In a study published in May 2014 in the Journal of Applied Molecular Biology, oregano, or a compound found in it, was found to have anti-viral properties, specifically against a noro virus. (i)
This is significant because noro virus has been known to cause trouble in food service environments, such as on cruise ships, and more recently, in popular food chains.
The same compound has also been studied for its effect on cancer. In a study published
in the journal Phytomedicine in July of 2010, the compound studied, called carvacrol,
was shown to have anti-tumor effects on human metastatic breast cancer cells,
specifically MDA-MD 231 cells. (ii) This same compound can also found in thyme, wild
bergamot, and marjoram. (iii) It has also been studied and been found to have a preventive effect on lung cancer, (iv) and brain tumors (or glioblastoma) cells. (v)
Oregano is a spice that is widely used in Italian cooking, such as in pizza and spaghetti sauce.
Although these studies were done on very concentrated versions of oregano–namely its essential oil and an isolated component–it is still pretty amazing to know what food can do.