Oil of oregano under tongue?
October 8, 2011 1:53 AM   Subscribe

Can salivary amylase break down oil of oregano??

Oil of oregano bottles claim that you must keep it under your tongue for several seconds after taking it. It is my understanding that the main enzyme in saliva is salivary amylase and that salivary lipase only breaks down a negligible amount of fats.

Is it possible that oil of oregano can be broken down sufficiently to absorb its nutrients in the mouth? Or can it be absorbed somehow without the presence of enzymes?
posted by nitor to Science & Nature (4 answers total)
I did a little poking around to see if I could find you anything: my recommendation is that you compare and contrast these two sites and reach your own conclusions.

Assuming the oil actually does something, the problem is we don't know what compound(s) in it are doing the thing. In general, a big difference between a drug that does something and one that doesn't is half life, so digesting it is not desirable. I know that allowing the tablets to dissolve under your tongue is very common in homeopathy. Might just be that they borrowed the dosing technique form there.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:25 AM on October 8, 2011

Plenty of "allopathic" drugs are designed for sublingual administration, and do not depend on salivary amylase to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. So this is possible, but uncertain, because we don't know what the active ingredient is.
posted by roofus at 3:22 AM on October 8, 2011

Best answer: Roofus is correct. Sublingual administration isn't about breaking down the product with salivary enzymes, it is about absorbing its active ingredients via a particularly receptive mucous membrane. Whether and how well this is actually going to work with oil of oregano, no idea.

And you are correct, salivary amylase is going to have a negligible impact on the digestion of anything besides starch.
posted by nanojath at 6:04 AM on October 8, 2011

Response by poster: All helpful answers-- thank you!
posted by nitor at 10:54 AM on October 8, 2011

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