Marjoram is a perennial herb originating in the Mediterranean. The herb is used in food preparation and is known to contain highly concentrated amounts of health-promoting bioactive compounds.
The plant’s scientific name is origanum majorana, and is also known as “knotted” marjoram. The herb has been widely used around the world for its medicinal purposes for many centuries.
In ancient Greece marjoram was named “Joy of the Mountain.” The Greeks used marjoram as component in making decorations, like ceremonial wreaths and garlands for weddings and funerals, and as a tea for pain relief.
The ancient Egyptians used marjoram for medicinal purposes, such as healing and disinfecting. In Egypt marjoram was also used to preserve food.
European women used marjoram in nosegays, a traditional flower bouquet, typically given as a gift during the Middle Ages. Marjoram was also used in Europe as a popular spice for cake, pudding and porridge recipes during the Middle Ages.
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Marjoram culinary uses date back to the 14th century in Italy and Spain. During the Renaissance period in Europe, from the 14th to 17th Centuries, marjoram was commonly used to flavor rice, eggs, meat and fish as well as in poultices to ward off infections.
Fresh marjoram was used as a salad herb during the 16th Century. Marjoram has been used to make tea and wild marjoram was used to make beer and ale prior to the use of hops.
Marjoram essential oil is created by extracting the oils of both the fresh and dried leaves of the marjoram plant by a steam-distillation process.
The major organic compounds in marjoram oil include:
Many Surprising Benefits Linked to Marjoram Essential Oil
Marjoram oil can be used as a topical application, applied to the skin, inhaled and used internally. When used internally, marjoram oil can be taken orally or inhaled for aromatherapy.
When inhaled, marjoram essential oil has actually been demonstrated to calm the nervous system, improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. Marjoram essential oil is used in the treatment of:
The numerous health benefits of marjoram essential oil are attributed to the herbs wide-ranging medicinal properties. These include analgesic, antibacterial, anaphrodisiac, antispasmodic, antiseptic and antiviral properties.
Marjoram also acts as a carminative, cephalic, cordial, diaphoretic, digestive aid and as a diuretic.
Additionally, marjoram essential oil has also been shown to work as a vasodilator, sedative, laxative, hypotensive, fungicidal, expectorant and as an emmenagogue.
An anaphrodisiac acts in exactly the opposite way of an aphrodisiac; to suppress libido and control sexual urges.
This can be an effective treatment for those who suffer from abnormal sexual desires or have to control sexual activity due to medical reasons.
Marjoram essential oil antiseptic properties are helpful in treating injuries, septic conditions and preventing tetanus from developing. I have found that marjoram essential oil is an ingredient in many of antiseptic lotions and creams.
Marjoram oil works as a muscle relaxer and is effective in stopping most types of muscle spasms, including cramps. It can also help strop convulsions and spasmodic cholera that are caused by uncontrollable muscle spasms.
Marjoram essential oil has known antiviral properties and is an effective treatment for cold and flu viruses, the mumps and measles.
Marjoram essential oil is a highly effective bactericide, helping to eliminate bacteria from the body both internally and externally.
It can also help prevent bacterial infections, such as food poisoning, bacterial diarrhea and possibly malaria.
Marjoram oil can help relieve flatulence by helping to relaxes the intestinal muscles, facilitating the release of gas.
As a result, the oil can help to reduce or eliminate symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, bloating and stomach ache.
Marjoram oil is good for improving brain functioning, and I have noticed an increase in alertness while taking it.
Research has suggested that the oil may protect against debilitating conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Almost 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes. Studies have indicated that marjoram, in fresh, dried and oil form, acts to inhibit the protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B enzyme, known as PTP1B, that negatively impacts insulin levels.
The aroma of marjoram alone stimulates the salivary glands, and mixing food with saliva is the first crucial step in digestion.
Marjoram oil also helps to increase bile production in the stomach. The oil further aids digestion through stimulating the peristaltic movement of the intestines, thereby helping to promote regular bowel movements.
Marjoram essential oil stimulates urination. This can help to purge toxins from the body, including excess salts and bile.
Increased urination can also help to lower blood pressure and increase fat burning.
Irregular or painful menstruation may be helped by taking marjoram essential oil. Marjoram oil reduces some of the typical symptoms of menstruation, such as headache and mood swings.
Marjoram essential oil may also help prevent the onset of premature menopause.
Marjoram oil has been demonstrated to help relieve congestion and mucus and phlegm in the head and throat.
From personal experience I know the oil is exceptionally effective in helping to reduce, or even stop, chronic coughing.
Marjoram oil is helpful in treating a number of skin conditions caused by a variety of fungus. Marjoram oil has been shown to directly inhibit the growth of fungi and helps stop and prevent infections.
Marjoram can help to naturally restore hormonal balance, thus reducing or even elevating many issues caused by a hormonal fluctuations. Marjoram oil has been used to increase breast-milk production in nursing mothers.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics showed marjoram helped women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome, known as PCOS, and infertility through better hormone regulation.
Heart Disease and Stroke
Being naturally high in antioxidants, marjoram is beneficial for the cardiovascular and circulatory systems.
Marjoram oil can help people at risk of or suffering from hypertension, commonly referred to as high blood pressure, which often leads to heart attack and stroke.
Marjoram oil strengthens the nervous system. Studies have shown inhalation of marjoram oil to increase parasympathetic nervous system activity while reducing sympathetic nervous system activity.
This results in less strain on the heart and arteries.
Marjoram offers various analgesic properties, helping to reduce pain symptoms. Massage therapists often use marjoram oil during treatment sessions.
I have personally experienced its analgesic effects when used during a massage treatment.
Pain is caused when some type of inflammation puts pressure on nerves. Marjoram does not just mask pain symptoms, but works as an anti-inflammatory to directly target the cause of the pain.
Unlike most over-the-counter and prescription painkillers on the market, marjoram oil does not have any known serious side effects.
Marjoram oil promotes perspiration. During illness, perspiration helps reduce fevers and can help rid the body of toxins.
Marjoram oil helps alleviates respiratory conditions caused by sinusitis, cold viruses, bronchitis, asthma and stress.
Research indicates marjoram oil has a mild sedative effect. This can help reduce or relieve anxiety and stress and help overcome shock or trauma.
A 2009 study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that 500 milligrams of marjoram oil per kilogram of body weight decreased the incidence of stomach ulcers.
Additionally, the study found ingesting the oil improved gastric wall mucus production, crucial to the healing of stomach ulcers.
As a vasodilator, marjoram acts to dilate, or widen, arteries and blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow. This is helpful for reducing the risk of heart conditions, strokes, atherosclerosis and can help men with erectile disorders.
Marjoram Oil Possible Harmful Side Effects and Needed Precautions
As with any substance, even all-natural preparations, marjoram essential oil does have the potential to produce some side effects. However, the only known major side effect from taking marjoram is possible dehydration.
As a diuretic, marjoram can lead to excessive urination that can result in dehydration. This happened to me when I fist stared using the oil, but was easily remedied by simply drinking more water.
Anyone not suffering from edema, an excess accumulation of water in the body, must be sure to drink plenty of water when taking marjoram oil.
Dehydration is easily recognized by the color of urine, with dark-yellow urine indicating dehydration, light-yellow indicating slight dehydration and clear urine meaning all is normal.
Because it acts as a blood thinner, use of marjoram oil should be discontinued two weeks prior to surgery. Contact with mucus membranes, like eyes, nose as well as inside the ears, should be avoided unless so directed by a healthcare professional.
Effects from Long-Term Use
While marjoram has no known major associated risks, there is not enough scientific data to know its long-tern implications or all possible side effects.
Because the oil is a concentrated form, for safety, pregnant women and children should not use marjoram oil except under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
However, fresh or dried marjoram is safe when taken in food amounts.
Allergy and Preexisting Conditions
If someone has a known allergy to other herbs similar to marjoram, such as basil, oregano or another member of the Lamiacea plant family, then it is wise to exercise caution.
I advise anyone to check with their healthcare provider before using marjoram essential oil if they are experiencing any of the following ongoing health issues:
Is it safe to take Marjoram essential oil internally?
Marjoram in its natural plant form has been used for spicing food and making teas for centuries.
While marjoram essential oil is a highly concentrated distillation that is far more potent than fresh or dried marjoram leaves, the oil has not been shown to produce any major negative effects when ingested.
However, there have been no studies on its long-term use.
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Final Thoughts About Marjoram Oil
In it's natural form, marjoram is a herb, originating in the Mediterranean, that can be used similar to oregano to season food. In addition to adding flavor to food, the fresh or dried marjoram herb offers health benefits.
In it's concentrated form, as an essential oil, marjoram is used either as a topically application, in aromatherapy by being inhaled and can be taken internally.
Scientific studies have shown marjoram has many proven and potential health benefits, from things as simple as minor pain relief to more serious issues such as diabetes management and helping to lower blood pressure and protect the heart.
I found no scientific data to either support or discourage long-term use. However, I would advise anyone with serious medical conditions and pregnant or lactating women to consult their healthcare provider before taking marjoram essential oil.