Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Herbal Remedies from the Kitchen: Oregano

Continuing my discussion of herbal remedies from the kitchen, I want to talk about oregano, (Origanum vulgare) and marjoram (Origanum marjorana), which are both members of the mint family of herbs.

Both these herbs are common in Italian (and Greek) cooking, and widely available in any supermarket.

Some herbalists do not distinguish between the two, and simply include them both as species of oregano, I've even seen one reference to oregano as "wild marjoram".

They both have similar properties, with some minor differences I will mention.

Both oregano and marjoram have been used for respiratory disorders such as colds and coughs, and for some digestive complaints, especially spasms in the digestive system and to treat indigestion.

Marjoram has been used to treat headaches, including migraines, and to treat some menstrual complaints, especially cramps.

Oregano has been used as a diaphoretic (makes you sweat) and as an expectorant (helps expel mucus from the lungs and bronchii).

Bruised leaves of either plant (fresh, not dried), used inside a pillow, are a traditional remedy for insomnia.

Both these herbs deserve a place in your herbal medicine chest.

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