Marjoram is an aromatic herb of the mint family with small leaves hairy on either sides; tiny green, white flowers, forming small branched heads, which look like knots. The dried leaves of marjoram with or without flowering tops in small proportions constitute the herb. It has a fragrant, spicy, slightly sharp, bitter and camphoraceous flavor.
Marjoram grows up to 30 to 60 cm in height, through perennial; it is treated as an annual herb under cultivation. The color of the dried herb is light green with a grayish tint.
Fractional distillation of the leaves and flowering heads yield a volatile oil known as oil of sweet marjoram. However, the yield from the fresh herb is less than that from the dried herb. The oil is colorless or pale yellow to yellow-green, with a persistent odor reminiscent of nutmeg and mint.
Botanical Name: Origanum majorana
Indian Name: Marwa
Below are some of the medicinal properties of marjoram:
- Marjoram helps expel and loosen phlegm of the mucous membranes of the nasal and bronchial passages.
- The warmth accumulated by the herb from the sun helps to clear bad cold. Tea made from marjoram has the ability to stimulate the sweat glands. It helps to moisten taut, dry skin during influenza, if taken in small quantities.
- It is useful in promoting and regulating menstruation if taken in the form of an infusion. Such an infusion helps in promoting the secretion and flow of milk in nursing mothers.
- The oil of marjoram is beneficial in skin disorders and it can be applied externally in case of bruises, sprain, stiff and paralytic limbs. It also allays toothache.
- The herb is beneficial in the treatment of digestive disorders. It expels gas from the stomach. Hot fomentations of the dried leaves and tops applied in bags are helpful in colic. The oil of marjoram can be used beneficially as hot fomentation in acute diarrhea.