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Antioxidant Benefits of Oregano

August 17th, 2009

oregano-benefits.jpgLong touted as a key ingredient in the mouth watering Italian, Greek, and Spanish dishes that your grandmother might have made, the benefits of oregano do more than just make your taste buds leap with joy. A power packed herb, this green wonder of the mint family outruns all other herbs as a source of antioxidants.

For those of you who don’t know, antioxidants are vital to combating free radicals, naughty little molecules who don’t understand the meaning of the word “stop.” Free radicals, while a necessary part of some of our biological functions, often go beyond their intended purpose and start attacking DNA or causing mutations and chemical reactions. Free radicals are believed to be the culprit in a number of diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, hemochromatosis, and, much to our chagrin, aging. As you can see these mean little buggers affect us all. So, that brings us back to antioxidants.

Antioxidants are necessary in the fight against those overzealous free radicals because they slow or prevent oxidation of other molecules, hence the term “anti” oxidant. Oxidation is one of the aforementioned chemical reactions that cause us so much grief. Oregano, with its high concentrations of phenolic acids and flavonoids, rises to the top as a defense against free radicals and the havoc they reap.

Phenolic acids, as part of oregano’s defensive properties, are helpful in reducing and regulating the amount of free radicals in the metabolic system. As a result they can help to reduce inflammation and also serve as a chelator, a means by which certain types of metal are removed from the blood supply, thus maintaining the health of our metabolic system. Flavonoids also help our body’s defensive mechanisms by modifying how the body reacts to allergens, carcinogens, and viruses.

Much to the delight of those with a preference for natural health remedies, all of these things are combined within this one humble herb, oregano. A multitasking pro, oregano provides us with anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-cancer, and anti-microbial resources without breaking the bank or our taste buds.

Think that’s not enough? Well, next time you are relishing the spicy oregano flavor in your favorite pasta think of these added benefits. Oregano is carminative, meaning it helps with gas, a huge plus after a big serving of beans in that Spanish dish! Make sure your husband gets an extra dose of oregano because it happens to be an expectorant, so when those seasonal allergies and colds roll around you already have a ready-made defense in clearing up your system.

Oregano oil extracts are a popular herbalist choice to treat colds, flu, fungal infections, fever, nausea, heartburn, and menstrual cramps. For the over enthusiastic gourmet, oregano is also recognized as a superb antiseptic. Still not enough? Well, I don’t know what to tell you then, because this flavorful kitchen staple is power packed with healthy benefits!

This article on oregano was supplied by “stonejd” from Constant Content.

Related article: History and Health Benefits of Oregano

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