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Marjoram Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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Marjoram is a perennial herb that has been cultivated extensively for culinary, commercial and medicinal purposes. It is an aromatic herb that is relatively easy to grow. It belongs to the mint family and it has its origin in Southern Turkey and Cyprus. It represented a symbol of happiness, harmony, and peace for Ancient Greeks and Romans and it was frequently used in love potions.

Marjoram is often wrongly associated with oregano, because it is commonly referred as wild marjoram.  In order to avoid this misunderstanding, in a few Middle-Eastern regions, marjoram is also known under the names knotted or sweet marjoram.

Marjoram Functions & Benefits

It may be used in a balanced and healthy diet, due to its content of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients that are essential for our health and well-being. It contains many vitamins, including: A, C, E, and K, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, and minerals such as iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, zinc, and calcium.

The flower, the leaves, and oils are commonly used with medicinal purposes. In traditional medicine, it has been considered a remedy for headaches and common cold. It has been used for soothing stomach aches.

It may be used to treat respiratory ailments. It is being told that it may diminish the snoring by improving the nasal airflow. The tea is prepared from the leaves and flowers and it is mostly used for preventing and treating common cold on children. It may treat ear pain, swollen throat, runny nose, and dry cough. It may increase the appetite and sooth the stomach cramps. It may be useful to relieve the symptoms of diarrhea and constipation. It reduces intestinal gas, cures or prevents basic intestinal infections, and also may be a treatment for gallstones and liver illnesses.

Certain chemical compounds from marjoram such as terpinolene, terpineol, eugenol sabinene, cymene, linalool, and others are very efficient against inflammation and bacteria. Due to its anti-inflammatory qualities, it may be externally used for sprains, sore muscles, toothaches, injured joints, back pain, and bruises. Marjoram may be utilized by women for relieving PMS discomfort, regulating the menstrual cycle, increasing breast milk supply, and for soothing menopause symptoms.

It is told to have antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Therefore, it may offer protection against many of the common illnesses. Some positive effects have been reported in treating common cold, flu, mumps, typhoid, measles, tetanus, staph infections, and malaria. It may be a good protection against fungal infections and it may reduce phlegm.

Also it is an antioxidant that may have diuretic effect. Other conditions it may treat include paralysis, liver illnesses, and digestive problems. It may be effective against dizziness, migraines, and certain headaches.

It provides emotional and neurological advantages. It may be a treatment for depression by enhancing self-confidence and decreasing vulnerability. Grieving Ancient Greeks planted it on the family graves.  Due to its antidepressant and calming effects, it may sooth anxiety by minimizing the stress levels and emotional reactions. It has sleep-inducing properties being a good remedy for insomnia. Another effect that it may have is that it may help in the control of sexual desire, being considered the opposite of an aphrodisiac. Some species may have anti-hyperglycemic effects, being useful in diabetes treatment.

The essential oil is obtained from flowering leaves and tops of this plant using distillation process. It is used in aromatherapy due to its sedative and relaxing known effects. It is also considered a tonic for nerves and for heart. It also improves blood circulation and the cardiovascular system. It minimizes the risk of hardening the arteries, because it keeps cholesterol levels within normal values. It may prevent hypertension and also heart related diseases that may occur because of this condition when blood pressure is extremely high. By maintaining a normal blood pressure and cholesterol level, the risk of heart attacks and other heart imbalances is significantly minimized.

There are a few claims regarding its effectiveness as an antihypertensive, hepato-protective, and antiplatelet agent. Anyways, further research is needed in order to validate all of the above-mentioned claims and possible benefits of marjoram. They aren’t scientifically attested yet and more human studies are necessary to complete all these studies.


There are a few safety concerns regarding marjoram uses. It is not recommended for pregnant woman, because there is a high risk of miscarriage. Also children, breast-feeding woman, and people that may develop allergies to this herb should avoid the administration of this plant or any other supplement or medication that contains it.  It may increase the menstruation bleeding and it is very dangerous in case of menorrhagia.

It may interact with lithium and the side effects may be very dangerous. The doses of lithium treatment must be changed by our doctor in case of starting the therapeutic administration of marjoram. It is important to respect the right dosages, because natural products are not always safe.  You should always seek for professional medical advice before starting any treatment. The diagnosis and treatment must be provided by a qualified healthcare specialist.

It is strongly advised to avoid skin contact with the fresh marjoram because it may irritate the skin.


Marjoram is commonly found in supplements, teas, oils, and many other forms, such as powder, fresh or dried leaves. It is available online in a multitude of forms on many websites.  You can find good offers and low shipping costs for a variety of products that are covering a wide spectrum of health concerns. Also, it may be found on pharmacies and herbal stores.

It is a culinary spice and it is used as a flavor for seasonal stews and soups and also in sauces, meat dishes, beverages, and dressings for salads. It may also be used in vegetable dishes. It is recommended to be added in the last moment in cooking recipes, because it may lose its fragrance and flavor. The tea is very popular in the Mediterranean region.  For culinary purposes, it can be found in markets and supermarkets.

Due to its pleasant odor, it is frequently added in some cosmetics such as shaving gels, body lotions, skin creams, bath gels, and soaps.