Oregano is an important culinary herb, used for the flavor of its leaves, which can be more flavourful when dried than fresh. It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity. Good quality oregano may be strong enough almost to numb the tongue, but the cultivars adapted to colder climates often have a lesser flavor. Factors such as climate, seasons and soil composition may affect the aromatic oils present, and this effect may be greater than the differences between the various species of plants. Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. It also has shown antimicrobial activity against strains of the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.
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