Possible oregano oil side effects can be quite serious, so it’s important that you are aware of these before starting to use the oil. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know. Oregano is known the world over as a wonderful spice. However, many also consider it as a source of a powerful natural antibiotic. Perhaps this may be a reason why people who stay on a Mediterranean diet have a better quality of life and live longer. Apart from imparting great flavor to pizzas, pasta dishes, and salads, the oil of oregano is also a proven anti-fungal and antimicrobial agent. It can fight yeast, bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, as well as treat a variety of allergies. Recent studies have found that oregano oil can compete with, and at times surpass, commercial pharmaceutical brands. It is also eyed as a potential liver cell re-generator. Oregano oil which most herbalists place in high regards comes from the leaves and blossoms of mature wild oregano plants (Origanum vulgare). It thrives abundantly in the Mediterranean highlands where there is little or no pollution. The spice that’s popular in most kitchens, on the other hand, comes from Origanum majoricum which belongs to the same oregano family.
Oregano oil was used by the Greeks to treat and manage infectious diseases. As the use of modern antibiotics gets riskier by the day, more and more herbalists and health-conscious individuals are making the big switch to safer yet effective natural alternatives such as oregano oil. Similar to most pharmaceutical drugs and natural treatments, oregano oil may carry some unpleasant side effects and may cause allergic reactions in individuals who may be hypersensitive to the oregano plant. Users who ingest too much oregano oil may also experience some harmful side effects.
Oil of Oregano’s Potential Side Effects
While the oil of oregano offers many wonderful benefits, it also carries some potentially unpleasant, and some times harmful, side effects. It is therefore wise to use this essential oil with a degree of caution. You could be either using oregano for medication or gorging yourself with Italian foods. In case you didn’t know about them, here are some oil of oregano side effects that you should be aware of.
It Can Hinder the Absorption of Iron
Oregano oil can diminish the body’s natural ability to absorb iron. This interruption of the body’s absorption activity can keep the cells from getting the right mineral requirements. If you are a regular user of oregano oil, it is only sensible to take iron supplementation to make up for iron loss. Expectant mothers are advised from taking oregano oil, since iron is the most essential mineral required by pregnant women.
It Can Cause Allergic Reactions
It is highly probable that you may develop allergic reactions to oregano oil if you are already hypersensitive to mint, thyme, sage, basil, and other plants belonging to the Lamiaceae family. In their book “The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines,” authors Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila mentioned that oregano and its derivatives can manifest allergic reactions in several different ways. The most common signs of oregano oil allergy include:
- Inflammation of the tongue, lips, and face
- Problem with speaking or swallowing
- Labored breathing
- Breakout of rashes
- Skin irritation
Even without any known allergy to oregano or its derivatives, an individual with sensitive skin may still show signs of irritation or inflammation when oregano oil is used as a topical application. A solution to this problem involves using olive oil to dilute oregano oil. Other essential oils that are soothing and non-irritating to the skin can also be used.
It Can Make Your Body Highly Toxic
Scientists have found that oregano oil taken in high doses can cause harm by making the body highly toxic. Many species of oregano, except the Origanum vulgare variety, are proven to contain large quantities of thymol which can make the body intoxicated. Thus, it would be wise to use the smallest dose recommended when you start oregano oil treatment.
It Can Thin Your Blood
Oil of oregano tends to thin the blood and should not be taken for at least 2 weeks before undergoing any form of surgery. It prevents blood from clotting which increases the risk of bleeding and other complications. If you are undergoing any anti-coagulant treatment, it is best to steer clear from oregano oil.
It Can Cause Miscarriage
Apart from blocking iron absorption, another reason why pregnant women should avoid oregano oil is it can cause miscarriage. Studies have shown plenty of evidences which prove that high doses of oregano oil can be deadly to both fetus and expectant mom.
It Can Endanger An Unborn Child
Pregnant women who regularly consume oregano oil can endanger the fetus developing in her womb. Studies have shown that the oil can stimulate blood circulation inside the womb, thus increasing the flow of blood all throughout. This can result in the weakening of the amniotic sac’s inner layer that provides cover for the fetus, and put the unborn child in danger.
It Can Cause Inflammation
Whether taken orally or applied topically, oregano oil can cause inflammation or irritation to different parts of the body. You can experience a warm prickling sensation inside your mouth after consuming the oil orally. If applied topically, oregano oil can cause a burning feeling about the eyes and other sensitive body areas.
It Can Cause Digestive Problems
Commercially-sold oregano oil is very strong. If taken orally, the concentrated oil can cause problems in the digestive system and you can end up with an upset stomach. To avoid experiencing gastrointestinal issues, you will have to dilute the oil in water or in a suitable carrier recommended by the manufacturer before taking it orally.
It Can Lower the Body’s Blood Sugar Levels
Oil of oregano is a major factor in lowering blood sugar levels in the body. However, repeated high doses of the oil can cause it to plummet to abnormally low levels. Hypoglycemia can occur once the blood sugar levels sink below the normal standards. If you are suffering from diabetes and are on diabetic medications, always be aware of the amount of oregano oil that you consume.
It Releases Toxic Materials Into The Bloodstream
Oregano oil is made up of very powerful components. As it kills harmful microorganisms in the body, it in turn dumps toxic materials into the bloodstream. This action can bring forth “die off” symptoms like fatigue, vertigo, nausea, headache, and others. You can flush all these harmful toxins out of your body, as well as prevent “die off” symptoms, by drinking plenty of water. The various side effects of oregano oil mentioned here can do your body some harm. To be on the safe side, follow the manufacturer’s direction and don’t take too much oil than necessary. Always use caution when it comes to medications. If you are prone to allergic reactions, seek your doctor’s advice before putting oregano oil in your cooking or inside your body.