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Used for Thousands of Years, Sweet Marjoram Oil Offers Many Benefits

April 06, 2017

Story at-a-glance

  • A perennial herb used extensively for both culinary purposes and medicinal applications, sweet marjoram oil has a rich history dating back thousands of years
  • Learn about sweet marjoram oil’s countless uses and benefits, and discover why it’s revered for its healing properties

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

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

Asthma

Irritable bowel syndrome

Rheumatism

Fatigue23

Nausea24

Heartburn25

Chilblains

Bruises

Muscle tensions26

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.

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Sources and References

  • 1, 18, 20, 23, 26, 27, 38, 47 “The Essential Oils Complete Reference Guide: Over 250 Recipes for Natural Wholesome Aromatherapy,” January 31, 2017
  • 2 “The Whole Herb: For Cooking, Crafts, Gardening, Health, and Other Joys of Life,” 2004
  • 3, 30, 34 "Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals," 2006
  • 4 “Source Book of Flavors,” December 14, 2013
  • 5, 10 “Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for Vibrant Health and Beauty,” 2002
  • 6 “Herbs Cultivation & Their Utilization,” February 11, 2003
  • 7 “Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles,” February 21, 2016
  • 8 “Perfumes, Cosmetics and Soaps: Volume I The Raw Materials of Perfumery,” December 6, 2012
  • 9 “Mosby's Handbook of Herbs & Natural Supplements - E-Book,” April 27, 2009
  • 11, 40 “Romantic Guide to Handfasting: Rituals, Recipes & Lore,” June 8, 2016
  • 12 “Leung's Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients: Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics,” September 21, 2011
  • 13 “Medicinal Properties of Herbs and Plants,” June 12, 2015
  • 14 “Traumatic Brain Injury: TBI & Post-Concussion Syndrome: PCS DO'S & DON'TS A Personal Journey,” June 9, 2017
  • 15 “Undrugged: Sleep: From Insomnia to Un-Somnia -- Why Sleeping Pills Don’t Improve Sleep and the Drug-Free Solutions That Will,” March 23, 2018
  • 16 “The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia: A Concise Guide to Over 385 Plant Oils,” 2008
  • 17, 39 “The Healing Power of Essential Oils: Soothe Inflammation, Boost Mood, Prevent Autoimmunity, and Feel Great in Every Way,” March 13, 2018
  • 19 "Handbook of Herbs and Spices, Volume 1," August 17, 2001
  • 21, 28, 46 “Stephanie Tourles's Essential Oils: …,” August 7, 2018
  • 24 “The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy,” November 8, 2011
  • 25, 29 Essential Oils: Reference to Go: Simple Blends for Health and Beauty,” November 2, 2012
  • 31, 32 “Aromatic Plants Cultivation, Processing and Uses,” January 1, 2005
  • 33, 45 “Aromatic Plants,” 2007
  • 35 “Beginner's Guide to Essential Oils and Herbal Tinctures …,” August 2, 2017
  • 36 Natural Product Radiance, Vol 4(1), January-February 2005
  • 37 “Chakra Awakening: Transform Your Reality Using Crystals, Color, Aromatherapy & the Power of Positive Thought,” November 8, 2011
  • 41 WebMD, January 17, 2017
  • 42 Medical News Today, November 22, 2017
  • 43 “The Healing Remedies Sourcebook: Over 1000 Natural Remedies to Prevent and Cure Common Ailments,” May 29, 2012
  • 44 Flavour and Fragrance Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, September 1990, Pages 187-190
  • 48 “American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition,” March 15, 2013
  • 49 “The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices,” December 28, 2017
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