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3 Big Reasons to Grow Oregano (Benefits for Garden & Health)

A close look at a bunch of potted oregano plants.

If you are deciding on which herbs to grow in your garden or even indoors, here are the three big reasons that oregano is definitely a good choice.

We all have that one bohemian family member that constantly smells of oregano. This person in my family is my mother. I was always so perturbed by the natural remedies she would prescribe me when I was feeling ill as a child; raw garlic when cold was coming on, pouring warm olive oil in the ear for ear infections, and taking drops of oregano oil every morning to ward off potential sicknesses.

This seemed hokey to me at the time. But now, I know far better to think that herbs aren’t capable of keeping me healthy. We could all use little tips and tricks on how to naturally take care of our bodies. That’s why we prepared this concise article to explain all of the wonderful things oregano can provide for your garden, for your dinners, and for your health!

If you’re curious about other herbal superheroes, check out this article on 7 Reasons to Grow Calendula.

Origanum Vulgare

Where it Lives

Oregano is native to the Mediterranean. You may be able to guess that it may prefer a super hot, hyper sunny, arid climate. Its ancestors certainly did. Nowadays oregano can be grown absolutely anywhere, and it will do quite well. It’s used to living in super dry, rocky soil.

A close look at a man harvesting wild oregano.

If you’re growing your oregano indoors, keep it near one of your most sunny windows. A super resilient herb, you can grow oregano pretty much anywhere in your garden, and it will prosper. Interestingly enough, if you are able to grow oregano on a slope it helps prevent erosion from occurring.

Oregano is a perennial plant, so it doesn’t need to be replanted every season. It will keep popping up without needing anything from you, but to harvest it (it’s ready to pluck once it’s about 5 inches tall).

Plant them in congruence with your other smelly herbs and veggies, like chives, garlic, or onions. We’ll explain later why this is a good idea.

What Are Reasons to Grow Oregano in Your Garden?

1. Because It’s a Great Companion For Other Plants

A close look at a bunch of different harvested herbs including oregano.

This is the number one benefit to growing oregano in your garden for many reasons:

  • It attracts pollinators to the garden. This is very useful for other plants that may not be able to attract pollinators as powerfully.
  • It deters predators from the garden. Much like rosemary and thyme, oregano has a very intense smell that confuses pests who are looking for the sweeter smelling flowers.
  • It provides a habitat and food for helpful insects who are predatory to pests list cabbage moth caterpillars, whiteflies, and aphids.
  • It is super effective as a protector when planted in congruence with kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cucumber.

2. Because It’s a Powerful Natural Remedy

Anti-Fungal Properties 

A close look at a small bottle of oregano essential oil.

  • Oregano contains a chemical called thymol which can also be found in thyme. Thymol is an anti-fungal compound that can not only aid in infections like yeast infections or athlete’s foot, it is helpful to your gut biome!
  • It’s helpful for digestion because it is able to combat the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in your stomach. The effects of oregano ingestion are a very soothed and smooth digestion experience.

 Anti-Bacterial Properties

A close look at a small bottle of oregano essential oil.

  • What can’t oregano do, am I right? It also contains something called carvacrol. This is an extremely powerful antioxidant with antibacterial properties. This is the reason why my mother would take drops of oregano oil every morning.
  • Why? Because it helps fight against a cold or flu that may be coming on. People have used oregano oil as an alternative to taking prescription antibiotics.
  • Not only that, it’s a natural throat soother and cough suppressor. Next time your throat has a little tickle, try boiling some water with oregano in it and give yourself a little steam aromatherapy.

3. Because It’s Delicious!

A chef sprinkling dried oregano on pizza.

  • Oregano is used in many pasta and pizza dishes.
  • It’s excellent for soups, stews, as a garnish, and you’ll always find it in the stuffing at thanksgiving.
  • Once dried, oregano takes on a different earthy taste. It’s very versatile and can be used in many types of cuisines.

FAQ

Where did oregano originate? 

It was originally endemic to the Mediterranean, but since it thrives so easily, it can be found all over the planet.

Is oregano oil dangerous for dogs?

Not at all! It can actually be taken by dogs to help improve their gut health if they struggle digesting or are having an intestinal issue.

Will oregano oil survive winter?

It’s a perennial plant, so it should do just fine in the winter months and pop right back up as soon as spring and summer are in full effect.

Are oregano flowers edible?

They absolutely are! They actually are a very concentrated version of oregano’s flavor (you should try basil flowers too, they’re amazing!) so be warned, it is a rather intense tasting garnish.

What does it mean when an oregano plant flowers?

It’s best to keep trimming away their flowers as they grow to continue encouraging growth.

How often can I harvest my oregano?

As soon as it reaches about 5 inches tall, it is safe to harvest. Oregano is a very quick grower, so you’re likely to have a surplus.

How should I dry fresh oregano?

Simply take a bundle and hang it upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area.

Should I dry oregano?

It’s certainly an option. The flavor profile does change. It ends up becoming more earthy and delicate, whereas fresh oregano is quite bright and forcefully flavored.

Where is pure oregano essential oil for sale?

Or, oregano oil is typically really easy to find at your local drugstore (in the pharmacy area) or at a health food store.

Is oregano oil for cooking?

It’s possible, but not necessarily recommended. The flavor is very intense and may overpower a dish.

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