There here have been only a handful of studies examining oregano, and all of those have been lab tests. Lab tests are very unreliable in determining whether or not a potential medicine will be effective in the body.
Many medical resources are very dismissive of oregano claims, effectively saying that since there is no proof it works, it shouldn’t be used. The other side of the argument points out that oregano has been used for centuries, and the studies that have been done prove it does act against bacteria, fungi and viruses.
People with HIV and AIDS often feel they do not have the luxury of waiting for medical experts to finish arguing over the possible benefits of a potential treatment. Especially when, as with oregano, researchers do not seem interested in following up on preliminary studies in the near future.
What studies have managed to prove so far is that in lab testing, oregano is able to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. What scientists do not know if the body will absorb oregano through the digestive system, and if it does, will it absorb enough to kill bacteria inside the body. Finally, they don’t know if there are side effects to taking large amounts of oregano. Since oregano is a popular herb in cooing, especially Italian cooking, oregano clearly does not cause dangerous side effects in small doses. Some people may be allergic to it, and it can aggravate heart burn, so it is definitely not an herb for everybody.
However, there is a side to this that both sides of the argument are overlooking. While oregano may or may not be able to treat infections directly, it definitely contains powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemicals that counter free radicals in the body. Free radicals do a lot of damage to the body’s cells and system. They put added stress on the body, and contribute to a number of medical conditions.
There is some evidence that the stresses on the body from free radicals contribute to symptoms and deaths associated with HIV/AIDS. If free radicals are making people with HIV/AIDS sicker, than taking oregano or other high antioxidant treatments may help.
At the moment, none of this is conclusively proven. Free radicals may not be contributing to the problems suffered by people with HIV/AIDS. However, if free radicals are hurting people with HIV/AIDS, than a small amount of extra oregano – a cup or two of tea a day – could make a big difference.
Anyone considering taking oregano should talk with their doctor about the possible benefits, and whether or not oregano might help. Taken in small doses there should be no risk of side effects or drug interactions, but bring up the possibility of those as well, just to be safe. It isn’t necessary to take mega-doses of oregano to get the benefit of the free radicals. Just pick up some organic oregano leaves at the local supermarket, and use it to brew a cup of herbal tea.