Marjoram is a beautiful herb that is renowned for its joyful qualities. Essential oils, including marjoram essential oil, have been used for over 2000 years for health. Marjoram essential oil is gaining popularity again today because it may help get to the root of many health problems. Marjoram uses are vast, and include reducing pain, inflammation, improving memory, blood pressure, and more.
Why use marjoram oil over fresh? The essential oil is a very concentrated form of the plant that can be used readily in so many ways. A relative of oregano, this potent herb smells sweet, complex, and more subdued than its relative.
People compare marjoram to oregano. While marjoram may look like oregano, and has some similar properties, don’t assume that it has the same effect on your sensibilities. Marjoram is sweet, earthy, bright, and slightly floral in scent. I do love oregano too, but for different reasons. Oregano has a much more pungent scent.
Origanum majorana is the botanical name of marjoram, and it is also referred to as sweet marjoram. It is a tender perennial that doesn’t tolerate frost.
Marjoram was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as a symbol of happiness. Marjoram is also called Joy of the Mountains. Experiencing it first-hand, I know why.
Marjoram contains a complex mix of beneficial compounds, including:
- α and β-pinene
- α- and β- phellandrene
Marjoram and marjoram essential oil have antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects. It also has beneficial effects on hormones, liver, heart, and stomach. Marjoram oil may also have anti-cancer, anticholinesterase, and anti-platelet effects.
Traditional Marjoram Uses
Uses for marjoram include flavoring soups, vegetables, salads, vinegar, meats. In France, the seeds have been used in making candies. Marjoram is also able to reduce color damage when canning vegetables like tomatoes.
Marjoram essential oil uses over time has even been for perfumes, soap, and beer-making. Marjoram essential oil has been used as medicine traditionally in countries including England, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, and more. Marjoram uses include:
- Reducing flatulence and indigestion
- Diuretic effects
- Bronchial coughs
- Asthmatic symptoms
- Soothe joints
- Muscular pain
- Gastrointestinal tract diseases
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Medicinal Uses of Marjoram
1. May Help Diabetes and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Diabetes is an ever-growing health problem with modern lifestyles. Herbs like marjoram are proving very useful to help with this expensive disease!
Insulin resistance is a root cause of many issues with both diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Marjoram tea consumed twice daily was able to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the levels of adrenal androgens in women with PCOS.
Marjoram essential oil use was able help a protein involved in insulin production called dipeptidyl peptidase IV in a cell study. New classes of expensive drugs also have this action to help treat diabetes.
You may have heard of these drugs; they are very expensive. They include:
- Januvia (Sitagliptin)
- Galvus (Vildagliptin)
- Onglyza (Saxagliptin)
- Tradjenta (Linagliptin)
While marjoram essential oil use is looking promising for diabetes, it hasn’t been studied in combination with medications at this time.
2. Reduces Blood Pressure
Marjoram is able to lower sympathetic nervous system activity and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in vasodilatation, which in turn may reduce cardiac strain and decrease blood pressure.
Chronic stress increases the flight or fight response and cortisol levels. Marjoram oil can decrease your stress response and increase your relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system).
3. Reduces Pain and Improves Mood
In a collective study of over 10,000 hospital admissions, marjoram essential oil use reduced pain the most of any essential oils and also significantly reduced anxiety.
A blend of essential oils including marjoram was able to reduce menstrual pain and reduce the need for pain medications.
Marjoram essential oil use may also extend to menstrual pain because it has analgesic effects and reduces a hormone precursor called DHEA-S. As noted above, it helps improve a hormonally driven disorder called PCOS.
4. May Help Digestion
Many culinary herbs have digestive benefits. They have been used for thousands of years to help aid digestion and to provide digestive comfort and marjoram is at the top of the list for its digestive uses. Marjoram helps increase gastric secretions, which may promote healthy digestion.
While research remains preliminary, marjoram use for stomach health is promising. In an animal study, marjoram oil helped heal gastric ulcers safely.
5. May Help With Cancer Treatment
All research using marjoram in cancer research should be considered preliminary at this point. It looks promising as an add-on for helping the body. For example, marjoram reduced spread of liver cancer in cell culture.
Marjoram essential oil use also reduced the spread of leukemia and caused cell death of leukemia cells in culture.
The main component of marjoram is called Terpenin-4-ol. This is similar to tea tree oil (except tea tree is not edible!)
Terpinen-4-ol induces a significant growth inhibition of:
- colorectal cancer
- pancreatic cancer
- prostate cancer
- gastric cancer cells in animal models
Further, marjoram worked against cancer cells that were resistant to standard treatment in colorectal cancer. Impressively, terpenin-4-ol resulted in 80-90% growth reduction of tumors in cell culture .
6. May Help With Memory
Marjoram essential oil use has potential to help with memory because it has anticholinesterase activity. You may be familiar with this action because class of drugs uses it to help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
High in antioxidants, marjoram may also protect the brain and reduce inflammation.
7. Reduces Inflammation and Increases Antioxidants
Marjoram has strong antioxidant activity as well.
Marjoram essential oil use is also anti-inflammatory in cell culture against lipid-reactive compounds (lipopolysaccharides).
8. Marjoram is Antimicrobial
In cell culture, terpenin-4-ol, present in marjoram, reduced candida growth from vaginal infectious microbes.
Compared to synthetic antibiotics, marjoram essential oil use was more effective against E. coli, L. innocua, and S. enteridis in cell culture. This activity was due to its high antioxidant content.
Marjoram helped kill herpes simplex virus and has antifungal properties as well in culture.
9. Reduces Head Lice and Other Pests
It really is time to ditch store-brand head lice chemical treatments. Not only are they harmful, they really don’t work.
What about marjoram? Marjoram essential oil was able to even kill drug-resistant head lice at a rate of 100% at the highest concentration.
Don’t like houseflies? Marjoram essential oil use naturally repels and kills them.
How to Use Marjoram Essential Oil
Diffuse marjoram for a wonderful, earthy and complex scent.
- It is safe to apply topically as well, but as with anything, sensitivities can happen.
- Dilute with coconut oil or other neutral oil if desired.
- I personally love adding it to my bath water for an other-worldly experience.
- Apply to areas of discomfort.
- Put it in your soups, stews, and sauces. A drop or two will add wonderful flavor.
- Add it to canning to help preserve foods.
You can take it internally as long as it is Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. It is potent, so 1-2 drops is plenty for health.
- Add to a glass of water and drink.
- Swish it in your mouth for a cleansing effect.
- Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.
To Deter Pests
Dilute in a spray bottle and spray on windowsills, areas where you want to repel or kill insects.
Other great uses:
- Apply to the back of the neck to lessen feelings of stress.
- Apply to a fussy child’s feet prior to a nap.
- Replace marjoram essential oil in your next recipe that calls for dried Marjoram.
- Apply to muscles before and after exercising.
I call this blend morphine blend because it is a very effective topical pain reliever.
- 10 drops CPTG marjoram essential oil
- 10 drops CPTG frankincense essential oil
- 10 drops CPTG copaiba essential oil
- 10 ml roller bottle
- 9 ml fractionated coconut oil
Add the essential oils to the roller bottle, then fill the rest of the way with the fractionated coconut oil. Snap the roller ball on and then apply to areas of concern.
Relaxing Bath Salts
- 1 cup epsom salt
- 5 drops CPTG marjoram essential oil
- 3 drops CPTG lavender essential oil
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
Combine the 3 ingredients in a bowl, then add to warm bath water. Soak for 30 minutes or more to alleviate aches, pains, and to have a restful night of sleep. Lavender is also great for aches and pains. The coconut oil helps reduce skin sensitivity to the oils that may be a concern when adding essential oils to hot water.
Easy Savory Herb Salad Dressing
- Combine all ingredients in a dressing container or bowl. Top your salads, potatoes, meats, legume dishes and more with this savory dressing, and enjoy.
How To Get Quality Marjoram Essential Oil
To get the best quality marjoram essential oil, contact me. Only certain brands are safe and suitable for internal use.
Some companies use harmful hexane, acetone, di-methylene-chloride, and others are used in the process of making the oils.
DoTERRA marjoram essential oil brand is steam-distilled, so it is pure. It also has over 14 rigorous tests on each batch for quality and safety.
Growing Marjoram Plants
Unless you live in a mild climate, this plant will not make it through the winter frost.
To grow marjoram indoors,
- sunny location, southern exposure window sill
- moderately moist, well-drained soil
- pH of 6.9
If planting from seed, sow uncovered and germinate at about 65-70 F. (18-21 C.). Seeds are slow to germinate. You can also propagate by cuttings or root division.You can buy at your local nursery as well.
Marjoram and marjoram essential oil are safe, even in large doses, according to animal studies. Due to marjoram’s potential effect on hormones, it should be avoided by women who are pregnant.
Although no known side effects have been found, make sure you talk with your doctor before adding marjoram. If you are taking blood-thinning, diabetes, or blood pressure medications, make sure to discuss marjoram use with your doctor.
Marjoram is generally safe to be used in foods and medicinally short term. However, always check with your healthcare provider before using any new health regimen. Many studies were performed in culture and are preliminary.
The strongest data about marjoram is for its use in pain and to uplift mood. Marjoram may help many chronic conditions because it has strong antioxidant effects and may reduce inflammation. It also may help protect organs like the heart and the liver.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 20 years, has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. Has researched supplements and plants as medicine throughout her career. Loves helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.