How to Use Oregano Oil for Colds and Flu

Updated: 2019-09-23 00:10:09

With cold and flu season around the corner, it’s a good idea to prepare in advance as much as we can. Oil of oregano could win an award as one of the most effective natural preventives and treatments for the common cold and flu.

Many have also reported great results using oregano oil for sore throats. And in case you’re wondering, this oregano isn’t the same as the herb you put in your pasta sauce.

One reason oil of oregano is considered an essential oil hero is the presence of carvacrol, one of the most bioactive components of this herb. Carvacrol has demonstrated its anti-disease potential in preclinical trials, but human trials are still lacking. That said, its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer properties have been documented by researchers.

Oil of oregano, which is made from the leaves and flowers of the herb, also contains some other potent compounds that can be helpful when you want to prevent or treat a cold or flu. Here are four reasons why this herb is so potent:

  • Thymol: a natural antiseptic that can enhance immune system function and promote healing
  • Beta-caryophyllin: known for its anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Naringin: enhances the antioxidants in oregano oil, which in turn can improve its ability to fight cold and flu viruses
  • Rosmarinic acid: an antioxidant that also is a natural antihistamine

To enjoy the health benefits of oregano essential oil, it’s important that you choose an oil produced from wild oregano (Origanum vulgare), which is native to the Mediterranean, or from Thymus capitatus, a variety found in Spain. More than 40 other oregano species are available, so be sure to read the label and buy from reputable manufacturers only.

How Powerful Is Oil of Oregano?

For those who want to see what the scientists say, there’s a study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology in which researchers exposed a mouse norovirus (a human norovirus surrogate) to oregano oil and carvacrol. Both treatments were effective against the virus, but carvacrol was better, inactivating the virus within one hour of exposure.

Using Oil of Oregano for Colds and Flu

If you want to help prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses on your hands and household surfaces, then you may want to use a liquid soap that contains oregano essential oil or add the oil to an all-natural brand you are using now.

An investigative team looked at the use of liquid detergent solution with added oil of oregano (0.5 percent) and found that it was as effective as a commercial antimicrobial soap, but without the harmful ingredients such as triclosan and chloroxylenol. And since the FDA recently banned many antibacterial chemicals, it makes sense to use a safer homemade alternative.

How to Use Oregano Oil for Colds and Flu

Since the taste can be strong, I have found the best way to take oregano oil is by diluting several drops of the oil in orange juice, olive oil, or coconut oil. However, according to Theresa Ramsey, NMD, if you place a few drops under your tongue and keep them there for several minutes, the strong taste will be minimal and the results will be faster and stronger because it gets absorbed faster. If you prefer not to taste anything, then you can purchase oil of oregano capsules at natural product stores.

The general dosing for oil of oregano for adults is two to three drops, three to four times daily once you have a cold or flu. For preventive or maintenance purposes, take two to three drops twice a day.

Oil of Oregano Capsule Dosage

If you prefer to take supplements, use 100 to 150 mg oregano oil capsules in place of the three to four doses daily. To treat a sore throat, you can add five to six drops of oregano oil to a glass of water and gargle several times a day. I like to place the drops directly in my throat so I’m sure they are doing their magic.

Oil of oregano can be given to children, although the strong taste makes convincing them a challenge. Fortunately, there are oregano oil supplements specially formulated for youngsters, including natural cinnamon or mint oil to mask the taste of the oregano. They should be dosed as recommended by the manufacturer. You can also add a couple of drops of the liquid to the bottom of their feet and then cover with socks to trap the vapors. We call this “pizza feet” in our house.

You also can add a few oregano oil drops in a diffuser or vaporizer to help clear up a stuffy nose and sinuses. Breathe in the pleasant aroma for a few minutes several times a day.

Oregano Oil and Breastfeeding?

You should limit your use of oregano oil to only seven to 10 days. Oil of oregano is not recommended for infants or pregnant women. As you should also conclude, using oregano oil while breastfeeding is not recommended. Also, avoid if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or are on lithium.

Andrea Donsky, who holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University,  is an international TV Health Expert, Best Selling Author, Nutritionist Podcast Host, and Founder of—a recipient of Healthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019. This article was originally published on

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