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Origanum vulgare

Originally, Wild Oregano came from the Mediterranean region, but it is now at home in all warmer parts of Europe. The delicate pinkish-red flowers attract a plethora of butterflies. The herb has a warm, pungent and aromatic flavour and can be foraged as a wild kitchen herb, to be used much like its cultivated cousin. The ancients held it in high esteem as a panacea and magical herb. The Greeks and Romans made wreaths from this herb with which they adorned young couples, and the Greeks thought that if Wild Oregano was found growing on a grave, it indicated that the departed had a happy afterlife.

Despite its previous fame, modern herbalism makes very little use of this herb. However, it does possess some interesting anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can be used topically for tonsillitis, stomatitis or gingivitis. As a tea it soothes respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. It also stimulates gastric juices and relieves cramping stomach and gas. Wild Oregano increases menstrual flow. A strong decoction can be used as a bath additive.

Along with St. John's Wort, Wild Oregano was considered among the most potent protective herbs, capable of guarding against all types of devils and demons. Along with other fragrant herbs it was also used as a bedstraw, to protect pregnant women at their most vulnerable time, during childbirth.