Origanum vulgare

Oregano is one of the most widely used herbs in the world. Renowned for its spicy bite, it lifts the top of any meal – and is a favourite of in every health-conscious chef.

Originating in the mediterannean and thriving on the sun-baked mountains, the name oregano is derived from ‘oros’ meaning ‘mountain’ and ‘ganos’ meaning brightness, bringing us ’the brightness of the mountain’. It prefers a warm dry spot, though it is pretty robust and seems to do well as long as its feet aren’t too soggy.

Oregano is the perfect herbal kitchen garden plant; in the right conditions it is perennial; the bees adore its summer blossom; it goes with all sorts of dishes; it has lots of health-bringing properties. There are numerous varieties of oregano but good quality should be high in essential oils – preferably more than 2.5%. The essential oil has substantial levels of two potent compounds, mainly carvacrol and some thymol, that bring its distinctive flavour and benefits. Studies have demonstrated the biological activity of carvacrol and thymol revealing their therapeutic potential. Thymol in thyme and oregano is widely used to minimise bacterial contamination of food- and is one of the primary ingredients in Listerine.

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