Marjoram, an aromatic herb commonly known as sweet Marjoram, is a member of the Labatiacea family, of the genus Origanum, along with well-known herbs like fennel, anise, and cumin. Marjoram is native to Asia and the Mediterranean, and has been grown in Northern Africa for thousands of years. It has been used for a variety of conditions in traditional and folklore medicines.
This medicinal plant has proven pharmacological properties. These include antioxidant, antibacterial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, antiulcer, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and antifungal activities. The flowering stems deliver an essential oil containing terpinenes, and terpinols, along with tannins, bitter compounds, carotenes, and vitamin C. Experts credit these substances with marjoram's stomachic, carminative, antispasmodic, and weak sedative properties (1).
Marjoram is known for its antioxidant, and free-radical scavenging ability. It contains carvacrol, an antioxidant known to reduce inflammation, and to reduce cell damage. More studies have been done on its cell-protective abilities. Stress is another area where Marjoram shines, as it can support a mellowing effect, easing stress symptoms, and can possibly support a better night’s sleep. The antioxidant benefits have been shown in hypertension and other heart conditions, due to the protection of the blood vessels.
History has shown us strong benefits in digestion, helping to control indigestion, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Diuretic benefits have been notes, as Marjoram is shown to flush excess water and toxins.
Marjoram contains phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins that can be essential for health. Fresh Marjoram contains vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, vitamin A, and zeaxanthin, all of which supply protective free radical savaging properties, and are effective for eye health. Iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and potassium are also present in freshly cut marjoram.
When used in cooking, fresh Marjoram is ideal. It has an Italian-seasoning flavor, but milder, and is used in some meat dishes, soups and broths, and salads. If you enjoy its culinary flavor, consider growing it. Using this herb fresh yields a stronger flavor, although many people use it in its dried form. In addition to food preparation, I have enjoyed it in tea.
It can be purchased dried, in capsules, and in tinctures and teas. Around the world, Marjoram also is used topically for its antimicrobial benefits. People use the essential oil form (heavily diluted )on yeast, fungal, and skin irritations, acne, skin ulcers, as an antiseptic, and for wound and sore cleaning.
There isn’t enough reliable information about safety during pregnancy, so those who are pregnant should not use it, and as always one should work with their personal medical practitioner.
- National Library of Science-Pub Med Central
A Review of Ethnopharmacology, Phytochemistry, and Biological Activities.
J EVID Based Complementary Alter. Med. 2017 Jan; 22(1): 175-185.
Published online 2016 May 26. Doi 10.1177/2156587216650793