Oil Of Oregano Rivals Modern Antibiotic Drugs

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Oil
pressed from oregano leaves that contain the active ingredient carvacrol
may be an effective treatment against sometimes drug-resistant bacterial
infection. Georgetown University researchers have found that oil
of oregano appears to reduce infection “as effectively as traditional
antibiotics.”

Oil
of oregano at relatively low doses was found to be efficacious against
Staphylococcus bacteria and was comparable in its germ-killing properties
to antibiotic drugs such as streptomycin, pencillin and vancomycin.
[Science Daily 10/11/2001] The findings were presented by
Harry G. Preuss, MD, professor of physicology and biophysics, Georgetown
University, at the American College of Nutrition’a annual meeting
in Orlando, Florida. The oregano oil was obtained from North American
Herb and Spice Company, a Waukeegan, Illinois company that sponsored
the study and markets their non-prescription products in retail
stores un the trade names Oregamax and Oregacyn.

Earlier
this year researchers at the Department of Food Science at the University
of Tennessee reported that, among various plant oils, oil of oregano
exhibited the greatest antibacterial action against common pathogenic
germs such as Staph, E. coli and Listeria. [Journal Food Protection,
Volume 64, July 2001] Last year British researchers reported oregano
oil had antibacterial activity against 25 different bacteria. [Journal
Applied Microbiology, Volume 88, February 2000] A clinical study
in Italy has shown that oil of oregano can be used to treat intestinal
parasites. [Phytotherapy Research, Volume 14, May 2000]

The
body of positive evidence for oregano oil as a major antibiotic
is growing. Among 52 plant oils tested, oregano was considered to
have “pharmacologic” action against common bugs such as Candida
albicans (yeast), E. coli, Salmonella enterica and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
[Journal Applied Microbiology, volume 86, June 1999] Pseudomonas
is a type of germ that is getting more difficult to treat as it
has developed strains that are resistant against antibiotic drugs.

Of
recent interest are reports showing that carvacrol from oil of oregano
kills spores, such as Bacillus cereus and Bacillus anthracis (anthrax).
[Archives Microbiology, Volume 174, October 2000; Quarterly
Review Biology, Volume 73, March 1998] Bacillus cereus is considered
to be from the same species as Bacillus anthracis (anthrax). [Applied
Environmental Microbiology, Volume 66, June 2000] In tests of antibiotics
and antiseptics, Bacillus cereus is often used in studies in lieu
of the anthrax strain. [University of Michigan News & Information
Service, Sept. 23, 1998]

Oil
of oregano is not to be confused with common oregano in the kitchen
spice cupboard, which is usually marjoram (Origanum majorana or
O. vulgare) rather than true oregano (Origanum vulgare).

The
growing problem of antibiotic resistance has health authorities
concerned. Already various germs are showing resistance to vancomycin,
particularly to intestinal bacteria (Enterococcal species) among
hospitalized patients. [Southern Medical Journal, Volume
94, August 2001] Vancomycin is considered to be the most potent
antibiotic available and is withheld from use as a drug of last
resort. Vancomycin costs about $16 per pill versus about $1 for
the purest-strength oregano oil. Drug resistance does not develop
against naturally-occuring antibiotics such as garlic and oil of
oregano.

October
13, 2001

Bill
Sardi [send him mail] is a health
journalist at www.askbillsardi.com.

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