Oregano nutrition facts
Oregano is a wonderful perennial culinary and medicinal herb. It has long been recognized as one of the "functional foods" for its nutritional, anti-oxidants and disease preventing properties. The herb, whose name means "delight of the mountains" in Greek, is native to the Mediterranean region.
Botanically, it belongs to the mint (Lamiaceae) family, in the genus; Origanum, and is known scientifically as Origanum vulgare.
|Oregano herb (Origanum vulgare).
Photo courtesy: blumenbiene.
The plant is a small shrub, growing up to 75 cm in height with multi-branched stems covered with small grayish-green oval leaves and small white or pink flowers.
Oregano is widely popular in Greek and Italian cuisines. Its leaves have a characteristic aromatic, warm, and slightly bitter taste. Their intensity varies; however, a good-quality oregano is so strong that it almost numbs the tongue.
There are many cultivars of oregano cultivated across Europe, however, the influence of climate, season, and soil have greater effect on the composition of the essential oils than the difference between various species. Origanum heracleoticum is another Greek variety that is having characteristic sharp scent, and flavor. Sweet marjoram(Origanum majorana) is one of closely related species of oregano.
Mexican oregano (Lippia graveolens) is different from origanum species but related to the verbena family of herbs. It is used in place of oregano in many Central American regions