Marjoram coming from the Greek word margaron ‘meaning pearl’ has been known and used throughout history. This perennial herb comes from the mint family and is native to Eurasia. The flowers consist of five-toothed calyx (outer flower), two-lipped corolla (inner flower), with two or four stamens (male part of flower) and a single pistil (female part of flower). The fruit is dry and consists of one seed.
Aphrodite was known to regard marjoram as a sign of happiness since it’s fragrance is very aromatic. In Ancient Greece the herb was known as ‘the joy of the mountain,’ and a crown of the herb was made and placed on the heads of newly married couples because it was believed to give the young couple good luck and fortune.
Once introduced to Britain in the Middle Ages marjoram was placed on tombstones as it was believed to bring peace to the soul of the recently deceased. Monks would also grow the herb in their gardens to help dampen their sexual urges due to marjoram’s sedative properties.
Marjoram has warming and anti-spasmodic qualities that help relieve all kinds of muscle pain including sports injuries and menstrual pain. It also helps relieve stress, calm the mind and steady the nerves.
The most common type of marjoram is Origanum marjorana(sweet marjoram). The other essential oil available on the market is Origanum vulgare, which related to thyme and oregano.
The oil is best used in a warm bath or compress; the massage oil is especially useful for backache, indigestion and abdominal pain. A marjoram massage is a great way to relax tight and sore muscles after exercising, gardening, working, excess tension and stress, etc. The pain-relieving qualities of marjoram help with everyday aches, pains and stiffness. Its warming and pain-killing attributes relieve arthritic joints thus allowing them to be mobilized easier. Finally it helps warm and soothe cold and heavy legs.
If inhaled it acts on the lungs to help clear excess sputum (mucus) and open lung airways to allow for easier and more comfortable breathing; thus, helps to relieve the common cold and other respiratory conditions. Nicholas Culper first studied this attribute of marjoram in the 17th century.
Mental stress is also relieved by marjoram because it helps to soothe and calm the mind and also de-sensitizes the area of ones brain that is handles emotions; thus, helping to lift people’s depressions, feelings of loneliness and grief from bereavement or other such losses. It also helps to fight irritability that results in people suffering acute or chronic pain or PMS.
If massaged into the head, marjoram can help decrease or alleviate migraines. This was a common practice in Ancient Greece.
It may also be used with hyperactive children to help provide a mild form of sedation to clam them down. This would be best achieved by means of a room fragrance by placing a few drops in an oil burner. Being of herbaceous nature, marjoram is gentle to the body and thus can be used by elderly people. Its scent is also useful in treating insomnia.
Marjoram is also used in the beauty aspect of today’s aesthetic society. A few drops of the oil in unscented lotions or boiled into pure water helps to strengthen, soften and soothe ones hair, feet and body. Men can also use the oil for shaving purposes instead of foam or cream if mixed with an unscented lotion. This makes a cool and refreshing after-shave balm.
Marjoram is great to use around the home to help create a warm and peaceful environment. One can easily grow marjoram in a flowerpot on any sunny patio, all year round. To ensure proper growth the bottom layer of the pot should consist of a material such as broken pots, stones, or gravel to provide adequate drainage.
A soil-compost should then be added just under the rim to provide a stable base for the herb to grow in. Producing small white and occasionally purple flowers in late summer and early autumn marjoram may be grown with other sun-loving plants to make a colorful and wonderfully smelling arrangement.
For a dry arrangement of flowers, which can be placed inside the home to hide unpleasant odor, dried marjoram branches can be clustered together in a vase with dried roses or other colorful flowers. When the fragrance begins to fade one can refresh the arrangement by gently spraying the flower arrangement with rose and/or marjoram-scented essential oils that are mixed with water.
Placing an oil burner with the essential oil of marjoram mixed with water in the kitchen will help fight those unruly odors that appear during cooking.
Marjoram flavored olive oil can also be used in your cooking, especially well when barbecuing meat or kebabs.
Marjoram is a herb that can be used in many different ways. Enjoy its scent to freshen up your home, and to relieve minor aches and pains.Marjoram