10 Marjoram Oil Benefits That Prove It Is A Powerful Herb
Did you know that the ancient Greeks used marjoram to heal convulsions, edema, and poison? They nicknamed it as “joy mountain” and even crowned couples with it during weddings. It was also believed that marjoram helped in nurturing love. Besides these beliefs, not many are aware of the wonderful marjoram oil benefits.
Let’s understand more about this herb in detail.
What is Marjoram Oil?
Marjoram essential oil is extracted from the flowers of Origanum majorana through the process of distillation. It is well-known for its medicinal as well as culinary uses.
The usage of marjoram dates back to ancient times and is admired for its medicinal and culinary values for centuries. It is a great source of vitamins (especially vitamin C or ascorbic acid), minerals, and phytonutrients. (1)
Scientific Name of Marjoram Oil
The botanical name of marjoram is Origanum majorana.
History of Marjoram Oil
Origanum majorana belongs to the family of Lamiaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but you can see them widely in North Africa, Asia, and European countries like Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Egypt, and France.
The tree grows up to 60 cm and is perennial (lives for more than 2 years).
It blooms white or red flowers in clustered bracts, has oblique rhizomes, hairy shrub-like stalks, and opposite dark green oval leaves.
The leaves are large, fragmented, and oblate to broadly elliptical. The plant is famous as a garnish. In ancient times, sweet marjoram was helpful to treat various medical conditions such as nasopharyngeal, gastrointestinal (digestive) issues, rheumatologic (joint-related) issues, ocular (eye-related) problems, respiratory problems, cardiac (heart) problems, and neurological (nerve) disorders. (2, 3)
Ancient Egyptians used Origanum majorana as an offering to the god of underworld Osiris. The Greeks & Romans called it the HERB OF HAPPINESS and used it to offer it to Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, love, and fertility.
Marjoram is also popular as a culinary herb and is widely used to add flavor to salads and soups.
Color, Consistency, and Smell of Marjoram Oil
- The color of marjoram oil is pale yellow to yellow-green.
- The consistency of marjoram oil is thin.
- The smell of marjoram oil is warm, woody, spicy, and camphorous, much similar to cardamom and nutmeg.
Properties of Marjoram Essential Oil
The medicinal properties of marjoram oil include:
- Antioxidant – Prevents harmful diseases caused due to oxidation
- Hepatoprotective – Protects the liver
- Cardioprotective – Protects the heart
- Anti-platelet – Prevents excessive blood clotting and deadly diseases
- Gastroprotective – Protects your stomach and digestive system
- Antibacterial – Fights bacteria
- Antifungal – Fights fungal infections
- Antiprotozoal – Fights protozoa (single-celled organisms that cause diseases)
- Antiatherosclerosis – Prevents blood vessel thickening and thereby, prevents heart diseases
- Anti-inflammatory – Prevents pain, redness, and swelling
- Antimetastatic – Prevents cancer
- Antitumor – Prevents unwanted growths or lumps
- Antiulcer – Prevents ulcer (erosion of skin or mucous membrane)
- Anticholinesterase – Prevents nerve & memory-related diseases
- Antidiabetic – Lowers high blood sugar levels
- Carminative – Helps in relieving flatulence or excess gas
- Anxiolytic – Helps fight nervousness & anxiety attacks
- Diuretic – Eliminates excess water from the body via urine
- Sedative – Relaxes and promotes sleep
- Antiasthmatic – Fights asthma
- Stomachic – Protects bowel and intestine
- Anti-rheumatic – Prevents rheumatism (pain in joints)
- Anti-nausea – Relieves nausea or eases vomiting sensations
- Analgesic – Relieves pain
Besides these, other important ones include:
- Prevents fatigue or extreme tiredness
- Heals heartburn and helps you to recover from hyperacidity & chest pain
- Prevents chilblains (painful swelling and red patches on your fingers and toes due to exposure to cold)
- Relieves muscle tension
- Heals bruises
Chemical Compounds in Marjoram Oil
The primary compounds found in marjoram oil include:
1, 1-octen-3-ol, 2, 3, 3-octanol, 4, 4-dimethyl-3-cyclohexen- l-yl)- ethanone, 4-terlx-nyl acetate, 4-terpinenl, 4-terpineol, 4a, 6-dimethyi-4-isopropyl-naphthalene, 8-cineol, a-phellandrene, a-pinene, a-terpinene, a-terpineol, benzaldehyde, beta phellandrene, bornyl acetate, c/s-piperitol, carvacrol, carvone, caryophyllene, cis beta ocimene, cis-sabinene, cis-sabinene hydrate, delta-3-carene, estragol, ethyl linoleate, ethyl myristate, ethyl paimitate, gamma terpinene, geraniol, geranyl acetate, germacrene d, hydrate, l-(l, limonene, linalool, linalyl acetate, myrcene, p-cymene, palmitic acid, pinene, sabinene, santalol, terpinolene, thexahydro- 1, thymol, trans-beta-ocimene, trans-piperitol, trans-sabinene hydrate, trans-trans-( + )-5-caranol, and verbenone.
Health Benefits of Marjoram Oil
- Prevents heart diseases
- Reduces inflammation
- Powerful anti-parasitic
- Treats GIT problems
- Prevents bacterial infections
- Strong Anti-AChE (Anti-acetylcholinesterase)
- Rich in antioxidants
- Eases nervousness
- Natural diuretic
- Effective against breast & prostate cancer
Though marjoram oil benefits are numerous, the most important ones demonstrated by different studies in recent years are highlighted below:
1. Prevents heart diseases
Diabetes, smoking, and inflammation are a few major causes of CVD (Cardio Vascular Diseases) such as high blood pressure and heart attacks.
Atherosclerosis (thickening of blood vessels) is a condition that occurs due to the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels. It results from inflammatory markers and causes high blood pressure and other heart-related diseases.
Thick vessel walls narrow the space required for free blood flow. When this happens, your heart works double the time to pump the blood with a higher pressure, which causes high blood pressure.
Sometimes the material in the blood vessel walls may dislodge, forming clots, which block blood vessels. This causes a heart attack, heart failure, and stroke (brain hemorrhage).
Happily, marjoram essential oil prevents all types of heart diseases. Thanks to the compounds carvacrol and thymol in it.
Besides preventing atherosclerosis via taming inflammatory markers, Origanum majorana essential oil reduces the amount of cholesterol (unhealthy fat) as well as triglycerides (fat or lipids) in your blood. Lower blood cholesterol and fat means lesser chances of atherosclerosis. (4)
2. Reduces inflammation
Marjoram has anti-inflammatory properties. Redness, swelling, pain, loss of movement, and high-temperature are the signs of inflammation.
The inflammatory response is the response of your body when it experiences any infection, trauma, or tissue damage.
When there is an inflammation, your body releases inflammatory mediators such as TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) -alpha, IL (interleukin)-1β, IL-6, cytokines, prostaglandins, enzymes, and NO (Nitric Oxide).
We need these to control inflammation. Else, your body will keep producing inflammatory markers, which in turn, causes diseases like arthritis (inflammation in the joints) and cancer.
Thus, regulating inflammatory mediators is one of the best ways to treat inflammatory diseases. There is enough scientific evidence stating that essential oils like marjoram oil can reduce the production of the inflammatory mediators such as TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) -alpha, IL-6, and IL (interleukin)-1β at a concentration of 10 μg/mL.
Carvacrol, a major component of marjoram essential oil, reduces the production of the inflammatory markers. During an experiment, the researchers administered carvacrol at a dosage of 50 and 100 mg/kg to mice, which had paw edema (swelling of feet).
Carvacrol reduced paw edema as well as the levels of IL-1β and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) prostaglandins – which are inflammatory markers.
Another study states that Sabinene hydrate and terpineol present in sweet marjoram essential oil suppresses the production of TNFα, interleukin 1β (IL-1β), and IL-6. (5)
3. Powerful anti-parasitic
Marjoram essential oil has anti-parasitic properties too. It inhibits the growth of malaria parasites by up to 49%.
The researchers compared the anti-parasitic activity of marjoram EO with chloroquine, a standard drug that inhibits the malaria parasites by up to 90%. However, essential oils are natural and safer than chemical-based drugs. (6, 7)
*Parasites are organisms that cause infections.
*Malaria is a parasitic disease that spreads via mosquitoes. The disease has symptoms such as high fever, vomiting, headache, and chills.
4. Treats GIT problems
*IBS/ Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder related to your large intestine. You experience symptoms such as pain in your tummy, cramps, excess gas, constipation (difficulty in passing stools), diarrhea (loose stools), or both constipation & diarrhea alternately, and mucus in stools.
In severe cases, you may experience vomiting and blood in stools. Inflammation, infection, nerve disorder, muscle disorder, or infections.
5. Prevents bacterial infections
Research states that marjoram essential oil is a highly effective antibacterial agent.
At a MIC (Minimum Inhibitory Concentration) of 80, 130, 40, 511, 1250, 1040, 1250, and 830 micrograms/mL, marjoram oil inhibits the growth of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 6571, B. subtilis NCTC 10400, Bacillus cereus NCTC 7464, Pseudomonas aeruginosa NCTC 1662, Escherichia coli ATCC 8739, ampicillin-resistant E. coli NCTC 10418, and Salmonella poona NCTC 4840 respectively.
*MIC is the value at which the oil prevents the growth of bacteria.
The researchers used the antibiotic ciprofloxacin as the controlling factor, which was more potent than the essential oil. However, essential oils are safer than antibiotics. They produce no to minimal side effects. Also, the oil had an inhibition zone of 24, 23, 27, 17, 19, 18, 20, and 22 mm respectively. (10)
6. Strong Anti-AChE (Anti-acetylcholinesterase)
Marjoram oil inhibits the activities of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. Thus, the oil is useful in treating and preventing neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (11)
The cholinesterase inhibitory activity is pronounced at the value of 36.40 µg/mL, and the oil can be useful as a natural anti-AChE.
*Alzheimer’s is a disease which is accompanied by memory loss. It is mild initially, but later on, it increases to an extent that the person may not be able to remember his or her name and identity.
*Parkinson’s disease is a nerve disease where there are involuntary movements, which is trembling initially. As the disease worsens, the affected individual loses control over his or her body reflexes.
7. Rich in antioxidants
Origanum majorana EO exerts a significant antioxidant activity. In addition to the essential oil, the other extracts of Origanum majorana namely ethanolic, n-hexane, and hydroalcoholic extract also possess a considerable antioxidant potential. This is mainly due to the presence of phenolic compounds. (12, 13)
The oil is active against free radicals such as hydrogen peroxide, DPPH/ 2,2′-diphenylpicrylhydrazyl, and hydroxyl radical.
Also, OMEO (Origanum Majorana Essential Oil) prevents the oxidation of linoleic acid. Marjoram essential oil is widely used in the food industry as a natural antioxidant.
8. Eases nervousness
Marjoram oil helps you to relieve nervousness. Since olden days, taking a bath with Origanum majorana decoction mixed in water was a usual practice to ease nervousness and boost energy. This is due to its anxiolytic properties. (14)
9. Natural diuretic
When you have high blood pressure, your doctor may advise you to take medicines to shed excess water from your body. This, in turn, helps you to normalize your BP.
If you are looking for a natural alternative, then a herb like marjoram can do a great deed. Taking a bath in water mixed with a few drops of Origanum majorana essential oil or decoction can control your BP by promoting diuresis naturally. (15, 16)
10. Effective against breast & prostate cancer
Origanum majorana oil helps in treating breast and prostate cancer. The oil prevents the multiplication of cancer cells, and thereby, prevents them from worsening.
At a concentration of 0.5 mg/mL, the effectiveness of the oil is in the range of 79–88%. The oil also prevents the formation as well as the spread of cancer. At a concentration of 70.0, 85.3, and 300.5 μg/mL the marjoram EO inhibits the growth of the cancer cells MCF-7, LNCaP, and NIH-3T3 respectively. (17, 18)
What Blends with Marjoram Oil?
Marjoram oil blends the best with:
- Ginger oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Lavender oil
- Cypress oil
- Clary Sage oil
- Helichrysum oil
- Jojoba oil
- Ylang Ylang oil
- Almond oil
- Peppermint oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
How To Use Marjoram Oil?
- Add 3-5 drops of marjoram essential oil to your vaporizer or burner if you want to boost positive energy.
- Add it to your massage oil and massage with gentle but firm strokes to relieve pain.
- Add it to your bathwater to alleviate stress, nervousness, promote urine, and anxiety.
- Add it to your cream to nourish your skin.
- Use in aromatherapy for healthy sleep.
Side Effects of Marjoram Oil
- Marjoram oil is safe as long as you use it as recommended. It is best to consult your doctor before you start with any essential oil.
- Also, a patch test is recommended to be on the safer side.
- Dilute marjoram oil with a carrier oil and apply it with the tip of a cotton bud over the inside of your forearm. If you do not experience any irritation, redness, swelling, or any allergic reactions, the oil is safe for you.
- If you are pregnant or nursing, you should never use marjoram oil.
- If you are a senior citizen, or are on any medicine, or have any disease or allergy, remember to talk to your doctor before you use this oil.
- You also need to exert extra caution in case of children.