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sweet marjoram plant

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  • A perennial herb extensively used since the time of our ancient ancestors, sweet marjoram oil has a rich history dating back thousands of years ago.
  • Learn all about sweet marjoram oil’s countless uses and benefits, and discover why it was found worthy to be offered to the gods.

Sweet Marjoram Oil: An Oil for the Ancient Gods


What Is Sweet Marjoram Oil?

Sweet marjoram oil is made from the steam distillation of the flowering tops of the marjoram plant (Origanum marjoram), a cousin of oregano. This yellow-green essential oil has a warm, spicy, woody, and camphoraceous scent that reminds you of nutmeg and cardamom. Meanwhile, Spanish marjoram oil, a different type of essential oil also derived from the marjoram plant, has a red-orange hue.

Originally native to the Mediterranean regions and North America, today sweet marjoram is widely cultivated for the large-scale commercial production of its essential oil in Egypt, France, Germany, Tunisia, Spain, and more recently, the United States.

Uses of Sweet Marjoram Oil

According to folklore, the Egyptians dedicated the marjoram plant to the god of the underworld, Osiris, and it was used to produce unguents, medicines, and love potions. The Greeks and Romans considered it the herb of happiness and offered it to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, fertility, and beauty.

In the kitchen, sweet marjoram is used as a culinary herb that is excellent in adding flavor to soups, salads, and other delicious dishes. Marjoram tea is also reportedly consumed by women who wish to ease menopausal symptoms and promote an abundant flow of breastmilk.

Meanwhile, sweet marjoram oil produces positive effects when used in:

  • Vapor therapy through burners and vaporizers
  • Massage therapy when blended with a mild carrier massage oil and added in bathwater
  • Topical applications as a salve, cream, or lotion

When used as an inhalant or in aromatherapy, sweet marjoram oil works wonders for individuals suffering from insomnia and who have difficulties settling down in bed.

Composition of Sweet Marjoram Oil

The main chemical constituents of sweet marjoram oil are sabinene, a-terpinene, y-terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, cis-sabinene hydrate, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-ol, and y-terpineol. 1

It blends perfectly with lavender, cypress, cedarwood, chamomile, bergamot, eucalyptus, and tea tree essential oil.

Benefits of Sweet Marjoram Oil

Packed with natural therapeutic properties with every drop, sweet marjoram oil is beneficial for helping alleviate:

It is also proven to help people dealing with anxiety, stress, sleep, mood, and hyperactivity issues because of its unique warming and calming effects.

How to Make Sweet Marjoram Oil

Sweet marjoram oil is produced by steam distilling the flowering tops of the marjoram plant. In Southern France, harvesting is usually done between the months of August and September when the marjoram flowers are in full bloom.

After gathering, the plant parts are dried for a certain number of days. After the stems are removed, the blooms are then placed on the still where they are processed for extraction.

How Does Sweet Marjoram Oil Work?

Sweet marjoram oil works as a natural:2

  • Analgesic, alleviating pain related to colds, fevers, inflammation, toothache, and headache
  • Antispasmodic, easing all types of spasms, from respiratory spasms in the intestines to muscular spasms in the limbs
  • Anaphrodisiac, curbing and controlling abnormal and excessive sexual urges
  • Antiseptic, preventing both internal and external wounds from becoming infected and developing tetanus
  • Antibacterial, killing bacteria and protecting you from food poisoning, typhoid, malaria, and other related bacterial infections in the skin, colon, and digestive system
  • Carminative, effectively solving gas problems like colic, flatulence, and stomachache by relaxing muscles in the abdominal region and preventing the formation of excessive gas
  • Diuretic, increasing  frequency and quantity of urination, which in turn helps remove excess water, sodium, uric acid, bile acid, and toxic elements in the body
  • Emenagogue, regulating irregular and painful menstrual period
  • Expectorant, dispelling mucus and phlegm and relieving congestion in the nasal tract, larynx, pharynx, and lungs due to colds and viral infections
  • Vasodilator, stopping fungal proliferation

Is Sweet Marjoram Oil Safe?

Sweet marjoram oil is relatively safe, if used appropriately. However, I do not advise using it, or any essential oil for that matter, if you have an existing medical condition, or if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Because of its well-known emenagogue properties to stimulate blood flow, sweet marjoram oil should never be used during pregnancy. I am also against its use for infants and young children.

I highly recommend consulting your doctor, or an experienced essential oil therapy practitioner, first before incorporating it into your health and treatment protocol.

Side Effects of Sweet Marjoram Oil

Sweet marjoram oil may cause hypersensitivity and allergic reactions, so I suggest performing a skin patch test on a small area of your skin to check how you will react to it when you apply it topically. Mixing it with milder carrier oils to lessen its sensitizing effect is also a wise strategy.

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