Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Oregano (Coleus amboinicus) for Medicine, Culinary and Pest Control

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog 
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

There is always oregano (Coleus amboinicus) at home, ready to ease cough and sore throat.  I imagine myself wearing a handkerchief around my head, advising my family and neighbors not to take cough drops or antibiotics for simple colds. 
 Two varieties of oregano (Coleus amboinicus): Italian (variegated), and native.

I tell them to pick a young leaf or two of oregano and chew it while taking juice or soft drinks.  Or blanch it, extract the juice, and add sugar and warm water.  It is practical and there are no side effects. And what a feeling!  No wonder the plant's name which comes from the Greek words, Ore/Oros means mountain, and ganos is joy.  Joy on the mountain. 

Pliny the Elder claimed oregano as a remedy for bad digestion.  To Italians, it is the secret of their cooking and making pizza, just as the Mexican make chili con carne.  Our own dinuguan tastes best with this aromatic herb.

On the other hand, I found out that oregano is an insect repellant.  I noticed that mosquitoes, flies and roaches are kept away by its odor. Oregano has essential oil, thymol, which is also a strong antiseptic and disinfectant. 

 Warning: Oregano extract is not advisable for plant pest control, specially on garden plants, either as spray or sprinkle solution. It has allelophatic substance, which means it is phytotoxic to certain plants, causing stunting or death. Never plant oregano side by side with your favorite garden plants like rose, mayana, anthurium and ground orchid.

Plant oregano in pots by cutting, or the whole shoot or branch. It can grow in the shade or under direct sunlight, with moderate amount of water. During rainy months keep the potted plants away from too much rain water. Oregano grows best in summer, but don't forget to water it regularly. A full grown oregano can be made into cuttings which you can grow in individual plastic pots to supply the neighborhood -  as token or gift. It takes a cutting to reach full growth in two to three weeks. ~


Katmag said...

When I was a kid, we used to have oregano in our garden. My lola would always tell us how good it is for cough, and for the whole body mainly. When one of us had cough, my lola would immediately boil oregano leaves and make us drink. I've always loved the aroma of oregano. Now I know that it's not only a cough remedy but it is also an insect repellant.

Angeline De Guzman said...

My grandparents always advised us even when I was a kid to use herbal medicines because as they said, they are more effective. So whenever I had cough, my lola boiled oregano leaves and she let me drink the extract. It is really effective.

Francesca Concepcion said...

When I was younger, my father would always force me to drink the extract of Oregano every time I have a cough but I always refused. Maybe, it is because I don't like the aroma or the taste but as the years passed, I got used to drinking it until I have the initiative to drink it myself for the relief it brings me from a very disturbing cough.

Now, my younger siblings are experiencing the power that the Oregano has every time they have coughs, so I guess our home should will never lose this plant, so I advice every homes to have this plant. Another reason why homes should not lose this because, as I have learned through this article that it's not only for coughs but it can also serve as an insect repellant especially now that dengue is spread all over. ~


Many homes have other useful plants on their backyards, such as

  • Soro-soro, a species of Euphorbia used to control ringworm;
  • Lagundi (Vitex lagundi) is good for fever and flu;
  • Alovera (Aloe vera) for burns;
  • Pandakaki (Tabernamontana pandacaqui) for minor cuts;
  • Bayabas (Psidium guajava) for skin infection and allergy;
  • Ilang-ilang (Cananga odorata) for natural freshener;
  • Sampaguita (Jasminium sambac) for lei and natural air freshener.

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