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Oregano Oil – An Effective Antibacterial

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An interesting study was recently published (May 6, 2015) in the journal Microbial Ecology in Health & Disease. Authored by Gregoria Mitropoulou et al, and titled “Composition, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antiproliferative activity of Origanum dictamnus (dittany) essential oil,” the study found that oil of oregano may be an effective antibacterial agent against some strains of bacteria that cause illness in humans.

The study conducted in Greece (University of Thrace) used commercially available dehydrated oregano leaves (Origanum dictamnus) from which oil was extracted during the study. The oil was then analyzed to determine it’s various compounds and subsequently used in the study. The results were very interesting as it appears that oil of oregano was effective at preventing the growth of the following bacteria:


  • Staphylococcus aureus,
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis,
  • Escherichia coli,
  • Listeria monocytogenes,
  • Salmonella Enteritidis,
  • Salmonella typhimurium,
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae,
  • Aspergillus niger.

The major compound thought to be responsible in the oil of oregano for its antibacterial properties is carvacrol which made up almost 53%.

The study’s authors conclude that “Taken together, O. dictamnus essential oil may represent an effective and inexpensive source of potent natural antimicrobial agents with health-promoting properties, which may be incorporated in food systems.”

The study is available here.

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