How to Use Oregano Oil to Fight Bacteria and SIBO
You may be surprised to learn that oregano oil has many beneficial medical uses as well as being a delicious herb used in cooking.
As a natural antibiotic, oregano oil is a great solution for your bacterial infections, and specifically for those that suffer from SIBO or a variety of gut issues.
In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about oregano oil including how it is used as an antibiotic, the correct dosage, and how to use it for specific gastrointestinal issues like SIBO so that you can find relief soon!
Table of Contents
- 1 How Does Oregano Oil Work as a Natural Antibiotic?
- 2 Oregano Oil Uses
- 3 Oregano Oil vs Pharmaceutical Antibiotics
- 4 Oregano Oil vs Garlic for SIBO
- 5 Oil of Oregano Dosage
- 6 How to Take Oregano Oil
- 7 What is The Best Oregano Oil to Buy?
How Does Oregano Oil Work as a Natural Antibiotic?
While dried oregano may be found on every spice rack, this food seasoning can provide many medical and health benefits. Oregano oil appears to be more effective as a natural antibiotic, as compared to dried oregano leaves.
Recently, oregano oil as an antibiotic has become very popular to help those that suffer from bacterial infections and SIBO. But this remedy has actually been around for thousands of years and has a deep history in many cultures.
Oregano oil’s main active ingredients are believed to be thymol and carvacrol.
Carvacrol is found at the highest concentration in oregano, but it can be found in other herbs, such as thyme. This compound (technically known as a monoterpene) has the ability to act as an effective antibacterial that fights against a variety of strains of bacteria including species of Bacillus, Enterococcus, E.coli, Salmonella and Psuedomonas. Oregano oil is also effective against both methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Carvacrol pokes holes in the cell membranes of bacteria and causes the leakage of essential minerals and can alter the internal pH of the bacterial cell. Carvacrol is also thought to do less damage on the overall microbiome compared to conventional antibiotics, making it a crucial ingredient in oregano oil’s ability to be a beneficial natural antibiotic. In addition to its antibacterial activity, carvacrol is also effective against yeast (Candida) and some viruses.
Here are just a few studies which show carvacrol’s antibacterial capabilities:
- This study, published in PLOS one medical journal concluded that they support the use of carvacrol in infection prevention strategies. The study was specifically conducted on Campylobacter jejuni, a food-borne pathogen.
- This study, published in Letters in Applied Microbiology showed the effectiveness of carvacrol and thymol against Coli. E. coli is a very common and usually non-pathogenic type of bacteria—but there are some strains of E coli (eg. O157:H7) which can produce toxins.
Thymol acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in addition to its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal effects, though at this point, it is not clears how it does this.
Oregano Oil Uses
Oregano oil can be used to help with all sorts of bacterial and fungal conditions. These include:
- Bacterial infections
- Ear infections
- Yeast infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Sinus infections
- Bug bites, rashes, and even poison ivy
Oregano Oil vs Pharmaceutical Antibiotics
When taking any type of antibiotic, natural or pharmaceutical, you may have questions about overuse and damage to the good bacteria as well as the harmful.
So, how does oregano oil compare to pharmaceutical antibiotics? Does oregano oil kill good bacteria?
First of all, anytime you can get the same beneficial effects with a natural product like oregano oil compared to using a pharmaceutical product, it is most often well worth using it.
This is because natural products like oregano oil are usually much gentler than prescription drugs and are presumed to do less damage to the healthy gut bacteria—the microbiome. The fact that oregano oil has been shown to be just as effective as regular antibiotics in many cases is a very positive finding. The “kinder and gentler” mechanism of action of oregano oil means that there is a decreased risk of adverse effects that are often seen with prescribed antibiotics. These include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. More serious adverse effects include allergic reactions, Steven-Johnson syndrome (a painful rash that can spread and cause swelling and loss of skin), irregular heartbeat and tendonitis.
It’s important to remember that while high dose oregano oil works as an antimicrobial, there hasn’t been much clinical research done. Animal research, usually done in mice, has shown that oregano oil is effective. Currently, it is not clear if oregano oil spares normal gut bacteria or not—however, eating foods that support healthy gut bacteria (yogurt, fermented foods) can usually help support the re-population of healthy gut bacteria.
Here are just a few reasons why using oregano oil over pharmaceutical antibiotics can be a good choice:
- Oregano oil is presumed to be less harmful to the overall microbiome since it is a natural product and made from many different compounds.
- Pharmaceutical antibiotics are very strong and can broadly attack all bacteria, including the good bacteria that help you digest food, provide nutrients, support immune health and help regulate your mood.
- Pharmaceutical antibiotics are made of just one compound, making it easier for bacteria to evolve and adapt to the antibiotic—in other words, become antibiotic-resistant
- Bacteria struggle to adapt to oregano oil’s many compounds, like carvacrol and thymol, which helps you avoid antibiotic resistance over the long run
- Using oregano oil is much cheaper than purchasing prescription antibiotics.
If you’re thinking about using oregano oil to treat a bacterial infection or SIBO it is an excellent option. Many people have found that it is best to try natural options first before resorting to pharmaceutical drugs.
Oregano Oil vs Garlic for SIBO
If you’re going to use antimicrobial herbs for SIBO or any other stubborn bacterial issue, it’s important to research the different options available.
One of the questions that often comes to mind is, “what’s the difference between using garlic and oregano oil?”
Both oregano oil and garlic act as a great natural alternative to antibiotics and are both very potent. This is a tough question to answer since each person’s microbiome is unique and it can be uncertain which types of bugs you’re actually treating.
If you’re thinking about which herbs to use, you should know that oregano oil and garlic are two of the most potent herbs around.
Both of these herbal products can get the job done. A lot of people that are treating SIBO or any other stubborn bacterial infection usually use a combination of 1-3 different herbs. This means you could try using both oregano oil and Allimed (garlic) for treatment. Garlic contains allicin—this is thought to be the active anti-bacterial ingredient and is highly concentrated in Allimed,
To learn more about Allimed, check out this article.
Oil of Oregano Dosage
As for the dosages that you should follow when using oregano oil, most people recommend starting at 200 mg capsules 2-3 times a day (with meals). Many report symptom improvement within 1-3 weeks, though others will report that it can take up to 4-5 weeks for symptom relief.
As more research about this natural antibiotic option comes to light, it is likely that we will see more and more how oregano oil is a great alternative to pharmaceutical antibiotics. As a reminder—do NOT use oregano oil if you are allergic to it!
How to Take Oregano Oil
There are a couple of different ways you can take oregano oil, but the most common are in capsule and liquid form.
If you chose the liquid form, it’s important for you to take it with a “carrier oil”, like coconut oil or olive oil. This helps with the oregano oil’s absorption. Try to dilute your oregano oil to a 1:1 ratio with whatever carrier oil you prefer. This means that for every drop of oregano oil, use one drop of your carrier oil Put one or two drops of your (mixed) oils under your tongue and then wait a couple of minutes, letting the oils get absorbed, before you rinse out your mouth with water.
If you chose to take the oregano oil capsules, make sure you check out the manufacturer’s dosage instructions because they can be different depending on the brand.
How to Take Oregano Oil Orally in Drops
- If taking oregano oil in liquid form it’s important to use it with a carrier oil like olive oil, coconut oil, or peppermint oil. (Peppermint oil has its own positive effects on SIBO and other digestive disorders…plus, for most – it really does “go down” more easily!
- If it’s not already diluted, mix it with the ratio of 1 drop of carrier oil to 1 drop of oregano oil
- Put 1 or 2 drops under the tongue and leave it there for a few minutes. Then rinse with water.
- To get the full benefits of oregano oil, use an oil that is standardized to at least 55-70% carvacrol and take 2 drops 2-4x per day.
How to Take Oregano Oil Orally in Capsules
You can also take oregano oil as capsules.
- The oregano oil capsules dosage is 200 mg 3x per day. Some recommend even higher dosage for the first 1-2 weeks at 500 mg 4x per day.
- Be sure to check the product instructions since different supplements contain different amounts of carvacrol.
What is The Best Oregano Oil to Buy?
Usually, when you treat with herbal remedies, it’s best to use 1-3 different types of herbal antibiotics for a short period of time (4 weeks) to treat the symptoms of SIBO. If you’re treating SIBO check out the herbal section of the treatment page for more information.
If using oregano oil for a standard infection it can be used for 7-10 days.
Since oregano oil is one of the most popular herbal medicines used against SIBO and other bacterial infections, here are the most effective products around: