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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

(Origanum vulgare var. vulgare)
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Also see: Common Purple Oregano, Greek Oregano, Mexican Organo

PROPAGATION: By seed, cutting, and divison. Perennial.
NEEDS: Full sun and average well-drained soil.
HARVEST: Cut as needed when 6" high; cut back in August for main crop.
FLOWER: White. Appears from late July onward.


Used in the herbal bath for aching muscles and joints.
The essential oil is dominated by carvacrol (simple phenol).

The flavor is coarser and not nearly as warming and pungent as O. heracleoticum.

(Origanum vulgare)
Marjoram, Showy

(Origanum heracleoticum and O. vulgare hirtum)

At one time or another both varieties (O. heracleoticum and O. v. hirtum) have claimed to be the "true" Greek Oregano. O. heracleoticum is probably the correct one and superior in taste to O. v. hirtum.

PROPAGATION: By seed, cutting and division. Hardy perennial.
NEEDS: Full sun and well-drained soil.
HARVEST: As needed when 6" high. Cut back in August for a main crop.


Antispetic, warming, antispasmodic, increases perspiration, aids digestion, mildly expectorant.
NOT given to PREGNANT WOMEN as it stimulates the uterus.
Has been used internally for colds, flu, stomach upsets and painful menstruation.
Has been used externally for asthma, bronchitis, arthritis and muscular aches and pains.

Used extensively in Greek and Italian cooking. It is usually used dried rather than fresh.
Leaves and flowering tops are used for tea.

The essential oil is used in aromatherapy for the same conditions listed above.

The essential oil is used externally to kill lice, however, it should never be used directly on the skin without first cutting it with a carrier oil. Skin irritation can result.

The oil is used commercially for food flavoring, in toiletries and in men's colognes.

(Lippia graveolens and Poliomintha longflora)
lippia g. poliomintha l.

Two different plants with the same name. Neither belong to the origanum group, so are not true oreganos, but both are used in the same manner as an oregano substitute.

PROPAGATION: Both are propagated by cuttings and both are tender perennials best pot grown in the north.
NEEDS: Full sun and average growing conditions.

©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH