images of a glass shaker full of dried flakes at a pizza place. While that is still delicious, there is so much more to it than that! In fact, it’s oregano’s health benefits and flavor that make it an important and tasty addition to more than just pizza night.

Growing up, in addition to sprinkling it on pizza, my mother would use fresh oregano when she made homemade meatballs and Italian “gravy” (which is her thick tomato sauce with sausage and meatballs). I still remember the amazing aroma of the freshly chopped herb lingering on my hands for hours afterward (yes, even after I did wash them!).

Little did I know, however, that in consuming this herb, I was actually getting some additional health benefits come gravy time. Before we get into that, let’s take a quick look at oregano’s background

What Is Oregano and Where Does It Come From?

oregano's health benefits

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Oregano is a perennial herb that is part of the mint family. It mainly comes from the Mediterranean and Western Asian regions of the world, where it is still a staple in those types of cuisine. The type that you most commonly use is either the Greek or Italian variety.

I recently took on the challenge of growing my own in a pot this past summer to great results! I found it to be a hearty plant that grew like a weed during the warm months.

It is a plant that usually flowers, but mine did not before the weather turned cold. I was probably too busy clipping off leaves and enjoying or drying them to let it get to the flowering stage. However, I do plan on trying to get some seeds next summer.

When it started to get too cold in the late fall, I decided to bring it inside the house where it has honestly thrived in front of a window that catches the morning sun!

In addition to being able to harvest fresh oregano without worrying about running out (due to its rapid growth), I was able to also dry a bunch to store over the winter.

Why am I telling you this?

The reason is because, as you know, I am not only health conscious, but budget-minded too. Buying fresh or dried oregano from the store can get pretty expensive, especially if you opt for the organic variety.

By growing my own, I not only get to reap the benefits of the herb, but can also control what goes into the growing process and save money since I basically have a never-ending supply! As long as I take care of the soil it is in and harvest seeds when the time comes, I should never have to purchase oregano again!

Source: Britannica.com

Growing and Drying Your Own Oregano

If you want to know more about the process of growing and drying your own oregano, check out this extremely helpful video below and start saving money and enjoying the health benefits of oregano!

Tips to Growing Your Own Oregano:


Tips for Drying Herbs:


Nutritional Profile of Oregano

If there is one thing I never gave any thought to, it was that even herbs contribute to the nutrition facts of any meal. They always seemed so insignificant. In actuality, they do contribute to several key nutritional areas of food.

Before we get into the breakdowns, it is important to mention that you can get consume oregano in two different ways. Either you can use it fresh or dried. The flavor or dried oregano is much more concentrated, so you don’t need as much when it comes to adding it to different foods.

For the purpose of looking at oregano’s nutrition, we will look at the breakdown of both the fresh and dried varieties based on a 2,000 calorie diet and using a great nutritional data tool I found!

Fresh Oregano (1 Tablespoon)

  • Calories: 9
  • Total Fat: 0g
    • Saturated Fat: 0g
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg (0% DV)
  • Sodium 0mg (0% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 2g (1% DV)
    • Dietary Fiber: 1g (4% DV)
    • Total Sugar: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

  • Vitamin A: 150 IU
  • Calcium: 30mg

Dried Oregano (1 Tablespoon)oregano's health benefits

Image by ariesa66 from Pixabay

  • Calories: 9.3
  • Total Fat: 0.1g
    • Saturated Fat: 0g
    • Trans Fat: 0g
    • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: 125.4mg
    • Omega 6 Fatty Acids: 31.5mg
  • Cholesterol: 0mg (0% DV)
  • Sodium 0mg (0% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 1.8g (1% DV)
    • Dietary Fiber: 1.2g (4% DV)
    • Total Sugar: 0g
  • Protein: 0.3g

  • Vitamin A: 207 IU
  • Vitamin C: 1.5mg
  • Vitamin E: 0.6mg
  • Vitamin K: 18.6mcg
  • Niacin: 0.3mg
  • Folate: 8.3mg
  • Choline: 0.9mg
  • Betaine: 0.3mg
  • Calcium: 47.4mg
  • Iron: 1.2mg
  • Magnesium: 8.1mg

There are more, but they are not as significant as those listed.

Either way you look at it, fresh or dried oregano adds a trivial amount of calories but a nutritional boost in several key vitamins and minerals. Now, you may never consume a whole tablespoon of dried oregano, as the flavor might be a little overwhelming, but adding some to a salad, sauce, soup, or stew is a great way to give them a little more nutrition!

Possible Health Benefits Of Oregano

oregano's health benefits

Image by Katharina Nitschke from Pixabay

According to Medical News Today, oregano has been used for thousands of years to treat a whole variety of ailments and disorders including respiratory, gastrointestinal, and urinary tract.

It has even been used to treat skin conditions such as pimples and dandruff. Not bad for a little herb!

This ability to treat such conditions is likely due to the oil containing carvacrol, which has shown to have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

In addition to this, has shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and may help to manage type 2 diabetes.

According to Healthline, oregano packs quite the antioxidant punch as well when consumed!

Limited To Pizza No More

oregano's health benefits

Image by ariesa66 from Pixabay

With all of oregano’s health benefits, it is certainly worthy of looking for ways to add it to your diet.

In case you need a head start, check out this recipe for Panko Chicken with Wilted Greens Topped with a Fried Egg that you could easily add oregano to!

Now it’s your turn! Do you use oregano in your cooking? Were you surprised at the potential benefits of this little herb? Do you think you’d ever try to grow it yourself? Let me know down in the comments below and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

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If you wish to read more from this series, check out the following articles!