Oregano Providing Variety of Healthy Herbs

Home » Technology » Technology Trends » Technology Trends in Biotechnology » Oregano Providing Variety of Healthy Herbs


Researchers from the US Department of Agriculture have found that herbs are an abundant source of antioxidants and could provide potential anticancer benefits when supplementing a balanced diet. The research, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that herbs have higher antioxidant activity than fruits, vegetables and some spices, including garlic.

Dr. Shiow, Y. Wang, of the USDA's Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Md. suggested using more herbs for flavouring instead of salt and artificial chemicals.

The herbs with the highest antioxidant activity belonged to the oregano family, the research showed. In general, oregano had three to 20 times higher antioxidant activity than the other herbs studied.

On a per gram fresh weight basis, oregano and other herbs ranked even higher in antioxidant activity than fruits and vegetables, which are known to be high in antioxidants. Oregano has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and four time more than blueberries. Other herbs were also found to be high in antioxidants, including dill, garden thyme, rosemary and peppermint. The most active phenol component in some of the herbs with the highest antioxidant activity, particularly oregano, was rosmarinic acid, a strong antioxidant.

Fruits and vegetables have long been viewed as a rich source of antioxidant compounds. Health official have been urging consumers for years to eat more fruits and vegetables in order to gain the health benefits of antioxidants, but progress has been slow, according to researchers. Westerners still tend to favour diets that are rich in fats and carbohydrates.

In general, fresh herbs and spices are healthier and contain higher antioxidant levels compared to their processed counterparts, according to Wang. For example, the antioxidant activity of fresh garlic is 1.5 times higher than dry garlic powder. Wang cautioned that herbs should be used with moderation as they are no substitute for a balanced diet.


AIBA, Beverage & Food World