Oil of Oregano Print Page

Common Names: Oil of Origanum, Wild Marjoram, Oregano Oil
Scientific NamesOriganum vulgare

Bottom Line

Effectiveness: There have been no studies in patients with rheumatic conditions. Use is not recommended.

Safety: Considered possibly safe when used as a medicinal product.

What is Oil of Oregano?

  • Oil of Oregano is oil made from the Oregano plant.
  • It is commonly used as a herb for cooking due to the flavour of its leaves.
  • The leaves, stems, and flowers are used to make medicine.

What it is it used for in people with rheumatic conditions?

  • It has been applied to the skin to help relieve muscle and joint pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • It is more commonly used for cough and cold symptoms, some infections, heartburn and bloating, and skin conditions.

How is it thought to work?

  • It is not known how oil of oregano might help with rheumatic conditions.
  • Oil of oregano contains chemicals (carvacrol, thymol, eugenol) that help slow bacteria growth and kill fungus.

Does it Work? What the Science Says:

  • There are no studies on the use of oil of oregano for rheumatic conditions.

What are possible side effects and what can I do about them?

  • Oil of oregano is considered likely safe when applied to the skin or eaten in prepared foods.
  • It is unknown if oil of oregano is safe when used as an oral medicine. Large amounts of oregano may cause stomach upset.
  • Oil of oregano may also cause allergic reactions. Do not use oil of oregano if you are allergic to plants in the Lamiaceae family, such as basil, lavender, sage, and more.


With drugs:

  • Oil of oregano may reduce the amount platelets clump together (platelet aggregation) and may reduce the way other blood clotting factors work. Oil of oregano may increase the risk of bleeding in patients taking anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs.
    • Common antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs may include: warfarin (Coumadin), ASA (Aspirin), and clopidogrel (Plavix), ticagrelor (Brilinta), prasugrel (Effient), enoxaparin (Lovenox), dalteparin (Fragmin), dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis) and others.
  • Oil of Oregano may lower blood sugar. People with diabetes should monitor levels more closely.
  • Oil of Oregano may affect how lithium is removed from the body. Patients on lithium should be monitored more carefully or avoid use of oil of oregano.

With Other Diseases:

  • Oil of oregano may affect how the blood clots, which may increase risk of bleeding during surgeries. Stop oil of oregano at least 2 weeks prior to surgical procedures. 

With Other Natural Health Products:

  • Oil of oregano may reduce the amount platelets clump together (platelet aggregation) and may reduce the way other blood clotting factors work. Oil of oregano may interact with other natural health products that also affect blood clotting, increasing the risk of bruising and/or bleeding.
  • Such as: garlic, ginkgo, ginger, certain types of ginseng, red clover, and others.
  • Oil of oregano may the lower the absorption of certain minerals, such as iron, zinc and copper. 

Visit albertarheumatology.com to learn more.

For more information about Oil of Oregano, consult your physician and pharmacist.