For those concerned about crops being infected with fungus, as is the case in Argentina where the combination of slow-drying corn kernels and the area’s wet weather conditions wreak havoc on corn, the solution may be in common essential oils. In particular, oregano essential oil has been found to protect corn crops from fungal infections.

Researchers discovered that the essential oil was effective in keeping fungus at bay, offering a natural, safer alternative to synthetic chemicals that ultimately lead to the creation of treatment-resistant pathogens. Furthermore, it was discovered that oregano essential oil only needs to be used in small amounts to prevent corn crops from developing fungal infections, and because the oils don’t stay in the water or soil for extended periods of time, the toxicity to animals is low.

Essential oil of oregano shown to preserve “quality and food safety” of corn

The findings, which were published in the Journal of Food Science, a publication of the Institute of Food Technologists, advocate the use of essential oils as a natural fungicide to manage disease in corn. The article, titled “Natural Control of Corn Postharvest Fungi Aspergillus flavus and Penicillium sp. Using Essential Oils from Plants Grown in Argentina,” offers the following conclusion:

The quality and food safety of corn could be preserved by the addition of natural antifungal agents such as essential oils. This research shows that the essential oils inhibit the growth of fungi and therefore, the formation of mycotoxins. Because of this, the use of these essential oils should be considered for the industry as a natural biocide agent for preserving quality properties and food safety in postharvest cereals, such as corn.

In addition to the determining that oregano essential oil has antifungal properties that protect crops like corn, additional natural agents were also examined. Other essential oils such as rosemary and the mint variety Inglesa, were also studied. However, no antifungal benefits to corn crops were found in rosemary essential oil. The main compound in oregano essential oil, thymol, was found to be among one of the best oils to fight antifungal activity.

Using oregano essential oil to protect corn crops is important, as time and again, it’s made clear that herbicides, such as

Monsanto’s Roundup, are laden with harmful chemicals. Namely, its main ingredient, glyphosate, has been linked with causing nerve, respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal damage and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. In fact, Roundup is considered one of the most toxic herbicides, commonly reported by agricultural workers as a cause of their pesticide-related illnesses.

Any time the opportunity exists to use natural methods instead of ones that ruin the environment and people’s lives, the better.

Beyond corn: additional antifungal and other health benefits that essential oregano oil provides

It may come as no surprise that essential oregano oil provides these benefits. After all, it’s been heralded by many for use in human health situations, often for its antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-parasitic abilities. As an antifungal, it can help protect the body from internal and external infections; and many people enjoy using the oil to treat skin infections.

Its antibacterial benefits include the ability to maintain healthy gut flora and ward off urinary tract and colon infections.

When it comes to anti-parasitic properties, it works wonders in keeping harmful and annoying parasites such as mosquitoes, lice, bed bugs and tape worms at bay. All of these parasites have the potential to reside both inside and outside of the body, and since they are a carrier of communicable diseases, ridding them is critical.

Oregano essential oil, when ingested, can rid intestinal worms, and when applied externally, plays a role in keeping fleas, lice, bed bugs and the like away.