Oregano gets its name from two Grek words, oras meaning mountain and ganos meaning joy, because oregano prefers higher altitude in Mediterranean climate. Oregano is from the Mediterranean region of Europe and Asia. The taste is piquant, spicy, warm, pungent and slightly bitter.

There is confusion of species among the oregano and marjoram varieties. Sometimes it is diffiuclt to determine which species is which. However, generally oregano has purple flowers while marjoram has white flowers, which is on way to determine differences. Dried leaves of oregano are commonly used for the therapeutic purposes as well as for the culinary purpose to add flavor in pickles, sauces and various food preparations. Oregano is one of the few herbs that is stronger when dried than when fresh.

Early herbalists used oregano its powerful antiseptic properties. The Greeks used it as a remedy for narcotic poisoning, convulsions and dropsy. Greeks and the Romans crowned young couples with oregano. In Shakespearean times, oregano was used for just about anything, it is said encourage good luck and good health. It is used in spells for happiness, tranquility, luck, health, protection and letting go of a loved one. It is believed if carried in a sachet or cahrm it will bring good luck and good health. It has also been used in love potions and rituals to enhance an already existing love relationship.

Description and Cultivation

Oregano is bushy, semi-woody sub-shrub with upright or spreading stems and branches. The aromatic leaves are oval-shaped, about 3-8 cm long and usually pubescent or fuzzy. During summer time oregano has tiny white to purple tube-shaped flowers that are about 0.3 cm long. These peek out from whorls of purplish-green leafy 2.5 cm long bracts that resemble little pinecones. The oregano species is easy to grow. It needs well-drained soil, plenty of sun. Its growing conditions greatly affect its flavor and strength. Oregano does not need fertilizer and using it will weaken the flavor. Plants should be spaced about 30 cm apart each way. Requires a rather dry, warm, well-drained soil in full sun, but is not fussy as to soil type, thriving on chalk. Prefers slightly alkaline conditions.

Scientific Classification
Kingdom : Plantea
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Order : Lamiales
Family : Lamiaceae
Genius : Origanum
Species : Origanum vulgare