Last week we talked about the glory of oregano, and this week we are going to talk about oregano’s sister. This herb is very similar to oregano, but is much sweeter, lighter, and less overpowering. It is used as a cooking herb in most countries, especially in Italy, where it is one of the important ingredients in every tomato based sauce. In the Middle East, it is more likely to be used as tonic, usually in liquid form, which is very big in Bahrain, and called “Mai Margadoosh”. This tonic is most likely to be derived from the process of steam distilling the plant, specifically the flowering tips and leaves, in order to get the essential oil.
The herb that I am referring to here is Marjoram. Some people also like to refer to it as sweet marjoram. Its scientific name is “Origanum majorana”, being derived from the Latin, meaning “great”, and also from the Greek, meaning “joy of the mountains”. Even though the essential oil of marjoram is a fantastic medicinal oil, marjoram is generally used as a dried or, more rarely, fresh herb for culinary purposes. In ancient times marjoram was used medicinally by the Greeks, and it was thought to prolong life. It was known to the ancient Egyptians too. It is native to Asia and the Mediterranean, and nowadays the biggest areas producing this amazing herb are Spain, Hungary, Egypt, and other areas of North Africa, but can grow almost anywhere!
In ancient Greece and Rome, this plant so symbolized love and honor that the people of that time took to making wreathes of marjoram that were worn by newly married couples.
Marjoram is famous for many, many medical ailments, including digestive problems, intestinal spasms, and more. If you suffer from gassiness marjoram will soothe and ease your problem.
When it comes to respiratory illnesses you can’t do much better than marjoram. It is great for soothing spastic coughs, asthma, bronchitis, and all the symptoms of colds and flu. One of the ways that it does this is by soothing the inflammation in the mucous membranes. This can also be accomplished with the dried herb made as a tea. It gets rid of a sore throat in a jiffy too!
Marjoram is generally a very soothing and relaxing herb, helping with stress and anxiety. It also tends to bring down high blood pressure. In fact, it is fantastic for the circulation in general. As a general heart tonic, it is practically as good as rosemary oil.
And if you are one of those people who suffer from insomnia, then a few drops of marjoram essential oil on your pillow might be just what the doctor ordered. Tests have shown that marjoram even relaxes brain waves. This may lead to results in the future for hyperactive children, which is a prevalent problem these days. Part of the benefit of marjoram in this respect is the anti-allergic aspect, as with the soothing of the inflammation and reaction, the hyperactivity will be reduced, and other undesirable behaviors will cease as well. Marjoram is even known for reducing depression. It is also good for ordinary headaches, and even migraines, again, probably for its amazing anti-allergic properties.
The essential oil of marjoram is also an antioxidant, and has been reported to be great for aging skin.
It helps with painful muscles and for those that suffer from rheumatism, recurrent muscle cramps, generalized or specific neuralgia, and even for sprains. Indeed marjoram is one of the best essential oils to use in massage blends, and sports clubs should use it for their injured athletes, for quick relief. It is very detoxifying and has a strong analgesic action, as well as having a strong capability of reducing swellings. It also encourages the production of urine and, thus, kidney and bladder health.
It helps with feminine hormonal and reproductive problems. It is great for girls and ladies who suffer from painful menstruation, and all you have to do is make a little oil blend, using olive oil as a base, and adding a few drops of marjoram essential oil. Then you apply it over the lower abdominal area for speedy relief. Marjoram is also helpful with the symptoms of PMS, but best not used during pregnancy.
Because marjoram oil is so anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-microbial, it is great against fungus outbreaks and bacterial infections. In fact, some studies have shown that marjoram in a test tube with the herpes virus reduces the virus.
But, as always, less is more, as marjoram is considered dangerous in very high doses, so, as with all herbs and essential oils, care should be taken in the use of marjoram. But, it is certainly one of the safest herbs of all.