Herb and Spices – Oregano

Find out all about oregano!

Common Name: Oregano

Latin Name: Oregano vulgare

Other Names: Spanish thyme, Wild marjoram

Parts of the plant used – Leaf

Growing Tips/Origin:

A perennial that is easy to grow. Native to Europe, the Mediterranean and Southern Asia, oregano grows best in well-drained soil and full sun. Can grow from seed but very easy to grow from a small plant. Time for planting is after any risk of frost. Allow 12-18 inches between plants and once established water when the top inch of soil is dry as it doesn’t like “wet feet.” Oregano grows fast – harvest regularly for new growth and to prevent it getting woody.

Medicinal Uses:

Like many other herbs, the oregano leaf is high in antioxidants with oil extracted from the leaf and used in herbal medicine. Research suggests high anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties with potential anti- cancer benefits as well as improving insulin resistance for people with diabetes. Traditionally used to treat upper respiratory conditions such as cough or chest colds

Culinary Uses:

Oregano leaf can be used fresh or dried. The fresh leaf is used more at the end of cooking, whereas dried can be used anytime during the cooking process. Chop or crush the leaves (fresh or dried) to release the flavorful aromatic oils.

Pairs well with:

  • Any type of tomato sauce or tomato dish (pizza included!)
  • Olive oil-based dishes including marinades and salad dressings
  • Veggies such as eggplant, cauliflower and zucchini
  • Lamb, chicken and beef dishes
  • Garlic, basil, thyme and onion

Interesting factoids:

  • Means “joy of the mountain” in Greek
  • Belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae
  • It has an aromatic, warm, and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity.