Marjoram may not be as well-known as oregano to which it is closely related but it has a very wide range of medicinal benefits that may surprise you.
Marjoram is a perennial herb originating in the Mediterranean regions. These days, it is cultivated in gardens the world over. It is commonly used as a substitute for oregano in cooking but is finer in texture with a milder taste.
So similar are these herbs that marjoram is often referred to as sweet marjoram to distinguish it from oregano which is known as wild marjoram.
Despite these similarities and the confusion caused, marjoram has its very own medicinal and culinary uses. It is popular in kitchens the world over where it is added to various soups, stews, meat and vegetable dishes.
Apart from being used in cooking, marjoram is also used to make concentrated supplements or a popular medicinal essential oil.
The essential oil is well-known for its ability to calm the nerves, improve circulation and protect the heart. It is also used as a natural remedy for coughs, digestion, depression, migraines, headaches and nerve pain.
It is also found as an ingredient in cosmetic products like soaps, body lotions, shaving gel and skin creams.
Adding marjoram to your diet can do a lot more than simply improve the flavor of your meals.
- Two tablespoons are absolutely packed with nutrients and antioxidants that our bodies desperately need.
- Marjoram is rich in vitamins A and C and contains a good helping of minerals like calcium and iron.
Health Benefits of Marjoram
1. Digestive Health
Marjoram is one of those wonderful herbs that can help improve your general digestion and also many specific problems with your digestive system. Just its scent can help to stimulate your salivary glands helping the digestive process which starts in the mouth.
The oil in the herb continues to have an effect by stimulating the movement of the digestive tract.
Common conditions like gas, bloating, indigestion, cramping and nausea can all be alleviated with a few cups of soothing marjoram tea or fresh herbs in your meal. It can also help to boost your appetite during periods of illness or during the recovery process when you may not feel like eating.
2. Heart Health
Marjoram may be extremely beneficial for your cardiovascular health. It is a rich source of antioxidants that can help protect the heart as well as other major organs from disease. It is also able to relax and widen the blood vessels which helps reduce high blood pressure levels naturally.
Inhaling the essential oil either directly or from a diffuser can help calm down the body’s nervous system which helps dilate the blood vessels. This has a positive effect on the heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing strain on the heart.
The scent of the essential oil alone can reduce the fight or flight response which has a very negative effect on your overall health and your heart in particular. Inhaling marjoram essential oil basically calms down your body and mind and takes the load off your heart.
3. Women’s Health
Marjoram has long been valued in women’s health. It can help to restore the balance of female hormones and to regulate menstruation. Not only does it help regulate the cycle but it also helps to relieve many of the familiar symptoms that women get during their monthly period and can also help treat the symptoms associated with menopause.
Because of its natural emmenagogue properties, it can stimulate menstruation and has even been used to help nursing mothers produce more milk.
Other uses for marjoram include treating polycystic ovarian syndrome and infertility is often associated with the condition. A recent study published earlier this year found that marjoram tea had a beneficial effect on the hormones of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. It helped to improve insulin sensitivity and to reduce androgen levels in sufferers. (1)
Nearly 10% of the population of the United States have diabetes and there are no signs that the figure is slowing down. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can be managed with good lifestyle choices and diet. Studies show that marjoram is an excellent choice for people trying to manage their diabetes.
Marjoram along with other herbs like rosemary and oregano effectively inhibit certain enzymes which improve insulin tolerance. Whether you eat the herb fresh or dried, it can be a great help to a diabetic patient’s ability to manage their blood sugar levels. (2)
Marjoram especially its essential oil is an excellent remedy for relieving feelings of stress and anxiety. Many essential oils have a similar impact and represent a great natural alternative to the many popular prescription medications.
You can either diffuse it around the home and inhale its vapors or dilute it with a carrier oil to make a stress relieving massage.
6. Pain Relief
As well as treating emotional pain, marjoram essential oil is an excellent remedy for muscle pain, spasms and tension headaches. Combine a few drops with a carrier oil and massage it into the affected parts of your body for instantaneous relief.
- You could also add 3 or 4 drops of your oil to the bathtub and let it soak over your body.
7. Gastric Ulcers
A Chinese study conducted on rats in 2009 examined the ability of marjoram to prevent and treat gastric ulcers. The study showed that it could significantly reduce the risk of the animals developing ulcers. Not only that, but it helped replenish mucus on the gastric walls which are key to treating the symptoms of gastric ulcers. (3)
Marjoram has excellent antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties which gives it several therapeutic uses when it comes to bacteria and viruses. Among other things, it can be used to treat colds, flu, staph infections, food poisoning and to help treat infected wounds.
How To Use Marjoram
Marjoram can be added to your meals as a culinary herb but there are other popular ways to get a more potent dose and get the most of its healing properties.
- Marjoram Essential Oil: This is the most powerful and therapeutic way to use marjoram. It can be inhaled through a diffuser to help with emotional issues or applied topically to deal with muscle aches and pain. If you are going to apply the oil topically, it is essential that you dilute it first with a suitable base oil. It is not recommended that you consume essential oil.
- Marjoram Tea: Drinking a few cups of marjoram tea each day is a great tonic for the digestive system. It is also full of antioxidant compounds that can help stave off illness.
Grind the marjoram leaves and add a teaspoon of the herbs to a cup of water. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for a further 10 or so minutes. Strain and drink up several times daily.
You can make a more powerful marjoram tea by simply doubling the amount of herb to 2 teaspoons.
Precautions and Side Effects
- Marjoram is generally regarded as a safe herb especially if it is consumed in food quantities.
- However, the essential oil should not be consumed and you should avoid contact with sensitive areas like the eyes.
- Pregnant women and children should stick to food amounts of marjoram.
- If you are allergic to other similar herbs like oregano, mint or lavender, there is a chance you will also be allergic to marjoram.