Oregano is a warm and aromatic yet slightly bitter herb in the mint family. Good quality oregano has a pungency that numbs the tongue. The best quality oregano is grown in a warm, dry climate. The name is derived from the Greek, meaning "mountain of joy". Sunlight encourages the concentration of the essential oils that give the oregano its flavor.
Two other herbs are used in the same ways as common oregano but have different properties. Mexican oregano is a plant in the verbena family that has an even stronger flavor, while marjoram is a closely related plant that lacks oregano's essential oil and has a different, gentler "mouth feel."