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Why is Mexican Oregano Different

Slofoodgroup Team June 18, 2022

Mexican Oregano is a wonderful addition to any spice cabinet, tea shelf, or herbal apothecary. That being said—and prepare to have your mind blown—Mexican Oregano is not actually oregano at all. In fact, it is in the verbena family and more closely related to lemon verbena  than true oregano, which is actually a member of the mint family and most commonly sourced from the Mediterranean. 

But what sets Mexican Oregano apart from the Mediterranean version? Let’s take a look.

What is the Difference Between Mexican Oregano and Mediterranean Oregano

Though the flavor differences between these two herbs may be subtle, Mexican Oregano does have its own unique qualities that make it stand out from its Mediterranean cousin. 

Flavor Profile of Mexican Oregano:

If you are used to what is considered to be true oregano, prepare yourself to be amazed. While the two share a similar flavor profile, Mexican Oregano is more like the spunky cousin of the oregano you are likely used to. It has the same earthy elements you would expect from true oregano species but is bold and citrusy, with slight notes of pepper and anise. 

Potential Health Benefits of Mexican Oregano:

Although Mexican Oregano comes from a completely different family of herbs than Mediterranean Oregano, the two actually share a several of the same supposed health benefits. Both are praised for their abilities to reduce asthma and COPD symptoms, but the Mexican version even moreso (it’s even being studied in COVID-19 patients). Among the many specific claims of medicinal uses for this plant are as follows:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Relieving pain and cramping naturally
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Having antibacterial and antiviral properties
  • Aiding in bronchial, lung, and chest health
  • Benefiting overall health, due to high levels of antioxidants to battle oxidative stress 

Where is Mexican Oregano Found?

As you may have guessed, Mexican Oregano is found in Mexico, but it’s growth is not restricted to that area. The plant itself, scientifically referred to as Lippia graveolens, is native to Mexico and other areas of Central and South America, but it’s popularity has enabled it to migrate to other parts of the world. Because it is a shrub with the tenacity of a weed, cultivating this plant is not difficult as long as the climate is suitable. It can now be found in many gardens, markets, and even growing wild in many parts of the southern United States, Caribbean, and beyond. 

Uses for Mexican Oregano:

If you’ve never had Mexican Oregano and really want to immerse yourself in its flavor to get to know it better, we recommend starting with some Mexican Oregano Tea. It will really allow you to experience the varying elements of flavor before adding it to other recipes.

Mexican Oregano is obviously quite common in Mexican dishes. It is especially prevalent in recipes for pazole, mole, quesabirria, enchilada sauces, and more.

Whatever you decide to use it in, you’ll love the way it incorporates an element of sweetness and brightens your dish with notes of citrus.

As is the case with any ingredient, though, quality matters. Your end result will only be as good as the quality of the ingredients you use. You can find prime, ethically sourced, Greek-cut Mexican Oregano, right here.