• Clinical data 90%
  • Efficacy 90%
  • Security 90%
  • Toxicity 10%


Origanum angelicum Hill, Origanum barcense Simonk., Origanum capitatum Benth., Origanum creticum L., O. dilatatum Klokov, O. elegans Sennen, O. fl oridum Salisb., nom. illeg., O. heracleoticum L., O. hortensis Moensch, O. latifolium Mill., O. nutans Benth., O. offi cinale Gueldenst., O. orientale Mill., O. prismaticum (Gand.) Grossh., O. puberulum (Beck) Klokov, O. purpurescens Gilib., nom. inval., O. thymifl orum Rchb., O. venosum Benth., O. virens Guss. subsp. siculum Nyman, O. watsonii T. Schmidt & H. Schlag

General appearance

The drug consists of fl owering leafy stems up to 20 cm long, green or violet in color. The leaves are opposite, petiolate, ovate or ovateelliptic; the margins are entire or serrate; the apex is acute or obtuse; upper surface green, lower surface paler; 20–40 mm long. Flowers are rare, 3–5 mm long, found as unbroken or broken parts of the corymbs. Bracts are dark purple and imbricate. Calyx is tubulous, 5-sepalled, corolla-like, glabrous or lightly hairy, inconspicuous. Corolla of labiate type, white or violet.

Major chemical constituents

Herba Origani contains 0.15–1.2% of volatile oil. The chief components of the volatile oil are carvacrol (40–70%), γ−terpinene (8–10%), p-cymene (2.80–10.00%), as well as α-pinene, myrcene, thymol, α-terpinene, estragole, eugenol and (E)-β-ocimene, among others. There are also strains that contain thymol, linalool with terpinen-4-ol, linalool, β-caryophyllene, germacrene D and sabinene as the major components. The ethanol-water extract contains fl avonoids (naringin, luteolin-7-glucoside, diosmetin-7- glucoside and apigenin-7-glucoside), rosmarinic acid (approximately 5%) and other phenolic esters; tannins are also present.

Medicinal uses of Origanum vulgare

Uses supported by clinical data

No information was found.

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents

No information was found.

Uses described in traditional medicine

Herba Origani Origanum vulgare is used to treat cough, colds and bronchial catarrh, and is used as an expectorant and diaphoretic. Other uses include the treatment of bloating, stimulation of bile secretion, of the appetite and of digestion, and as a sedative and antispasmodic agent. Herba Origani is also used as an emmenagogue in Unani medicine, and for treatment of algomenorrhoea and impotence. The herb is used as a diuretic and as a treatment for kidney infections, kidney stones and poor renal function resulting from chronic nephritis. It is also used to treat infl ammation, arthritis, hepatitis, and externally for scrofula and wound healing.


Experimental pharmacology

Antimicrobial activity

An ethanol extract (80%) of Herba Origani at a concentration of 250 µg/ ml/agar plate was active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus hemolyticus in vitro. Using a disc diffusion method, the extract dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide at a concentration of 4.0 µg/disc, exhibited antibacterial activity against Bacillus subtilis. The inhibition halos in the same test (4.0 µg/disc) were: Klebsiella pneumoniae and Proteus mirabilis 4 mm, Salmonella typhi 8 mm, Staphylococcus aureus 6 mm, Streptococcus hemolyticus 14 mm, and Escherichia coli 20 mm. The essential oil of the dried leaf demonstrated antibacterial activity at a concentration of 150.0 ppm against a broth culture of Lactobacillus plantarum and Leuconostoc mesenteroides.

The aqueous ethanol extract (1:1) of the dried entire plant at a concentration of 500 mg/ml/agar plate (dose expressed as dry weight of plant) demonstrated weak antifungal activity against Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger, Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium oxysporum, Penicillium digitatum, Rhizopus nigricans, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, and antiyeast activity against Candida albicans and Saccharomyces pastorianus.

The essential oil of the aerial parts of the plant exhibited a strong antifungal effect at a concentration of 100.0 ppm/agar plate against Gloeosporium album, Phytophthora nicotianae, Botrytis cinerea, Helminthosporium teres, Monilia laxa and Phytophthora infestans. The essential oil also inhibited the growth of Cryptococcus neoformans at a minimum inhibitory concentration of 150 µl/l/agar plate and inhibited the growth of Candida albicans by 0.12%. The essential oil of the leaf (0.25 and 1 µl/ml/agar plate) inhibited the growth of Trichophyton rubrum, Trichosporon beigelii and Malassezia furfur.

Antiviral activity

A 10% aqueous extract of the aerial parts of the plant demonstrated antiviral activity in cell culture against herpes simplex virus (HSV-2), infl uenza virus A2 (Mannheim 57) and vaccinia virus.

Insecticide activity

The essential oil of the aerial parts of the plant (concentration 20 µg) caused complete sterility in Dysdercus koenigii, and topical application of the oil demonstrated insecticidal properties (20 µl of stock solution of origanum oil) against Drosophila auraria adults, eggs and larvae. The median lethal dose for Drosophila melanogaster was determined to be 6.78 µl of stock solution of origanum oil by the somatic mutation and recombination test.

Antiparasitic activity

The essential oil of the fresh leaves of the plant (1 mg/l) acted as an antinematodal agent against Meloidogyne javanica.

Anti-infl ammatory effects

The methanol extract of Origanum leaf applied externally to mice (20 µl/ animal) exhibited anti-infl ammatory effects in animals with ear infl ammation induced by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. Similarly, the external application of a methanol extract of Origanum leaf to mice in vivo at a dose of 2 mg/ear inhibited ear infl ammation induced by 12-Otetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate with an index of inhibition of 27.

Antioxidant activity

A tannin fraction and an ethanol-aqueous extract (1:1) of the dried fl owering top and leaf of Origanum vulgare exhibited strong antioxidant activity in vitro. The free-radical scavenging effect of the tannin fraction on 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl was estimated to occur at a median effective dose of 16.2 mg/ml. The median effective dose for the antioxidant activity of the ethanol-aqueous extract was estimated to be 16 mg/ml as assessed by a colorimetric assay. In addition, the antioxidant activity of the diethyl ether extract of dried leaves of Origanum vulgare (concentration 0.02%) was demonstrated when assayed against corn oil, soybean oil and olive oil. The water-soluble active ingredients were isolated, and their structures were determined. Over 70% radical scavenging activity was found for two of them – rosmarinic acid and 4´-O−βd-glucopyranosyl-3´,4´-dihydroxybenzyl protocatechuate – when applied at 2 × 10-5 M in the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl test.

Antihyperglycaemic activity

An aqueous extract of dried leaves of Origanum vulgare exhibited antihyperglycaemic activity in vivo when administered to rats by the intragastric route at a dose of 20 mg/kg body weight (bw). Commercial samples of Origanum leaf (concentration 12.5 mg/ml) exhibited insulin potentiating effects in vitro.

Antimutagenic activity

The aqueous and methanol extracts of dried and fresh leaves of Origanum vulgare exhibited desmutagenic activity in an in vitro model, at a concentration of 10 µg/agar plate of Salmonella typhimurium TA98, against 3-amino-1-methyl-5H-pyrido[4,3-b]indole-induced mutagenesis. Both the essential oil and carvacrol were shown to strongly inhibit mutagenicity induced by 4-nitro-o-phenylenediamine and 2-aminofl uorene in the presence or absence of a metabolic activator, which would suggest a protective effect against cáncer.


In mice, the median lethal dose for an aqueous-ethanol extract (1:1) of the entire plant has been recorded as > 1 g/kg (by intraperitoneal injection). The essential oil of the aerial parts of the plant, at a concentration of 0.01%, inhibited proliferation of rabbit epidermal CA-HEP-2 cells, Vero cells, and cultured HeLa cells.

Clinical pharmacology

No information was found.

Adverse reactions

No information was found.


If signs of hypersensitivity reactions appear (rash, pruritus, urticaria, swelling of mouth and skin) Herba Origani must not be used again.


No information was found.

Drug and laboratory test interactions
No information was found.

Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
No information was found.

Ingestion of strong (concentrated) teas made with Herba Origani may cause uterine contractions. Women should avoid taking the herb during pregnancy and lactation.

Nursing mothers
See Pregnancy.

Paediatric use
No information was found.

Drug interactions
No information was found.

More information: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/documents/s17534en/s17534en.pdf#page=293

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