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Medicinal Properties & Uses

Louianna Oil of Wild Oregano

med-oil-1

What is it?

Oil of oregano is obtained from the leaves and flowers of the oregano herb. There are over 40 species of oregano but the Louianna essential oil of oregano is produced from the rare wild oregano species, Origanum Minutiflorum that is endemic to alpine regions of Turkey. This oil of wild oregano is highly potent since it contains the highest percentage of the naturally occurring phenols carvacrol and thymol that are primarily responsible for its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects (1-4).

Application

Oil of oregano can be used both topically and orally.

Uses

Oil of oregano has been used to treat infections for centuries. It has strong antimicrobial properties that make this oil very effective against bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal infections (1,2,4-8). These properties are especially valuable now that there is a rise in antibiotic resistant bacterial strains due to excessive and suboptimal use of antibiotics. Furthermore, oil of oregano can be used in the food industry to increase the safety and stability of foods (1-3). Research studies have shown that oil of oregano is as effective as antibiotics in killing several strains of bacteria (1,6,7).

In addition, oil of oregano is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals produced in our cells, and therefore prevents cellular damage (4,11). Oil of oregano also has promising anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties (13).

Traditionally, oil of oregano has been used to treat various conditions listed below:

Lyme disease, an infection mainly caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, is the most common reported vector-borne disease in North America [1, 2]. The annual prevalence of Lyme disease is on the rise. Therefore, it is considered a major public health concern [3, 4]. Disease transmission occurs via the bite of the tick species Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus [1, 5, 6]. The tick larvae are initially uninfected but Borrelia burgdorferi is acquired after feeding on an infected reservoir host (i.e. rodents, reptiles, birds and deer) [4]. The pathogen is then transferred to the animal that provides the next blood meal for the tick. Ticks can adhere to any part of the body; however, they often found in areas that are difficult to see such as the back, groin, armpits or kneepit [7]. In general, the tick must be attached for at least 36 hours before Borrelia burgdoferi can be transmitted [7]. The removal of ticks within 24 hours after attachment can prevent the contraction of Lyme disease.

Common clinical manifestations of Lyme disease include non-specific flu-like illness typically with a characteristic skin lesion referred as erythema migrans [5, 7]. For symptomatic patients, diagnosis of Lyme disease consists of a two-step testing protocol that includes an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) followed by a Western blot.  If left untreated, the disease can progress to arthritic, cardiac, and neurological manifestations [2, 7]. Under rare circumstances, patients can develop prolonged somatic and neurocognitive symptoms, including fatigue, difficulty in sleeping, arthralgia, myalgia, memory impairment, and headaches [8]. Individuals that display the latter complications after contracting Lyme disease are categorized as having post-Lyme disease syndrome [8].

Lyme disease is ordinarily treatable. Most patients are cured of Lyme disease after a 3 to 4 week treatment regimen with antibiotics. The selection of antibiotic is largely determined by the clinical manifestation of the disease and the patient profile. Several specialists consider doxycycline as the preferred oral antibiotic due to its efficacy at curing other tick-borne illnesses, such as human granulocytic anaplasmosis, which can take place in approximately 10% of percent in patients with Lyme disease [2, 7]. However, moxicillin or cefuroxime axetil are usually indicated for children younger than 8 years old or for women who are pregnant instead. The treatment modality for post-Lyme disease syndrome is less clearly defined [9, 10].

Although patients with Lyme disease are commonly treated with antibiotics, rates of relapse and recurrence of the disease are frequent after discontinuation of the antibiotic treatment regimen [3]. Notably, a recent randomized clinical trial demonstrated that prolonged antibiotic therapy provided in patients with post-Lyme disease does not offer substantial benefit in treating patients with this ailment [9, 10]. Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative bacterial species of Lyme disease utilizes distinct mechanisms to counteract the eradication by its host, including changes in morphologies in response to hostile environments such as antibiotic therapy [11]. This is accomplished by the ability of Borrelia burgdorferi to produce biofilms. The characterization of biofilm formation by Borrelia burgdorferi has been established both in vitro [11] and in vivo [3].

Biofilms are responsible for the induction of several chronic infections, including cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, periodontitis, and varied infections related with indwelling devices such as catheters, heart valves, orthopaedic devices and contact lenses [12]. Biofilms have dynamic structures and are complex aggregations of planktonic microorganisms that serve to defend the microorganism from unfavourable conditions. They are coated by a self-produced matrix comprised of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that include microbial-derived complex polysaccharides, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids (Fleming Nature). The EPS contributes to the stability and protection of the biofilm. The formation of biofilm can be a resultant defense mechanism from extreme temperature, non-physiologic pH, high concentrations of metals or the additional of xenobiotics, or antimicrobial agents [11, 12].

The inability of antibiotics to penetrate biofilms is a contributing factor to the issue antibiotic resistance in the treatment of various infectious diseases, including Lyme disease. Notably, biofilm-forming bacteria such as Borrelia burgdorferi can be exposed to sub-lethal dose of antibiotics. This due to the generation of a concentration gradient from the surface to the interior of the biofilm, rendering the antibiotic ineffective. As such, the failure to eradicate biofilm bacteria using conventional antibiotic treatments is a clinical concern and has prompted scientists to seek out novel biocides from plant-derived substances, such as essential oils, to inhibit or slow down the growth of bacteria, yeast and moulds [13, 14].

One potential candidate to help combat bacterial resistant strains of Lyme disease is oil of oregano. This substance is obtained from leaves and flowers of the oregano herb. There are over 40 species of oregano but the Louianna essential oil of oregano is produced from the rare wild oregano species, Origanum Minutiflorum that is endemic to alpine regions of Turkey. It has been used to treat infections for centuries. Oil of oregano is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals produced in our cells, thereby preventing cellular damage [15, 16]. Oil of oregano also has promising anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties [17]. It has strong antimicrobial properties that make this unique oil very effective against bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal infections [15, 18-23]. Research has shown that oil of oregano is as effective as antibiotics in killing several strains of bacteria [18, 21, 22]. Furthermore, oil of oregano can be used in the food industry to increase the safety and stability of foods [18, 19, 24].

Oil of oregano is highly potent as it contains the highest percentage of the naturally occurring phenols carvacrol and thymol. The latter substances are primarily responsible for its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects [15, 18, 19, 24]. Carvacrol is considered a natural biocide that has been shown to have an effect on biofilm forming bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium [25]. Notably, non-biocidal concentrations of carvacrol disrupted normal biofilm development, thus preventing the build up of protein mass. Together with thymol, carvacrol is the primary phenolic compound that accounted for the antimicrobial activity of oregano oil on staphylococci [26]. These molecules interact with the lipid bilayer of cytoplasmic membranes causing impairment of structural and functional properties and loss of integrity to the bacterial cell [26]. They have the potential to diffuse across the EPS to disrupt the biofilm. These findings highlight the promising

role of oregano, carvacrol and thymol as new lead structures in the search for novel antimicrobial compounds [26]. Furthermore, a study on the acute and short-term in vivo effects of carvacrol suggested that the compound is not harmful to human and animal health [27].

In addition to the therapeutic intervention and disease management, prevention is equally important for mitigating the prevalence of Lyme disease. This is especially true for those who at are higher risk of contracting the disease such as forestry workers, farmers and hikers [7]. To reduce tick burden in endemic areas, recommendations include wearing light-coloured protective clothing, performing frequent body checks for ticks, bathing after outdoor activities and using insect repellants such as (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide)  (DEET) [7]. However, avoiding areas known to be densely inhabited by ticks (i.e. wooded or grassy areas) is regarded as the best preventive measure [7].

DEET remains the most widely insect repellant used worldwide and has been used for over half a century [28]. Yet, controversy related the efficacy and safety of DEET persists [29]. Recent studies have suggested that DEET is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, potentially contributing to neurotoxicity in human and thus posing a threat. The main ingredient in oil of oregano, carvacrol, has the ability to suppress and maintain control of tick populations at relatively low concentrations [6, 30]. Therefore, exploiting the ingredients in oil of oregano may provide “safer” insect repellant options to circumvent parasites that thrive in grassy areas.

 

Ingredients

Labofine (Laval, Quebec) carried out the following  product analysis.

Name Results
Polyphenols 90 mg/100g
Carvacrol 78.9 mg/100g
Thymol 5 mg/100g
Rosmarinic Acid 2 mg/100g
Terpent Lactones 7.3 mg/100g
Cymene 2.5 mg/100g
Quercetin 2 mg/100g
Vitamin C 2.3 mg/100g
Vitamin E 18 mg/100g
Vitamin K 622 mcg/100g
Total Aerobic Microbial count 250 cfu/g
Total Yeast and Mold count 198 cfu/g
Detection of Staphylococcus aureus Absent
Detection of Escherichia coli Absent
Detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Absent
Detection of Salmonella Absent

 

The following is the ingredient breakdown from recent laboratory testing :

Name Results
Carvacrol 81.95%
Para Cymene 5.75%
(+) Borneol 2.30%
Trans caryophyllene 2.16%
Gamma Terpinen 2.01%
Linalool 1.12%
Trans sabinen hydrate 0.81%
Thymol 0.78%
Alpha Terpinen 0.64%
Terpinen-4-ol 0.56%
1,8 Cineol 0.51%
Camphene 0.51%
Beta Pinen 0.49%
(+) Aromadendren 0.42%
Undefined 0.00%

Benefits by ingredients

Polyphenols

Polyphenols are natural phytochemical compounds with beneficial antioxidant effects. The three most abundant polyphenols in oil of oregano are thymol, carvacrol, and rosmarinic acid.

Carvacrol

Carvacrol is a potent antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial agent. In addition, carvacrol works as a natural insect repellant (1,2,4).

Thymol

Thymol is a strong antimicrobial agent with antiseptic and antioxidant properties. It is very effective against fungal infections and encourages tissue healing. Thymol is also effective against parasitic diseases (12).

Rosmarinic Acid

Rosmarinic acid is a powerful antioxidant and antihistamine. It is used to effectively treat allergies and asthma, and also to prevent atherosclerosis and cancer.

Terpent Lactones

Also known as terpenes, these compounds have strong antibacterial and promising anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Cymene

Cymene is a parent compound that gives rise to thymol. Cymene also has antifungal properties, although less effective than carvacrol and thymol.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is used to prevent and treat a range of illnesses including common cold, gum disease, skin problems, high cholesterol, stomach ulcers, glaucoma, depression, diabetes, and osteoporosis to name a few.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has a high content of antioxidants and is beneficial in treating and preventing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, respiratory infections, chronic fatigue, memory loss, and premenstrual discomfort. In addition, vitamin E is very powerful in improving the condition of your skin by lightening stretch marks, boosting collagen production, and preventing wrinkles.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays a major role in blood clotting and is used to prevent blood thinning. It can also be applied to the skin to remove scars, stretch marks, and spider veins.

Report Prepared by: 

Aisha Shamas-Din, PhD

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
 University Health Network

 

References

  1. Baydar, H., Sağdiç, O., Özkan, G., & Karadoğan, T. Antibacterial activity and composition of essential oils from Origanum, Thymbra and Satureja species with commercial importance in Turkey. Food Control. 2004;15(3):169-172.
  2. El, Babili F., Bouajila, J., Souchard, J. P., Bertrand, C., Bellvert, F., Fouraste, I., Moulis, C., and Valentin, A. Oregano: chemical analysis and evaluation of its antimalarial, antioxidant, and cytotoxic activities. J.Food Sci. 2011;76(3):C512-C518.
  3. Arcila-Lozano, C. C., Loarca-Pina, G., Lecona-Uribe, S., and Gonzalez, de Mejia. [Oregano: properties, composition and biological activity]. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2004;54(1):100-111.
  4. Baser, K. H. Biological and pharmacological activities of carvacrol and carvacrol bearing essential oils. Curr Pharm Des. 2008;14(29):3106-3119.
  5. Sienkiewicz, M., Wasiela, M., and Głowacka, A. [The antibacterial activity of oregano essential oil (Origanum heracleoticum L.) against clinical strains of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa]. Med Dosw Mikrobiol. 2012;64(4):297-307.
  6. Dahiya, P., and Purkayastha, S. Phytochemical Screening and Antimicrobial Activity of Some Medicinal Plants Against Multi-drug Resistant Bacteria from Clinical Isolates. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2012 Sep;74(5):443-50.
  7. Pozzatti, P., Scheid, L.A., Spader, T.B., Atayde, M.L., Santurio, J.M., and Alves, S.H. In vitro activity of essential oils extracted from plants used as spices against fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible Candida spp. Can J Microbiol. 2008 Nov;54(11):950-6.
  8. Ponce-Macotela, M., Rufino-González, Y., González-Maciel, A., Reynoso-Robles, R., and Martínez-Gordillo, M.N. Oregano (Lippia spp.) kills Giardia intestinalis trophozoites in vitro: antigiardiasic activity and ultrastructural damage. Parasitol Res. 2006 May;98(6):557-60.
  9. Gilling, D.H., Kitajima, M., Torrey, J.R., and Bright, K.R. Antiviral efficacy and mechanisms of action of oregano essential oil and its primary component carvacrol against murine norovirus. J Appl Microbiol. 2014 May;116(5):1149-63.
  10. Vimalanathan S, Hudson J. Anti-influenza virus activities of commercial oregano oils and their carriers. J App Pharma Sci. 2012;2:214.
  11. Skrovankova, S., Misurcova, L., and Machu, L. Antioxidant activity and protecting health effects of common medicinal plants. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2012;67:75-139.
  12. Rufino-González, Y., Ponce-Macotela, M., González-Maciel, A., Reynoso-Robles, R., Jiménez-Estrada, M., Sánchez-Contreras, Á., and Martínez-Gordillo, M.N. In vitro activity of the F-6 fraction of oregano against Giardia intestinalis. Parasitology. 2012 Apr;139(4):434-40.
  13. Johnson, J. J. Carnosol: a promising anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agent. Cancer Lett. 6-1-2011;305(1):1-7.

Lyme Disease Research References

  1. Hamer, S.A., et al., Invasion of the lyme disease vector Ixodes scapularis: implications for Borrelia burgdorferi endemicity. Ecohealth, 2010. 7(1): p. 47-63.
  2. Wormser, G.P., et al., The clinical assessment, treatment, and prevention of lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, and babesiosis: clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis, 2006. 43(9): p. 1089-134.
  3. Sapi, E., et al., Evidence of In Vivo Existence of Borrelia Biofilm in Borrelial Lymphocytomas. Eur J Microbiol Immunol (Bp), 2016. 6(1): p. 9-24.
  4. Radolf, J.D., et al., Of ticks, mice and men: understanding the dual-host lifestyle of Lyme disease spirochaetes. Nat Rev Microbiol, 2012. 10(2): p. 87-99.
  5. Bouchard, C., et al., The increasing risk of Lyme disease in Canada. Can Vet J, 2015. 56(7): p. 693-9.
  6. Dolan, M.C., et al., Ability of two natural products, nootkatone and carvacrol, to suppress Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae) in a Lyme disease endemic area of New Jersey. J Econ Entomol, 2009. 102(6): p. 2316-24.
  7. Wright, W.F., et al., Diagnosis and management of Lyme disease. Am Fam Physician, 2012. 85(11): p. 1086-93.
  8. Scieszka, J., J. Dabek, and P. Cieslik, Post-Lyme disease syndrome. Reumatologia, 2015. 53(1): p. 46-8.
  9. Berende, A., et al., Randomized Trial of Longer-Term Therapy for Symptoms Attributed to Lyme Disease. N Engl J Med, 2016. 374(13): p. 1209-20.
  10. Marques, A., Chronic Lyme disease: a review. Infect Dis Clin North Am, 2008. 22(2): p. 341-60, vii-viii.
  11. Sapi, E., et al., Characterization of biofilm formation by Borrelia burgdorferi in vitro. PLoS One, 2012. 7(10): p. e48277.
  12. Borges, A., et al., New Perspectives on the Use of Phytochemicals as an Emergent Strategy to Control Bacterial Infections Including Biofilms. Molecules, 2016. 21(7).
  13. Nazzaro, F., et al., Effect of essential oils on pathogenic bacteria. Pharmaceuticals (Basel), 2013. 6(12): p. 1451-74.
  14. Ayvaz, A., et al., Insecticidal activity of the essential oils from different plants against three stored-product insects. J Insect Sci, 2010. 10: p. 21.
  15. Baser, K.H., Biological and pharmacological activities of carvacrol and carvacrol bearing essential oils. Curr Pharm Des, 2008. 14(29): p. 3106-19.
  16. Skrovankova, S., L. Misurcova, and L. Machu, Antioxidant activity and protecting health effects of common medicinal plants. Adv Food Nutr Res, 2012. 67: p. 75-139.
  17. Johnson, J.J., Carnosol: a promising anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agent. Cancer Lett, 2011. 305(1): p. 1-7.
  18. Melo, A.D., et al., Antimicrobial effect against different bacterial strains and bacterial adaptation to essential oils used as feed additives. Can J Vet Res, 2015. 79(4): p. 285-9.
  19. El Babili, F., et al., Oregano: chemical analysis and evaluation of its antimalarial, antioxidant, and cytotoxic activities. J Food Sci, 2011. 76(3): p. C512-8.
  20. Sienkiewicz, M., M. Wasiela, and A. Glowacka, [The antibacterial activity of oregano essential oil (Origanum heracleoticum L.) against clinical strains of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa]. Med Dosw Mikrobiol, 2012. 64(4): p. 297-307.
  21. Dahiya, P. and S. Purkayastha, Phytochemical Screening and Antimicrobial Activity of Some Medicinal Plants Against Multi-drug Resistant Bacteria from Clinical Isolates. Indian J Pharm Sci, 2012. 74(5): p. 443-50.
  22. Pozzatti, P., et al., In vitro activity of essential oils extracted from plants used as spices against fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible Candida spp. Can J Microbiol, 2008. 54(11): p. 950-6.
  23. Ponce-Macotela, M., et al., Oregano (Lippia spp.) kills Giardia intestinalis trophozoites in vitro: antigiardiasic activity and ultrastructural damage. Parasitol Res, 2006. 98(6): p. 557-60.
  24. Arcila-Lozano, C.C., et al., [Oregano: properties, composition and biological activity]. Arch Latinoam Nutr, 2004. 54(1): p. 100-11.
  25. Knowles, J.R., et al., Antimicrobial action of carvacrol at different stages of dual-species biofilm development by Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Appl Environ Microbiol, 2005. 71(2): p. 797-803.
  26. Nostro, A., et al., Effects of oregano, carvacrol and thymol on Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms. J Med Microbiol, 2007. 56(Pt 4): p. 519-23.
  27. Chami, N., et al., Study of anticandidal activity of carvacrol and eugenol in vitro and in vivo. Oral Microbiol Immunol, 2005. 20(2): p. 106-11.
  28. DeGennaro, M., The mysterious multi-modal repellency of DEET. Fly (Austin), 2015. 9(1): p. 45-51.
  29. Swale, D.R., et al., Neurotoxicity and mode of action of N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET). PLoS One, 2014. 9(8): p. e103713.
  30. Maia, M.F. and S.J. Moore, Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing. Malar J, 2011. 10 Suppl 1: p. S11.

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Oregano Oil Test Data