By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 8 January 2010)
A great herb for pizza, pasta, sautéed vegetables, omelettes, infused oils, herb breads, savoury baked goods, and salad dressings, oregano has an antioxidant capacity that is up to 20 times higher than that of any other herb, and far greater than many fruits and vegetables. A single tablespoon of fresh oregano provides antioxidant activity equivalent to that of a medium-sized apple.
In addition to its antioxidant benefits, oregano has been shown to provide antimicrobial activity against certain nasty pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella. Oregano is also a source of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as manganese, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and dietary fiber. Given its nutrient profile, oregano may help to protect against a broad array of illnesses, ranging from infections to heart disease to cancer to osteoporosis.
Marjoram, a close relative of oregano, also has a high antioxidant content.
For a full list of healthy herbs and spices and the reference list for this information series, see the main High-Antioxidant Herbs and Spices page.