Oregano Facts

Oregano Facts
Oregano is herbaceous plant that belongs to the family Lamiaceae. There are around 36 varieties of oregano that are native to central Asia and Mediterranean countries. Oregano grows in the well-drained soils in areas that provide enough direct sunlight and moisture. This plant is also known as wild marjoram because it is closely related to the sweet marjoram (another popular spice). Dried leaves of oregano have pungent, slightly bitter taste. Oregano is used in various cuisines worldwide. It represents inevitable ingredient of Greek and Italian dishes. Besides being used as spice, oregano acts beneficially on the human health. It is also used in gardening because it improves growth of surrounding plants.
Interesting Oregano Facts:
Oregano grows as shrub that can reach 29 inches in height.
Leaves are small, rounded and grayish-green in color. They are gathered in pairs that are oppositely arranged on the branches.
Oregano blooms during the summer and autumn. Flowers are purple and located on the top of erected stalks.
Oregano can be propagated via seed or through division of the existing plant.
Name “oregano” originates from Greek language and it means “delight of the mountains”.
Dried leaves of oregano are used to improve the flavor of salty dishes, usually made of vegetables and meat. Fresh flowers of oregano are also edible.
Amount of aromatic oils and chemical composition of the plant depend on the habitat, climate and type of soil.
Oregano is best known as "pizza herb". Other than that, oregano is used as basic ingredient for the preparation of famous Italian specialties such as pastas, spaghetti and tomato dishes.
Oregano became popular in the USA after the Second World War when American soldiers returned home from the battle fields in Italy. Besides bad war memories, they brought spice for pizza to their country.
Mexican oregano is special kind of oregano that is mainly used in western societies. This type of oregano is one of ingredients of the chili powder.
Oregano contains vitamin A, C and K and minerals such as iron and manganese.
Oregano was initially used as medical plant before it became popular as spice. Aromatic oils and chemicals from oregano can relieve stomach ache and prevent bloating. They also alleviate respiratory difficulties. Oregano can be used against sea sickness. It also shows antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which means that it can be used against bacterial and fungal diseases. "Therapeutic" oregano can be consumed in the form of tea or ointment.
Ancient Greeks believed that cow’s meat becomes more tasteful when cows consume oregano as a regular part of their diet.
Chemical compounds from oregano repel insects. Because of that, oregano may act as natural insecticide when it is planted in the garden.
Oregano is perennial plant, which means that it lives more than two years in the wild.

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