Oregano with compact inflorescences


Origanum compactum


Orale Route

Bath: inappropriate and prohibited

Inhalation or Diffusion: inappropriate and prohibited

Applied to the skin or through massage: inappropriate and prohibited

Oregano (Origanum compactum), sometimes referred to as "wild marjoram", is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to a height of thirty to sixty centimetres. It belongs to the Lamiaceae family, along with marjoram (Origanum marjorana), though it is not native to Asia like this latter. 


Growing spontaneously in Mediterranean areas (Spain, Morocco), its stems are hairy and its leaves are pointed and slightly dentate. Its flowers are grouped in compact and fragrant pinkish to red inflorescences. The name oregano comes from two Greek words meaning "mountain finery". A tablet discovered in the Mycenaean palace of Pylos reveals that, during the 13Ith century BC, oregano-scented oil offerings were made to divinities and their priests. It was used in infusions, unctions and plasters to heal numerous ailments. Dioscorides prescribed it to persons with stomach ailments and with "acidic and unpleasant belches". It had a special place in Roman cuisine, in which it was reputed to facilitate digestion. In popular medicine, oregano leaves were used to prepare an anti-rheumatism herbal tea. The dried and chopped leaves were used as snuff, for freeing blocked noses and to create plasters for stiff necks.

Cultivation and production 

Oregano with compact inflorescences is native to Morocco.


The odour of oregano is heavy, pungent and spiced.

Extraction and yield 

Distillation of the flowering tops by steam distillation gives essential oil of oregano, with a yield of 1 to 2%, i.e. one to two kilograms of essential oil from one hundred kilograms of plant.

Chemical formula 

The main active constituents of essential oil of oregano are monoterpene phenols (carvacrol mainly, along with thymol), monoterpenes (alpha and beta-pinenes) and monoterpenols (linalool, monoterpenes).

Main indications 

The exceptional antibacterial properties of essential oil of oregano make it a major natural anti-infectious agent that presents the considerable advantage of not inducing bacterial resistance and not irritating the intestine. It is both antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasite.

Diarrhoea, cystitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, mycosis, etc.; Staphylococcus epidermidis or Staphylococcus aureus, streptococci, pneumococci, enterococci, Proteus, Escherichia coli, Candida, etc.: few infections are able to resist! Thanks to its energising and soothing action, it is recommended in the event of hard times or blows.

Related species

Greek oregano with carvacrol (Origanum heracleoticum carvacroliferum).


Excerpts from the book « Aromatherapia – Tout sur les huiles essentielles », by Isabelle Pacchioni. Aroma Thera Editions.