A Danish scientist may have figured out a way to lessen the amount of methane released into the atmosphere, and it involves a fragrant herb, according to NPR.
Kai Grevsen, a senior researcher at Aarhus University in Denmark, found that oregano contains an essential oil that “can kill some of the bacteria in the cow’s rumen that produce methane,” he told NPR.
NPR reports that more than a third of methane comes from livestock, with a lot of the output due to gassy, burping cows.
Oregano allows organic farmers to scale down their contribution to climate change without adding chemicals like 3-nitrooxypropanol (3NOP) to their cattle feed. Grevsen’s research shows that oregano can have the same effect on cows, with the added benefit of making their diets organic. There’s also evidence that the herb alters the chemical composition of the fatty acids in milk, which leads to a “better-quality milk,” NPR reports.
According to Grevsen, the oregano solution is a win-win for cow and Earth.
“A cow loses a lot of energy in releasing all this methane,” Grevsen tells NPR. “By blocking the bacteria, the energy that doesn’t get lost can be used by the cow to produce more milk.”
Grevsen also tells NPR that he found Greek oregano to contain an abundance of that bacteria-killing essential oil. As far as taste goes, the research team hasn’t tasted any product yet, but cited previous studies saying that there were no savory traces in the milk.