Marjoram originally comes from around the Mediterranean. It is an aromatic, bushy plant, growing approximately 2 feet (0.6 meters) high, with small white flowers, tinged with bluish grey. It belongs to the family Lamiaceae (Labiatae) and is a perennial. It is often confused with pot marjoram, which is a much hardier plant. The herb has a long history of both culinary and medicinal use. Its main medicinal use was for gastric complaints. (Marjoram Oil)
The oil of sweet marjoram is obtained from the dried flower heads and leaves of the plants by steam distillation. It is yellow- gold in color and has a warm, spicy smell. It is used in the food and drinks industries and in the manufacture of scented bath products, cosmetics, perfumes and household cleaning products.
Marjoram oil has sedative properties and can help in the treatment of insomnia and tension. For those who are distraught with grief, ‘wound up’ with stress or highly emotional, marjoram can work to restore calmness of mind.
The sedative effects of marjoram mean that it is also an anaphrodisiac, that is, it reduces sexual urges.
Used in massage oil, in compresses or in baths, marjoram is valuable in the treatment of arthritis, muscular pain and swelling. It is analgesic and warming. For this reason, it can relieve dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation). Marjoram oil is also an emmenagogue so is sometimes used in the treatment of amenorrhoea (absence of menstruation) and premenstrual tension.
In massage or in steam inhalation, marjoram oil can soothe the pain of sinusitis and headaches, including migraine.
The actions of marjoram oil on the digestive system are carminative (antiflatulence) and antispasmodic.
In massage or in bathing, marjoram oil can soothe areas of bruising and relieve the pain of chilblains.
Suitable methods of use
Although its sedative effects can be quite marked, marjoram is generally safe to use in appropriate dilution. Warning: Because of its properties as an emmenagogue, marjoram should not be used during pregnancy.