Types of oregano pictures

Types Of Oregano – Are There Different Varieties Of Oregano Herbs

Many different varieties of oregano find uses in cuisines from around the world. Some of these varieties have quite different flavors from the familiar oregano found in Italian herb blends. Trying different kinds of oregano is a great way to add interest to your garden and your cooking.

Common Types of Oregano

True oregano plant varieties are members of the Origanum genus within the mint family. There are several other plants known as “oregano” that are used in international cooking but are not members of this genus. Since oregano can be grown indoors, outdoors in containers, or in the ground, and since different kinds of oregano are suited for different climates, you can enjoy homegrown oregano no matter where you live.

Origanum vulgare: This is the species most commonly known as oregano. Its best-known variety is Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare var. hirtum). Sometimes known as true oregano or Italian oregano, this is the familiar herb used on pizzas and in tomato sauces. Outdoors, it does best in zones 5 to 10 and should be planted in a sunny spot with well-drained soil.

Many other varieties of common oregano are available. For example, Golden oregano (Origanum vulgare var. aureum) is an edible variety with gold-colored foliage.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is commonly used in Southern European and Middle Eastern recipes. Its flavor is similar to that of Greek oregano, but milder and less spicy.

Syrian oregano (Origanum syriacum or Origanum maru) is often used in za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mixture, along with ground sumac and sesame seeds. It is a perennial plant usually harvested in the wild, but it can be grown in a container or outdoors in warm, dry climates.

There are also ornamental oreganos like Origanum “Kent Beauty” and Hopley’s Purple Oregano. Hopley’s Purple Oregano is a variety of Origanum laevigatum used both as a fragrant ornamental plant and for its edible leaves, which have a milder flavor than Greek oregano. It is well-suited for hot and dry climates.

Then there are those “oreganos” that are not true oregano plant varieties, because they are not members of the Origanum genus, but have similar culinary uses to true oreganos.

Other “Oregano” Plant Varieties

Mexican oregano or Puerto Rican oregano (Lippia graveolens) is a perennial shrub native to Mexico and the Southwestern United States. It is a member of the verbena family and has a bold flavor reminiscent of a stronger version of Greek oregano.

Cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus), also known as Spanish thyme, is a member of the mint family. It is used in Caribbean, African and Indian cuisine.

Poliomintha longiflora, also in the mint family, is known as Mexican bush oregano, Mexican sage, or rosemary mint. It is a very aromatic edible plant with tube-shaped purple flowers.

Poor man pork

This perennial herb belonging to the Lamiaceae family. is known as Poor man’s pork, or broad leaf thyme in Barbados. It is widely used in folk medicine to treat conditions like cold, asthma, constipation, headache, cough, fever and skin diseases. Also, it has been found to be effective against respiratory, cardiovascular, oral, skin, digestive and urinary diseases.
Plectranthus amboinicus is a shrub with a tendency for climbing or creeping. It can reach over 1 m in height and even more in width in the wild. This sprawling large herb is fleshy and highly aromatic. The fleshy stems grow about 30–90 cm. Leaves are undivided, broadly ovate to suborbicular with a tapering tip and very thick. The taste of this leaf is pleasantly aromatic with an agreeable and refreshing smell. Flowers are on a short stem, pale purplish in dense whorls at distant intervals in a long slender raceme.
This herb grows easily in a well-drained, semi-shaded position. It is frost tender and grows well in sub-tropical and tropical locations.
Poor man’s pork has an agreeable and refreshing oregano-like flavor. In Barbados, the leaves of the plant are often eaten raw or used as flavoring agents, or incorporated as ingredients in the preparation of traditional food, such as the typical Barbadian Bajan seasoning for fish. It is a favorite in local cooking, and in the old days, people would fry and eat it as bacon is eaten, which can explain its popular name. Nowadays, the knowledge related to the benefits of this plant is gradually being lost, but a few people are slowly reviving its consumption.

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What are the benefits of thyme?

Share on PinterestThyme has a range of powerful medicinal effects.

Thymol is one of a naturally occurring class of compounds known as biocides.

These are substances that can destroy harmful organisms, such as infectious bacteria.

Used alongside other biocides, such as carvacrol, thyme has strong antimicrobial properties.

One study from 2010 suggests that thymol can reduce bacterial resistance to common drugs, including penicillin.

Killing the tiger mosquito

The tiger mosquito is native to tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia.

Since the 1990s, it has spread around the world, carrying West Nile virus, Yellow fever, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue fever, and Chikungunya fever.

A team at Chungbuk National University in South Korea reported that a combination of thymol, alpha-terpinene, and carvacrol was effective in killing off tiger mosquito larvae.

High blood pressure

Researchers at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, found that an aqueous extract obtained from wild thyme reduced blood pressure in tests on rats.

Rats respond to hypertension in a similar way to people, so the findings might have implications for humans.

More tests are required for the data to prove significant, however.

Foodborne bacterial infections

A team at the Center for Studies of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Portugal, studied the antimicrobial activity of essential oils extracted from a range of aromatic plants, including thyme oil.

They reported that thyme oil, even at low concentrations, showed potential as a natural preservative of food products against several common foodborne bacteria that cause human illness.

A Polish study tested thyme oil and lavender oil, and they that observed that thyme oil was effective against resistant strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia and Pseudomonas bacteria.

Colon cancer

A study carried out in Lisbon, Portugal, found that extracts of mastic thyme might protect people from colon cancers.

Breast cancer

Researchers in Turkey looked at the effect of wild thyme on breast cancer activity, and specifically how it affected apoptosis, or cell death, and gene-related events in breast cancer cells.

They found that wild thyme caused cell death in breast cancer cells.

Yeast infection

The fungus Candida albicans (C. albicans) is a common cause of yeast infections in the mouth and vagina, a recurring condition called “thrush.”

Researchers at the University of Turin, Italy, found that essential oil of thyme significantly enhanced the destruction of the C. albicans fungus in the human body.

Prolonging the stability of cooking oils

Lipid oxidation is a serious problem during food processing and storage. It can cause food to lose quality, stability, safety, and nutritional value.

Scientists from Warsaw, Poland, examined whether thyme extract might prolong the stability of sunflower oil at different temperatures.

They suggest that thyme might be a potent antioxidant for stabilizing sunflower oil.

Common skin problems

Skin problems are common worldwide. In some countries, herbal preparations are important medicines.

A team at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, carried out a study to assess the therapeutic benefits of a 10 percent chamomile extract cream and a 3 percent thyme essential oil antifungal cream for eczema-like lesions.

They noted that full healing occurred in 66.5 percent of people treated with a fungal cream containing thyme essential oil, compared with 28.5 percent of those using a placebo.

Results for the chamomile cream were similar to those for the placebo.

The researchers conclude:

“A 3 percent thyme essential oil cream could represent a relatively economical and easily available opportunity to treat and heal mild to moderate cases of fungal infections.”

However, they recommend further research.

Acne

Scientists from Leeds, England, tested the effects of myrrh, marigold, and thyme tinctures on Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the bacterium that causes acne. They found that thyme might be effective in treating acne.

Its antibacterial effect proved stronger than that of standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient in most acne creams and washes.

Benzoyl peroxide also causes a burning sensation and irritation on the skin, which means that a thyme tincture might be a solution to acne that leads to fewer unwanted effects.

Thyme isn’t just one of the most popular culinary herbs today — it also has a long history of use as a medicinal healer and protector. For example, back in the Roman era, it was consumed to prevent and treat poisoning.

In the days before refrigeration and food safety laws, including thyme in recipes gave you at least some protection against spoiled meat and food-borne illness. And prior to modern antibiotics coming on the scene, thyme oil was used to medicate bandages.

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve likely used this herb medicinally before — since thymol, thyme’s most active ingredient, is found in Listerine mouthwash and Vicks VapoRub, due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. The fact that these classic, although not very natural, products choose to use thymol speaks to the medicinal benefits of this versatile herb.

What Is Thyme?

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is an herb that belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). The plant is a relative of the oregano genus Origanum.

Is thyme a vegetable? It’s considered an herb rather a vegetable, since herbs are something that mostly flavor food (and supply nutrients too) where as vegetables are plants that can be eaten as a main ingredient. In other words, herbs tend to be consumed in smaller quantities than vegetables.

Thyme plants are currently cultivated throughout the world, and the fresh leaves are commonly dried and used as culinary seasoning. This herb comes in dozens of varieties, but French thyme is considered the most common.

What is thyme good for? According to a 2018 report, thyme “exhibits antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticarcinogenesis, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic activities.”

In general, it’s excellent at supporting the immune and respiratory systems, as well as the digestive, nervous and other body systems. For example, thyme uses include helping to kill a variety of germs and preventing infections, as well as scavenging free radicals that contribute to the aging process.

Nutrition Facts

The principal component of thymus vulgaris extract and essential oil is thymol, which gives it its antiseptic properties. For this reason, thyme oil is commonly used in mouthwashes and toothpastes. Thymol also kills fungi and is commercially added to hand sanitizers and antifungal creams.

Additionally, thyme contains another bacteria fighter known as carvacrol and also has a variety of flavonoids — including apigenin, naringenin, luteolin and thymonin. These flavonoids increase the herb’s antioxidant capacity and other health-promoting effects.

One tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves contains about:

  • 3 calories
  • 1 grams carbohydrates
  • less than 1 gram protein, fiber or fat
  • 3.6 milligrams vitamin C (6 percent DV)
  • 105 IU vitamin A (3 percent DV)
  • 0.3 milligrams iron (3 percent DV)
  • 0.3 milligram manganese (3 percent DV)

Health Benefits

1. Helps Fight Sore Throats

Studies have demonstrated that thyme oil is a strong natural antimicrobial, making it a serious weapon against sore throats. Its carvacrol content is a major reason why it’s one of the top essential oils for sore throat relief.

One recent study tested thyme oil’s response to 120 different strains of bacteria isolated from patients with infections of the oral cavity, respiratory tract and genitourinary tract.

The results of the experiments showed that the oil from the thyme plant exhibited extremely strong activity against all of the clinical strains. It even demonstrated a good efficacy against antibiotic-resistant strains.

Next time you have a sore throat, make sure to add this herb to your soup and/or sip on some germ-killing thyme tea.

2. May Help Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels

The ingestion of thyme has been shown to produce antihypertensive activity, which makes it a great herbal choice for anyone suffering from high blood pressure symptoms.

A recent animal study found that thymus vulgaris extract was able to significantly reduce the heart rate of subjects with hypertension. The extract was also shown to reduce cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL levels while increasing HDL cholesterol levels.

Instead of overdoing it on salt, try adding beneficial herbs like thyme to your meals to boost both the flavor and nutrient content.

3. Can Help Prevent Food Poisoning

Thyme has the ability not only to help prevent food contamination, but to decontaminate previously contaminated foods as well.

In several studies published in Food Microbiology, researchers found that the herb’s essential oil is able to extend the shelf-life of meat and baked goods and decontaminate lettuce inoculated with Shigella, an infectious organism that causes diarrhea and can lead to major intestinal damage.

In one study, washing produce in a solution containing just 1 percent of the oil decreased the number of Shigella bacteria below the point of detection. This suggests that by adding it to your next meal, such as raw greens or salad, you may actually help decrease your likelihood of a foodborne illness.

4. May Boost Your Mood

The compound called carvacrol that’s found in this medicinal herb has been shown to have some very positive mood-boosting effects.

Research published in 2013 showed that when carvacrol was administered for seven consecutive days to animals, it was able to increase both dopamine and serotonin levels in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Dopamine and serotonin are two key neurotransmitters when it comes to your mood.

The data from this study suggests that carvacrol is a brain-active molecule that can influence cognitive activity through the modulation of neurotransmitters. If thyme is regularly ingested in low concentrations, it might improve feelings of well-being. Other studies, mostly conducted on rats, show that it particularly has anxiolytic properties, meaning it fights anxiety.

5. Supports The Immune System and May Help Fight Cancer

Active constituents in this herb may be able to fight against development of tumors that can become cancerous. More specifically, carvacrol is a major component of the essential oil that has displayed antitumor properties, making this beneficial plant a potential cancer-fighting food.

One recent study published in Anti-Cancer Drugs found that carvacrol inhibited the proliferation and migration of the two colon cancer cell lines. Overall, research shows that carvacrol has therapeutic potential for both the prevention and treatment of colon cancer.

Thyme also has immunomodulatory effects and may be able to help treat autoimmune conditions, according to recent animal studies. It’s been found to have not only antioxidant effects, but the ability to lower production of some pro-inflammatory cytokines that can contribute to chronic diseases.

6. Naturally Protects Against Bronchitis

For centuries, some of the most common thyme uses have been naturally treating coughs, bronchitis and other respiratory issues.

One study used it within an oral treatment made with a combination of thyme and ivy. The group treated with this combination had a 50 percent reduction in coughing fits that was achieved two days earlier than the placebo group. In addition, the same group reported no more adverse events than the placebo group and no serious adverse events at all.

Further research confirms this and suggests this herb makes an effective bronchitis natural remedy as well.

7. Protects Oral/Dental Health

As mentioned above, extracts derived from this herb are used in dental products like toothpastes and mouthwashes. Compounds in this herb can help to prevent infections from developing in the mouth, and keep teeth healthy by decreasing plaque and decay.

Thyme vs. Oregano

Thyme is a cousin of another common, versatile herb: oregano. While there are some similarities between the two, there are also a few differences. Here’s how these two spices compare:

Thyme

  • Has more vitamin A and vitamin C
  • Commonly taken by mouth for bronchitis, whooping cough, sore throat, colic, arthritis, upset stomach, stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bedwetting, intestinal gas (flatulence), parasitic worm infections and skin disorders
  • Natural diuretic
  • Appetite stimulant

Oregano

  • Has more potassium, iron and calcium
  • Shared many of the health benefits of thyme; is used for respiratory tract disorders, such as coughs, asthma, croup and bronchitis
  • Also used for GI disorders, such as heartburn and bloating
  • Can help treat menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, UTIs, headaches and heart conditions

Similarities

  • Contain thymol and carvacrol, both of which have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Potent antioxidants

Interesting Facts

What is the meaning of the name thyme? The name has origins in Middle English and Old French. It originated from the Latin and Greek words thumon and thuein, which mean to burn and sacrifice.

Back in ancient times, it was associated with courage, bravery and strength. Roman soldiers exchanged sprigs of the herb as a sign of respect. Both Greeks and Romans burned bundles of thyme to purify their homes and temples. They also commonly used it medicinally in their bathwater.

In the European Middle Ages, the herb was nestled under pillows to encourage restful sleep. It was also placed on coffins during funerals because it was believed that this would assure passage into the next life.

Long ago, the Egyptians even cleverly used thyme for embalming. It made a perfect embalming agent since its high thymol content kills off bacteria and fungus.

Uses

How can you eat thyme? This herb is readily available both fresh and dried year-round.

When consumed fresh, thyme herbs will be more flavorful, however this may also be less convenient and will not last as long. If you purchase it fresh, it can last a week or two in the refrigerator. Dried thyme should be stored in a cool, dark place and ideally used within six months.

The dried version can be substituted for the fresh kind in most recipes. One teaspoon of dried leaves is equivalent to one tablespoon of chopped thyme leaves.

For medicinal purposes, it can also be purchased in the form of thyme tea, tinctures, powdered supplements or thyme oil.

Recipes

What does thyme taste like? Its taste is described as being earthy, lemony and minty.

When it comes to using it in your kitchen and daily life, thyme makes a tasty addition to chicken, fish, beef, lamb, vegetables (especially green beans, eggplant, carrots and zucchini), cheese (especially goat cheese), pasta dishes, soups, stocks, sauces, dressings and marinades for starters.

If you’re used to using rosemary in recipes, try thyme instead, or use rosemary and thyme together for even more flavor.

Try thyme in these recipes:

  • Grilled Honey Glazed Salmon
  • Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Chicken
  • Potato Leek Soup Recipe
  • Fennel Apple Soup Recipe
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples & Pecans Recipe

You can also use is to make homemade beauty products such as this Homemade Hormone Balance Serum, and even all natural medicine alternatives.

Risks and Side Effects

Thyme is considered safe when consumed in normal food amounts. When taken in larger quantities for medicinal purposes, it’s possibly safe for short durations of time — however, it can possibly cause digestive issues when taken in large amounts.

For pregnant or nursing women, it’s best to consume this herb in normal food amounts, not medicinal quantities. It’s not a common food allergen, but if you’re allergic to oregano or other Lamiaceae species then you might also be allergic to thyme.

For women who have hormone-sensitive conditions like breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids or endometriosis, it might act like estrogen in the body. Avoid it if you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen.

When used in large amounts, this spice might possibly slow blood clotting, so be especially careful if you have any clotting disorders and/or are currently taking blood thinners. For the same reason, it’s best not to take it two weeks before surgery.

Final Thoughts

  • Thyme (thymus vulgaris) is an herb that can be consumed fresh or dried. Like other herbs and spices, it’s packed with disease-fighting nutrients and antioxidants.
  • This herb has a long history of use in natural medicine and a proven track record as a natural medicine that can fight off bacteria. Thyme uses include fighting infections that affect the mouth, teeth, digestive system and respiratory system.
  • Other health benefits of thyme include helping to lower blood pressure, improve your immune system, boost your mood, and to support oral/dental health.
  • The easiest way to make this common herb a part of your regular diet to make sure you keep some dried thyme in your kitchen. You can also consume it in tea, tincture or essential oil forms.

The first time I saw a Vicks plant (Plectranthus tomentosa) was at the Union Square greenmarket. Fleshy to the touch, its leaves emit a strong odor of Vick’s VapoRub. So much so that its scent is nearly indistinguishable.

Turns out there are 44 types of volatile constituents that give P. tomentosa its scent, including eight types of compounds. Of the 44 constituents, half of them are terpenoids, which are phytochemicals that are the main components of essential oils. Of the terpenoids, limonene (the same smell you get from citrus plants), was the most abundant, so if you’re composting this plant, I would keep it away from your worm composting (vermicomposting) units since limonene is toxic to worms.

P. tomentosa is both succulent and hardy. The species name “tomentosa” is Latin for ‘cushion stuffing,’ and it refers to the tomentum, or the woolly coating on the leaves. You can tell by looking at the overall plant that its a pretty juicy plant. Given its succulent-like nature, I’ve found that it grows best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade, as I have specimens growing both in south- and north-facing windows. It’s a relatively quick grower and can get fairly leggy, so if you want it to be more robust, I would cut it back fairly often.

You’ll want a well-draining soil for your Vicks plant because it prefers succulent-like conditions. I mixed together 1 part peat moss with 1 part succulent soil mix. Water it well about once every week or two and then let it drain. In the winter months, you can water it even less.

Propagation is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is take stem cuttings, and as I shared earlier, this specimen can get pretty stemmy, so it doesn’t mind getting a haircut :). Make sure that you have 2-4 leaf nodes on a stem and snip the cutting 1/4″ below the nodes. It’s easy for this plant to get waterlogged, so put your cutting into a moistened growing medium (a potting soil-vermiculite mix will do!). Then let it sit near a windowsill so it can get some diffuse sunlight. You should see the cutting take root in around three weeks time.

This plant can be used as a decongestant, much in the same way as Vicks Vaporub, which I’ve done in the past for one of my sick friends. I’ll show you how to make an all natural vapor rub using P. tomentosa in a forthcoming post! 🌿

Cuban Oregano Uses – How To Grow Cuban Oregano In The Garden

Succulents are easy to grow, attractive and aromatic. Such is the case with Cuban oregano. What is Cuban oregano? It is a succulent in the Lamiaceae family, also known as Spanish thyme, Indian borage, and Mexican mint. It is not a true oregano in the family, Origanum, but has a scent characteristic of the true oreganos. There are numerous culinary and traditional Cuban oregano uses. Once you know how to grow Cuban oregano, try this lively little plant in containers, a well-drained, partially sunny area of the garden or in trailing baskets.

What is Cuban Oregano?

Plectranthus amboinicus is a perennial succulent with aromatic foliage. It is often grown as a houseplant but can thrive outdoors in warm season regions or in summer. Leaves contain pungent oils, which can be harnessed for cooking.

The flavor of Cuban oregano is said to be much stronger than Greek oregano, the herb most frequently used to flavor pizzas and other Mediterranean dishes. Harvesting Cuban oregano and using it in recipes can provide similar flavor to traditional oreganos but should be used in more moderate amounts to avoid over-seasoning the dish.

Cuban oregano is a member of the mint or deadnettle family. As such, it has characteristic thick, fuzzy leaves with a strong pleasing odor. Leaves are grayish green and finely haired and saw-toothed at the edges. Flowers are borne in panicles and may be white, pink, or lavender.

Plants grow between 12 and 18 inches (30.5-45 cm.) tall and may develop a trailing habit, making it attractive in hanging baskets. As an in-ground plant, it will spread to a small mounded ground cover. Cuban oregano growing requirements are somewhat different than traditional oreganos, as they may burn in full sun and perform better in some light shade.

How to Grow Cuban Oregano

Choose a site with well-draining, gritty soil in partial sun for this little plant. It is frost tender but does well in tropical to semi-tropical areas year around. In temperate regions, grow the plant in a container and bring it indoors in fall.

Cuban oregano does most of its growth in spring and summer and prefers hot, dry conditions. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t need water, however. The plant needs regular irrigation but cannot survive consistently wet roots, which makes drainage especially important.

Growing plants in containers makes it easier to accommodate Cuban oregano growing requirements by moving it as the seasonal sun gets hotter in certain areas of the garden. Some noon-day shade is required to prevent leaves from burning and ruining their appearance.

Cuban Oregano Uses

Cuban oregano leaves can be used just like regular oreganos. Harvesting Cuban oregano leaves for traditional medicinal purposes can be traced back centuries. It was useful in the treatment of respiratory and throat infections as well as rheumatism, constipation, flatulence and as an aid to stimulate lactation.

Modern applications use it as a substitute for Mediterranean oreganos, either dried or fresh. The leaves may be dried and crushed to add to meat dishes. Fresh leaves, in small amounts, are used in soups and stews, and in stuffing for poultry and other meat. Be cautious, as the plant is very strongly flavored and can overpower other seasonings.

This little plant has attractive foliage, the blooms attract pollinators and its use in the kitchen adds another tool to your culinary prowess.

Cuban Oregano

Plectranthus amboinicus

Common names

  • Cuban Oregano
  • Indian Borage
  • Mexican Mint
  • Mexican Thyme
  • Orégano Brujo
  • Spanish Thyme

Plectranthus amboinicus or Cuban oregano is a sprawling, slightly juicy plant, which grows up to a height of 1 meter. While the plants are horizontal at the base, their branchlets are ascending and densely covered with bristles. The leaves have petioles, which are anything between 1 cm and 4.5 cm in length. The petioles are compactly pubescent, while the blades are plump. The shape of the leaves varies from roughly ovate to rhombic, sub-orbicular or kidney-shaped to rounded to truncate and afterward usually long and slender at their base, while being thick or curved at the apex. Along the margin, the leaves are roughly crenate (having notched or scalloped margins in order to form rounded teeth) to dentate (tooth-like projections) or complete near the base. The leaves are closely pressed (appressed) as well as pubescent both above as well as beneath.

The vericils number about 10 to 20 and they are open, sub-globose and arranged in the terminals. The inflorescences are densely pubescent and about 10 cm to 20 cm in length, while the bracts are anything between 3 mm and 4 mm long. The pedicels are thin, hairy and measure about 5 mm in length. The calyx is campanulate, measuring about 1.5 mm to 4 mm in length. The calyx is hairy and glandular, with the higher lip being straight, and generally ovate or oblong shaped. The other teeth are thin and acute. The color of the corolla varies from light blue or mauve (light purple) to pink and measures about 8 mm to 12 mm in length. The corolla is tubular and expands distally. The upper lip is erect and puberulent and measures 4.5 mm x 3 mm, while the lower lip is concave and measures about 5 – 6 mm x 4 mm. The stamens appear as filaments that are generally merged into a tube around the style. The nutlets are smooth, light brown in color and measure about 0.7 mm x 0.5 mm.

Cuban oregano is a green leafy herb and its leaves are widely used all over the Caribbean Islands and East Asia for culinary as well as medicinal purposes. Similar to other oregano varieties, Cuban oregano also belongs to the mint family.

In all probability, this herb was first introduced to the inhabitants of Haiti in the Caribbean in the 1800s when the region was under French occupation. In Cuba, this plant is locally known as the French oregano or oregano frances.

Parts used

Leaves.

Cuban oregano leaves have several conventional therapeutic utilities; they are particularly used for treating sore throats, cough and cold and even nasal congestion. In addition, these leaves are also used for treating a variety of other different disorders, including infections, flatulence and rheumatism.

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People in Indonesia use Cuban oregano in the form of a traditional food – especially added to soup with a view to augment breast milk and given to new mothers for about a month after childbirth.

This is a therapeutic plant and is employed for treating laceration, abrasion, burns, conjunctivitis and several other conditions.

Yerberos, people who practice herbal medicine in Cuba, prepare a tea from the leaves of this herb. This tea is consumed to cure digestive disorders, respiratory problems and arthritis. In Indonesia, Cuban oregano is known as daun kambing. People in this country add the dried out leaves of the herb in soup and give it to nursing mothers to improve breast milk production. On the other hand, herbalists in India blend Cuban oregano with sugar to prepare syrup, which has been traditionally used to cure sore throats and cough. People in India also therapeutically use Cuban oregano for curing cough.

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Many gardeners rub the leaves of Cuban oregano on their skin with a view to keep insects away. The leaves of this herb have a very potent aroma. According to some people, the smell of Cuban oregano leaves is similar to a blend of sage and very potent oregano. The aroma of Cuban oregano is said to counteract capsaicin, the chemical compound present in peppers and responsible for their spiciness. Often people are advised to chew Cuban oregano leaves with a view to calm the burning sensation due to consumption of very spicy foods.

Traditional healers in Haiti fry Cuban oregano leaves to extract the enclosed oil and use it in the form of a chest rub for treating bronchitis and various other breathing disorders. In the West, practitioners of herbal and holistic medicine also value Cuban oregano for the herb’s antiseptic and antioxidant attributes. However, it is important to note that Cuban oregano is not the plant which is widely used in supplements containing oregano oil. The scientific/ botanical name of the variety of oregano that is used in oregano oil supplements is Origanum vulgare, denoting the common oregano.

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Therapeutically, the juice obtained from the leaves of Cuban oregano is recommended for treating conditions like asthma, dyspepsia, bronchitis, coughs, chronic coughs, pain in the region of the stomach and heart, problems related to the kidneys and bladder, urinary problems, vaginal discharges, epilepsy, jaundice, scurvy, colic in children, suppressed menstruation and urine, and rheumatism. This herb is also prescribed after childbirth and it alleviates dropsy and sour stomach. In addition, Cuban oregano is effective in expelling gas formed in the stomach as well as bowels.

Culinary uses

The leaves of Cuban oregano have a number of culinary uses, especially they are used for flavouring meat and stuffing. In addition, these leaves are also used as a replacement for sage.

The leaves of this herb have a potent flavour and they are a wonderful addition when used to stuff poultry and meat. You can also use delicately chopped leaves of Cuban oregano to add essence to meat dishes, particularly game, lamb and beef.

It is worth mentioning that Cuban oregano is also employed in the form of a alternate for oregano, especially in the food market and products that are labelled “oregano-flavored” may actually enclose this herb.

Cuban oregano leaf has a marked pungent taste and some consider it to be akin to that of thyme. Adding only one extremely delicately chopped Cuban oregano leaf to stuffing in the Western-style bread delivers enjoyable results.

Habitat and cultivation

Cuban oregano grows effortlessly, provided the soil is well-drained and the plants are grown in a partial shade. Plants of this species grow excellently in places having tropical and sub-tropical climatic conditions. They also do well when grown in cooler locations, especially if grown in containers and moved indoors or transferred to a sheltered place during the winter months. However, this herb is extremely susceptible to frost. It is important that you only water the plants moderately.

Cuban oregano variety having plain green leaves grows best when they are cultivated in partial shade, while the color of the variegated type or “Variegatus’ seems to be more prominent when grown in complete sunlight or semi-shade. Provided the plants are cultivated in a sheltered place, the spreading partially horizontal stems of Cuban oregano are able to grow randomly and freely over the ground forming an excellent ground cover. In such conditions, this sprawling plant will possibly even run over small shrubs.

On the other hand, it has been found that when the common green leaf form is grown in complete sunlight, the plans show sun stress and this may result in the leaves becoming pale and rather bleached. Contrarily, the variegated variety of Cuban oregano turns out to be denser having comparatively short internodes and having compact and chunky leaves. The red tint of the leaves also becomes more vivid, particularly when the plants are grown in a comparatively arid season.

This herb has fleshy leaves and grows partially prostrate. It is believed to be indigenous to Africa and found growing in the wild in Malaysia. This plant is very common in gardens in Australia and is also common in other places where the species is grown in the form of an herb garden plant or pot specimen. In places having tropical and sub-tropical regions, Cuban oregano is generally grown outdoors, while it is grown indoors in places that are prone to frosts.

Cuban oregano is generally propagated by means of root division, preferably undertaken during spring. You may also propagate this herb any time of the year from stem-tip cuttings. If you wish to propagate Cuban oregano from its seeds, it is essential to sow the seeds at temperatures ranging from 66°F to 75°F immediately when they ripen.

The young Cuban oregano plants are often attacked by mealy bugs and spider mites, and are affected by leaf spots, which will result in root rot.

Cuban oregano is an exceptional, chunky-leafed herb that is used for seasoning cooked foods in the Caribbean Islands. The stems of this plant are delicate, while the foliage is colourful – resembling the common coleus. The herb grows very sluggishly during the winter, while the growth rate is moderate during summer and spring. Cuban oregano plants develop somewhat insignificant flower stems during the fall. Since the plants are extremely tender, they should essentially be grown in a sheltered place or kept mobile growing them in containers, so as to enable you to move them to a regulated environment during the winter months.

Constituents

Cuban oregano contains phenol, essential oils, and potassium compounds.

Usual dosage

When using therapeutically, the standard dose of the fresh Cuban oregano juice is one tablespoon given once in an hour for adults. To treat children, give one teaspoonful of the freshly obtained juice once in two hours, four times daily. An infusion can be prepared using Cuban oregano leaves by boiling about 50 grams to 60 grams of the leaves in one pint of water. Drink this infusion as tea – four to five glasses every day. Children should be given half cup (125 ml) of the infusion four times daily. It is important to continue this treatment till all the ailments disappear.

It is recommended that you pour some fresh, unadulterated Cuban oregano leaf juice in the ear for treating deafness, noises in the ear or pain and allow it to remain for about 10 minutes. On the other hand, make a poultice using the herb’s leaves and apply it to the affected areas for treating boils, carbuncles, painful swellings, felons and nervous problems. Change the poultice at least four times daily.

You may also use Cuban oregano leaves in the form of a heating compress. To do this, obtain several leaves of the herb, heat them up and apply them in the form of a compress to cure sore throat. Prepare a general dose of Cuban oregano herb by adding two tablespoon of dried leaves of the herb to one pint of steaming water. If you are using fresh leaves, increase the number of leaves two-fold, but use the same amount of water. For best results, drink the tea/ infusion an hour prior to or following your meals.

Collection and harvesting

When you wish to add Cuban oregano in your cooking, simply pick the required number of leaves. You may add them to your dish as whole and bring them out just prior to serving.

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From M. Reyes – Jan-22-2020 This is great information! My daughter has an ear ache and I remembered when my grandma applied the oil of the leaf into my ear when I had ear ache being a child back in my Puerto Rico. I need to get a plant. Thank you. This is very useful.

What a Surprise When I Was Watering Today!

In all my years of growing this herb, I don’t think I have ever had this herb bloom. I love this herb, Cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus) which is not actually an oregano at all. It has a bunch of common names: Mexican Mint, Indian Borage, Caribbean Oregano, Country Borage, French Thyme, Indian Mint, Soup Mint, Spanish Thyme and Cuban Oregano. It is so important to know your botanical name. Common names are different in different areas of the world as you can see above.
It is very easy to grow in a container. It was used in Victorian times as a bedding plant. It is a tender perennial here in the ‘Burgh. It has a very pungent smell and flavor, a camphorous one. There are lots of people in the Caribbean regions who use it in cooking. I just tasted a flower and I would not use it in cooking. It is too intense for me. If you are interested in trying to cook with it, here is a recipe for Grilled Cuban Oregano Chicken from the Feral Kitchen and the 10 Best Cuban Oregano Recipes from Yummly. Please let me know if you try any of these recipes.
We were much more seasonal today with sunshine and even cold temperatures seem better when there is sun. The wildlife and I got along a bit better today, but I am counting the days until The Herbal Husband returns. Hope you have had a great day. It is December already! I feel like I have glided through this year! You may think so too! OK we are getting closer until I unveil the contents of my annual Herbal Christmas box. It is epic this year! Talk to you soon.

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