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
Benefits of Sweet Marjoram Oil
Packed with natural therapeutic properties with every drop, sweet marjoram oil is beneficial for helping alleviate:
✓ Irritable bowel syndrome
✓ Muscle tensions
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 from 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
✓ Emmenagogue, 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 emmenagogue 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.