Oil of Oregano and Garlic are the two plant-based products that will be the focus of this fourth installment. These two wholefood products are full of naturally occurring compounds that can help support our health and wellbeing. Like our previous discussions on Vitamin D, Vitamin C and NAC, this blog will briefly summarise their antioxidant and immune supporting properties.
Carvacrol (60-80%) and Thymol (5%) are the two primary ingredients of Oregano, with lower levels of the terpines pinene and terinene. It is these key constituents which are reported to provide the antiseptic, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anesthetic properties (Sakkas and Papadopoulou 2017).
Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is seen as a therapeutic medicinal plant that has acquired a reputation in different traditions as a prophylactic (Bayan et al., 2014). Garlic preparations are mainly liquid (including oil) or solid (dried powder and fresh poultice). The biological effects of different garlic preparations and extracts are summarized elsewhere.
Antioxidant and Immune Support
The British Nutrition Foundation recommend the use of extra herbs, spices and citrus juices during cooking as part of their healthy diet recommendations. The supplementation with additional Oil of Oregano and Garlic have reported benefits for health and wellbeing.
In respect to supplemental Garlic, studies have shown an apparent increase, following supplementation, in enzymes related to glutathione (a major intracellular antioxidant) in both white and red blood cells. In addition, Horev-Azaria and colleagues (2009) have indicated “that Garlic derived allicin was also found to upregulate the expression of glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCL), the rate-limiting enzyme in glutathione synthesis, and other Phase II detoxifying/antioxidant enzyme”.
Oxidative stress is the disturbance in the pro-oxidant-antioxidant balance. Oil of Oregano has been studied in respect to its capacity to neutralize oxidative stress and has demonstrated to have a potential efficacy for delaying lipidic oxidation. As well as having the capacity for inhibiting the cell damage caused by free radicals (Leyva-López et al., 2017). At this time of crisis, we must welcome any intervention, including Oil of Oregano, that may help us manage our wellbeing and promote resilience.
Garlic is commonly used within cooking, as a raw supplement the usual recommendation appears to be one glove of Garlic (2 to 3 times per day). As a supplement, most studies use 600 to 1200mg a day (in divided doses), with Garlic oil showing efficacy.
As a herb, Oregano leaves (both fresh or dried) are commonly added to meals and dishes to add a Mediterranean flavour. Supplementing with Oil of Oregano, recommendations start at 50 mg per day, with premium products standardising for Carvacrol content.
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This blog series is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.