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By Witchipedia, Herbs

Oregano: Witchcraft, Spiritual & Magickal Uses

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Oregano (Origanum spp) has a warm, aromatic flavor and scent and is slightly bitter in taste. It is a member of the mint family with characteristic labiate flowers in pink or lavender.

It is a bushy plant with opposite, oval-shaped leaves and the square stem shared with other mints. The stem may be woody. It usually grows to 8 to 10 inches tall.

Although Oregano and Marjoram are different plants, they are often confused linguistically. (Even Linnaeus confused them.) The flavors are similar, but not identical and their fragrance is quite different.

Names Wild marjoram, rigani, bastard marjoram, Greek oregano


Oregano, often associated with love and protection in folklore, has a rich history rooted in Mediterranean cultures where it was considered a symbol of joy and happiness.

Among the various oregano varieties, Common Oregano (O. vulgare) is renowned for its robust flavor, while Greek Oregano (O. heracleoticum) boasts a unique peppery taste ideal for Mediterranean dishes.

Oregano is a hardy herb that thrives in well-drained soil and full sun, making it an excellent addition to home gardens.

With its antimicrobial properties, oregano has earned its place not only in culinary creations but also in natural medicine, aiding in digestion and offering relief from respiratory ailments.

History and Folklore

The name Oregano comes from the Greek meaning “joy of the mountains”. It grows wild on the hillsides of Greece and shepherds used to encourage their sheep to eat it, so as to improve the flavor of the meat.

It has been grown in the Mediterranean for centuries and became popular in the US after WWII.

Ancient Greeks believed that oregano was a useful poison antidote and used it in poultices to treat skin irritations and infections. If oregano grew on a grave, it was an indication that the departed was happy in the afterlife. Couples were crowned with wreaths of oregano at weddings in both ancient Greece and Rome to ensure their future joy.

ProtectionOregano has long been associated with warding off negative energies and evil spirits
HealingUsed in traditional medicine for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
Joy and HappinessOregano is believed to bring joy and happiness when used in rituals and spells
Love and RomanceConsidered an herb of love, it is used in love spells and to attract romantic energies
Table 1: Folklore and Symbolism of Oregano

Traditional Chinese healers have also used oregano for generations to treat a variety of complaints.

In Shakespearean times, oregano was used for just about anything. Ladies carried it in their tussie mussies to mask unpleasant odors. It was also used in a potion to enable them to see their future husband on St. Luke’s day.

It has been used for centuries in many places in love potions.

Growing oregano near your home is supposed to protect it from evil forces. It has also been carried as a charm for the same purpose.


Common Oregano, Wild Marjoram, Pot Marjoram (O. vulgare)

Has a sweeter taste than Italian or Greek and is used more often in English and French cooking. This is the variety most sold to gardeners, though Greek Oregano is more potent.

Greek Oregano (O. heracleoticum)

A very enthusiastic grower should be kept in a pot so it doesn’t become invasive. It is excellent for cooking and has a high concentration of volatile oils, making it good for healing and magic.

Italian Oregano (Origanum onites)

Milder than Greek Oregano, but less invasive, so a better choice for the garden. Butterflies love the lavender flowers it bears in the summer.

Sweet Marjoram, Knotted Marjoram (Oregaum marjorana)

This plant is very frost tender and should be grown indoors in cool climates. Its trailing habit makes it attractive in hanging baskets and it does well in pots. Its flavor not as strong as that of other varieties.

Magickal Uses

Oregano is ruled by Venus and the element of air and associated with Aphrodite.

It is used in spells for happiness, tranquility, luck, health, protection and letting go of a loved one. It can also be used in spells to deepen existing love.

It is said to promote psychic dreams when worn on the head during sleep.

CorrespondenceMagickal Meaning
DeityAphrodite, Mercury, Hecate
Magickal UsesLove spells, purification, protection, joy
Associated CrystalsAmethyst, Clear Quartz, Rose Quartz
Associated HerbsLavender, Rosemary, Thyme
Table 2: Magickal Correspondences of Oregano

Oregano symbolizes joy. Use it for rituals celebrating joyful occasions, or in spells to bring joy into one’s life. It is also a suitable decoration for a grave to ensure the deceased finds happiness in their next life.

Wreaths of oregano may be used to crown the heads of hand-fasting couples to ensure their happiness.


Grow in full sun with well-drained soil. Do not let the roots sit in wetness. Oregano does not need fertilizer and using it will weaken the flavor.

Plants can be propagated by seed, division or cuttings. Sprinkle seeds over the soil, and do not cover, as sunlight sparks germination. Start indoors and transplant after the danger of frost has passed.

Prune monthly, clipping back flower stalks to keep the plant bushy and preventing it from bolting to seed. Once this happens, the flavor will be affected.

Different species of oregano can cross-pollinate, so if you have more than one species in your garden and collect and replant seeds the following year, you may get a surprise.

Spider mites and aphids may show interest in your oregano.

Harvesting and Preserving

Begin harvesting when the plant is about four inches tall. Just pinch off what you need above a pair of leaves. Harvest just before flowers form for the best flavor.

Oregano dries well. Like thyme, the flavor of oregano increases with drying.

Culinary Use

Indispensable for Italian cuisine, oregano is a popular flavoring for tomato dishes, and other acidic vegetables. It’s also great on various meats. It is a natural partner to basil and tomatoes.

Add oregano near the end of cooking. If oregano is cooked too long, it turns bitter.

Mexican oregano Lippia spp is similar in flavor to oregano and popular in Central America and the southern US. It is used to flavor Chili con Carne.

It blends well with chilies, paprika, garlic, onion and cumin for a distinctive Southwestern flavor of chili powder. Mexican oregano is more closely related to verbena than oregano.

Household Use

The tops of the plants, cut while in bloom, yield a reddish-brown dye.

The leaves can be rubbed over wood as a sort of wood polish. It leaves a pleasant scent.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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