Oregano: Properties, Uses and Health Benefits

Gema Nieto Martínez (Editor)
University of Murcia (UMU), Campus de Espinardo, Facultad de Veterinaria, Murcia, Spain

Series: New Developments in Medical Research, Plant Science Research and Practices
BISAC: HEA048000

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Humans have employed medicinal plants for thousands of years in traditional medicine. Oregano has been cultivated mainly for centuries in the Mediterranean area, although it now can be found on most continents. Oregano is one of the most popular plants in Spanish traditional remedies and its leaves have been used in traditional medicines in order to treat illness such as aching muscle, skin sores, asthma, digestion disorders, infections, inflammation or maintaining general health. In addition, oregano has been used since ancient times as an ingredient in Mediterranean diet. In this sense, there are several species of oregano, being Spanish thyme or Origanum vulgare, the spice variety sold most in the United States and Europe.

Nowadays the use of oregano is not exclusive for culinary proposes, because the consumers’ concerns about the use of synthetic additives into foods have led the food industry to the search for green strategies.

In this sense, oregano extracts, essential oils and individual compounds from this herb have demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antimicrobial actions, which may contribute to the capacity to avoid human infections or to protect the cardiovascular and nervous systems by blood glucose and lipid modulation.

Therefore, based on the current scientific literature, oregano essential oil can be considered as a rich source of bioactive compounds and its addition to food matrices transmit these benefits; this approach can be used as a tool to generate functional foods.

This book reviews and discusses oregano containing several potent antimicrobial, antioxidant compounds that may contribute to benefit the nervous and cardiovascular systems. In addition, the opportunity of using Origanum vulgare as potential platform for producing polyphenols, biogas and energy under biorefinery approach has been discussed. Moreover, the possibility to be added into foods as natural additives and a strategy in order to improve human health was also discussed. In this sense, the inclusion of oregano into meat products, yogurt, juices and others could be an interesting strategy to produce functional foods.

The oregano extract and essential oil represents a good strategy in order to substitute synthetic antioxidants and to produce functional foods with an extended shelf life.

Several industries are now looking for sources of new, natural and safe agents. Essential oil from Origanum spp. has shown efficacy retarding lipid oxidation in food matrices. Oregano essential oil possesses strong antimicrobial activity against food pathogen bacteria highlighting its potential as a tool to achieve food safety. Oregano essential oil has shown efficacy in reducing microbial growth of deteriorative microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, molds), representing the potential to increase shelf-life of food. Oregano essential oil can be considered as a rich source of bioactive compounds and its addition to food matrices transmit these benefits; this approach can be used as a tool to generate functional foods. Results obtained from numerous studies can help to exploit the use of the Origanum EOs studied as the functional food and pharmacological ingredients for promoting health.
(Imprint: Nova Medicine and Health)

Preface

Chapter 1. Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activity of Oregano (Origanum sp.)
(Miroslava Kačániová, PhD, and Eva Ivanišová, PhD, Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra, Slovakia, and others)

Chapter 2. Improvement of Oregano Use Through the Biorefinery Concept
(Paula Andrea Marín Valencia, José Andrés González Aguirre and Carlos Ariel Cardona Alzate, PhD, Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Manizales, Colombia)

Chapter 3. Use of Carvacrol as Antimicrobial in Edible Matrices Based on Starch and HPMC
(Gerschenson Lía, Flores Silvia, Alzate Paola and Miramont Sofía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Departamento de Industrias. Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina, and others)

Chapter 4. Improving Food Shelf Life with Oregano Extract and Essential Oil
(José M. Lorenzo, Paulo E. S. Munekata, Mladen Brnčić, Suzana Rimac Brnčić, Fabienne Remize and Francisco J. Barba, Meat Technological Center of Galicia, Ourense, Spain, and others)

Chapter 5. Oregano: Health Benefits and Its Use as Functional Ingredient in Meat Products
(Lorena Martínez, Gaspar Ros and Gema Nieto, Department of Food Technology, Nutrition and Food Science, Veterinary Faculty, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain)

Chapter 6. Chemical Compostion, Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Properties of Oregano
(Farida Larit and Sakal Akkal, Department of Chemistry, University of Mentouri Brothers Constantine 1, Constantine, Algeria)

Chapter 7. Oregano Uses and Benefits in Food Science
(Segueni Narimane and Akkal Salah, Laboratory of Natural Products and Organic Synthesis, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Mentouri Constantine 1, Constantine, Algeria, and others)

Chapter 8. The Application of Oregano Essential Oil as a Preventive against Ectoparasitic Protozoan Disease in Juvenile Chum Salmon Oncorhynchus Keta
(Shinya Mizuno, Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Research Institute, Hokkaido Research Organization, Eniwa, Hokkaido, Japan)

Chapter 9. Oregano: Properties and Uses in the Nutrition of Broilers Reared under Heat Stress
(Mihaela Saracila, Rodica Diana Criste, Tatiana Dumitra Panaite, Arabela Untea and Petru Alexandru Vlaicu, Laboratory of Chemistry and Nutrition Physiology, National Research-Development Institute for Animal Biology and Nutrition, Balotesti, Ilfov, Romania)

Chapter 10. Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activity of Oregano Essential Oil by ESR (Electron Spin Resonance)
(Gema Nieto, Amaury Taboada-Rodríguez , Mogens. L Andersen and Leif. H Skibsted, Department of Food Technology, Nutrition and Food Science, Veterinary Faculty, University of Murcia, and others)

Index

Student and researcher in Food Science and Technology and Human Nutrition

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