Salmoriglio (Oregano)

What is salmoriglio? Is is a condiment from Italy that is used as a marinade or sauce. Thinned it can be used in a dressing, thickened it can be used more like pesto. The base is olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic and fresh herbs. It can be used to tenderize meats/seafood/protein before grilling, to baste vegetables before roasting, as a spread in a sandwich, or mixed into grains. It has a fresh and sour taste, reminding me a lot of chimichurri or harissa. A jar of it can be stored in the refrigerator for months. One can use add any combination of leafy, mineral rich herbs or foraged plants including-arugula, chickweed, nettle, lovage, borage, purslane, lambs quarters, plantain, mallow, dock, sorrel, chicory, violet, catnip, lemon balm, nasturtium, marjoram, feverfew, sage, tarragon, hyssop, red clover, thyme, mint, yarrow, and miners lettuce. I even saw an on-line salmoriglio recipe with monarda. My additions were dandelion and fennel.


1 cup of fresh dandelion leaves coarsely chopped

1 cup of fresh parsley coarsely chopped

1 cup of fresh cilantro coarsely chopped

1/4 -1/2 of high quality olive oil

1/2 tsp of smoked salt

1/2 tsp of ground pink peppercorns

1 tsp of ground dried coriander seeds

1 TBPS finely chopped fresh fennel leaves

2 TBSP of fresh chives finely chopped (or garlic)

2 TBSP of fresh oregano finely chopped

Juice and zest of a small lemon

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until your desired consistency is reached. Can be thinned with water or a high quality vinegar. Leftovers can be place in a clean canning jar and stored in the refrigerator.

As a member of the mint family oregano/wild marjoram has its own aromatic essential oils. It is a common perennial found all over the world. Lots of small, ovate shaped, gray/green leaves grow oppositely on a single, downy, square stem (sometimes purplish). These are dotted with very small depressions. This plant grows about 24 inches high. Numerous, tiny ,two lipped white flowers ( with pink or purple tints) grow on erect, terminal clusters. Oregano often appears to grow as a bush shaped patch. It will thrive in just about any soil, tolerates drought, and prefers full sun.

Many older classic herbals leave this herb out as it is more known for culinary use in the US. If you wish to dig deep into the medicinal uses of Oregano you might consider resources originating from Hispanic cultures and countries. Here you will see it used for “cold invasion” or a more bile/pitta constitution. Oregano is gaining more popularity in the west for its antiseptic/antiviral and vasodilating properties. Historically this plant has been used to treat childhood illnesses, headaches, the flu, fever, colds, bronchitis, and asthma. It may help with digestive issues such as colic, gas, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, and parasites. Some herbalists have used it for problems related to menstruation, cramps, headaches, earache, insomnia, inflammation and high cholesterol. Externally it is used as a liniment, poultice, or compress for sprains, injuries, swelling, pain, itchy skin, animal or insect bites/stings, dizziness, and bruising. When inhaled as steam it can help clear and open the lungs, relieving a bad cough. In Hispanic cultures oregano is a popular remedy for conditions of a “spiritual” nature where it might be used in a ritual spray, bath or cleansing.

Latin Name: Origanum vulgare

Botanic Family: Lamiaceae/Mint

Parts Used: leaves

Energetics:pungent, bitter, warm, dry

Element: air

Contraindications: avoid all but culinary use during pregnancy

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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