Oregano Oil Can Prevent Winter Vomiting Disease

March 17, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. virus /ˈvaɪrəs/ (n.) – an organism that causes disease
Example: The new virus caused an outbreak of a severe illness.

2. outbreak /ˈaʊtˌbreɪk/ (n.) – an unexpected spread of sickness
Example: A Chicken Pox outbreak happened in our village. 

3. unpalatable /ʌnˈpælətəbəl/ (adj.) – tastes bad
Example: Herbal medicines are unpalatable for some people.

4. ingest /ɪnˈdʒɛst/ (v.) – to swallow or take into the body through one’s mouth
Example: The patient ingested the medicine.

5. long-lasting /ˈlɔŋˈlæstɪŋ, -ˈlɑstɪŋ, ˈlɒŋ-/ (adj.) – lasts for a long time
Example: The vaccines give kids long-lasting protection against illnesses.


Read the text below.
Scientists discovered that a substance found in oregano has the ability to effectively weaken the norovirus.

The norovirus or the ‘winter vomiting disease’ often occurs in ships, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. Affected patients suffer from vomiting, diarrhea [dahy-uh-REE-uh], and stomach ache. A norovirus outbreak starts when a person comes into contact with an infected food or object. Though the sickness lasts for only a few days, the virus can quickly spread to other people.

Dr. Kelly Bright and other researchers from the University of Arizona conducted an experiment on the mouse strain of the virus, as the human norovirus strain is too difficult to grow. They introduced carvacrol-concentrated oregano oil to the virus colonies. Carvacrol, the substance that gives oregano its unique smell and flavor, has strong antimicrobial [an-tee-mahy-KROH-bee-uh l, an-tahy] properties.

Results of the experiment showed that oregano oil can fight the highly infectious virus. Researchers found that carvacrol can directly break down the protective layer of the virus. However, carvacrol’s effect to the virus was significantly slower than other disinfectants.

While oregano is safe to use, an infected patient may not be cured just by ingesting the oregano oil. This is because there is still no evidence to prove that carvacrol has the same effect when ingested by a person. The oregano oil can also be unpalatable for some people, and ingesting it may cause burning sensation and numbness to one’s tongue.

Instead of ingesting the carvacrol-concentrated oil, Bright said that it can be used as food and surface sanitizer. Scientists also recommend using carvacrol alongside other cleaning materials to achieve long-lasting protection against the virus.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you try using oregano oil as a cleansing ingredient? Why or why not?
·          In your opinion, how else can people avoid getting infected by viruses? Please discuss briefly.

Discussion B

·         Which do you think is better, herbal medicines or synthetic drugs? Kindly explain your answer.
·         Do you approve of alternative medicine? Why or why not?


March 17, 2014