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 promote healthy digestion, relieve PMS symptoms, and boost 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.
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Marjoram has been used for its healing properties for thousands of years. It has been mentioned in the writings of Pliny, Galen, Dioscorides, and Theophrastus. Dioscorides often used it to treat nervous disorders, while Pliny prescribed it to treat stomach disorders and flatulence.
During the Renaissance, marjoram was added to sachets to treat chest infections. Additionally, a mixture of marjoram and honey was taken orally to treat coughs. 2 Additionally, marjoram was often prescribed to treat colds, toothaches, bruises, swelling, stomachaches, earaches, and even heartache.
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:
- Cis-sabinene hydrate
- Linalyl acetate
- Y-terpineol 3
Uses for Marjoram Essential Oil
Marjoram essential oil can be used topically, aromatically, and even internally with caution to provide a range of health benefits. 4
Promotes Healthy Digestion
If you’re suffering from flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, cramps, or other digestive issues, marjoram essential oil may help relieve your 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 relieve 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.
Supports Heart Health
Marjoram essential oil is known as a vasodilator, which can help maintain healthy blood pressure. Vasodilators help relax and widen the blood vessels. This takes the strain off the heart and eases the flow of blood.
One study observed the effects of essential oil inhalation on blood pressure and salivary cortisol levels in hypertensive and prehypertensive individuals.
One group inhaled a placebo (artificial fragrance), while the other group inhaled a combination of ylang-ylang, marjoram, neroli, and lavender essential oils. The results showed that those who inhaled the true essential oils showed a significant decrease in both blood pressure and concentration of salivary cortisol. 5
Additionally, marjoram essential oil can reduce stress and promote relaxation, which is especially helpful for individuals with hypertension or other heart troubles.
To support heart health and reduce stress, 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.
Marjoram is a warming herb, and its analgesic and antispasmodic properties can help relieve sore muscles and reduce pain. This essential oil can also help relieve spasms and relax tension in muscles, in addition to tension headaches.
In a 2012 study, the pain-relieving effects of essential oils were tested on 48 people. All of these outpatients were diagnosed with dysmenorrhea, which is when menstruation is more painful than normal.
One group of individuals inhaled a synthetic fragrance, while another group inhaled a mixture of lavender, clary sage, and marjoram. The results showed that those who inhaled the true essential oils experienced a significant decrease in pain. 6
To relieve sore muscles, add a few drops of marjoram essential oil to a carrier oil and gently massage onto sore areas, or add a few drops to a bath. For headaches, mix a drop into a carrier oil and massage onto your temples.
Maintains Healthy Respiratory Function
If you’re suffering from a respiratory problem such as cold, flu, cough, congestion, bronchitis, asthma, allergies or others, simply inhaling marjoram essential oil can help. This oil has expectorant properties, which helps expel excess phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tract.
Additionally, its antiviral properties help rid the body of illnesses that may be causing the respiratory symptoms.
To relieve respiratory conditions, diffuse marjoram essential oil throughout the home. You can also add a few drops to a bowl of steaming water. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapors for approximately five minutes. Alternatively, add a few drops to a carrier oil and massage onto the chest and neck.
Prevents Infections and Boost Immune System Function
The antiseptic and antiviral properties in marjoram essential oil make it ideal for treating minor wounds such as cuts, scrapes, bites, or burns. To treat a minor wound, wash in cold water, pat dry with a clean cloth, and then use a mixture of marjoram essential oil and a carrier oil over the affected area.
You can also add marjoram essential oil to your homemade lotions, creams, ointments, and other skincare products.
The antiviral properties of marjoram essential oil also work internally. The oil can help rid the body of common illnesses such as cold and flu, as well as bacterial infections in the digestive system or urinary tract.
Because marjoram essential oil is a diuretic, it encourages urination and helps remove excess uric acid, sodium, water, and other toxins. Marjoram essential oil also encourages sweating, which is another way the body expels toxins.
By helping the body fight off infections and remove toxins, this essential oil helps boost immune system function and keep the body healthier overall. To benefit from its diuretic and immune-boosting properties, diffuse marjoram essential oil throughout the home.
Promotes Better Sleep
Marjoram essential oil is known for its ability to relax the mind, but its sedative properties can also help promote a proper night of sleep. This can be especially helpful for individuals who have trouble falling or staying asleep.
To calm the mind and promote proper sleep, diffuse marjoram essential oil throughout the room approximately 20 minutes before bedtime. 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.
If you’re looking for a natural way to boost the immune system, support cardiovascular health, or relax the mind, look no further than marjoram essential oil.
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