Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) Overview

Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) image

Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) other names : Bible Hyssop , Lebanese Oregano , Syrian Oregano , Zaatar.

Lebanese oregano (Origanum syriacum) is also known as zaatar. This herb is a perennially growing bush having very aromatic foliage. Characteristically, the lebanese oregano grows straight up to a height of 2.5 feet forming a mound-like structure. As its name suggests, this herb has its origin in the Middle East. As this herb is considered to be the hyssop of the Bible’s Old Testament, occasionally lebanese oregano is also referred to as the Bible hyssop.

The stems of lebanese oregano are squarish and covered with hair, bearing dense ovate, grey-green hued leaves, which are extremely aromatic. The leaves usually grow up to a length of just 1 inch. The herb bears tubular, two-lipped flowers, which may come in white or light pink hue. Flowers of lebanese oregano bloom in clusters atop their spikes between the middle of summer to the end of the season. Lebanese oregano flowers are very showy.

Lebanese oregano is a woody perennial plant that smells as well as has the flavour akin to that of oregano. In fact, this herb forms the basis of the spice having the same name and is often used by people in the Middle East. The dried herb is pulverized into a powdered form and used along with other ingredients like salt, garlic, crushed sumac seeds, olive oil and others and used as bread-topping. This herb is not only very flavourful, but consuming it regularly is also beneficial for our overall health.

It is worth mentioning here that lebanese oregano is one source of the essential oil called carvacrol. This essential oil possesses antiseptic properties and together with other terpenoids like thymol is effective in inhibiting various types of harmful bacteria, for instance, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This oil works by corroding the cell wall of bacteria. Lebanese oregano has a preference for full sun and likes a sandy soil that drains very fast. During its first growing season, this herb produces an abundance of leaves.

Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) plant

Among all varieties of oreganos, the lebanese oregano is considered to be a giant plant. Apart from growing tall when it blooms, this plant also has a great flavour, which is akin to that of the well accepted Greek oregano. However, unlike the more well known Greek oregano, lebanese oregano is a more compliant plant in gardens. It is also different from the Greek oregano as it not only grows tall, especially when it is in bloom, but this herb also does not sprawl or creep all over the garden. The mature leaves of lebanese oregano appear darker, dusty green, while the stems of the plant become woody and their color changes to brown. Although the mature leaves are not as flavourful as the young leaves, they can be dried and powdered for later use.

Lebanese oregano grows well in a wide range of soils, including normal, arid and medium that have proper drainage and are located in full sun. This herb has a preference for alkaline soils and it thrives well even in coarse sandy loams. However, the key to growing lebanese oregano successfully is cultivating the species in extremely well-drained soils. This plant possesses the aptitude to endure heat as well as drought conditions. 

Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) Health Benefits

For long people have been using the lebanese oregano in the form of a therapeutic and flavoring herb. This herb contains high levels of thymol, which is believed to be responsible for its therapeutic effects, especially for treating gum infections, tooth decay and even coughs. Many people also drink a tea prepared from lebanese oregano leaves after meals with a view to facilitate digestion.

Apart from being an accommodative garden plant, lebanese oregano is also appropriate for growing in balconies and on terraces.

Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Lebanese Oregano (Origanum Syriacum) leaves

The leaves as well as the flowering tops of lebanese oregano are used for adding essence to foods. The flavour of this herb reminds one of a mixture of oregano, thyme and marjoram. Occasionally, people add blend dried lebanese oregano with sumac (obtained from Rhus species) to prepare a blended spice called zatar. This blended spice is used together with olive oil in the form of a bread topping. For instance, the Bedouins use the dried Lebanese oregano leaves with salt and eat this dry blend with bread. Usually, the leaves as well as the flowering tops of this herb are dried and sold commercially as "oregano". However, the term "oregano" should actually be used to denote the species O. vulgare.

Nevertheless, the lebanese oregano is also a very popular herb, whether used fresh or dried, and is often employed to season salads, sauces, soups, stews, stuffings, roasts, vegetables as well as meat. You may also use the dried leaves of this herb in potpourris. Often, people bake the lebanese oregano into the outer layer of pita bread and then brushed with olive oil before eating. In addition, dried out herb is also sprinkled on various other foods for seasoning them.