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10 Different Types of Oregano

Fresh oregano beside a bowl of dried oregano over a wood plank table.

Discover the different types of oregano that we have across the globe. See which ones are edible and which ones are used for medicinal and decorative purposes.

Plants such as oregano have a wide variety of uses. Many people use common oregano when cooking (to add spice to their meal), but did you know there are many different types of oregano plants, and they each have their own unique benefits. Some oregano plants are edible while others are only to be used for medicinal and decorative uses.

Health Benefits of Oregano

Fresh oregano with a jar of organic essential oregano oil on a wooden table.

Oregano has many health benefits. The main benefit of consuming and using oregano is its ability to kill bacteria that cause infections in our bodies. It is also known to be effective at killing 23 types of bacteria.

Aside from killing bacteria, oregano also has many other health benefits. One benefit is its ability to reduce high cholesterol. It is able to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterols (bad cholesterol) and increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterols (good cholesterol).

Another health benefit of oregano is its ability to reduce inflammation in our bodies. The antioxidants in oregano help reduce inflammation in the body. Oregano is also known for helping people with heart conditions, asthma, diabetes, and even those who suffer from the common flu.

You can even find oregano as an essential oil, which offers great health benefits. You can add the oils to your daily diet by adding it to beverages. You can also apply it topically to your skin to treat conditions such as; sore throat, viral and fungal infections, nail fungus, and even muscle pain.

Oregano oils can help build up your immune system. They can help with digestive problems, many types of upper-respiratory ailments, and even sinus congestion problems. The essential oil can be purchased in most health stores, online and with a little research you can even make your own oregano oil right from your own home.

Types of Common Oregano

Origanum Vulgare

The most common form of oregano is known as “Origanum Vulgare” or “Wild Marjoram” which comes in several varieties. The most popular strand is the Greek Oregano which is found in most homes and is often used for cooking dishes that contain tomato sauce such as spaghetti, lasagna, and pizza. Most households keep this in their home for its ability to flavor a wide variety of dishes.

Other common forms of oregano include

Marjoram

Fresh marjoram on a rustic table.

Is a less mild and spicy strand than the Greek Oregano strand. Marjoram can be used in lots of dishes and offers many great health benefits.

Syrian Oregano

Syrian oregano in small pots.

Is mostly found mixed in with a Middle Eastern spice known as “Za’atar”.

Golden Oregano

Golden oregano

Golden Oregano gets their name from their yellow to golden foliage that is covered in delicate pink and purple flowers, during the summer. It is edible and can be used in a wide variety of dishes.

Greek Oregano

Greek oregano

Greek Oregano is one of the most popular strands of oregano. It is found in most household kitchens and can be added to dozens of dishes and recipes. Most oregano plants are very easy to grow and care for. Also, with all the health benefits that oregano plants have, this really is a must-have herb to have in your garden.

Italian Oregano

Top view of an Italian oregano in a black pot.

Italian Oregano is used in dozens of dishes, especially in Italian and Sicilian dishes. It can also be used for grilling vegetables and meat. Italian Oregano is the hybrid of the sweet marjoram strand and the common Greek Oregano strand and has been known to resemble both plants with its strong flavor.

Cuban Oregano

Cuban oregano in garden.

Cuban Oregano (which is a member of the mint family) is very strong and has thick fuzzy leaves. The flowers of this strand can be lavender, white or pink. The plants should be kept in an area, where they won’t be in direct sunlight or else they will burn and wilt. This plant can be grown indoors, and used for adding spice to Mediterranean dishes and can also be used to flavor pizzas.

Mexican Oregano

Closeup of Mexican oregano.

Mexican Oregano is from a different genus than the other oregano plants but it is still quite popular in Mexican dishes (for its strong flavor and wonderful aromas). This plant thrives in a warm climate and makes a very beautiful addition to any garden. However, this strand isn’t as sturdy as other oregano plants, so it needs to be handled with care if you plan on growing it in your garden.

Mexican Bush Oregano

Mexican Bush Oregano (also known as “Mexican Sage” or “Rosemary Mint”) thrives in very hot, dry areas (such as Texas and Arizona) and is native to Mexico. This plant is different from other oregano plants because it can survive in extremely harsh conditions. This sturdy plant not only smells wonderful but it also has purple flowers that make it beautiful to look at.

Ornamental Oregano

Kent Beauty oregano in a garden.

As stated before some strands of oregano can not be consumed but can be used for ornamental (decorative) purposes only. These plants include:

  • Pilgrim Oregano: Which is an upright plant with bright rosy flowers.
  • Amethyst Falls Oregano: Which has a cascading shape with bright pink flowers and purple bracts.
  • Hop-Flower Oregano: This is great for landscaping purposes because of its lavender bracts that resemble Hop-Flowers.
  • Kent Beauty Oregano Has large beautiful bracts that overlap one another, it also has small tiny flowers.
  • Compactum Oregano: Has dark green leaves that are ideal for groundcovers.
  • Aureum Oregano: Has yellow leaves that act as a groundcover and can even be cooked with.

Oregano plants are very high in vitamins, iron, folate, fiber, calcium, and magnesium. They provide loads of health benefits and is used every day in households worldwide. You can even help eliminate toxins from your food if you add a little oregano in while you’re cooking.

Growing oregano can be really easy and considering all the benefits of the wonderful plant, it really is worth it. Each strand may not grow in your area so be sure to check out which zone you are in before you try to grow your own plant. Some strands can be grown indoors while others need direct sunlight to truly thrive.

These are the different strands of oregano in the world. Many strands of oregano can be used to cook and prepare delicious meals. Other strands can only be used for ornamental (decorative) purposes. There are many health benefits to adding oregano into your everyday diet and I highly recommend you consider adding it into your daily routine and possibly even your herb garden.

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