Ounce for ounce, oregano is one of the world's most antioxidant-dense foods, according to a 2003 report in The Journal of Nutrition. One tablespoon of the fresh herb packs the same antioxidant punch as a medium-sized apple. Its high concentration of these plant compounds may help prevent cellular damage and reduce the risk of common killers such as cancer, heart disease, and hypertension. Oregano also has antimicrobial qualities. It contains thymol and carvacrol, strong antiseptics used in mouthwashes that inhibit growth of bacteria and fungi.
Choose It & Use It
This flowery hot herb is a staple in Italian, Greek, and Mexican cuisines. Greek oregano is most common. Mexican oregano is less minty and best in spicy dishes. Chop fresh oregano for salads, or steep 3 teaspoonfuls (1 to 2 teaspoons dried) 10 minutes in 1 cup boiling water and sweeten with honey to make an herbal tea. Use it to brighten soft cheeses, and egg, bean, vegetable, or grain dishes; substitute it for thyme or rosemary for variety.