Wild oregano – life saving spice
Interview with Doctor Cass Ingram.
Today we are featuring Dr. Cass Ingram who specializes in natural medicine and research. Dr. Ingram is the author of eighteen books regarding the natural methods of achieving and maintaining better health. The Cure is in the Cupboard is the title of his most popular book. He is a daily contributor to American and Canadian radio broadcasts. This interview will cover how Oreganol P73 is beneficial for common health challenges.
Judy Gray, MS: Doctor, your book explains that even though oregano is commonly known as a cooking spice, it can be very useful as a protective agent for a large range of health problems. What is this magic power in the herb/spice, oregano?
Dr. Cass Ingram: Not every spice that is labeled oregano has this –as you say- “magic power.” The Cure is in the Cupboard describes a very specific medicinal sub-species of wild mountain oregano which grows in the Mediterranean. Really, it is a very amazing plant. It grows high in the mountains on rocks which are rich in calcium and other important minerals. It is a fact that this type of wild oregano utilizes the wide rage of substances from the earth and creates a sort of predigested array of minerals and approximately 50 other beneficial substances.
JG.: Would you please tell us about some of them?
Dr. I.: I will discuss some of the main components which seem to have the greatest impact. One of the most important substances according to scientific opinion is the phenol, called carvacrol. It was proved that because of its alkaline and oxidizing properties, it is invaluable in destroying a wide range of micro-organisms: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even parasites.
There are several other important substances that have major impact as well.
So called terpines (long hydrocarbon chains) are easily soluble in fats, and that is what causes the oil to penetrate human cells easily. The terpines also have strong analgesic properties, and for this reason it is easy to massage the oil into aching joints, muscles, blocked sinuses, infected gums, and even for eczemas and skin changes. Terpenes also have strong antiseptic properties, both antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Alcohols—I mean those long chained branched alcohols, not the intoxicating kind—also have antiviral and antiseptic properties. Esters that are also found in lavender and sage are known for their antifungal properties, as well as being tranquilizing and relaxing. They also improve blood circulation.
JG:Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the beneficial effects of antioxidants. What are the effects, and does Oreganol have antioxidant properties?
Dr. I: Asubstance is an antioxidant (prevents oxidation—deterioration), if it has the ability to conserve the product or to preserve it in the original state. In this case the product is human body cells or the food we are consuming. Oreganol P73 was repeatedly tested on different perishable products, and it was found to be extraordinarily effective in conserving them. ORAC Testing (a test which measures the antioxidant levels in plants and food) also proved that wild oregano P73 was one of the most powerful antioxidants. While previously test results for fruits and vegetables were in the 100’s, wild oregano P73 tested well over 3000. This would indicate it is a super form of antioxidant protection.
The University of Tennessee conducted testing for the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). They proved that wild oregano oil was effective in destroying nine dangerous bacteria and molds. These dangerous pathogens such as E. Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas aeruglinosa, Lactobacillus plantarum, Aspergillus niger, and others are often mentioned on television. They are responsible for mass food poisoning, water contamination, and other publicly contracted illnesses. Wild oregano P73 easily neutralizes them.
JG : You mentioned that the wild oregano grows on calcareous rocks. This brings us the question how much calcium is contained in the plant itself?
Dr. I: Calcium content in the wild mountain oregano cannot be compared with any other source in the plant kingdom. By weight, for example, 100 gram of wild oregano contains 16 times more calcium than the same quantity of ….milk! Of course, it is easier for us to drink a glass of milk, to eat a piece of cheese or some sardines, than to eat a cup of dried oregano. Still, it is worth remembering that even a small quantity of wild mountain oregano is full of easily assimilated predigested calcium (and other minerals) which is identified by the alimentary tract as real food. In this way it is more easily digested and assimilated by the intestines than other, more difficult to absorb forms. Moreover, overdosing is not an issue, because our bodies know how to utilize food. Thus, wild oregano is ideal for people with muscle spasms of the legs, feet, or spine, for preventing and treating osteoporosis, and even beneficial in healing fractures. Vegetarians consider dark-green vegetables as the main source of calcium in their meatless diet. I hope they quickly discover wild oregano. Also, I would like to add that this extraordinary plant contains about 280 milligrams of magnesium in 100 grams, and magnesium is indispensable for proper assimilation of calcium. Other important trace minerals include iron, about 50 milligrams in 100 grams (an entirely natural—nontoxic—form, safe for men, women, and children of any age, as opposed to the iron contained in multivitamins), zinc about 4 milligrams in 100 grams (80% of people do not receive a sufficient quantity of zinc from food, because the soil is impoverished in natural elements), potassium, about 1700 milligrams in 100 grams, tin, l milligram in 100 grams, and vitamins such as niacin 6 milligrams in 100 grams, vitamin C, K, riboflavin, beta carotene, biflavonoids, chlorophyll, and more.
JG: There are an enormous number of scientific publications regarding just oregano. Why did so many scientists decide to investigate the properties of oregano?
Dr. I: Wild oregano is, in fact, a forgotten medicine of the past. In ancient times its therapeutic properties were far more valuable than merely using it for food preparation. Ancient Greeks used it as a medicinal herb, not even considering it to be a food.
In modern times much of the development of science and technology in the field of medicine has been based upon the magnificent powers of plants existing in Nature. However, because of the difficulty and great expense of finding the correct sources, obtaining sufficient quantities, conserving the natural plants from over picking and destruction, and the inability to maintain exclusivity, drug companies prefer to synthesize what they consider to be the most important substance in the plant and call it a medicine. The problem with this is that the potency and power of the healing properties in the plant are due to their synergistic relationship of the sum of their components. When you single out one substance and make a copy of that one substance (and an inferior one at that) while omitting all other components, it just does not energetically work in healing the body. There is even a synthetic carvacrol, but scientific studies show that it does not work like the raw herb and oil.
The efficacy of wild mountain oregano shocks the researchers. Ann Draughn, department head and researcher at the University of Tennessee stated that at the beginning of the FDA study she was certain that the spice oil would fail to accomplish anything. She said they tried everything they could think of to prove that this spice oil wouldn’t work, and, yet, it did. Not only did it work as an antioxidant and antiseptic, but also it worked far better than anyone could imagine.
The safety and efficacy of the wild mountain herb cannot be ignored. Doctors are finding that it works with their most difficult cases. Consumers are quickly learning that this one herb will save them money and keep them healthy. Why wouldn’t scientists all over the world focus on this amazing plant? It is the answer to so many modern day health dilemmas.
J.G .: Antibiotics have been used so liberally in animal feed to fatten them for market and as a treatment for various health problems. What are the consequences of such massive use and abuse of these drugs?
Dr. I: Antibiotics were thought to be the saving answer for the ailing population of the world. They have been used like aspirin. As a result mutant strains of bacteria and other micro-organisms have developed within human bodies, within animals, and within the environment as well. Frequently, patients insist that doctors prescribe something when they are feeling so bad. Doctors want to aid their patients in some way when they are sick. They are not so concerned about the complications of a simple infection, but some do fear lawsuits if they do not comply with their patients” requests. Unfortunately, this leads to an overwhelming use of the drugs even for suspected viral infections for which antibiotics are totally impotent.
Antibiotics are used by the billions of tons by the food industry to disinfect fish, meat, milk, and other products. The result of such procedures is the rapid growth of bacteria completely resistant to antibiotics. Every year over 60,000 Americans die in the hospitals, because of infections not responding to antibiotic treatment. Doctor Gold wrote in the “New England Journal of Medicine” (Nov., 7, 1996): “There is no way for the pharmaceutical concerns to keep pace with the mutating micro-organisms.” The result of it is that when looking for a new weapon of defense, the world of science becomes more and more open to the forgotten medical achievements of our ancestors.
As a matter of fact a considerable number of medicines used today originated from natural substances. However, in spite of accomplishments of science and technology the common day plagues such as cancer, heart disease, and allergies are still increasing. Likewise, using natural plants as a prototype and then synthesizing the medicines is not successful. It is just not possible to exactly copy nature. This is the reason why scientists who artificially synthesized carvacrol failed in their efforts. It does not have the beneficial effects of the carvacrol and other components of the wild oregano plant. Mother Nature does not always fully share her secrets with us.
J.G.: How did you become interested in oregano and decide to write about it?
Dr. I: It happened because of an accident that nearly cost me my life. In my clinic a lab technician left a needle used for an intravenous injection in a very sick patient in a pile of paper and debris on the cabinet in the lab. Needles are supposed to be deposited in a special red container, so not thinking I grabbed the pile of trash to throw it away. The needle stuck deeply into my hand. Very soon thereafter I became sick. My skin developed a thick patch of psoriasis. I became so weak that I was not able to work or even to think efficiently. After many tests this sickness was diagnosed as a serious case of systemic mycosis (fungus), which was eating me alive. Thinking and carrying out the simplest actions became increasingly more difficult. I was forced to close my clinic at that point.
A doctor I know suggested that I take a special immune test. Being at the brink of total desperation, I tried everything my colleagues, friends and other doctors could recommend. This doctor told one of my colleagues that she had never seen anyone continue to survive with tests results over 12. My results came in at 13. Fortunately, my first contact with oregano happened shortly after this. Having little to no appetite but still struggling to survive, I began eating some wild herbs in the cupboard. One of the herbs was a special wild Mediterranean oregano. It seemed to give me some strength, so I began eating it daily. I became stronger, but still it wasn’t quite enough. We began the search for the wild oregano oil and were able to secure 8 liters from a mountain villager. That is when the miracle of health returned for me. It took a lot of work to research the proper dosage and preparation of it to be used both topically and internally. But it was the answer! It worked!
J.G.: Your book, The Cure is in the Cupboard, is extremely interesting and informative. How did you decide on the title?
Dr. I: The title of the book was one of those serendipitous happenings. When I was so ill, I tried every potential remedy imaginable. Nothing worked. Then the turning point of that dire illness began the day I went to the kitchen cupboard and took out the wild oregano and some other herbs and began eating them. My colleague asked me what I was doing. I told her that I wasn’t sure, but it seemed to be making me feel better. She immediately stated , “keep eating!”
After being deathly ill for over two years with a body temperature around 94.6°F, many changes happened almost immediately. The low body temperature was a sign of little to no immune response. After eating the spices I began sweating at night—a sure sign that my body was beginning to fight the infection which had overwhelmed it for so long. As my health continued to improve, I knew that this wild mountain oregano would merit further research. This wild spice in the cupboard gave me back my life. So as I said then and still say today, The Cure Is In The Cupboard.
J.G.: I know you have done extensive research on oregano—probably more than anyone in the world. Out of over 80 plants in the oregano family how did you identify the correct source?
Dr. I: I first began a huge research of literature while I was still recovering. The articles and research studies gave further clues, and some of the literature led to conversations with other researchers who had conducted amazing studies on the powerful oregano plant. After using the raw wild oregano herb and the oil for a few months, I was finally strong enough to travel to the Mediterranean. From there the village herbal doctors (aktars), to the most celebrated scientists at the universities all agreed that oregano was responsible for improving many health conditions from upset stomach and parasites to severe lung infections and much more.
Oregano was virtually unknown in America until around the end of the nineteenth century. The soldiers tasted it in dishes eaten overseas, and they brought some home. It was an immediate hit, but the spice dealers looked for a cheaper source. That is when they first substituted Mexican sagebrush of the Lippia family with a somewhat similar taste, but a different chemical structure. Another subspecies is marjoram which is also used as a spice, and it is somewhat like Spanish thyme.
In the market place it is almost impossible to find true wild oregano. What little you may find from overseas is devoid of active compounds due to chemical treatment, irradiation to supposedly disinfect it, and loss of potent oils from improper storage. It took several years to determine the correct combination of plant oils which Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. established as the powerful P73 blend. The research proved the germ killing ability of this special blend of oregano.
J.G.: It seems that the market place and internet are loaded with thyme and marjoram being fraudulently sold as oregano. How does this impact the market place and the consumer?
Dr. I.: Julia Lawless mentioned in her book, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, that almost all commercial oils named oregano are, in fact, produced from cheap sources such as the bushy thyme plants in Spain called thymus capitus. In reality it is not an edible plant—and is actually unfit for human consumption. Likewise, this dubious compound is not acceptable for external use and does not contain the earlier mentioned therapeutic properties. Like the Mexican marjoram oil which is almost colorless, it is often contaminated with other substances. In any case that is the reason these oils are cheap and unacceptable for human and animal use.
Many oils are used in aroma-therapy, and are extracted from the plants with toxic chemical solvents. With this method there is no need to collect large quantities of plants, so manufacturers’ costs are not so high. However, they are unfit for consumption and must only be used for aroma-therapy and the perfume industry.
The production of the pure medicinal spice oils requires a great amount of effort. This type of oregano grows high in the calcium rich mountains where there are no roads or conveniences for handling tons of the raw wild plant. The villagers cut it by hand and carry it down or lash it to the backs of pack animals to transport to the bottom of the mountain. It takes tons of the precious plant to produce a few liters of the medicinal oil. That is why we established a conservation program, so that over picking would not occur. For two years the plants are allowed to freely grow, and the villagers are paid during this time period. Other plants from the area are also utilized, so that the villagers continue to have productive lives.
While the machines are shiny, new, and clean, the old method of steam distillation is still the preferred method of extraction. The water used for distillation is from an underground spring 200 feet under the earth. It, too, is pure and rich in minerals. Remember, it takes almost 1000 kilos of plant material to make a few liters of oil.
J.G.: Why is the public told so little about the killing power of Oreganol oil against germs and the treatment of infections, especially mycotic infections? Weren’t you actually a victim of this type of infection?
Dr. I.: Mycotic infections are the major cause of disease in the West. The pathogenic role of fungi is becoming more and more evident. The medical world ignored this connection for many decades, and fungi only became an accepted condition when a drug with a long list of side effects was developed to treat it.
Fungal infections have increased dramatically, over 25% in the last few years. Older people, the immune depressed, hospitalized patients, and children are the most susceptible. Fungi are saprophytes or in other words, they live on dead and dying cells. The skin constantly has a layer of dead cells so it is especially vulnerable to fungal infections. Micro organisms, including fungi, live on the skin, in the mouth, in the intestines, and in the urinary tract. If the balance between the organisms and bacteria is not compromised, there is no illness or damage. On the contrary they help with digestion and in the exchange of dead cells for new ones. When the fungi feed on dead cells, it means the immune system is compromised. Fungi may be a secondary infection. To say the least the body is out of balance.
J.G.: In your opinion what is the cause of the increase in fungal infections?
Dr. I.: Sugar is the main culprit here. Fungi love sugar. Sugar destroys body tissue, and this enables the fungi to grow. Unfortunately, the American diet is loaded with sugar. Even if we try to avoid it, it is hidden in all processed food. It is found in commonly used foods like ketchup and breakfast food. Even when consciously avoiding the actual refined white sugar or sugar cubes, it is disguised in packaged foods as corn syrup or corn solids, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, rice syrup, and more. An investigation proved that the ingredients of hidden sugar in some form amounted to around 2.5 kg a month. This caused digestive and absorption problems, metabolic disturbances, damaged glands and organs, and a weakened immune system.
Alcohol is another major culprit for health destruction. It weakens the body by damaging the major digestive organs such as the liver and pancreas, immune damage affecting the spleen and bone marrow, and it destroys millions of brain cells. Malabsorption of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or lack of these nutrients due to the consumption of alcohol further compromises the body. As a result there are fewer white blood cells to activate and to protect immune function.
Many drugs are responsible for creating favorable conditions for the development of fungi. These include antibiotics, contraceptives, analgesics, steroids, chemotherapy, and radiation. Unfortunately, antibiotics and steroids are added to some foods to supposedly keep them fresh. I have previously mentioned meat, frozen fish, milk, and even eggs have traces of antibiotics. When the fungi thrive, it becomes very difficult to fight them. Under favorable conditions fungi could attack every organ—every cell in the body.
J.G.: Apart from commonly known dermatomycosis or onychomycosis what health problems activate the growth and proliferation of fungi?
Dr. I.: It is impossible to list all the problems which activate the fungal invasions. However, the followinging are the most commonly experienced conditions where mycosis is a problem: sinuses, throat, various allergies—some manifested as skin problems such as eczema, dermatosis, or psoriases, hair loss and dandruff, many kinds of alimentary tract problems such as intestinal inflammation, irritable colon, constipation or diarrhea, dyspepsia, heartburn and flatulence which is exceptionally prevalent after consuming sweets even fruits, constant fatigue, difficulties with concentration, and low body temperature, itching of the anus, sexual organs, skin, ears, and navel, poor tolerance of cold and hot weather, and cold extremities. Also the common problems among children who are infected with fungi are craving sweets and the accompanying blood sugar problems which may contribute to attention deficit and poor behavior.
J.G.: Doctor, we are at the end of our interview, what is your final comment?
Dr. I.: For many centuries doctors and herbalists all over the world were using natural substances to fight against infections. There was never any confirmation that organisms became resistant to those natural substances. Then the people of North America were programmed to believe that only doctors were able to treat any epidemic or infection. However, the real facts are quite different. Being a doctor and at the same time a patient, I know from my own experience the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that a life threatening infection can inflict. It seemed this infection was resistant to everything, including conventional treatment.
Also from my own experience I know how fantastic it is to have the feeling that in our own treatment arsenal, we have something so completely natural and non-toxic. Therefore, there are no side effects to threaten and further weaken or harm the already compromised individual. These natural God-given plants were meant to be our pharmacy: oregano, lavender, rosemary, sage, and many more. Just remember that small bottle of Oreganol P73 can save your day and, perhaps, your life as it did my own.
J.G.: Thank you Doctor Ingram for your gracious and informative interview.