Oregano

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This aromatic herb is best consumed dried, as in this form its aroma is at its strongest. The taste of oregano is greatly enhanced thanks to Cannamela's freeze drying process.The name "oregano" means "joy of the mountain" and has its origins in the ancient Greek "oros" (mountain) and "ganos" (joy). This strongly-scented plant grows on hills and mountains up to 1800 metres above sea level, covering the slopes with its pleasant green colour.There are at least thirty varieties of oregano. Native to the Mediterranean basin, it can also be found in northern Europe and Siberia. However, plants growing in sunnier regions have a much stronger aroma.

Oregano is a herbaceous evergreen semi-permanent plant that grows to a height of about 50 cm. It grows spontaneously in the Mediterranean area at up to 1800 metres above sea level.Its leaves are small, dark green and oval-shaped. They have a rather intense scent with hints of pepper and mint.Oregano thrives in dry soil and sunny spots, and should be watered often but with moderation.

In the language of flowers, oregano means comfort, refreshment and happiness. The ancient Greeks used it to make tiaras to be given to newly-weds to wish them good luck in their marriage.The flowers were also used to dye wool of a red-brownish colour.Legend has it that the beneficial properties of oregano were discovered by storks, who eat its leaves after eating toxic food. This is the reason why the logo of the School of Medicine in Paris features three silver storks bearing an oregano branch.In ancient times, oregano was used as a room fragrance: burnt in large braziers with mint and thyme, it helped remove bad odours and disinfected the air during disease outbreaks.

Oregano is mainly used dried, like Cannamela's: the drying process, in fact, enhances its aroma. It has a typical Mediterranean flavour that goes well with tomatoes and mozzarella or in a fresh salad, but can also be used to season meat, fish and cooked vegetables. It also complements cheese, grilled and spicy food nicely. It is one of the main ingredients of pizza margherita.It also enhances the flavour of stocks and vegetables preserved in vinegar or in oil. Oregano is also used in the preparation of tasty sauces and digestive liqueurs.

L’origano è però molto di più di una semplice erba aromatica: è infatti ricco di proprietà grazie ai suoi principi attivi, i fenoli timolo e carvacrolo, ilferro, il calcio, il magnesio e la vitamina C contenuti nelle sommità fiorite e nelle foglie. Nel settembre 2010, sulla rivista “Foodbourne Pathogensand Desease” è stato pubblicatouno studio condotto da ricercatori spagnoli nel quale si dimostra che, per merito dei fenoli, l’origano inibisce lacrescita di batteri e muffe tipici della contaminazione alimentare. Un altro studio pubblicato su “Proceedings of the National Academy of sciences”,condotto da ricercatori dell’Università di Bonn in Germania e dell’ETH Zurich in Svizzera, ha permesso di individuare nell’origano una sostanza,conosciuta con il nome di betacariofillene, che sembra sia in grado di contrastare alcuni stati infiammatori.L’origano viene largamente utilizzato anche in campo cosmetico: sembra infatti agire sulla circolazione periferica, in particolare quando il metabolismoè lento e la ritenzione idrica si concentra a mani e piedi. Negli stabilimenti termali viene preparato l’olio all’origano per eseguire massaggi drenanti.L’infuso di origano aggiunto all’acqua del bagno ha un forte potere rilassante, mentre se usato per lavare i capelli li rinforza.