by: Emily Barnhouse

Origin of Spice

Oregano was first used by the Greeks, it was created by the Greek goddess Aphrodite. It was used in a crown when people were getting married, and also placed over graves to give peace to the departed spirits. Ancient Greek physicians realized the benefits of the spice and began to prescribe it for a variety of ailments.

Oregano was found in China through the spice road that found its way through the the middle east during the Medieval period. It was used as a medical herb to relieve fever, jaundice, vomiting and itchy skin. Later on the English found the herb to be addictive and used it in snuff instead of using tobacco. Despite its use in Europe it was little known in the United States prior to WW2 . The soldiers discovered the spice during the Italian Campaign and had such a desire they brought it back to the United States. Today's oregano is typically composed of other elements.

Cultural Background

Oregano was first found in the Greek culture by Aphrodite. The Greeks used the spice for medicinal values, and it made its way into Europe where it was used in replacement of tobacco. It was also used to in other cultures to treat people from sickness. Today the spice is used to treat coughs, asthma, and bronchitis.

Uses in various cultures

  1. oil is used to treat intestinal parasites
  2. topically as an insect repellent
  3. food preservative
  4. helps with dandruff, canker sores, muscle pains, spider bites, toothaches, gum disease

Used in today's culture

  1. used to flavor food
  2. fight fungal infections
  3. used as oils
  4. treat ear infections
  5. in the future could treat cancer because of its antioxident properties

Allergy Information

Mild side effects may include an upset stomach, it may cause an allergic reaction to people that are allergic to plants within the Lamiaceae family.

What is oregano made from?

It is an aromatic herb, made from the oregano plant that grows from the ground.

How does oregano change the flavor of foods?

The warm, balsamic and aromatic flavor of oregano makes it the perfect addition to Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines

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common recipe: Oregano Chicken

Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 to 8 servingsChange Servings

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

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  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Combine the melted butter or margarine, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, oregano and garlic powder. Mix well.
  3. Place chicken in an ungreased 7x11 inch baking dish. Pour the butter/oregano mixture over the chicken. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Baste juices over the chicken. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve the pan drippings over hot cooked rice, if desired.

Health Benefits

  1. Research shows that after 3 months of using oregano it will lower cholesterol
  2. After taking oregano oil for 6 weeks it can kill the arasites Blastocystis hominis, Entamoeba hartmanni, and Endolimax nana.

Interesting facts

  1. It was brought over to the United States by soldiers
  2. the oregano shrub can reach 29 inches in height
  3. the plant blooms in the summer and autumn
  4. oregano means "delight of the mountains"


"Oregano Facts." Oregano Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014

"Oregano: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings - WebMD." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.

"Oregano." Oregano. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.