What Are the Benefits and Uses of Oregano Oil?

Known primarily for its ability to add flavor to many foods, including pasta dishes, oregano oil is also used to treat a number of physical ailments. It is also a popular ingredient in several household applications. The herb boasts strong antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Many people use oregano oil to treat nail fungus by adding a few teaspoons of the substance to a basin of water before soaking their feet. Others use it to relieve symptoms of the common cold and sinus infections by inhaling steam from a pot of water containing a few drops of the oil. This method is also effective for those suffering from coughs and chest congestion. Other maladies that respond well to oregano oil include toothaches, cold sores, muscle and joint pain, acne and dandruff.

Applied directly to the skin, oregano oil can treat conditions that include acne, athlete's foot, oily skin, dandruff, canker sores and warts. Oregano oil can improve the condition of ringworm, rosacea, psoriasis and insect and spider bites, reports WebMD. Gum disease, toothaches, muscle pain and varicose veins are also treatable with the substance. Oregano oil can repel insects as well, especially mosquitoes.

Oregano oil combined with lemon oil, white vinegar and water makes an effective general purpose household cleaner. The mixture may be applied to a cloth to wipe down surfaces, or used to clean sinks, bathtubs and toilets.

A number of people swear by oregano oil as an insect repellent. In fact, it is as effective in warding off insects when applied to outdoor furniture as it is when applied directly to human skin.

Oregano oil is quite potent, and use of it can cause serious side effects. Those treating any condition should always dilute it with a carrier oil, according to the Huffington Post.