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
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.
Marjoram in any of its forms can stimulate peristaltic motion in the intestines which helps advance your food through your digestive tract. This means marjoram can improve digestive efficiency and promote more regular bowel movement.
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.
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)
Stress and Anxiety
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. By helping relieve your tensions and anxieties, marjoram essential oil can also help improve your quality of sleep and ensure you have a more restful night.
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.
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.
Marjoram essential oil can also be used to treat respiratory issues and the symptoms of bronchitis, colds and flu. It has expectorant properties that can help loosen mucus and phlegm in the respiratory tract. Try inhaling the oil directly from the bottle or applying a few drops to the cheeks and under your nostrils.
Marjoram, especially its essential oil, can work as a natural diuretic meaning it increases both the quantity of urine you produce and how often you pass water. Diuretics help flush the system of excess water and toxins like excess sodium and uric acid.
Diuretics or water pills are often prescribed for urinary tract infections and kidney troubles and can also help you shed excess water weight. You should however always speak to a doctor before trying a natural diuretic treatment as it may cause the body to become dehydrated.
Marjoram essential oil can also be applied topically to your skin. It has excellent antioxidant properties that can protect your skin from the harmful effects of free radicals. It is often found as an ingredient in commercial skin creams, lotions and soaps.
The antioxidants found in marjoram oil can help prevent many of the signs of premature aging like fine lines and wrinkles and when used regularly can leave you looking younger and healthier.
Marjoram essential oil is also antiseptic and antimicrobial in nature. It may help to treat acne and soothe common inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. The oil also has antifungal properties meaning it could help treat fungal conditions like athlete’s foot and jock itch.
You can also add a few drops of marjoram essential oil to your regular conditioners or shampoo to help strengthen your hair and enhance its appearance. Marjoram essential oil can strengthen the follicles meaning your hair should grow back stronger and healthier.
The oil also contains anti-fungal properties which makes it a good natural option to treat common scalp issues like dandruff. It also smells great so give it a try.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is marjoram good for?
Marjoram is a delicious herb with a wide variety of excellent health benefits. It can boost your heart’s health, improve digestion and treat respiratory issues. Marjoram essential oil can also be applied topically to treat the skin or inhaled to ease anxiety, stress and improve sleep. Marjoram contains a number of medicinal properties including antioxidant, antiseptic and antimicrobial compounds.
Are oregano and marjoram the same?
Marjoram is very similar to its more popular cousin – oregano and in the Mediterranean it is often referred to as wild marjoram. Marjoram does belong to the same family as oregano and is often used as a substitute ingredient cooking but it is not the same thing as true oregano.
What do you use marjoram leaves for?
Marjoram leaves are used in cooking but they are also used to make marjoram tea and a powerful, medicinal essential oil. As a culinary ingredient, marjoram is used in salads, soups and a variety of meat dishes. The leaves are also used as an ingredient in many commercial cosmetic products like skin creams, shaving gel and body lotions.
Is marjoram essential oil safe to use?
Like most essential oils, marjoram oil is safe if it is used with the necessary caution. You should not take marjoram essential oil internally and when you apply it topically, you must dilute it with a suitable carrier oil.
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.
Apart from being a tasty culinary herb, marjoram both in its food and oil form has a number of excellent benefits for your health. It contains numerous healthy minerals and vitamins and has a number of excellent medicinal properties. Among its many uses, marjoram can protect the heart, protect against diabetes and improve digestive health.
The essential oil can also be used for your skin and hair while inhaling the oil can help relieve stress and anxiety and help you get a good night’s sleep.