Oregano tea is an herbal infusion made from fresh or dried oregano leaves — a concoction that typically is referred to as "tisane" as opposed to "tea." Oregano is a flavorful herb that has both culinary and medicinal value. It makes a tasty addition to the herb garden or can be purchased fresh or dried from the market or an herb supplier. A brew can be made from either fresh or dried oregano leaves.
An infusion made from oregano leaves is called a "tisane" rather than a "tea." True tea is a name reserved for beverages that use tea leaves from the plant Camellia sinensis. The name "tisane" is derived from the French word for "herbal infusion." A steeped beverage that does not contain true tea leaves is considered a tisane. Technicalities aside, the name "tea" is commonly used to refer to herbal infusions, including oregano tea.
Medicinally, oregano tea is used to relieve colds and flu, nasal inflammation as well as symptoms of asthma. It can be beneficial for rheumatism and general aches and pains as well. Oregano tea is also used to relieve menstrual cramps and nausea. A brew made from oregano leaves can also aid digestion and relieve nausea.
As a culinary herb, oregano leaves add pungent flavor, well-suited for Mexican- and Mediterranean-style cooking. The leaves can be harvested and used fresh right from the garden. Using dried or powdered oregano, however, is a convenient way to keep this herb on hand in the kitchen.
Oregano tea, and oregano herbs used in cooking, are naturally high in antioxidants and vitamin K. The herb also has antibacterial properties. Oregano tea can be used as a topical wash or a mouthwash, for instance, to prevent and help heal bacterial infections.
Growing oregano is one of the best ways to keep fresh herbs on hand. Even if no garden space is available, a pot on the windowsill or a sunny porch can be used. As long as the area gets a minimum of six hours of sun a day, oregano will grow well. In the garden, oregano should be spaced 8 to 12 inches (about 20 to 30 cm) apart. An 8- to 12-inch diameter (about 20- to 30-cm) planting pot works well for a single plant.
The leaves can be harvested as needed throughout the season. The best way to harvest oregano is to simply pinch the leaves off the stalk, taking only a few leaves from each area. The whole plant can also be harvested and dried in the fall for winter use.