Oregano, or Origanum vulgare, refers to a flowering perennial herb endemic to Western and Southeastern Eurasia and parts of the Mediterranean. Its primary active component is carvacrol, which can also be found in pepperwort and wild bergamot. It is a member of the mint family and has a long history of culinary use, particularly in Italian, Turkish, and Greek cuisine. It also has a history of medicinal use in treating respiratory, gastrointestinal, and urinary tract diseases.
A 2014 study published by the Journal of Applied Microbiology examined the viral efficacy of carvacrol and oregano oil in treatment against nonenveloped murine norovirus or MNV. While oregano oil alone did not significantly inhibit MNV infectivity, carvacrol produced a significant reduction within fifteen minutes of exposure in vitro.
A 2011 study published by the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology assessed the antiviral activity of Mexican oregano in essential oil form and as a carvacrol extract. Researchers found that oregano essential oil yielded antiviral activity against acyclovir-resistant herpes simplex virus type 1, acyclovir-sensitive HHV-1, human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), and bovine viral virus (BVDV) via MTT assay. However, human rotavirus and bovine herpesvirus type 2 were not significantly attenuated by essential oil alone.
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