Medicine of the month: Oregano Grueso ( Origanum Vulgare)

Here's a culinary herb that we all know. In Italy where I come from, it's an essential ingredient for pizza and other dishes that require a rich, delicious tomato sauce.

But today I want to introduce you to another type of Oregano, which wouldn't agree with my pizza, but which is an amazing medicinal plant.

It's the Oregano Grueso, meaning thick Oregano due to its meaty leaves. It is a commonly used plant for ear infections and blocked ear duct.

Before my work in the Maya clinic, I had never heard of this type of Oregano. I was familiar with the small leaf variety , the culinary herb, but I never saw the thick leafed one.

One very hot afternoon a young woman arrived at the jungle clinic complaining of an acute earache. Columba the herbalist and curandera invited us to walk outside and she picked two leaves from the oregano Grueso plant. We then went to the kitchen and warmed up the leaves on the Comal ( the clay or metal plate that goes on the fire for heating up the tortillas). Then Columba squeezed the juice from the warm leaves into the ear of the woman who was by then sitting on a stool made from a tree stump. Columba had the woman hold her head tilted for half a minute, then she offered a napkin as the woman straightened her head again and let the liquid come out.Her earache was gone.

Since then I've seen it done several times and I started using the method myself with my clients. It never fails, it's a miracle plant.

Its effect is so immediate it's almost unbelievable.

This month for the first time I used it on myself. One of my ears got blocked while swimming and for a few weeks i had to live with the discomfort. Nothing I tried worked and as I was on the road I didn't have access to much medicine. I didn't find the plant where I was so I patiently waited, knowing that the blocked ear duct was a strong medicine in itself. "There must be something I don't want to hear or I'm not paying attention to, that's why I can't get rid of it." I said to myself. Eventually I learned to live with it for a month.
Back in the Yucatan I visited Flori's community with 2050 Legacy, an amazing theater company from NY that fights social justice through the arts. 14 blessed souls came to do a cultural exchange and offered a workshop to the children in the village. The day we arrived a member of the team asked me if I had anything to ease her earache so I asked Dona Elma if she had any Oregano.

The abuela came back 5 minutes later with 4 chubby leaves, warmed them up on the fire and squeezed them into our ears. It worked right away. I felt the weirdest sensation and then everything opened up and I could ear again.

It makes a huge difference seeing a remedy working and actually experiencing it first hand, it takes another dimension, therefore I'm grateful for the blocked ear duct that gave me the opportunity to get to know Oregano Grueso better.

Now let's look at the most common type of Oregano which is commonly available wherever we are.

Oregano belongs to the Mint family and therefore has cooling, anti inflammatory properties.

Only one gram of fresh Oregano contains more antioxidants than an apple. Its fresh leaves are a good source of iron, magnesium, copper and other essential minerals. It's rich in vitamin K, E, C and B6 as well as Omega 3.

An infusion of Oregano helps relieve Menstrual cramps, headaches, nausea and bloating.

Oregano is a good companion in winter to prevent and treat respiratory ailments such as cough, bronchitis and colds. Make an infusion of fresh Oregano leaves and ginger. Add a spoon of honey and squeeze a lemon into it and drink throughout the day or until the symptoms clear.

Oregano is easy to grow and it's a must in the kitchen. It's a great ally for aiding digestion and treating flatulence and bloating. Add it to your meals for its amazing fragrance and powerful anti fungal and digestive properties. Add it fresh or dry to your tomato sauce, roasted meats or nut roasts and soups and Buon Appetito !

Cheers from the Earth Pharmacy