Even if you’re not aware of the culinary benefits of marjoram, you’re likely familiar with its more popular cousin oregano. When used in cooking, oregano and marjoram are often used interchangeably because of their similar flavor profiles. Oregano is often referred to as “wild marjoram,” while marjoram is actually better known as “sweet marjoram.”
Even though oregano and marjoram are seemingly similar, marjoram essential oil has its own unique composition and healing properties. Marjoram essential oil is often used to maintain healthy digestion, alleviate occasional PMS symptoms, and maintain immune system function.
The History of Marjoram
Marjoram is botanically known as Origanum majorana and is part of the Lamiaceae (mint) family. This botanical family also includes more well-known herbs like mint, basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender, and sage.
Marjoram is native to the Mediterranean and Eurasia, although is now widely cultivated throughout the world. "Origanum " is thought to have originated from the Greek word oreos meaning mountain, and ganeos , meaning brightness, joy, or beauty. Both oregano and marjoram were commonly referred to as the “joy of the mountains.” In short, this was due to their abundance on the mountainsides in the Mediterranean. 1
Since ancient times, sweet marjoram has symbolized love. In Roman mythology, Venus, the goddess of love, was thought to bring marjoram to earth as a reminder of her beauty. On the other hand, Greek mythology surrounds their own goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.
In both ancient Greek and Roman societies, the bride and groom wore crowns made of marjoram during the wedding ceremony.
Marjoram was commonly linked with prophetic dreams in folklore. If a woman were to place a sprig of marjoram on her pillow before falling asleep, it was believed that Aphrodite would appear to her and reveal her future husband. In an old St. Luke’s Day tradition, marjoram was often combined with marigold flowers, wormwood, thyme, and honey in divination to reveal a future spouse.
Both marjoram and oregano were believed to protect against evil when carried, grown in a garden, or placed in a house. People often placed a sprig of marjoram in an amulet to ward off illnesses. Likewise, it was believed to repel ghosts, goblins, spells of witches, and bad spirits when hung over the doorway of a home.
Marjoram has been used for its many properties for thousands of years. It has been mentioned in the writings of Pliny, Galen, Dioscorides, and Theophrastus. Dioscorides often used it to alleviate nervous disorders, while Pliny prescribed it to maintain stomach function and occasional flatulence.
Marjoram essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and flowers of Origanum majorana . The resulting oil is clear to pale yellow in color and has a sweet, woody, herbaceous scent.
Marjoram essential oil is known to be an analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, and sedative. This is all due to its chemical composition, which includes:
- P- cymene
- Cis-sabinene hydrate
Uses for Marjoram Essential Oil
Marjoram essential oil can be used topically, aromatically, and even internally with caution to provide a range of benefits. 4
Maintains Healthy Digestion
If you’re suffering from occasional flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, cramps, or other digestive issues, marjoram essential oil may help alleviate some symptoms. The simple scent of marjoram can help stimulate your salivary glands, which helps begin the digestive process.
This oil also stimulates the peristaltic movement of the intestines and soothes the digestive tract.
To alleviate some digestive upsets, mix a few drops of marjoram essential oil with a carrier oil and gently massage onto the lower abdomen in a circular motion. Alternatively, add a drop of this essential to a glass of water and take internally.
Maintains Heart Health
Vasodilators help relax and widen the blood vessels. This takes the strain off the heart and eases the flow of blood.
One group inhaled a placebo (artificial fragrance), while the other group smelled a combination of ylang-ylang, marjoram, neroli, and lavender essential oils. The results showed that those who smelled the true essential oils showed a significant decrease. 5
To maintain heart health, simply diffuse marjoram essential oil throughout the home. You can also add a few drops to a carrier oil and use as a relaxing massage oil or add a few drops to a warm bath.
Maintains Healthy Rest
Marjoram essential oil is known for its ability to relax the mind, but its sedative properties can also help promote a proper night of rest. This can be especially helpful for individuals who have trouble falling or staying asleep.
Diffuse marjoram essential oil throughout the room approximately 20 minutes before resting. You can also mix a few drops of this essential oil in a spray bottle with water and lightly spray the sheets and pillowcases.
For a soothing bedtime routine, use marjoram essential oil in a room diffuser with a few drops of Sleepy in a bottle.
Safety and Precautions
Marjoram essential oil is safe for topical, aromatic, and internal use when used with caution. Since all essential oils are not created equal, always be sure you are purchasing certified organic (when possible), pure essential oils.
If a particular oil says you should not use it internally, do not ingest it.
Before using marjoram essential oil for topical use, be sure to dilute it in a carrier oil and conduct a patch test to ensure no harmful effects or allergies occur.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to consult a doctor before using any essential oils. Do not use essential oils in place of a prescription medication or to treat a chronic condition before first consulting with a medical professional.
If stored correctly in a cool, dark place, marjoram essential oil should last for approximately four to five years. 7
Marjoram essential oil has been proven effective time and time again against a wide variety of symptoms.
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