Oregano

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Oregano
Origanum vulgare - harilik pune.jpg
Flowering oregano
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Origanum
Species:
O. vulgare
Binomial name
Origanum vulgare
L.

Oregano ( US: /ɔːˈrɛɡən, ə-/ , [1] UK: /ˌɒrɪˈɡɑːn/ ; [2] Origanum vulgare) is a flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is native to temperate Western and Southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region.

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. It is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.

British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

Flowering plant clade of flowering plants (in APG I-III)

The flowering plants, also known as angiosperms, Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants, with 64 orders, 416 families, approximately 13,164 known genera and c. 369,000 known species. Like gymnosperms, angiosperms are seed-producing plants. However, they are distinguished from gymnosperms by characteristics including flowers, endosperm within the seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the seeds. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant that produces seeds within an enclosure; in other words, a fruiting plant. The term comes from the Greek words angeion and sperma ("seed").

Contents

Oregano is a perennial herb, growing from 20–80 cm (7.9–31.5 in) tall, with opposite leaves 1–4 cm (0.39–1.57 in) long. The flowers are purple, 3–4 mm (0.12–0.16 in) long, produced in erect spikes. It is sometimes called wild marjoram, and its close relative, O. majorana , is known as sweet marjoram.

Perennial plant Plant that lives for more than two years

A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years. Some sources cite perennial plants being plants that live more than three years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials. The term is also widely used to distinguish plants with little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs, which are also technically perennials.

Herb In general rather than botanical use, plant used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume

In general use, herbs are plants with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring and garnishing food, medicinal purposes, or for fragrances; excluding vegetables and other plants consumed for macronutrients. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. Herbs generally refers to the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant, while spices are usually dried and produced from other parts of the plant, including seeds, bark, roots and fruits.

Etymology

The word oregano is derived from Spanish orégano, from Latin orīganum, from Greek ὀρίγανον (orī́ganon). [3] This is a compound of όρος (óros), "mountain", and γάνος (gános), "brightness", whence "brightness of the mountain". [3]

Description and biology

Oregano is related to the herb marjoram, sometimes being referred to as wild marjoram. Oregano has purple flowers and spade-shaped, olive-green leaves. It is a perennial, [4] [5] although it is grown as an annual in colder climates, as it often does not survive the winter. [6] [7] Oregano is planted in early spring, the plants being spaced 30 cm (12 in) apart in fairly dry soil, with full sun. Oregano will grow in a pH range between 6.0 (mildly acidic) and 9.0 (strongly alkaline), with a preferred range between 6.0 and 8.0. It prefers a hot, relatively dry climate, but does well in other environments. [8]

Marjoram Perennial herb

Marjoram is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavors. In some Middle Eastern countries, marjoram is synonymous with oregano, and there the names sweet marjoram and knotted marjoram are used to distinguish it from other plants of the genus Origanum. It is also called pot marjoram, although this name is also used for other cultivated species of Origanum.

Taxonomy

Syrian oregano (Origanum syriacum) Majorana syriaca - za'atar.jpg
Syrian oregano (Origanum syriacum)
Pollination with white-tailed bumblebee Bombus lucorum - Origanum vulgare - Keila.jpg
Pollination with white-tailed bumblebee
Young plant Origanum vulgare young plant 2.JPG
Young plant

Many subspecies and strains of oregano have been developed by humans over centuries for their unique flavours or other characteristics. Tastes range from spicy or astringent to more complicated and sweet. Simple oregano sold in garden stores as Origanum vulgare may have a bland taste and larger, less-dense leaves, and is not considered the best for culinary use, with a taste less remarkable and pungent. It can pollinate other more sophisticated strains, but the offspring are rarely better in quality.

The related species, Origanum onites (Greece, Turkey) and O. syriacum (West Asia), have similar flavours. A closely related plant is marjoram from Turkey, which differs significantly in taste though, because phenolic compounds are missing from its essential oil. Some varieties show a flavour intermediate between oregano and marjoram.

Origanum onites, the Cretan oregano, Turkish oregano, pot marjoram or Ellinikí rίgani in Greek, is a plant species in the genus Origanum found in Sicily, Greece and Turkey. It has similar flavors as oregano. Its essential oil can be distinguished from other species such as Greek oregano. It has antimicrobial activities.

Subspecies

Accepted subspecies: [9]

  1. O. v. subsp. glandulosum(Desf.) Ietsw. - Tunisia, Algeria
  2. O. v. subsp. gracile(K.Koch) Ietsw. (= O. tyttanthum) has glossy green leaves and pink flowers. It grows well in pots or containers, and is more often grown for added ornamental value than other oregano. The flavor is pungent and spicy. [10] - Central Asia, Iran, India, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan.
  3. O. v. subsp. hirtum(Link) Ietsw. - (Italian oregano, Greek oregano) is a common source of cultivars with a different aroma [10] from those of O. v. gracile. Growth is vigorous and very hardy, with darker green, slightly hairy foliage. Generally, it is considered the best all-purpose culinary subspecies. - Greece, Balkans, Turkey, Cyprus
  4. O. v. subsp. virens(Hoffmanns. & Link) Ietsw. - Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Azores, Madeira
  5. O. v. subsp. viridulum(Martrin-Donos) Nyman - widespread from Corsica to Nepal
  6. O. v. subsp. vulgare - widespread across Europe + Asia from Ireland to China; naturalized in North America + Venezuela

Cultivars

Example cultivars of oregano include:

Royal Horticultural Society registered charity in the UK which promotes gardening and horticulture

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK's leading gardening charity.

Award of Garden Merit mark of quality awarded to garden plants by the British Royal Horticultural Society

The Award of Garden Merit (AGM) is a long-established annual award for plants by the British Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). It is based on assessment of the plants' performance under UK growing conditions.

Landrace infraspecific name

A landrace is a domesticated, locally adapted, traditional variety of a species of animal or plant that has developed over time, through adaptation to its natural and cultural environment of agriculture and pastoralism, and due to isolation from other populations of the species. Landraces are generally distinguished from cultivars, and from breeds in the standardized sense, although the term landrace breed is sometimes used as distinguished from the term standardized breed when referring to cattle.

Cultivars traded as Italian, Sicilian, etc. are usually hardy sweet marjoram ( O. ×majoricum ), a hybrid between the southern Adriatic O. v. hirtum and sweet marjoram (O. majorana). They have a reputation for sweet and spicy tones, with little bitterness, and are prized for their flavor and compatibility with various recipes and sauces.

Uses

Culinary

Oregano Oregano (aregaano).JPG
Oregano

Oregano is a culinary herb, used for the flavor of its leaves, which can be more flavorful when dried than fresh. It has an aromatic, warm, and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity. Good-quality oregano may be strong enough almost to numb the tongue, but cultivars adapted to colder climates may have a lesser flavor. Factors such as climate, season, and soil composition may affect the aromatic oils present, and this effect may be greater than the differences between the various species of plants. Among the chemical compounds contributing to the flavour are carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. [12]

Oregano's most prominent modern use is as the staple herb of Italian cuisine. Its popularity in the U.S. began when soldiers returning from World War II brought back with them a taste for the "pizza herb", which had probably been eaten in southern Italy for centuries. [13] There, it is most frequently used with roasted, fried, or grilled vegetables, meat, and fish. Oregano combines well with spicy foods popular in southern Italy. It is less commonly used in the north of the country, as marjoram generally is preferred.

The herb is widely used in cuisines of the Mediterranean Basin, the Philippines, and Latin America, especially in Argentinian cuisine.

In Turkish cuisine, oregano is mostly used for flavoring meat, especially for mutton and lamb. In barbecue and kebab restaurants,[ clarification needed ] it can be usually found as a condiment, together with paprika, salt, and pepper.

The dried and ground leaves are most often used in Greece to add flavor to Greek salad, and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies fish or meat grills and casseroles.

Oregano oil

Oregano essential oil in a clear glass vial OreganoEssentialOil.png
Oregano essential oil in a clear glass vial

Oregano oil has been used in folk medicine over centuries. [10] [14] Oregano essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the oregano plant. Although oregano or its oil may be used as a dietary supplement, there is no clinical evidence to indicate that either has any effect on human health. [10] [15]

In 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned a Utah company, Young Living, that its herbal products, including oregano essential oil, were being promoted to have numerous unproven anti-disease effects, and so were being sold as unauthorized misbranded drugs subject to seizure and federal penalties. [16] Similar FDA warning letters for false advertising and unproven health claims about oregano essential oil products were published in 2017 and 2018. [17] [18]

Chemical components

Oregano contains polyphenols, including numerous flavones. [19] [20]

The essential oil of oregano is composed primarily of monoterpenoids and monoterpenes, with the relative concentration of each compound varying widely across geographic origin and other factors. Over 60 different compounds have been identified, with the primary ones being carvacrol and thymol ranging to over 80%, while lesser abundant compounds include p-cymene, γ-terpinene, caryophyllene, spathulenol, germacrene-D, β-fenchyl alcohol and δ-terpineol. [21]

Drying of the plant material affects both quantity and distribution of volatile compounds, with methods using higher heat and longer drying times having greater negative impact. A sample of fresh whole plant material found to contain 33 g/kg dry weight (3.1 g/kg wet) decreased to below a third after warm-air convection drying. Much higher concentrations of volatile compounds are achieved towards the end of the growing season. [22]

Other plants called "oregano"

See also

Related Research Articles

Tarragon species of plant, tarragon

Tarragon, also known as estragon, is a species of perennial herb in the sunflower family. It is widespread in the wild across much of Eurasia and North America, and is cultivated for culinary and medicinal purposes.

Fennel A flowering plant species in the carrot family

Fennel is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

Ajwain species of plant

Ajwain, ajowan, or Trachyspermum ammi—also known as ajowan caraway, bishop's weed, or carom—is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Both the leaves and the seed‑like fruit of the plant are consumed by humans. The name "bishop's weed" also is a common name for other plants. The "seed" is often confused with lovage "seed".

Basil species of plant

Basil, also called great basil or Saint-Joseph's-wort, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints).

Thymol chemical compound

Thymol (also known as 2-isopropyl-5-methylphenol, IPMP) is a natural monoterpenoid phenol derivative of cymene, C10H14O, isomeric with carvacrol, found in oil of thyme, and extracted from Thymus vulgaris (common thyme) and various other kinds of plants as a white crystalline substance of a pleasant aromatic odor and strong antiseptic properties. Thymol also provides the distinctive, strong flavor of the culinary herb thyme, also produced from T. vulgaris.

<i>Dysphania ambrosioides</i> species of plant

Dysphania ambrosioides, formerly Chenopodium ambrosioides, known as wormseed, Jesuit's tea, Mexican-tea, payqu(paico), epazote, mastruz, or herba sanctæ Mariæ, is an annual or short-lived perennial herb native to Central America, South America, and southern Mexico.

<i>Calamintha</i> genus of plants

Calamintha is a genus of plants that belongs to the family Lamiaceae. Commonly called the calamints, there are about eight species in the genus which is native to the northern temperate regions of Europe, Asia and America.

Zaatar

Za'atar is a generic name for a family of related Middle Eastern herbs from the genera Origanum (oregano), Calamintha, Thymus, and Satureja (savory). The name za'atar alone most properly applies to Origanum syriacum, considered in biblical scholarship to be the hyssop of the Hebrew Bible. It is also the name for a condiment made from dried hyssop leaves, mixed with sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt, as well as other spices. Used in Levantine cuisine, both the herb and spice mixture are popular throughout the Middle East.

Carvacrol, or cymophenol, C6H3(CH3)(OH)C3H7, is a monoterpenoid phenol. It has a characteristic pungent, warm odor of oregano.

Caryophyllene chemical compound

Caryophyllene, or (−)-β-caryophyllene, is a natural bicyclic sesquiterpene that is a constituent of many essential oils, especially clove oil, the oil from the stems and flowers of Syzygium aromaticum (cloves), the essential oil of Cannabis sativa, rosemary, and hops. It is usually found as a mixture with isocaryophyllene and α-humulene, a ring-opened isomer. Caryophyllene is notable for having a cyclobutane ring, as well as a trans-double bond in a 9-membered ring, both rarities in nature.

Thai basil type of basil native to Southeast Asia

Thai basil is a type of basil native to Southeast Asia that has been cultivated to provide distinctive traits. Widely used throughout Southeast Asia, its flavor, described as anise- and licorice-like and slightly spicy, is more stable under high or extended cooking temperatures than that of sweet basil. Thai basil has small, narrow leaves, purple stems, and pink-purple flowers.

<i>Origanum syriacum</i> species of plant

Origanum syriacum; syn. Majorana syriaca, bible hyssop, Biblical-hyssop, Lebanese oregano or Syrian oregano, is an aromatic perennial herb in the mint family, Lamiaceae.

<i>Tagetes lucida</i> species of plant

Tagetes lucida Cav. is a perennial plant native to Mexico and Central America. It is used as a medicinal plant and as a culinary herb. The leaves have a tarragon-like flavor, with hints of anise, and it has entered the nursery trade in North America as a tarragon substitute. Common names include sweetscented marigold, Mexican marigold, Mexican mint marigold, Mexican tarragon, sweet mace, Texas tarragon, pericón, yerbaniz, and hierbanís.

<i>Hyssopus officinalis</i> species of plant

Hyssopus officinalis or hyssop is a herbaceous plant of the genus Hyssopus, native to Southern Europe, the Middle East, and the region surrounding the Caspian Sea. Due to its properties as an antiseptic, cough reliever, and expectorant, it is commonly used as a medicinal plant.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to herbs and spices:

References

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  2. "British: Oregano". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  3. 1 2 "Oregano". Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper, Inc. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  4. "Origanum vulgare L. oregano". Plants Database, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  5. "Growing Culinary Herbs In Ontario". Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  6. Peter, K. V. (2004). "14.3.1 Growth habit of wild oregano populations". Handbook of herbs and spices. 2. Abington Hall, Abington: Woodhead Publishing Limited. p. 219. ISBN   1-85573-721-3 . Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  7. "Herbs". Government of Saskatchewan. September 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  8. "Oregano and Marjoram". Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Guelph, Canada. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  9. "Oregano, Origanum vulgare L." Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK. 2017.
  10. 1 2 3 4 "Oregano". Drugs.com. 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  11. "RHS Plant Selector - Origanum vulgare 'Aureum'" . Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  12. Mockute, Danute; Bernotiene, Genovaite; Judzentiene, Asta (2001). "The essential oil of Origanum vulgare L. Ssp. Vulgare growing wild in Vilnius district (Lithuania)". Phytochemistry. 57 (1): 65–9. doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)00474-X. PMID   11336262.
  13. Martyris, Nina (9 May 2015). "GIs Helped Bring Freedom To Europe, And A Taste For Oregano To America". NPR . Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  14. "Oregano". Plants for a Future. 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  15. "Oregano". MedlinePlus, US National Library of Medicine. 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  16. LaTonya M. Mitchell (22 September 2014). "Warning Letter: Young Living". Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations, US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  17. Ingrid A. Zambrana (25 July 2017). "Warning Letter: Absonutrix". Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations, US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  18. Kimberly L. McMillan (31 January 2018). "Warning Letter: Long Life Unlimited". Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations, US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  19. Dragland, Steinar; Senoo, Haruki; Wake, Kenjiro; Holte, Kari; Blomhoff, Rune (1 May 2003). "Several culinary and medicinal herbs are important sources of dietary antioxidants". Journal of Nutrition. 133 (5): 1286–90. ISSN   0022-3166. PMID   12730411.
  20. Tair, Asma; Weiss, Erika-Krisztina; Palade, Laurentiu Mihai; Loupassaki, Sofia; Makris, Dimitris P.; Ioannou, Efstathia; Roussis, Vassilios; Kefalas, Panagiotis (2014). "Origanum species native to the island of Crete: in vitro antioxidant characteristics and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry identification of major polyphenolic components". Natural Product Research . 28 (16): 1284–7. doi:10.1080/14786419.2014.896011. PMID   24635145.
  21. Teixeira, Bárbara; Marques, António; Ramos, Cristina; Serrano, Carmo; Matos, Olívia; Neng, Nuno R; Nogueira, José M F; Saraiva, Jorge Alexandre; Nunes, Maria Leonor (2013). "Chemical composition and bioactivity of different oregano (Origanum vulgare) extracts and essential oil". Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture . 93 (11): 2707–14. doi:10.1002/jsfa.6089. PMID   23553824.
  22. Figiel, Adam; Szumny, Antoni; Gutiérrez-Ortíz, Antonio; Carbonell-Barrachina, Ángel A. (2010). "Composition of oregano essential oil (Origanum vulgare) as affected by drying method". Journal of Food Engineering . 98 (2): 240–7. doi:10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2010.01.002.