Wild Oil of Oregano for IBS, Crohn's and Colitis
There are few natural compounds that can truly stand up to Oil of Oregano (Origanum Vulgare- part of the mint family).
It truly is nature’s finest anti-biotic. Almost in a class of its own, this substance has the ability to quickly eradicate unwanted pathogens. Due its wide variety of chemical compounds, including carvacrol, thymol, linoleic acids, ursolic acids and phenolic glycosides, this oil is beyond therapeutic.
Although the taste might jolt ones senses, it’s anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial, anti- fungal, anti-inflammatory actions trump all resistance in swallowing this powerful oil. Because of its diverse use therapeutically, there really aren’t many conditions that Oil of Oregano cannot benefit.
It’s something you can absolutely reach for when that cold or flu first begins to grab, you should definitely take it with you on that trip to the Amazon in Brazil (no thanks parasites), and yes it will zap that athletes foot you picked up from the gym or yoga shower.
This plant's power’s go way beyond these examples; for the purpose of this article, written for Digestive Warrior’s (IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis) let’s focus on the effects Oil of Oregano can have on one’s GI system. But first, a little background…..
Essential Oil vs. Supplement Form
Let’s define the roles of the esential Oil of Oregano versus supplement form of Oil of Oregano. This clarification is important, as many people mistake it for an essential oil and think that their bottle of Young Living or Doterra essential oil will do the trick.
Do not take an essential oil blend of oregano oil orally! It will burn any tissue it comes into contact. Yes, both are produced from the leaves of the oregano plant, so why does the essential oil version of this substance pose damage and the non-essential oil version used medicinally? Two very distinguishing things:
Essential oil blends (the ones that smell oh-so good and are often worn as natural perfumes) go through a very refined steam distillation process, bottled at full concentration. This form of oregano (often used for cleaning, cooking, bug repellant etc) has very different properties because of its potency.
Non-essential Oil of Oregano contains therapeutic levels of carvacrol and thymol. When purchased in supplement form (liquid or capsule) it is emulsified into a fat carrier- usually olive oil. This makes it consumable. Remember:
The Difference between Medicine and Poison is the Dose
What Exactly is Carvacrol and Thymol ?
Carvacrol and thymol are plant phenols not only found in oil of oregano, but thyme oil, oil from pepperwort and wild bergamot. Oil of oregano has a very high concentration of carvacrol, hence why it’s so medicinal.
This is where it gets a tad convoluted, however, as carvacrol is being produced synthetically. While some synthetic versions might list a higher percentage of carvacrol, this ‘potency’ may not prove as effective as one might think……
Here in lies the “carvacrol war,” as some are calling it. And perhaps rightfully so.
Most Oil of Oregano products are being made in a less than ethical fashion. Many companies are genetically engineering the oregano stalks with a noxious bacterial protein to manipulate high levels of carvacrols. Raise your hand if this sounds Oh. So. Wrong.
Naturally made, wild crafted oregano oil cannot be ‘standardized.’ It naturally has somewhere between 63% and 79% carvacrol; every batch has a slight variation. There is synergy in all the active ingredients, which is altered when the end product is corrupted by the engineering of synthetic carvacrol.
Meaning, any claim of 85% of more carvacrol is suspect, as this is not realistic in wild nature. Nature holds wisdom. Once you alter the components as they present themselves organically, the value changes. This is very important, and explains why there are only a few brands of oil of oregano that are truly effective.
Now onto thymol. Thymol, in high levels, is very toxic and can harm the heart and the liver. In low doses- less than 2% in a solution, are therapeutic. When the oregano plant is grown wild and the oil produced, it has naturally occurring 1%- 2% thymol. With engineered products, up to 40% thymol has been found. Clearly this is detrimental to one’s health.
The bottom line is that if you choose to take an oil of oregano product, your choice in brand should matter greatly. Beware of products claiming higher than 85% carvacrol as they are most likely not the real deal. The consensus among Oil of Oregano connoisseurs’ is that there are really only 2 brands with an outstanding reputation that for sure do not sell compromised product. This does not mean that others' don't exist, it simply means that these brands are the tried and true:
- Joy of the Mountain
Oil of Oregano for Digestive Issues
Digestive issues, across the board, have an infectious component. While this infectious component is not the only factor involved, digestive illness can largely be addressed with natural anti-microbials.
Oil of oregano is one example of an extremely powerful compound that can kill off the invaders. With dysbiosis being the fundamental issue with all digestive woes, oil of oregano can begin to restore the microbiome as it eradicates pathogens.
It works by disrupting the cell membrane of the bacteria. Once carvacrol hits the cell, its membrane is significantly altered. Of course anyone suffering from a digestive illness, even IBS, is highly susceptible to Candida (fungal infection).
Oil of Oregano is complimentary to any and all digestive healing protocols- even pharmaceutical regimes, particularly because it kills Candida. Antibiotic use causes Candida to spread like wild-fire and does not kill it, so anyone taking (or has taken) antibiotics would benefit from Oil of Oregano treatment. This oil is also highly recommended for any food-borne illness such as salmonella or e-coli. It has also been found an effective treatment for SIBO and c-difficile, as it has an effect an gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Oil of Oregano for Crohn’s Disease
Science has been very busy in the past ten plus years connecting the dots between Crohn’s Disease and the Mycobacterium Avium Para tuberculosis bacterium. Many Crohn’s sufferers have found relief from Oil of Oregano, as it has proven to kill MAP. This is no small feat, as MAP is extremely difficult to eradicate.
There are only a few other natural substances proven to have an effect on MAP- cinnamon oil being a runner up, and colloidal silver being the top dog. Should patients not want to take (or become resistant to) the triple antibiotic now offered for effective treatment for Crohn’s, Oil of Oregano is an excellent alternative option.
Though medicine has coined UC as an ‘auto-immune’ disease since day one, there is currently much controversy over this label. Speculation has been made that UC is due to infection. MAP has been found so far in a small percentage of UC patients……although it could be one of those things, what came first the chicken or the egg. MAP certainly exacerbates UC if it is found.
With both UC and Crohn’s, once dysbiosis occurs, it is a perfect invitation for any and all pathogens to come set up shop. The down-spiral of digestive disease begins with a small tip in the 80/20 ratio of good to bad guys. Regardless, UC patients are typically proven high in bacteria’s such as Campylobacter and Klebsiella Pneumoniae during a flare. Oil of Oregano absolutely has the capability of killing such bacteria.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is no exception for dysbiosis being the culprit. Of course food allergies are high suspect for this condition, often the catalyst for opportunistic bacteria to thrive. Once food allergies are addressed, taking an anti-microbial can do wonders for addressing the imbalance that has occurred. Reducing stress is a huge factor in all digestive illness, but IBS particularly. IBS can potentially be the beginning stages of a more complex digestive illness, thus taking a natural antibiotic is paramount to halting further illness.
Dosage and Tips for Oil of Oregano Supplementation
Let me preface any instructions by saying that all bodies are different, all individuals are in a different place in their healing, and everyone detoxes at different rates. These are guidelines for supplemental dosing of OOO, and should be modified as one needs.
Of course listening to one’s body, assessing symptoms, and monitoring how your body is reacting to the oil is crucial.
Some people can tolerate much higher doses of this oil than others. There are many factor’s involved, including ones weight, sensitivity, state of illness, how great the infection etc.
The most important thing to remember when exploring this oil is to START SLOWLY and build your way up to comfortable doses. The other key thing to remember with OOO supplementation is that if you’re going to do it, do it. This means sticking to a very strict routine of specific dosage intervals. Bacteria have the capability of doubling every 20 minutes. You need to dose consistently if you decide to take it, otherwise your efforts may be fruitless- especially in the beginning stages.
- Just start with taking 5 drops. Let your mouth, your body, your intestines get acquainted with just that much. See how you feel.
- If this sits well after 5 or 6 hours, move up to 5 drops, 5-6 times per day. Try to take first dose upon rising, then take at 2-3 hour intervals throughout the day.
- Every day increase dose by 1-2 drops until you reach 12 drops per dose, 5-6 times per day. Some can increase dosage very quickly, while others need to take baby steps, only increasing dose every 3-5 days. 12 drops will be too high a dose for some (for example, I found 8 drops was an appropriate dose for myself. Large men may need 12 drops or more).
- Some people need this protocol for up to a year…others 2-4 weeks. This varies drastically, depending on your level of infection. Only you will know. In cases with Crohn's, long treatment always neccesary.
- When you feel your infection is under control, I suggest staying on a maintenance dose for 2-3 months, of just 5 drops, once or twice a day (you decide).
- If you experience die-off (herxheimer reaction) symptoms such as headache, body-aches, diarrhea, severe fatigue etc., then just slow down. No need to put yourself through a detox nightmare; take a manageable pace.
Supplementing With Probiotics during Treatment
Yes, supplementing with probiotics while on an oil of oregano protocol is best. There is no hard evidence as to what degree the Oregano oil specifically impacts the friendly flora (good guys). Some research suggests that it wipes out everything (the good and the bad), others say that it only inhibits 3-5% of probiotics. Just as it is recommended to take a probiotic while on a pharmaceutical antibiotic, best to consume one in this scenario as well.
However, those of you that follow my work know that I am not a huge advocate for traditional probiotic supplementation. I believe in soil based probiotics (spores) because they absolutely survive the acidity of the stomach (unlike ‘regular’ probiotics) and they colonize like no other. * See my blog on spoil based organism probiotics here.
I do, however, believe in ‘regular’ probiotic enemas, as this is the fastest, most effective way to colonize. Most people find drastic results from probiotic enemas, as long as they are using a) a REAL probiotic that is not dead on the shelf and b) they use the appropriate dose for enema, which is quite high. You simply have to get over the yuck factor because it is really can be a game changer.
*Custom Probiotics offered in my shop is one of the best probiotics on the market, not found in stores, produced by a microbiologist, probiotics is the ONLY thing he does.
Wild crafted Oil of Oregano should be considered in any gut related illness, especially if weaker anti-microbials such as Olive Leaf, Grapefruit Extract and Berberine have not brought results.
Karen Mullins DOM