Botanical Name: Origanum vulgare (Labiatae),Origanum marjorana; Origanum majorana,Origanum vulgare (LINN.)
Labiatae/Lamiaceae (mint)
O. majorana
: Lamiales

Other common names: Sweet Marjoram, Knotted Marjoram, Marjorana hortensis,
Majorana hortensis

Parts Used: Herb, oil.
Habitat :Generally distributed over Asia, Europe and North Africa; grows freely in England, being particularly abundant in calcareous soils, as in the south-eastern counties. It grows on the dry slopes and rocky places, occasionally in partial shade, to 1500 metres in Turkey.

Description—It is a perennial herb, with creeping roots, sending up woody stems about a foot high, branched above, often purplish. The leaves are opposite, petiolate, about an inch long, nearly entire hairy beneath. The flowers are in corymbs, with reddish bracts, a two-lipped pale purple corolla, and a five-toothed calyx, blooming from the end of June, through August. There is a variety with white flowers and light-green stalks, another with variegated leaves. It is propagated by division of roots in the autumn.

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When cultivated, the leaves are more elliptical in shape than the Wild Marjoram, and the flower-spikes thinner and more compact. Marjoram has an extensive use for culinary purposes, as well as in medicine, but it is the cultivated species, Origanum Onites (Pot Marjoram), O. Marjorana (Sweet or Knotted Marjoram), and O. Heracleoticum (Winter Marjoram) that are employed in cookery as a seasoning. They are little used for medicinal purposes for which the Wild Marjoram is employed.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana, Lamiaceae) is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavors. It is also called Sweet Marjoram or Knotted Marjoram and Majorana hortensis.

The name marjoram (Old French majorane, Medieval Latin majorana) does not directly derive from the Latin word maior (major).Marjoram is cultivated for its aromatic leaves, either green or dry, for culinary purposes; the tops are cut as the plants begin to flower and are dried slowly in the shade. It is often used in herb combinations such as Herbes de Provence and Za’atar.
Native from Asia, marjoram cultivated commercially in several regions. Much used by the ancient Greeks, wild marjoram has had a more significant role in medicine than sweet marjoram (O. majorana). Marjoram tea is an age-old remedy to aid digestion, increase sweating and encourage menstruation. As a steam inhalant, marjoram clears the sinuses and helps relieve laryngitis. Wild marjoram helps settle flatulence and stimulates the flow of bile. Strongly antiseptic, it may be taken to treat respiratory conditions such as coughs, tonsillitis, bronchitis and asthma. The diluted oil can be applied to toothache or painful joints.

Related species
Oregano (Origanum vulgare, sometimes listed with Marjoram as Origanum majorana) is also called Wild Marjoram. It is a perennial common in southern Europe in dry copses and on hedge-banks, with many stout stems 30-80 cm high, bearing short-stalked somewhat ovate leaves and clusters of purple flowers. It has a stronger flavor and a more penetrating quality.

Pot Marjoram or Cretan Oregano (Origanum onites) has similar uses to marjoram.

Hardy Marjoram or Italian marjoram is a cross of marjoram with oregano that is much more resistant to cold, but is slightly less sweet.

Origanum pulchellum, Showy Marjoram or Showy Oregano.

(Catalan marduix; Spanish mejorana)

Marjoram Leaf is an aromatic tonic (and important condiment) that is a pleasant means to good digestion. It eases colic, sour stomach, stomach pains and menstrual cramps and is also an effective expectorant that loosens phlegm in the lungs and alleviates sinus headache, bronchitis, dry coughs and the symptoms of colds and flu. Marjoram is also a natural disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antioxidant that effectively relieves pains and aches.

Cultivation—The Marjorams are some of the most familiar of our kitchen herbs, and are cultivated for the use of their aromatic leaves, either in a green or dried state, for flavouring and other culinary purposes, being mainly put into stuffings. Sweet Marjoram leaves are also excellent in salads. They have whitish flowers, with a two-lipped calyx, and also contain a volatile oil, which has similar properties to the Wild Marjoram.

Winter Marjoram is really a native of Greece, but is hardy enough to thrive in the open air in England, in a dry soil, and is generally propagated by division of the roots in autumn.

Pot Marjoram, a native of Sicily, is also a hardy perennial, preferring a warm situation and dry, light soil. It is generally increased by cuttings, taken in early summer, inserted under a hand-glass, and later planted out a space of 1 foot between the rows and nearly as much from plant to plant, as it likes plenty of room. It may also be increased by division of roots in April, or by offsets, slipping pieces off the plants with roots to them and planting with trowel or dibber, taking care to water well. In May, they grow quickly after the operation. May also be propagated by seed, sown moderately thin, in dry, mild weather in March, in shallow drills, about 1/2 inch deep and 8 or 9 inches apart, covered in evenly with the soil. Transplant afterwards to about a foot apart each way. The seeds are very slow in germinating.
Seed – sow early spring at 10 – 13°c and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 4 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in April or early May and, although it can be slow to germinate, usually does well[4]. Division in March or October. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Basal cuttings of young barren shoots in June. Very easy. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Native from Asia, marjoram cultivated commercially in several regions. Much used by the ancient Greeks, wild marjoram has had a more significant role in medicine than sweet marjoram (O. majorana). Marjoram tea is an age-old remedy to aid digestion, increase sweating and encourage menstruation. As a steam inhalant, marjoram clears the sinuses and helps relieve laryngitis. Wild marjoram helps settle flatulence and stimulates the flow of bile. Strongly antiseptic, it may be taken to treat respiratory conditions such as coughs, tonsillitis, bronchitis and asthma. The diluted oil can be applied to toothache or painful joints.

Sweet Marjoram is a half-hardy annual that is native to southern Europe (probably Portugal) and can be found in North Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East, and has also been introduced throughout Europe and into North America. Sweet Marjoram Leaf has a more delicate flavor than its close cousin, Origanum vulgare (oregano or wild marjoram), and possesses very similar medicinal properties, often being used in a similar manner. Sweet Marjoram is even sometimes confused with it. Marjoram Leaf is a bushy plant with small, dark green leaves and flowers that resemble little knots, hence, one of its common names, Knotted Marjoram, and the plant generally reaches about one foot in height, thriving in well-drained-to-dry, neutral-to-alkaline soil in full sun. The Greeks gave us its botanical name, Origanum, which is derived from oros and ganos , meaning “joy of the mountain,” and those traveling through Greece will find it (and wild Marjoram) covering the hillsides and scenting the summer air. Legend tells us that sweet Marjoram was created by Aphrodite as a symbol of happiness, and bridal couples in Greece and Rome were crowned with its garlands to ensure a happy marriage. This highly fragrant herb was also placed on tombs to give peace to departed spirits. In ancient Greece Marjoram was used in oils to massage into the skin to relieve pain, and Aristotle recommended it as an antidote for poisoning, claiming that tortoises swallowing a snake would immediately eat wild Marjoram as an antidote to prevent death. The ancient Egyptians also knew of its power to heal, using it to disinfect, preserve and heal wounds, and it is used in that country for the same purposes to this day. In medieval times, herbalists prescribed Marjoram oil for toothache, and sixteenth and seventeenth-century herbalists recommended it as an internal aid to digestion and as a diuretic. Throughout history, Marjoram Leaf has been used in preserving food and in remedies for colds and sore throats, and dried Marjoram Leaf was popular as snuff. Sweet or Knotted Marjoram is considered by many cooks to be far better than wild Marjoram (oregano), and the leaves are highly popular in Italian and Greek cuisine and also used to flavor oil and vinegar. It is often infused in healthful teas, and its fragrance is placed on pillows to promote sleep, in mothbags to deter moths, in potpourris for it fragrance, on hair and skin for its sweet scent and added to bathwater to relieve tension and rheumatic pains. Marjoram Leaf is rich in flavonoids and volatile oils, notably carvacrol and the powerful antiseptic, thymol, gallic acid, caffeic acid, saponins and tannin.

Edible Uses: Leaves  are eaten raw or cooked. Sweet marjoram is widely used as a flavouring for salad dressings, vegetables, legumes and oils. It has a more delicate flavour than the closely related oregano (Origanum vulgare), and is best when used fresh and only added towards the end of cooking. The aromatic seeds are used as a flavouring in sweets, drinks etc.  A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. The flavour resembles a blend of thyme, rosemary and sage.Marjoram is used for seasoning soups, stews, dressings and sauce

 MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, digestive.

Medicinal Action and Uses—Marjoram yields about 2 per cent of a volatile oil which is separated by distillation. This must not be confused with oil of Origanum, which is extracted from Thyme. Its properties are stimulant, carminative, diaphoretic and mildly tonic; a useful emmenagogue. It is so acrid that it has been employed not only as a rubefacient, and often as a liniment, but has also been used as a caustic by farriers. A few drops, put on cotton-wool and placed in the hollow of an aching tooth frequently relieves the pain. In the commencement of measles, it is useful in producing a gentle perspiration and bringing out the eruption, being given in the form of a warm infusion, which is also valuable in spasms, colic, and to give relief from pain in dyspeptic complaints.

Externally, the dried leaves and tops may be applied in bags as a hot fomentation to painful swellings and rheumatism, as well as for colic. An infusion made from the fresh plant will relieve nervous headache, by virtue of the camphoraceous principle contained in the oil.Marjoram oil is said relieve toothache as well.
Marjoram Leaf is an expectorant that has long been used to loosen and expel phlegm from the lungs. Because of its saponin content, it is a fine decongestant that is very useful for bronchial complaints, especially relieving congestion and mucus in the chest and sinuses. Marjoram Leaf helps to ease asthma, bronchitis, dry coughs, sinusitis and sinus headaches.

As a mild tonic for the nervous system, Marjoram Leaf is thought to be more relaxing than oregano, and it is used to soothe the nerves, reduce tension and mitigate stress, especially environmental stress. The flavonoids possess sedative qualities that help to relieve insomnia, tension headaches and migraines.

Marjoram Leaf promotes healthy digestion and treats simple gastrointestinal disorders, such as loss of appetite, indigestion, nausea and flatulence. It is said to act like peppermint in the way it soothes minor digestive upsets and colic.

The flavonoids and saponins in Marjoram Leaf are thought to promote healthy arteries and heart. Laboratory experiments claim that it prevents cholesterol buildup, improves blood circulation and may reduce high blood pressure. These properties may also be helpful in combating Alzheimer’s disease.

Marjoram Leaf contains caffeic acid, a phenylpropanoid, which is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, and when used internally or externally, the leaf eases pain, confirming its age-old use for alleviating aches and pains. Used externally, it eases toothache pain, rheumatic pain, muscular pain, bruises, arthritis, sprains and stiff joints.

Used internally, Marjoram Leaf eases severe stomach cramps, spasms and painful menstruation (and will also stimulate suppressed menstruation).

As a mild diuretic, Marjoram Leaf will promote the flow of urine, helping to relieve stomach bloating and clearing the body of toxins and cleansing the blood. This action is also said to benefit eruptive diseases and skin disorders, particularly eczema.

Marjoram Leaf is also a diaphoretic and stimulates perspiration, which also helps to rid the body of toxins through the skin. Moreover, this quality assists in reducing fevers and helps to relieve cold and flu symptoms.

Marjoram Leaf is considered a natural disinfectant, antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial that possesses healing qualities and combats infection. The saponins are said to help heal wounds and prevent scarring.

The flavonoids in Marjoram Leaf are believed to have an antioxidant effect against the free radicals that can damage important cellular molecules or other parts of the cell.

Marjoram Leaf can be infused as an aromatic tea for colds, headaches, simple gastronintestinal disorders and tension.

Recommended Dosage:
Take two (2) capsules, two (2) to three (3) times each day with water at mealtimes.

Other Uses:  The leaves and flowers yield 0.3 – 0.4% essential oil by steam distillation. Called ‘Oil of Sweet Marjoram’, it is used as a food flavouring and in perfumery, soaps, hair products etc. The plant is often used to disinfect bee hives.

Pregnant and nursing women should not use Marjoram Leaf. Those who are allergic to members of the mint family (thyme, basil, sage, oregano, etc.) should avoid this herb.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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