Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Oregano is a popular herb in the mint family that’s known for its impressive medicinal qualities. Its plant compounds, which include carvacrol, offer antiviral properties. Oregano oil and carvacrol have also been shown to exhibit antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1); rotavirus, a common cause of diarrhea in infants and children; and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes respiratory infections. In a test-tube study, both oregano oil and isolated carvacrol reduced the activity of murine norovirus (MNV) within 15 minutes of exposure. MNV is highly contagious and the primary cause of stomach flu in humans. It is very similar to human norovirus and used in scientific studies because human norovirus is notoriously difficult to grow in laboratory settings. Oregano cleans as effectively as chlorine. Produce is often washed before it's made available for purchase. That's great... except for the fact that chemicals like chlorine may be used. One study looked to compare the antimicrobial effect of carvacrol to chlorine as a wash for grape tomatoes. For the experiment, grape tomatoes were contaminated with Salmonella, and then given a chlorine wash or carvacrol. The solution using carvacrol achieved significant reductions in Salmonella. The researchers also noted the natural solution did not affect nutritional value, antioxidant content, look or taste.