Oregano Health Benefits for Adrenal Fatigue

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Carrie Lam, MD

Oregano leaves, a bottle with a dropper cap and a mortar and pestle, representing different ways of extracting oregano health benefitsOregano is a leafy herbal plant whose leaves are used in both food flavoring and as medicinal treatments. The herb is often used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, respiratory tract disorders, and menstrual difficulties. Other oregano health benefits include:

  • Bronchitis, coughs, croup, and asthma
  • Heartburn, bloating
  • Urinary tract disorders, urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Headaches, earaches
  • Parasites
  • Skin conditions including athlete’s foot, dandruff, psoriasis

For use as a medicinal plant and to extract oregano health benefits, the herb is suspended in oil or as a dried powder and taken by mouth for internal conditions. Externally, the herb is applied topically for skin conditions or as an insect repellent. In the kitchen, oregano serves as a potent food flavoring and preservative.

Oregano Health Benefits

Oregano has been found to be most effective for dealing with:

  • High cholesterol – clinical research studies have found that taking oregano at each meal for three months can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol. Oregano does not, however, affect total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Parasites – Blastocystis hominis, Entamoeba hartmanni, and Endolimax nana live in the intestines. Studies have shown that taking oregano in oil for six weeks can kill the parasites.
  • Wound healing – when applied to the skin twice a day for 14 days, oregano has been shown to improve skin color and quality. More research is needed on using oregano for bleeding after dental procedures.

The immune boosting oregano health benefits help make it a key player in a balanced body. Herbal anti-infectives are worth a look at in general, as conventional treatments are failing due to bacterial resistance. Options for staving off bacterial infections are decreasing and alternatives are scarce as bacteria are constantly becoming more resistant to antibiotics due to over-prescription and improper usage.

Oregano and the NEM Response

Oregano may be helpful to people with an imbalanced neuroendometabolic (NEM) stress response. The NEM response is the body’s way of handling stress. It consists of six major components, each involving various organs and systems. Collectively and synergistically, these six components are activated and orchestrated to overcome stress and return the body to normal function. Under chronic stress, however, where the body is overwhelmed, some of the component systems may start to become dysregulated. One such system is the inflammation response system. Inflammation is regulated by the gut, microbiome and immune system. It is a necessary stress response, but can also become dysregulated if not controlled. When unbalanced, inflammation can run rampant, leading to food sensitivities, frequent infections, gas, bloating, and other symptoms. Oregano, with its antibiotic, immune-boosting, and anti-inflammatory properties, can help bring the inflammation response system back into balance.

Let’s explore these properties a little further.


Oregano Shows Promise as an Anti-infective

Microorganisms are everywhere in nature. They live in our bodies, inhabiting our intestinal tract, our skin, and our oral cavities. The collective microbes in our body are called our microbiome and it is estimated to number ten times that number of all other body cells. Some microbes are beneficial, while others are malignant. Some pathogens emerge quickly and are responsible for much infection, sickness and early mortality.

In one study, scientists endeavored to try oregano’s antibacterial properties against eleven different gram-negative bacilli. They infused both oil and water with oregano and found that the oregano oil was very effective against the Citrobacter species of bacteria, while the oregano water showed significant activity against the Klebsiella pneumoniae and Klebsiella ozaenae bacteria.

Oregano’s Immune-boosting Effects

A wooden spoon with both dried and fresh oregano leaves, one way to use oregano for oregano health benefitsOregano health benefits also extend to the immune system. One study looked at the herb’s immunomodulatory effects. Researchers added dried oregano to the feed of baby piglets for an experiment lasting five weeks. Three different doses, of 2g/kg, 4g/kg and 8g/kg were implemented. The researchers then stressed the animals and found that oregano, at all doses, altered immune-related parameters. These effects were found to be due to the carvacrol that occurs naturally in oregano.

Carvacrol is an essential oil, a monoterpenic phenol isomeric with thymol. The agent has diverse activities: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, angiogenic, antiparasitic and antiplatelet, to name a few. In one study, supplementing feed with carvacrol enhanced the performance of chickens, increased their antioxidant enzyme activities, enhanced digestion, and improved the immune response.

Other Compounds Found In Oregano

Based on early studies of the immune-boosting properties of the popular Mediterranean herb, investigators sought to study the components of oregano. In a process called biodirected-guided fractionation, the scientists identified various other beneficial compounds in oregano, including:

  • Rosmarinic acid – studies of rosmarinic acid show anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties. In one study, the agent significantly alleviated oxidative stress.
  • Oleanolic acid – a component in oregano, oleanolic acid has a large range of healing properties. Its cardioprotective abilities are especially prominent.
  • Ursolic acid – researchers studied the effect of ursolic acid on a metastatic tumor and found that it increased natural killer cells, improving the body’s ability to fight the tumor and malignant cell growth.

With these agents, oregano health benefits extend to reducing inflammation, promoting cardiovascular health, and maybe even fighting off cancer. The body is therefore supported in its ability to respond vigorously to toxins, pathogens and other harmful stimuli that arise either directly or as an opportunistic pathogen that is triggered as a result of chronic or overwhelming stress. Tamping down inflammation and bolstering the immune system is key to coping and is an important part of restoring balance to the NEM stress response.

The Gastroprotective Effect

Oregano has been particularly helpful in gastric conditions such as systemic candida. One study of thymol, found in the essential oil of oregano, investigated the gastroprotective effect of the herb. Supporting the gastrointestinal system is important when recovering from adrenal fatigue. In this study, scientists gave different doses of thymol to rats with acute and chronic ulcers.

Researchers were interested in the mechanisms underlying thymol’s protective effect. They noted gastric secretion parameters such as volume, pH, total acidity, and mucus content and found that thymol reduced the volume and total area of the ulcers. The study showed that thymol does have gastroprotective actions.

People with adrenal fatigue may consider oregano to help balance the gut and its microbiome population as well as tackle small intestinal bacterial overgrowth which is often seen in conjunction with adrenal fatigue.

Oregano and Adrenal Fatigue

People suffering from adrenal fatigue could take a look at oregano and other plants with healing properties. Most pharmaceutical drugs are too strong, highly refined, purified, and synthesized. Just a few decades ago, most pharmaceuticals were derived from plant sources. Now, only a small percentage of drugs are produced from plants. When coping with stress and stress-related opportunistic infections such as candida, natural medicines derived directly from plants can offer safety, effectiveness, and synergy to work within a complicated system, when properly used. Careful titration is often needed in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue when the body is highly sensitive to medications, synthetic chemicals and even natural compounds.

While it does not directly boost or restore adrenal performance, one of oregano health benefits is help to protect the body from infections which can be very stressful on the body, which goes a long in helping the adrenals recover.


The Oregano Remedy

It is typically recommended that Oregano be taken as an oil; however, a new and potent way of taking oregano is fermented oregano. Through the fermentation process, oregano is broken down into its basic nutrients, thereby significantly increasing its bioavailability.

Other herbs that pair well with oregano include turmeric and ginger. These herbs are excellent for reducing inflammation in the body. Lavender is also a good pairing, as both lavender and oregano have antibiotic effects.


Some people may have an allergy to the plant, some may experience a mild stomach upset, and people with a bleeding disorder may bleed more. Pregnant and nursing mothers should not take oregano. In advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, the body is compromised and often sensitive to even the gentlest of herbs and supplements. It is recommended that oregano be used with caution in these cases. Inappropriate use can trigger detoxification and retoxification reactions with adrenal crashes. In severe cases, fever and incapacitation can occur. Fermented products have also been show to be potentially irritating to those with IBS or leaky gut.

Interactions with other supplements and medications may exist. People taking lithium, diabetes medication and anticoagulants should speak to their doctor before taking medicinal oregano.


Fresh and dried oregano leaves in a mortar and pestle, a small vial, and on a desk, showing different forms of the leave from which to extract oregano health benefitsPharmaceuticals used to be derived from plant sources. Now they are synthesized, refined, and purified chemicals that can be too strong for people coping with adrenal fatigue. Herbal remedies like oregano offer hope to people as the safety, effectiveness and a synergistic action is suitable for alleviating system-wide and organ-specific deficits.

In an environment where conventional medicines are failing to challenge existing and new infections, the potent power of oregano is a welcome alternative. People with adrenal fatigue can use the anti-inflammatory properties of several of oregano’s compounds.

This popular Mediterranean herb has shown the ability to reduce parasites in the intestines, to lower cholesterol, and to fight infection. The herb supports the immune system, acts against tumors and protects the gastrointestinal system. These and many other oregano health benefits have pushed this herb to the top of the herbal immune-boosting list. The herbal remedy may be a key player in a strategic plan to reduce the effects of adrenal fatigue and the NEM stress response.

Ancient healers and modern medicine men alike use the herb for a variety of conditions. In conjunction with a healing professional and a personal recovery plan, properly titrated oregano may be a valuable supplement in recovering from adrenal fatigue.

© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

A wooden spoon with both dried and fresh oregano leaves, one way to use oregano for oregano health benefits

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Dear Dr Lam,
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I am very grateful for your care and your willingness to help. You are the Angel that I have been praying for!
All of your comments resonate with me. I will take the time to read the 2 articles that you have referred to in order to better understand my present situation. I purchased your book in hard copy as soon as I came across your website last week. I'm looking forward to receiving this in the post and starting to learn more.
God Bless you.