Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is one of the most distinctive flavors in Italian food. With its warm, subtly bitter flavor and unique fragrance produced by a bouquet of potent aromatics, this member of the mint family is a useful magical tool, powerful medicinal herb, and invaluable culinary ingredient.
Named for a Greek phrase meaning “brightness or ornament of the mountains,” this plant is an indispensable ally for green witches.
Magical Properties of Oregano
Oregano is an herb of joy. It’s often used in spells for happiness and luck. Placing sachets of dried oregano in a home will draw in joy.
In Greece, oregano was used in weddings to bring happiness to the couple, and at funerals to bring peace to the deceased.
As an herb of joy, oregano is also used to protect against misfortune. Some travel charms call for the addition of oregano to make sure travelers stay safe and enjoy their trip.
When worn on or near the head, oregano is said to bring prophetic dreams. Dittany of Crete (Origanum dictamnus) is an oregano relative that is very commonly used as a divination herb.
Add oregano to any spell intended to attract good things to the target. As a joy herb, its uses are pretty versatile — it can draw in love, prosperity, and all kinds of good things. Use it to celebrate joyous occasions, or celebrations for major life milestones.
Plant oregano in the garden to protect the home and attract happiness to its occupants.
Benefits & Uses
Oregano essential oil is notorious as an antimicrobial. It’s a very potent antifungal, especially against Candida.
This herb is full of antioxidants. These help protect cells from free radical damage. While free radicals can be natural and produced as a byproduct of exercise and digestion, they can also come from exposure to UV radiation and pollution.
It’s also anti-inflammatory. It may have an antihistamine effect, making it helpful for people with allergies.
In a tea, it can help soothe digestive issues and regulate the menstrual cycle. When used as a mouthwash, the tea may help calm inflamed gums and ease toothaches.
In ancient Greece, it was used in poultices to treat skin complaints.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine Oregano is used to boost qi circulation, clear heat, and expel wind.
The flowering tops of oregano are useful for dyeing fabric, and produce a reddish brown color.
Possible Risks & Side Effects
If you are allergic to oregano, marjoram, dittany of Crete, or members of the mint family, you should give this herb a pass. Allergies can range from mild to severe, and may present as anything from rashes, to upset stomach, to anaphylaxis. For joy-related spells, you may wish to use orange instead.
Using oregano medicinally can cause stomach upset.
Since this herb affects the menstrual cycle, those who are pregnant should avoid it. It may stimulate the uterus and lead to miscarriage.
Oregano oil is very strong. Never consume essential oil internally, and always dilute it in a neutral carrier oil before applying it to the skin.
Oregano is a pretty safe herb with a very long history of use in medicine, food, and beverages. For otherwise-healthy people, it’s perfectly safe when consumed in the amounts you’d use to flavor food. If you have a health condition or are on any medications, talk to your doctor before using oregano in medicinal doses.
History & Folklore
Oregano and humanity go way back. It’s believed this herb was used by the Assyrians as early as 3000 BCE.
In ancient Greece, it was believed that oregano growing on a grave was a sign that the deceased was happy in the afterlife.
Drinking the herb in a love potion was said to cause the Goddess Aphrodite to come to you in your dreams and reveal the name of your true love.
Greek herdsmen would graze their flocks on oregano plants, because it was believed that it would improve the flavor of their meat.
Getting Started With Oregano
Luckily for the green witches out there, oregano is pretty easy to grow in areas with a temperate climate. As long as you have an area with full sun and average, well-drained soil, it can grow well. This herb can also grow well in rich soil, but this tends to lead to a weaker flavor.
Oregano’s trailing growth means that it looks fantastic as a container plant, where it can dramatically spill over the edge of a pot. It’s also a good ground cover.
Plant this herb in spring, after the danger of frost has passed. Space plants about 10″ apart, and keep soil consistently moist.
Water when the soil feels dry to a depth of 1″. Harvest plants often, as this will encourage more growth. Mid-summer is the peak harvest time for flavor, so save this oregano for culinary uses. Hang harvested cuttings to dry.
The simplest way to get started using oregano is to treat it as a joy-attracting and protective charm. Just growing it in the garden is enough to benefit from its magical properties, but you can also make herbal charms. (These are great housewarming gifts for magically-inclined friends!)
You will need a yellow fabric pouch, a citrine crystal, and dried oregano. Make sure all of your supplies are cleansed and dedicated to this purpose — hold each one in your dominant hand, and ask it for its help in attracting joy and repelling negativity.
Place the dried oregano in the pouch, followed by the crystal. Hold it in your dominant hand, and visualize a happy, orange or or golden energy filling it up. When you feel that it’s ready, give the pouch a squeeze and thank it for its help.
You can also make these sachets decorative. Try making an herb pillow in a flower or animal shape, and decorate it with paint, embroidery, or ribbons. Try beading or embroidering a pouch. Hang tiny bells from it, to release positive energy every time they ring. Let your creativity shine!
To use these sachets, place them anywhere in your home that can benefit from a little extra happy energy. Visualize their power expanding to encompass the entire room. Refresh them periodically by replacing their contents with new dried oregano, and visualizing them filling with fresh energy.
There’s no mistaking the scent and flavor of oregano. Whether in the garden or placed around your home, this herb, the “brightness of the mountains,” imparts its happy glow. If you can, grow oregano in the garden or in a pot indoors. You’ll notice a difference in your home’s energy.