Spanish marjoram oil can be easily confused with the essential oil from oregano, which is also called wild marjoram. But make no mistake, Spanish marjoram has numerous standout qualities that set it apart from other essential oils.
What Is Spanish Marjoram Oil?
Despite its name, Spanish marjoram oil is actually derived from the flowers and leaves of a bushy perennial plant from the family of thymes (Thymus mastichina). Originally from Spain, this wild thyme plant has a hairy stem, dark green oval leaves and clusters of small white flowers and grows up to 60 centimeters (23.6 inches) in height.
Spanish marjoram oil has a stronger spicy, herbaceous and camphoraceous aroma compared to sweet marjoram oil. It has a thin consistency and can have an orange or amber color.
Uses of Spanish Marjoram Oil
Used since ancient times, Spanish marjoram was used in traditional herbal medicine by the Greeks. Romans crowned newlywed couples with wreaths made from the plant as a symbol of love, honor and happiness, while the tea made from it was often used by singers to soothe and preserve their voices.
Today, Spanish marjoram oil is frequently used in aromatherapy. When blended with floral or citrus essential oils like lavender and bergamot oil, it effectively creates a relaxing and uplifting environment.1 It is also usually added into perfumes with masculine or oriental notes. Spanish marjoram oil is also added as an ingredient to season various food products, including meats, soups and table sauces.
Composition of Spanish Marjoram Oil
The chemical composition of Spanish marjoram oil is entirely different from that of sweet or garden marjoram oils. It contains a significant amount of cinceole (eucalyptol), which is responsible for its strong medicinal aroma. It also has d-a-pinene, A phenol, l-Linalool, acetic acid and isolaveric acid.
Benefits of Spanish Marjoram Oil
Spanish marjoram oil can be used therapeutically to help:2
• Ease dysmenorrhea
• Relieve tired and aching muscles
• Encourage sleep
Studies show that this essential oil has potent decongestive, antiseptic, antispasmodic, sedative, analgesic and antifungal properties.3 Its mucolytic properties also provide favorable results for the treatment of respiratory complaints, such as coughs and bronchitis.4
How to Make Spanish Marjoram Oil
Spanish marjoram oil is extracted from the leaves and flowering tops of the thyme plant vernacularly called "almoraduz," which grows wild in the low sections of the provinces of Sevilla, Huelva, Granada and Almeria, Spain. The flowers bloom from April to June, which is also the time when oil production is usually at its peak.
To make Spanish marjoram oil, a huge amount of botanical material needs to be steam distilled. As a matter of fact, 110 kilograms (242.5 pounds) of flowers and leaves will yield only 1.2 kilogram (42.3 ounces) of pure essential oil. Although another thyme plant (Thymus cephalotus L.) from the province of Jaen, Spain, produces an oil with similar properties to Spanish marjoram oil, the main source is still Thymus mastichina L.5
How Does Spanish Marjoram Oil Work?
To get the many healing benefits of Spanish marjoram oil, you can:
• Apply it topically to improve skin disorders like athlete's foot, cuts and sores
• Use it in massages to treat sprains and stiff joints
• Add it in baths and vaporizers to relieve nervous disorders and stress-related issues
However, I personally do not advise taking Spanish marjoram oil or any essential oil, internally without your doctor's recommendation.
Is Spanish Marjoram Oil Safe?
Animal studies show that Spanish marjoram oil can have acute toxic effects when taken orally. In addition, cineole, one of its chemical components, has been reported to cause serious poisoning in young children who have accidentally inhaled Spanish marjoram oil. I do not recommend using any type of essential oil as a treatment or supplement without expert medical opinion, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have an existing medical condition, to prevent complications.
Side Effects of Spanish Marjoram Oil
Spanish marjoram oil may cause allergic skin reactions. This is why it's important to always perform a skin patch test and wait for a few minutes before applying it onto large portions of your skin. Diluting Spanish marjoram oil with a mild carrier oil is a good technique to reduce possible skin sensitizing side effects, if any.