10 November, 2011
Oregano & Hormones
Oregano, also scientifically known as Origanum vulgare, is an herb used in cooking to add flavor to different dishes, especially those of Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines. It contains a number of nutrients, including vitamin K, iron and manganese. Research shows that oregano consumption may influence the hormone progesterone in the body.
Hormones are signaling molecules synthesized in the body and secreted by endocrine glands. They are released into the bloodstream where they are transported to specific tissues. Hormones then attach to cell membranes and signal a chemical message to the cell. They are involved in a host of different processes such as metabolism, reproduction, mood and sexual function. Some vital hormones in the body are testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, insulin and glucagon, according to Medline Plus.
Most of oregano’s effects on the body are due to its high content of antioxidants, which play a role in destroying the production of free radicals that lead to disease and illness, according to a study conducted by researchers at Petru Poni Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry in Romania. Scientists discovered that oregano scored the highest out of all medicinal plants in its ability to scavenge free radicals. The research was published in the October 2011 issue of “National Product Research.”
Oregano intake may help increase the production of the hormone progesterone, according to a study conducted by researchers at Aeron Biotechnology. Scientists discovered that oregano is one of the main herbs that binds to intracellular receptors for progesterone and increases its release. Progesterone plays a role in several functions in the body, from promoting normal sleep patterns to normalizing blood sugar levels. In addition, it stimulates new bone formation. Although oregano impacts progesterone, it has no impact on other hormones in the body. The findings were published in the March 1998 issue of “Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.”
Oregano consumption is considered safe and has few side effects. However, consult your health care provider before taking any herbs, particularly if you’re taking medications.
- MedlinePlus: Hormones
- National Product Research: Antioxidant Capacity and Total Phenolic Contents of Oregano (Origanum vulgare), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) from Romania
- Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine: Estrogen and Progestin Bioactivity of Foods, Herbs, and Spices
- UrosPoteko/iStock/Getty Images