An interesting myth associated with the herb Marjoram is that the ‘Goddess of Love’ Aphrodite was always attracted to the Marjoram plant. Due to this reason, the herb was widely used to make love potions years ago. Today, Marjoram is a popularly used kitchen spice which also doubles up as an effective herbal remedy for a variety of health problems in humans.
What is Marjoram?
Marjoram is scientifically known as Origanum majorana, and it belongs to the genus Origanum and the mint family. The herb is also known as knotted marjoram, Marjorana hortensis and sweet marjoram.
It is commonly found in Portugal, Cyprus, Egypt, Turkey, and in other parts of the Mediterranean region. In the manufacturing industry, the herb is used in skin creams & lotions, bath soaps and also in shaving gel.
The following parts of the plant are used in medicinal preparations – flowers and leaves. In the market, marjoram is available in the following forms – essential oil, fresh or dried leaves and in powder form.
How does it Work?
Marjoram is packed with vitamins and minerals. The herb contains the following chemicals – Volatile oil, Flavonoids, hydroquinone glycosides, Caffeic acid derivatives, Water soluble polysaccharides, and Triterpenes such as ursolic acid and oleanolic acid.
All the above constituents give Marjoram the following health related properties – anti-microbial, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, sedative, anti-depressant, emmenagogue and anti-viral.
Health Benefits of Marjoram
The following are some of the notable health benefits of the herb:
The herb helps in improving the appetite as it increases the efficiency of digestive enzymes and saliva.Digestive problems such as nausea, flatulence, stomach cramps, spasms, diarrhea and constipation can be kept at bay if the herbal tea is taken every two hours at the onslaught of the problem.
It is also widely believed that marjoram tea helps in treating runny nose and cold symptoms in children. It also helps in solving issues of persistent cough, ear pain and swollen throat during cold infection. Apart from cold, the herb is also associated with the following health related issues – influenza, typhoid, malaria, mumps, measles and tetanus infection, and even can help in cases of minor food infection.
Some also associate marjoram supplements with the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. It is said that the herb helps in lowering elevated blood pressure levels and thereby prevents hypertension and cardiovascular issues. Regular drinking of marjoram tea also helps in reducing cholesterol built-up and hardening of arteries.
Marjoram also helps in reducing pain associated with fever, muscle spasms, headaches and migraine. The herb has anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing symptoms of asthma and headaches.
Marjoram is also applied topically to the skin to treat the following skin related conditions – muscle spasms, sprains, bruises, tooth aches and even back pain.
Stress & Anxiety
Marjoram is also considered mild sedative in nature and can help in treating neurological problems such as insomnia, anxiety and stress.
Marjoram is also used by women to reduce their menopausal symptoms, to relieve pre-menstrual syndrome and to regulate irregular menstrual cycles. Some women use the herb to increase the flow of breast milk.
Other Health Benefits
The herb is also associated with the following health related benefits – reducing phlegm, preventing fungal infection, solving gall bladder complaints, increasing libido and improving blood circulation. It is also used as a water pill due to its diuretic effects.
Marjoram is usually preferred in tea form. It is also used as a mouth wash and even applied topically in poultice form. To make an herbal tea, add one teaspoon of the dried powder herb in seven ounces of water and boil for fifteen minutes. To relieve problems of digestion, a cup of marjoram tea can be had every two hours.
Side Effects, Overdose & Other considerations
Marjoram is rated safe when taken in food amounts and also when taken for a short period of time. Long term usage of the herb may cause cancer. Fresh marjoram extract may cause skin irritation and swelling of the eyes. In some, it may also trigger allergic reactions.Marjoram must be avoided during pregnancy as it may cause miscarriage. Even though some claim that the herb helps in increasing breast milk, it should be avoided in lactating mothers. The herb should also be avoided in children and infants.
Marjoram is a relatively safe herb. However, for medicinal use the herb must be taken only for a short period of time. Marjoram is popular for treating digestive related complaints and in solving infections. The oil derived from marjoram is popular for topical use and is available in all herbal shops.
Marjoram has diuretic properties and may therefore interact with water pills. This may lead to significant loss of lithium from the human body.