Oregano: Benefits & How to grow
Oregano is a perennial herb, and just needs a little protection in harsh winters. Its primarily used in Italian, Mexican & Greek cuisine, and has become a household name in India with the popularity in pizza delivery!
Some of its uses include:
➢ Oregano is great to improve appetite & aid digestion.
➢ It contains multiple antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
➢ Oregano can also help relieve coughs, reduce body odor & lower blood pressure.
➢ Oregano is also a strong antioxidant and contains high levels of beneficial acids and flavonoids.
➢ While it is an expectorant as well as a stimulant, surprisingly, in large quantities it can have a strong sedative effect!
➢ Boil Oregano plain water, strain and use this water as a mouthwash, or to prevent tooth infection or sore throat.
Tip: make a herbal tea, or add to soups/ sauces or stir fries!)
How to Grow
Oregano is a sun loving herb, and in any case… we just love herbs that are happy to be grown in pots ☺. As with many herbs, you can grow oregano from seed, saplings or cuttings from existing plants. Plants can grow to 2 feet, and spread quite a bit so maintain enough distance between plants!
1. From seeds: Plant seeds thinly in soil, about ½” inch deep and 6 “ apart. Spray with water, and take extra care not to over water! Seeds will sprout in about 1-2 weeks, and then you can transplant to about a foot apart.
2. From saplings: Plant sapling at least 10” apart, and water only when the soil is dry. If it’s in a pot, keep the pot in a sunny airy place – indoors may not be such a great idea. The soil should be moist, so no dousing with water!
3. From cuttings: Remove the bottom leaves from 3” cuttings. These can be planted in a mix of compost and soil about 1 ½ “ into the soil. Keep them at a distance of about a foot.
A couple of things to take of… Overwatering is a hazard for oregano, so beware! Keep weeds at bay for a healthy plant. Once the plant flowers; just pinch the pink, white or purple flowers off to make the plant bushy. Cut the stray stems, and soon you’ll have a compact little bush.
Luckily oregano does not attract pests or diseases. In fact, it is a great companion plant for some plants – especially broccoli and beans. It even deters the pests that tend to attack these vegetables.
The youngest leaves are the most flavoursome. Try harvesting when the plant is at least 4-5” tall, and leave about 2-3” of the stem for further growth. You can use oregano fresh, or dry it for later use. Use half the quantity of dry you would use fresh oregano. Use only the leaves in cooking.