Common Name: Marjoram
Scientific Name: Origanum marjorana
Family: Labiatae or Lamiaceae
Origin: Mediterranean region, France, Tunisia, Morocco, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Germany and Turkey
Synonyms: Marjorana hortensis, Knotted marjoram
Essential Oil Properties and Characteristics
Marjoram essential oil is a pale-yellow or pale-amber-coloured, mobile liquid with a warm-spicy, aromatic-campherous and woody odour.
Origin and History
Marjoram is a tender, bushy perennial herb with woolly hairy leaves, growing up to 0.6m high. It is native of the Mediterranean region and is cultivated in France, Tunisia, Morocco, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Germany and Turkey.
The name origanum is derived from the Greek word oros and ganos meaning splendid or joy, thus 'joy of the mountains' referring to the colour and scent of their flowers and leaves, and the hills they originally came from.
The herb has been used since antiquity for its medicinal and culinary purposes. The Greeks referred to marjoram as the funeral herb. It was planted on graves to bring spiritual peace to the dead.
Method of Extraction
Marjoram essential oil is extracted by steam-distillation from the dried leaves and flowering tops of the well-known culinary herb O. marjorana.
Precautions During Use (Contraindications)
Marjoram essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitising. Sweet marjoram is contraindicated during pregnancy. While marjoram herb has been classified as an emmenagogue, none of the herbal texts that I reviewed indicated that marjoram was contra-indicated during pregnancy.
Marjoram essential oil is warming, relaxing, soothing, penetrating and comforting for everyday aches and pains. Marjoram essential oil promotes relaxation for mind and body, especially for stiff and aching muscles following sports exercise. Helps maintain effective respiration and is useful during the feminine cycle.
Marjoram essential oil blends well with lavender, rosemary, bergamot, chamomile, tea tree and eucalyptus.
Source: Battaglia, S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition, The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, 2003, ISBN 0-6464-2896-9