Sweet Marjoram, Wild Marjoram, Garden Marjoram
North Africa, Asia
Leaves and Flowers
The abundance of this sweetly scented herb on the mountainsides in Greece led to it being christened “joy of the mountains”. In fact the botanical name for Marjoram, Origanum, is derived from the Greek words “oreos”, which means mountain, and “ganeos” meaning joy and beauty.
Used for its healing and therapeutic properties for thousands of years, Marjoram was used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians to help with shock and grief. In medieval times it was commonly combined with Thyme to create a spiritually cleansing incense to drive sadness out of the home, particularly if a resident had just passed.
As both a culinary and healing herb, Marjoram benefits digestion when it is used in cooking, made into tea or used in its most common therapeutic form, as an essential oil. Marjoram tea can help to improve the appetite and increase production of digestive enzymes that help to break food down. It can also alleviate flatulence, stomach cramps and constipation.
Marjoram essential oil (often referred to as “Sweet Marjoram”), can be diluted in a pure carrier oil and massaged into the abdomen. Just the scent of this sweet, herbaceous essential oil can stimulate the salivary glands, beginning the digestive process, and stimulate the peristaltic movement of the intestines whilst soothing the digestive tract.
Marjoram has also been researched to evaluate its ability to prevent and heal gastric ulcers. It was found that extracts of 250mg – 500mg per kilogram of bodyweight significantly decreased the incidence of ulcers. Furthermore, the extract was found to replenish depleted mucus of the gastric wall, which plays a key part in the healing of ulcers.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is known to cause extra strain on the heart and if not kept in check can lead to a variety of heart related problems. As a natural vasodilator, Marjoram helps to widen and relax the blood vessels, easing the flow of blood which takes strain off the heart and reduces blood pressure.
Simply inhaling Marjoram essential oil can lower stress levels and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. When the body is in a relaxed and restful state, any strain on the cardiovascular system is greatly lessened and blood pressure is naturally reduced.
Lastly, Marjoram reduces the risk of hardened arteries by preventing cholesterol build up.
Diffusing Sweet Marjoram essential oil can be particularly effective at reducing chronic coughing and helps to clear excess phlegm and mucus from the throat, chest and sinuses. It is naturally decongestant and can also be diluted with a pure carrier oil and used as a chest rub or dabbed into the temples to help clear stuffy sinuses.
Marjoram is classed as a “nervine”, a herb that strengthens the nervous system and helps to combat anxiety and stress. Marjoram has an extremely calming effect on the body and can actually promote feelings of happiness – this is why it is a great herb to use for grief, shock and PTSD.
With strong sedative qualities, the essential oil can be diffused in the bedroom to create a warming, nurturing atmosphere that is conducive to a good night’s sleep. If muscular soreness and tension is preventing you from sleeping, a night time massage or bath using the essential oil can soothe away aches and pains whilst promoting a relaxed state of mind.
Author Robbi Zeck is a pioneer in the field of the psychological benefits of essential oils and how they affect the integration of emotional experiences. With regards to Marjoram essential oil she has this to say, “Marjoram's warm herbal aroma will strengthen your nervous system, rebuild your reserve, fortify your spirit and reduce obsessive thinking.”
Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil
Sweet Marjoram essential oil can be used in the bath, or vaporized in an oil burner. It can be added to a massage oil or cream. Use 6-8 drops per bath and 10 -18 drops per 30ml of carrier oil.
Marjoram has an exceedingly ancient history, cultivated by the Egyptians over 3,000 years ago and was used by the "father of medicine" Hippocrates.
In ancient Greece and Rome, Marjoram symbolised love and was used in bridal crowns to ensure a joyous, lasting union. According to Roman legend, the goddess of love, Venus, gave the plant its scent “to remind mortals of her beauty”. A similar legend surrounds Aphrodite, Venus’s counterpart in Greek mythology, who is said to have created Sweet Marjoram and planted it all over Mount Olympus.
Marjoram was also one of the herbs used to divine a future spouse when it was combined with marigold flowers, thyme, wormwood, honey and vinegar. If anointed with this mixture before bed, a girl was said to dream of her future husband.
Marjoram also had other magical uses, it was believed to repel witches’ spells, ghosts, goblins and the devil himself if thrown “over the threshold” of a house or hung over a doorway. Wild Marjoram had a reputation for protecting milk during storms, and if combined with wild thyme and placed near milk pails, was believed to prevent the milk from being soured by thunder.
Marjoram Essential Oil contains; A-terpinene, Sabinene, Y-terpinene, P-cymene, Terpinolene, Linalool, Cis-sabinene hydrate, Linalyl acetate, Terpinen-4-ol, Y-terpineol 3
Not recommended if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Essential oils need to be diluted first; never apply an essential oil directly to the skin. Avoid contact with eyes and mouth.