Sweet marjoram oil is made from the steam distillation of the flowering tops of the marjoram plant (Origanum majorana),1 a cousin of oregano.2 This yellow-green essential oil has a warm, spicy, woody and camphoraceous scent that reminds you of nutmeg and cardamom. Spanish marjoram oil, a different type of essential oil also derived from the marjoram plant, has an amber and orange hue.3
Originally native to the Mediterranean regions,4 today sweet marjoram is widely cultivated for the large-scale commercial production of its essential oil in Egypt, France, Germany, Tunisia, Hungary5 and more recently, the United States.6
Uses of Sweet Marjoram Oil
According to folklore, the Egyptians dedicated the marjoram plant to the god of the underworld, Osiris,7 and it was used to produce unguents8 and medicines.9 The Greeks and Romans considered it the herb of happiness10 and offered it to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, fertility and beauty.11
In the kitchen, sweet marjoram is used as a culinary herb that is excellent in adding flavor to soups,12 salads and other delicious dishes.13 Marjoram tea is also reportedly consumed by women who wish to ease menopausal symptoms and promote an abundant flow of breastmilk.14 Meanwhile, sweet marjoram oil produces positive effects when used in:15
- Vapor therapy by inhaling the oil using burners and vaporizers
- Massage therapy when blended with a mild carrier oil or added in bathwater16
- Topical applications when added to cream17
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.18
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, eugenol, thymol, carvacrol and a-terpineol.19
It blends perfectly with lavender, cypress, clary sage, ginger, helichrysum, lemongrass, ylang ylang and peppermint essential oil.20
Benefits of Sweet Marjoram Oil
Packed with natural therapeutic properties with every drop, sweet marjoram oil is beneficial for helping alleviate:21,22
Irritable bowel syndrome
It is also proven to help people dealing with anxiety, stress, sleep,27 mood and hyperactivity issues28 because of its unique warming and calming effects.29
How to Make Sweet Marjoram Oil
Sweet marjoram oil is produced by steam distilling the flowering tops of the marjoram plant.30 According to the book “Aromatic Plants Cultivation, Processing and Uses,” the resulting oil is usually pale yellow to yellow green, depending on the material used for distillation.31
How Does Sweet Marjoram Oil Work?
Sweet marjoram oil works as a natural:32,33,34,35,36
Analgesic — Helping alleviate pain related to inflammation, toothache and headache37
Antispasmodic — Helping ease all types of spasms, from respiratory spasms to muscular spasms38
Emmenagogue — Helping regulate painful menstrual period39
Anaphrodisiac — Helping curb and control abnormal and excessive sexual urges40
Carminative — Effectively easing gas problems like colic and flatulence by helping promote peristaltic motion in the intestine. It can also help relieve digestive system-related problems like stomach cramps
Diuretic — Increasing frequency and quantity of urination,41 which may help remove excess fluids, salts and other potential toxic substances from the body42
Vasodilator — Helps alleviate high blood pressure levels and palpitations, and in improving circulation43
Other research has also shown that sweet marjoram oil may exhibit antibacterial44 and expectorant properties.45
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 like low blood pressure levels,46 or if you're pregnant.47 There isn’t enough information on whether sweet marjoram oil can be used during breastfeeding, so it’s best to stay on the safe side and refrain from using this essential oil.48 I am also against its use for infants and young children.
I highly recommend consulting your doctor, or an experienced essential oil therapy practitioner before incorporating it into your health and treatment protocol.
Side Effects of Sweet Marjoram Oil
Sweet marjoram oil may cause hypersensitivity and allergic reactions,49 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 like coconut, almond, jojoba or olive to lessen its sensitizing effect is also a wise strategy.