You probably know oregano best as the herb you put on pizzas and in sauces. Yet, there is a lot more to oregano oil than just its taste. The world is starting to wake up to the many medical possibilities of oregano oil, particularly against bacterial infections.
How Oregano Oil Fights Bacterial Infections
If you were to load a bunch of fresh oregano on your tongue, you’d experience a warm, slightly spicy taste. That taste comes from a compound in oregano oil called carvacrol.
Carvacrol is also found in many other herbs, such as marjoram, thyme, and savory. However, it has its highest concentration in oregano.1
In numerous studies, carvacrol has been shown to be a potent antibacterial against numerous strains of bacteria. It is thought to work by destroying the cell membranes of bacteria and stopping them from replicating. 2, 3, 4
What makes the carvacrol in oil of oregano particularly interesting as a natural antibiotic is that it is shown to destroy harmful bacteria while keeping helpful probiotic bacteria intact.
Research shows that, at dosages which cause 97% to 100% of inhibition of pathogenic bacteria, only 3% to 5% of probiotics were inhibited.5
This benefit of oregano oil shouldn’t be understated. When you take a pharmaceutical antibiotic, it indiscriminately destroys all the bacteria in its path – including the trillions of bacteria which we need for tasks like digestion and even regulating mood. The result can be a tragic dysbiosis of gut flora. In fact, researchers now believe that taking antibiotics may be a cause of disorders and diseases such as autism, depression, anxiety, diabetes, and GI problems such as SIBO. Read more about the risks of gut flora dysbiosis here.
Other Benefits of Oregano Oil
In addition to acting as a natural antibiotic, oil of oregano has many other benefits. Some of these include:
- Reducing inflammation: Oil of oregano activates PPAR and suppresses COX-2 inflammation. Because inflammation is the root of many disorders, this make oil of oregano useful for treating GI problems such as IBS and SIBO, heartburn, bloating, psoriasis, and more.6
- Anti-Fungal: Oil of oregano also destroys fungi and is shown to destroy candida, thus making it a natural treatment for yeast infections. 7, 8
- Allergies and Respiratory Problems: In addition to the carvacrol in oil of oregano, its flavonoids and terpenes are potent at fighting ailments such as asthma, allergies, sneezing, and coughing. 9
- Parasites: If you are traveling to a developing country, you might want to bring along some oil of oregano to treat traveler’s diarrhea. Oregano oil is potent at killing bacteria as well as parasites and worms which might cause stomach problems from consuming tainted foods or water. 10
Why Not Just Take an Antibiotic?
When sick, it is tempting to just pop an antibiotic pill and be done with the problem.
Except that things aren’t that simple.
As mentioned above, we are only now starting to understand the long-term damages which can be caused by taking antibiotics. Here are just two of the main reasons you would want to avoid antibiotics and take a natural antibiotic like oregano oil instead.
1. Antibiotic Resistance
The first major reason to take oregano oil instead of an antibiotic is because of antibiotic resistance. Bacteria are relatively simple organisms, which means that they can evolve very easily and quickly. Evolution happens when a bacteria has a mutation which allows it to survive a threat (such as exposure to an antibiotic). These bacteria then go on to proliferate, resulting in a new, evolved strain of the bacteria which is resistant to antibiotics. 11
Antibiotic resistance is already taking its toll and it will just get worse if we don’t stop popping antibiotics at every sign of infection. As talked about in this article, researchers predict we may soon see the reemergence of diseases like typhoid, diphtheria, and many others.
Amazingly, oregano oil has been shown to be effective even against antibiotic-resistant strains of Salmonella! 12
The reason that natural antibiotics like oregano oil are so much more effective is because they work on many levels. A pharmaceutical antibiotic is just one compound, thus making it easy for bacteria to adapt to it. By contrast, bacteria have a harder time adapting to the many compounds and their mechanisms of action in natural antibiotics. Read more about herbal antibiotics here.
2. Oil of Oregano Won’t Harm Your Gut
Of course, you should check with your doctor before taking any natural antibiotic – especially if you have a gut problem. However, compared to pharmaceutical antibiotics, oregano oil is going to be your gut’s friend.
Oregano oil doesn’t kill off helpful probiotic bacteria the way that pharmaceutical antibiotics do.13 Thus, you won’t experience severe gut dysbiosis.
On a personal note, I first became of aware of the potency of oregano oil as a natural antibiotic while dealing with a severe case of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO is caused when you get too much and/or the wrong type of bacteria growing in your gut. The last thing you want with SIBO is to further disrupt your bacteria by taking a hardcore antibiotic. In fact, antibiotics might be a cause of SIBO! You can read more about SIBO here.
Where to Buy Oil of Oregano?
Think that you can just chomp down on a lot of oregano to get its benefits? According to Dr. Draxe, it takes 1,000 pounds of wild oregano to produce just one pound of the oil! 14 Thus, you are probably better off buying oregano oil.
Like with all supplements, quality matters. Wild P73 oregano oil is considered the most potent.15
Also remember that carvacrol is the antibacterial compound found in oregano oil. Oregano oil also contains many other helpful compounds (such as thymol), but you want to look for one with a high carvacrol percentage to get the antibacterial benefits.
Guidelines for Choosing Oregano Oil:
- Carvacrol percentages are usually between 50% and 85%. Look for the highest percentage you can find.
- Only buy pure, additive-free oregano oil
- Steam-distilled oregano oil is higher in quality
- Choose unprocessed, raw oregano oil
- Choose GMP-certified oregano oil (GMP stands for the Good Manufacturing Practices guidelines in which growers only use organic oregano)
How to Take Oregano Oil and Dosage
It might be natural, but oregano oil is still an antibiotic – and antibiotics should only be used for the short term so you don’t risk gut dysbiosis. To aid in absorption, oregano oil should be taken with a “carrier oil.” I prefer pure coconut oil, but olive oil or jojoba oil can also be used.
Guidelines for Taking Oregano Oil:
- Before taking oregano oil, put a drop of it on your arm to see if any reaction occurs.
- When using orally, take for only 7 to 10 days at a time.
- Dilute oregano oil in a carrier oil.17
To Take Oregano Oil Sublingually:
- If not diluted already, dilute the oregano oil with a carrier oil at a ratio of at least 1 drop oregano oil to 1 drop carrier oil
- Put 1 or 2 drops under the tongue and leave it there for a few minutes. Then rinse with water.
- Use a dosage of 50mg oregano oil, 3-6x per day to achieve antibacterial benefits. Depending on the concentration of the oregano oil you use, you may need to do this many times per day.
To Take Oregano Oil as Capsules:
- Use a dosage of 50mg oregano oil, 3-6x per day
- Pay attention to the manufacturer’s dosage instructions. Different brands contain different amounts of Carvacrol
*Note that these dosages reflect oregano oil and not the carvacrol dosage. Most brands of oregano oil list the carvacrol amount in milligrams.
Recommended Brands of Oregano Oil:
There are two brands of oregano oil that I can recommend. Of the two, I’d go with the first because it is organic. However, it is slightly more expensive. So, if you can’t afford the organic oregano oil (which I recommend), then the second is still a good option.
Natural Factors Oregano Oil
- Standardized to 80% carvacrol
- Mixed with organic olive oil at a ratio of 1:4
- 1 oz bottle = 187 servings
- 24mg of carvacrol per serving
- Hand-picked, certified organic, and non-GMO
- Buy it here
Source Naturals Oregano Oil
- Standardized to 70% carvacrol
- Made from wild-crafted true oregano from the Mediterranean region
- Mixed with olive oil
- 1 oz bottle = 275 servings
- 26.3mg of carvacrol per serving
- Buy it here
Do you have IBS?
A huge portion of the population suffers from IBS. Up until recently, researchers mostly dismissed IBS as a disorder caused by stress. Now we know that upwards of 84% of IBS cases are really SIBO — a disorder in which you have too much and/or the wrong type of bacteria in your gut. Luckily, SIBO is treatable.
Oil of oregano is just one of the natural treatments which can be used for SIBO. To learn more about the disorder and how to cure it for good, download The SIBO Solution. You can buy it here.
Have you tried oregano oil for bacterial infections? I’d love to hear your experiences!
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52 thoughts on “How to Use Oil of Oregano for Bacterial Infections”
Hello, I found out I have h pylori because I was having hives and got some blood work done and it was positive for h pylori and then got a stool test and still positive. I am going to take the antibiotics but looking to heal my gut while taking the antibiotics. Which supplements should I be taking .
My daughter was a wrestler in high school.. she got a bad dose of ring worm in her head.. dr. Wanted her on internal meds. 20 days and she may have to go another round. She would be off the mat until it was gone. If she didn’t do just as the dr instructed she said she could lose her hair and it may not grow back…a friend told me about oil of oregano. She had given it to her son when he had the flu said it worked great. My daughter started the meds and I started breaking open the oil and applying it to one area of her scalp to test it.. this was not for the faint of heart! After about 5 minutes it burned her scalp.. she toughed it out and about 10 minutes later it stopped burning..It also stopped the itch. we did the rest of her scalp.. about 3 days in and we started seeing the ring worm peel off layer by layer.. it took about 10 days before it was mostly gone. By the time we went back to the dr. (2 weeks) for recheck .. it was gone! All of it!. the meds? She only took one dose and lived through the pain of the oil! Dr. Was pleased it was gone, not pleased with our method.
She smelled like a pot of spaghetti but if you liked Italian food it’s all good..She did take it internally as well for a boost..one side effect.. it did interrupt her iron. That is a side effect we didn’t pick up on.. follow the instruction.
Hi Sylvie- I noticed someone had asked about Bacterial Vaginitis. Do you take the oil orally or topically to cut this kind of infection?
I’ve been back and forth with my choice right now being source naturals. It’s not organic, but of the two it’s got a lot more of a bite, and in the Vitamin Life health foods store I use, it’s more expensive, not cheaper like the column says.
I have read studies that it mat actually help with both herpies strains as well.
Last year, I was bitten by a tick and contracted Lyme disease. After the standard course of antibiotics, it wasn’t enough, and I began researching. I stumbled across Oil of Oregano. I’ve been taking North American Herbs and Spice Oil of Oregano Super Strength for about 5 months now. At one point I was taking 1,000 mg a day (10 drops 4X a day). That is along with other supplements. I took a few breaks, but I’ve been taking it daily for the last few months, 600 mg a day. I’m also taking other supplements with oregano, and the total mg a day comes out to around 1,300 mg. I would consider myself at 85% of my usual self at this point. Part of me wants to give it a rest, but with the improvement, I am tempted to keep it up. Many Lyme patients are on strong antibiotics for up to 10 years at a time. Maybe there are some effects to taking oil of oregano daily for such a long period, but compared to antibiotics, I think they are minor. The main thing I’ve heard about is oregano preventing the body from absorbing iron, and maybe the killing of good bacteria. I do take probiotics daily, and I think I will go have my iron level tested. If it comes back good, then I will continue with no hesitation.
Look into structured silver. It is incredible Natural antibiotic that can be taken for long periods and far superior to colloidal silver! A good book to read on it you can get on amazon called “the most precious metal” by Dr. Gordon Pederson. Good luck with your Lyme!
Have you tried/heard of structured silver? Its a powerful natural antibiotic. Superior to its cousin colloidal silver. There’s a great book you can order on amazon called “The most precious metal” by Dr. Gordon Pederson that gives a great outline. I have Lyme and this worked wonders for me. Everyones different, but I want to pass it along. Good luck!
I used oregano oil on my leg which had some form of mites under the skin – I tried courtesone and activated/ charcoal/poltices and all sorts and nothing cured. A superb person at a health chemist advised organo oil which I put on the area. It killed them off almost immediately.They went to live on another planet Rosemary
What brand of Oregano did you use on your skin?
But how can Oil of Oregano be given to a patient in a nursing home with a trach in his neck? He is infected with CRE and C-Diff bacteria. Just put a few drops on his lining of the mouth? Please advise. Thank you.
When it says take sublingual then rinse. Does that mean spit it out after it has been held under the tongue? Or ingest the oil?
So is is safe to take oregano oil on a daily basis for life? If so how much
I have been taking oregano oil (Now Foods brand: 55% Carvacrol + ginger and fennel oil) for years 2-3 x 180mg/day (360-540mg). Some times I also bite one of capsules.
Almost never sick and the overall well-being is better. My mother the same way, no problems.
I think it is safe to take some more a while if getting flu or something.
You are NOT supposed to take Oregano oil long term! Only for 7-10 days max! Please do some research. Herbs can be extremely powerful and just because it is great for healing, that doesn’t mean it’s a-okay to take it every day long term. ALWAYS do the research!
A friend of mine gave me a bottle of oregano oil and I scoffed, putting it deep into a cabinet. A few months later, I developed a weird cough from living in an apartment that wasn’t insulated well (damp, etc). That cough came with me even after I moved and I became exasperated because it wasn’t so horrific that I needed antibiotics or even anything “below the counter” to manage it. As half a joke I thought, why not try the oregano oil. I’d rather consume it than it go to waste. Whether or not it helped, a 4 week mild cough disappeared after taking the capsules (2 per day) after 2 weeks. I think it may have been a complication of allergies because that cough returned when pollen rates went crazy in the state I’m in and I’m back to taking it. Either way, I approach this as, well it can’t hurt, it’s fairly innocuous, even if every burp tastes like pizza. 😉
Thank you for the great details in this article. I wish I had found this article sooner.
Earlier this month, I was suggested an Oregano Oil capsule protocol by my chiropractor (also saw in WebMd) to combat bacteria/parasite after experiencing severe diarrhea from oversea travel.
The protocol was to take 4 capsules of 50mg per each meal (3 meals per day) and followed up with 4 capsules of probiotics after one hour. With 3 meals each day, I took 600mg per day of Oregano Oil for 5 consecutive days.
After one week of finishing the protocol, I am experiencing soreness in different areas of stomach (e.g below right and left rib cage, mid stomach and pelvic area) along with getting red inflamed spots on tongue as well as having excess burping and gas. Do you think this is due to the toxicity of oregano oil. If so, do you have any suggestions to combat this. My medical doctor recommended Omeprazole (Prilosec) but reading more about this, it has some severe side effects.
I had the same scary soreness just below rib cage. I took too much oregano oil but didn’t catch on to the cause of the pain for several days. A heating pad really helped the pain, and it gradually went away once I quit the oil (but it did cure my sinus infection quickly).
If I take oregano oil, internally, for 10 days and then stop as suggested, how long should I wait before I can start taking it again.
Thanks so much for this info! My partner is sick with a bacterial infection at the moment and your info has been invaluable in treating him.
Could you insert in vagina for Bacterial vaginosis? Or better to take orally? thanx
Orally, it’s very spicy
Hello! Thank you for this all! I have doTerra Oregano Essential Oil. Would it be okay to put drops into a capsule and ingest? If so, what is the recommended dosage amount?! Thank you so much!
Great article! Thanks a lot.
I know several people have asked this, but I’m still not sure I understand. I have SIBO and have purchased the brand you recommended, Natural Factors. On the bottle, they recommend 4 drops daily, which is only 50 Mg daily. If I understand your recommendation correctly, are you suggesting taking 4 drops (which is 30 Mg) 3-6 times daily for a total of 90-180 mg daily? If my calculation is wrong, please let me know how many drops straight out of the Natural Factors bottle I should take and how many times a day.
Thanks so much!
This is my question, did you get a response?
I am doing elemental with herbals as recommended by you and wanted your recommendation regarding multiple treatment rounds. My sibo has reduced but not eradicated and I’m unsure regarding safety of timing between treatments. Can you help?
Also is it safe to mix herbals with prescription meds? I want to use resolor aka prucalopride instead of Motilpro.
Thanks so much
I have read that applying oregano oil on the bottom of your feet is another way for your whole body to gain the effect of using the oil. I thought Barbara who cannot easily swallow might want to research this way and try it. I have applied YL essential oregano oil directly to my feet with no burning but every person is different so test a small area first.
I am fighting candida and H. Pylori. Every time I try to take Oregano oil (2 drops doTerra EO in a veggie capsule twice daily) I have a breakout of Impetigo around my mouth. Have you every heard of anyone else experiencing this or know why this could be happening? Thank you!
i have the same too can u please tell me what are u using .i used to take antibiotics but then stopped and now im using origano oil two drops in a table spoon with olive oil im so confused and scared even though im using it for 6 days i found blood in stool i dont know what to do should i keep going with this natural treatment ?
Using the brand North American Herb and Spice, oil of oregano, oreganol,,what is the dose in drops and duration of use to eradicate salmonella?
how long to take 4 drops=1 serving /daily of oregano oil for SIBO? 7-10 days or 4 weeks?.. im confused
I have some bad teeth and cant get into a dentist till a couple more weeks his nurse who i know very well said she knows i love using natural when possible and suggested *off the record lol* to try oil of oregano pills. i found some that are 150mg oil of oregano and 84mg of it is the carvacrol per pill. how many should i take? i mean, above did i read that someone said 50mg 6x a day? so thats 50mg of the carvacrol 6x a day or ??? sorry im confused thanks for another explanation so i can take this correctly bc i took 10 pills for 2 days straight and started feeling super tired and kinda not full of life, and sorta feel like it drained my energy but… do you also suggest probiotics when taking oil of oregano? i stopped it and feel i should start it again what do you think… i know you are not treating me just giving your opinion 🙂 🙂 thanks for all your help you give ppl on here etc!!
i am also curious if taking it sublingually do you swallow or spit it out before rinsing with water? – thanks for information
Hi, could you privide a bibliograpy (a link) to your article, please: “Research shows that, at dosages which cause 97% to 100% of inhibition of pathogenic bacteria, only 3% to 5% of probiotics were inhibited”. We are taking oregano for gardiosis and that data is crucial for us. Thank you 🙂
For how long can you take orégano oil in you have an infection?
Hi Sylvia, I purchased a bottle of oregano oil capsuals that contain 80% carvacrol and 100gm of oregano oil and I’m not sure how many days I should be on them. The bottle has 30 capsules but a friend told me I shouldn’t take them for more than 10 days. What would you recommend?
I use young living essential oils, any recommendations on using this brand instead of the 2 listed above?
A doctor prescribed Bactrim for a Blastocysistis GI infection diagnosed in 2009 and this antibiotic completely devastated my gut, causing chronic IBS/SIBO. Through the years I’ve used many different kinds of probiotics with good results but have searched for something to kill the bad bacteria which is an ongoing problem. Flagyl helped initially but also caused yeast overgrowth. Most recently I’ve been using oil of oregano with excellent results. Within the hour after taking oil of oregano I can feel a definite sense of relief in my gut as it goes to work killing bad bacteria and reducing inflammation. Experimenting with dosage, and in combination with probiotics, I see immediate results in its ability to reverse diarrhea and even change mood for the better giving enthusiasm and energy. It’s been a life saver! Wish I’d known about it earlier. Hoping to get rid of the IBS/SIBO permanently.
Sylvie, do you know how effective Oil of Oregano is against H-pylori? And how long should someone take it for?
Can you use the oregano oil periodically to reduce bouts of re-occurrence of SIBO? If so how often and how much?
After diluting the oregano oil and putting the drops under tongue, you mentioned rinsing with water….do you swallow or spit it out?
I’m also curious if taking it sublingally do you swallow or spit it out before rinsing with h20?
I use 2 drops sublingually and let it sit there for a couple of minutes. Then continue as usual with water or drink of choice. Don’t spit it out. It is absorbed through the membranes under your tongue.
Great info Sylvie (as awlays)! I’m curious what you think about the effectivness of oregano oil vs oregano essential oil. Does the essential oil work the same way?
Also, I noticed in your previous post regarding antibiotics for SIBO, that oregano oil was not listed as one of the natural antibiotics that you took. Do you think the ones you used work better then the oregano oil for SIBO? Would you add the oregano oil in on top of the other natural anitbiotics you reccomended or take it by itself?
I’m getting ready to embark on the natural antibiotic train for SIBO and I’m doing research on which ones are most effective and if I should take more then one at a time (i.e. Oregano oil with Allicin or Neem).
The difference between “Oregano essential oil” and “oregano oil” is that “oregano oil” has been mixed with a carrier oil and is ready for ingestion. If you try to consume “oregano essential oil” straight out of the bottle without dilution, it will burn.
I didn’t use it personally for SIBO but many have been asking about it so I decided to research and write about it. If I were restarting my SIBO treatment today it might be something I’d consider although adding it to the Allicin + everything else at once might be a bit much.
Hope that helps!
Source Naturals burns pretty bad also, without being an essential oil.
I am a long-time adherent of functional / integrative medicine and much prefer to use herbal abx whenever possible. However, I have a very unusual health condition that makes taking herbals (especially in concentrated form like essential oils) a huge challenge at times.
I was born with 2 esophageal strictures which narrow the diameter of my esophagus to 1/4″ (instead of the normal 1″) so I cannot swallow pills / capsules — every supplement I take has to be mixed with a food or beverage.
PLUS I have esosinophilic esophagitis (EE), an inflammatory condition that causes (intermittent) bouts of difficulty swallowing. EE is triggered by food allergens and IMHO excess histamine may trigger as well. So I have to be very careful of the supplements I take. Something that would be helpful for my SIBO / IBS-C could easily irritate my EE and cause my esophagus and throat to swell (not to life-threatening levels, but still very uncomfortable and scary).
For example: several years ago I had such a severe EE reaction that I had to go to the ER because I couldn’t even swallow saliva. Ironically, the ER doctor also suffered from EE, so he understood. The trigger was a couple of new supplements I had been taking for thyroid / adrenal problems. Within hours of stopping the supplements, swallowing started to improve and withing 24 hours went back to normal. The supplements were working great for my thyroid / adrenal problems, so I was really disappointed that I could no longer take them.
The challenge of course is that I never know if a supplement or food is going to cause a problem with my EE until after I’ve taken it.
Do you have any suggestions about how I could TOPICALLY dose oregano oil as part of the kill phase for SIBO? (I have done a breath test and have very high methane and pretty high hydrogen).
I already have a bottle of Young Living Oregano sitting on the shelf waiting to be used.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have.
Sorry to hear that. My friend has a daughter with EE and I can’t even imagine how hard it is.
Unfortunately I really don’t know how (or if) Oregano oil could help topically at all. I have not come across it in my research.
Have you asked your doctors if you could do an intravenous treatment of some sort?
Would love to hear how you decide to treat.
I love your article, but I’m confused on the recommended dosage. I must be doing the math wrong. You say to use 500mg 4x a day. But if i get the Natural Factors brand which has 24mg of carvacral per serving (which is 4 drops) I would need about 84 drops for 1 dose, is that correct? The bottle only has 187 servings so I would end up using the whole bottle in little more than 2 days, that can’t be right can it? It seems like a LOT. Please help me convert this properly. Thanks 🙂
Thanks for catching that! It should be 50mg per day. It’s been updated above. . Note though that the dosage is still for oregano oil and not the Carvacrol content. So you still follow the manufacturer’s instructions of once or twice daily. For severe infections, some say 50mg up to 6x per day!
As for the math, 4 drops = 1 serving. Since there are 187 servings per bottle, that comes out to 748 drops in a bottle.
One serving has 24mg of Carvacrol. So, that comes out to 6mg of Carvacrol per drop.
Hope that helps!
Thank you i am going to by oregano oil and try it i have sibo and i am always looking for new information
You’re welcome, Nella 🙂