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Oregano (Origanum compactum)


Origanum compactum

Oregano (Origanum compactum), sometimes referred to as "wild marjoram", is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to a height of thirty to sixty centimetres. It belongs to the Lamiaceae family, along with marjoram (Origanum marjorana), though it is not native to Asia like this latter.
Growing spontaneously in Mediterranean areas (Spain, Morocco), its stems are hairy and its leaves are pointed and slightly dentate. Its flowers are grouped in compact and fragrant pinkish to red inflorescences.

Main aromatic molecules: Monoterpene phenols (carvacrol, thymol), monoterpenes (α and β-pinenes), monoterpenols (linalool).
Family: Lamiaceae.
Producing organs: Aerial parts.
Yield: 1 to 2kg of essential oil per 100kg of plants.
Equivalence: 1ml → 34 drops (dosage calculated for a calibrated dropper European Pharmacopoeia).

  • Skin application Skin application
  • Oral route Oral route

Main properties

The exceptional antibacterial properties of essential oil of oregano make it a major natural anti-infectious agent that presents the considerable advantage of not inducing bacterial resistance and not irritating the intestine. It is both antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasite.

Diarrhoea, cystitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, mycosis, etc.; Staphylococcus epidermidis or Staphylococcus aureus, streptococci, pneumococci, enterococci, Proteus, Escherichia coli, Candida, etc.: few infections are able to resist! Thanks to its energising and soothing action, it is recommended in the event of hard times or blows.

Find all the virtues and uses of essential oils in our tips section.


Bacterial diarrhoea
Pour 2 drops of essential oil of compact oregano onto a neutral tablet or sugar cube. Take two to three times daily for five days. (suitable for adults and children over the age of fifteen years only).

Swallow 2 drops of essential oil of oregano in a teaspoon of olive oil, on a sugar cube or neutral tablet, two to three times per day for three to four days.

Fatigue, immune system simulation
For use from the age of 12, mix 2 drops of oregano essential oil in 1 teaspoon of sweet almond vegetable oil and use this mixture to massage the upper back and solar plexus twice a day for 8 days.
and use this mixture to massage the upper back and solar plexus, twice a day, for 8 days.


Oregano with compact inflorescences is native to Morocco.


The odour of oregano is heavy, pungent and spiced.


Distillation of the flowering tops by steam distillation gives essential oil of oregano, with a yield of 1 to 2%, i.e. one to two kilograms of essential oil from one hundred kilograms of plant.


The main active constituents of essential oil of oregano are monoterpene phenols (carvacrol mainly, along with thymol), monoterpenes (alpha and beta-pinenes) and monoterpenols (linalool, monoterpenes).

Precautions for use

Possessing a degree of toxicity, the essential oil must not be used for prolonged periods (never more than two weeks in a row). It is dermocaustic and must not be applied pure onto the skin. Even dilute, it should only be applied to small skin surfaces. It should not be diffused into ambient air, except at very low concentrations (less than 5%) and in combination with other essential oils.

Do not use in: pregnant or breast-feeding women, children under the age of twelve years, persons allergic to one of the components (geraniol, linalool, limonene), subjects with asthma without the advice of an allergologist before the first use, subjects with epilepsy, persons with a history of gastritis, peptic ulcer, viral hepatitis B, C or D.


Greek oregano with carvacrol (Origanum heracleoticum carvacroliferum).

The name oregano comes from two Greek words meaning "mountain finery". A tablet discovered in the Mycenaean palace of Pylos reveals that, during the 13Ith century BC, oregano-scented oil offerings were made to divinities and their priests. It was used in infusions, unctions and plasters to heal numerous ailments. Dioscorides prescribed it to persons with stomach ailments and with "acidic and unpleasant belches". It had a special place in Roman cuisine, in which it was reputed to facilitate digestion. In popular medicine, oregano leaves were used to prepare an anti-rheumatism herbal tea. The dried and chopped leaves were used as snuff, for freeing blocked noses and to create plasters for stiff necks.


Extracts from the book 'Aromatherapia - All about essential oils', by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book '41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently' and '48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy' by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.

The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.
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