Marjoram - Origanum majorana

Marjoram

Origanum majorana

Marjoram is immensely popular in alternative medicine due to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Sweet marjoram, Knotted marjoram
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Flowers, Leaves, Stems
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About Marjoram

Marjoram is an aromatic perennial herb, marked by smooth leaves and exuberant pink, purple, and sometimes white blooms. For thousands of years, marjoram has been cultivated for culinary purposes due to its delicate citrusy flavor. It is native to the Mediterranean, Western Asia, and North Africa. 

Marjoram offers a milder flavor than the oregano and feels somewhat similar to thyme, but a little sweeter, warmer, and sharper with a strong scent. It happily imparts its massive flavor to the stews, braises, and vegetable side dishes. Its dried form highly compliments meaty dishes, salads, and tomato-driven dishes (such as pizza sauce and tomato sauce).

Marjoram is immensely popular in alternative medicine due to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. It is brimmed with rosmarinic acid, ferulic acid, vanillic acid, caffeic acid, sinapic acid, and coumarinic acid that serve to treat cough, cold, asthma, indigestion, menstrual irregularities, and high blood pressure. It also works tremendously as a galactagogue, promoting the milk supply in breastfeeding mothers.

Marjoram is heavily cultivated for its leaves to make medicinal preparations and attain its culinary benefits.

 

Growing

It is best to start marjoram in spring after the last frost. Both indoor and outdoor settings favor the growth of marjoram as a potted plant or groundcover, respectively. It requires fertile, well-drained soil with a pH that ranges from 6.5 to 7.0.

To enhance the growth of marjoram, add compost to the soil to make it rich in organic matter. Water it regularly but avoid making the soil soggy as this can cause rotting. Water it only when the first few inches of the soil feel dry.

Marjoram seeds require 7 to 14 days to germinate. It grows at a medium pace and is usually ready after 2 to 3 months for harvest. It produces simple, smooth leaves that are petiolated and ovate to oblong-ovate, occurring in the opposite fashion.

From summer to early autumn, marjoram is in bloom which attracts bumblebees, furrow bees, honey bees, and leafcutters for pollination. The flower heads begin to turn brown and dry, indicating the time for saving seeds. These seeds account for the continuation of the marjoram plant life cycle.

 

Harvesting

Marjoram leaves can be harvested 4 to 6 weeks after their plantation.

Use sharp scissors to cut the marjoram leaves.

Wash the harvested marjoram branches, tie them in a bundle, and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated space, away from the reach of direct sunlight. Crumble the dried herb and store them in an airtight container.

 

Usage

Marjoram confers remarkable health benefits and is incorporated in multiple herbal medicinal preparations.

  • Tincture - Dried marjoram leaves are macerated in alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks to yield a tincture.
  • Tea - Soak the dried marjoram leaves in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes and add a spot of honey to make a steaming cup of marjoram tea.
  • Decoction - Dried marjoram leaves and stems are rolled in hot boiling water for 20 to 30 minutes to form marjoram decoction.
  • Syrup - Dried marjoram leaves are simmered in sugar solution for a few minutes to form a syrup.
  • Salve - Marjoram-infused oil is stirred in melted beeswax to formulate a salve.
  • Infused oil - Dried marjoram leaves are infused in olive oil on a sunny windowsill for 2 to 3 weeks to formulate marjoram-infused oil.