Marjoram with the botanical name Origanum majorana is a perennial herb native of Turkey and Cyprus. It is an aromatic herb with sweet pines and citrus flavor generally used in culinary. It is grown in many Middle East countries. It is used for its aroma in culinary both as a green leaf and as a dried leaf or powder.
Even though the botanical name may suggest that the herb belong to oregano family, it is different from oregano and has no characteristic similarity.
The leaves of the herb are flowering and smooth due to innumerable hairs grown on the surface of the leaves. Dry leaves are also used but the green leaves are preferred as they contain more nutrition.
The herb is used for preparation of herbal tea and also for extracting an essential oil.
Essential oil from Marjoram
An essential oil is extracted from the leaves and stems by the process known as steam distillation. The extracted oil is initially yellow in color and turns into brown over a period of time. The herbal tea and the essential oil provide a number of health benefits.
Marjoram contains a number of nutrients which help maintain a better health.
We can look into the benefits of the tea and the oil separately.
Between the tea and the essential oil, it is the oil that provides significantly more benefits in view of the fact that the nutrient contents of the herb are present in the oil in a concentrated form in larger quantities. This point can be better understood by looking at the nutrient contents of the oil extracted from just 100 gm. of the leaves.
Iron 1034% RDA (82.71 mg), Vitamin K 518% RDA (621.7 micrograms),Vitamin A 269% RDA, Manganese 236%RDA (5.433 mg)Calcium 200%RDA (1990 mg), Copper 126% RDA (1.133 mg), Pyridoxine 91%RDA (1.19 mg), Magnesium 86%RDA, Vitamin C 86% RDA, Folates 68.5% RDA and relatively smaller quantities of Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Zinc, Carotene, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Sodium, Potassium, Thiamine and Riboflavin are present in the essential oil.
In fact, it is because of the high nutrient contents in the oil, it is better known than the herb itself.
Some of the important health benefits derived by the use of this oil are:
Consumption of the oil in prescribed quantities improve the performance of the intestines and enhances digestion. It increases the production of the bile and gastric juices in the stomach which facilitate better digestion. The bowel disorder known as constipation is prevented due to improvement of the digestive system which facilitates easy bowel movement. Moreover it removes gastric disorders and prevents flatulence. Smooth emission of the gases from the body through the excretory tract is ensured by the oil with its multiple effect on the digestive system including the intestines. Carminative property of the oil provides relief from gastric disorders and remove bloating in addition to protecting the intestine walls.
The oil acts as an analgesic pain reliever without the associated side effects caused by consumption of pain killers. The oil relieves all types of pains due to fever and cold, muscle pains due to exertion, headaches and pain due to swelling or inflammation.
The oil is used in aromatherapy to reduce anxiety and stress caused by various health disorders. The oil acts as a mood enhancer and provide relief from depression. People who are stressed due to shock or trauma can get relieved by external application of the oil and also by consumption of the oil. Stress is both a physical condition and mental disorder. Marjoram oil cools the body as well as mind by relieving stress.
Prevents respiratory disorders
When applied tropically on the nose and chest, the oil relieves the congestion from the respiratory tract and help reducing the formation of mucus and phlegm which are responsible for contacting infection and cold and consequently viral infections. It can be consumed as a natural expectorant to cure chronic coughing and throat infections.
Prevents menstrual problems
Regular consumption of the oil has the potential to regularize the menstrual cycle by balancing the hormones. It also helps in preventing premature menopause.
Prevents and cures infections
The oil prevents infections in the area of wounds or boils. Its external application on the wounds provide the soothing effect by providing relief from the pain and by curing the wounds besides preventing possible infections due to the wounds. As the oil has antibacterial properties, it accelerates the healing process of wounds and infection due to any type of virus is prevented. Infections in the colon, urinary tract and excretory tract are prevented and cured by consumption of the oil.
Prevents tetanus and sepsis
Sepsis is a disorder due to poisoning of the blood caused by toxins and bacteria which causes formation of pus cells. Tetanus is caused due to damage to the central nervous system caused by infections in the wounds. Both these disorders are prevented by consumption of the oil. This property of the oil make it an essential ingredient in antiseptic lotions and creams.
Protects cardiovascular system
The oil function as a vasodilator. It helps in expanding the blood vessels and improving the blood flow besides balancing the blood pressure. By this, functioning of the heart is improved and the risk of heart attack and other heart related disorders are prevented.
Prevents and cures stomach ulcers
The oil improves production of bile and gastric juices which prevent formation of acidic conditions in the stomach walls. Added to this is the improved digestion both of which contributing in prevention of ulcerous conditions? If ulcer is already present in the stomach. Consumption of the oil regularly heals the ulcer and protects the stomach walls from further formation of ulcers.
Application of the oil all over the body as a massaging oil and also consuming the oil on a regular basis reduces the abnormal sexual desire and erratic behavior towards sex. The oil inhibits sexual desire and prevents extreme sexual urge.
Protects the skin
Application of the oil as a bathing oil improves the health of the skin in addition to preventing infections to the skin. Skin disorders like formation of fungus or scratches are also cured by the oil.
Consumption of the oil on a regular basis acts as a diuretic and facilitate excretion of excess salt from the body. By this blood pressure is lowered, accumulation of fat is prevented and functioning of the kidney is improved. On massaging with the oil there is an increased sweating of the body which also removes toxins and salt from the body. The word of caution here is that excess urination caused by consumption of the oil needed to be compensated by drinking more water in order to avoid dehydration.
By using the oil to massage the body helps in relieving muscle cramps and spasm. It is more useful in preventing and curing spasm in the limbs, intestines and the respiratory system.
Improves cognitive functions
Even as the oil improves the functioning of the central nervous system and enhance the brain functions, overall cognitive functions are improved thus preventing conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Benefits of Marjoram Tea
Marjoram tea is prepared by boiling the herb in hot water and then staining after about fifteen minutes. The stained and cooled tea is consumed by adding honey or sugar to make it more palatable. It is also consumed by adding lemon like the normal green leaf tea. For achieving the desired benefit it is recommended that the tea is consumed thrice a day regularly over a period of time.
Apart from being a stimulant, marjoram tea provides a number of health benefits. Some of them are:
- It enhances the performance of the respiratory system which in turn provide relief from common cold and running nose. In addition to relieving conditions of cold it also improves the blood circulation.
- Presence of a number of nutrients in the tea help in enhancing the production of digestive enzymes leading to better performance of the overall digestive system. The enzymes not only improves digestion but also improves the functioning of the small and large intestines. These functions are also helpful in preventing stomach aches and cramps in the stomach muscles.
- The tea has anti-inflammatory properties which help in preventing headaches, migraines, pains in many parts of the body due to inflammatory conditions and disorders in the tooth and gums.
- Very high amount of vitamin K present in the herb improves the bone mass and strengthens the nervous system.
- Potassium present in it balances the blood pressure level and consequently improves the functioning of the heart.
- Marjoram being an aromatic herb, the tea prepared from it is helpful in aromatic therapy which provides relief from stress and depression. The herbal tea relaxes the body and the mind.
- Regular consumption of the tea has the potential to regulate the menstrual cycle in women particularly in those who have PCOD. It also prevents post-menopausal symptoms.
As any other tea preparation, marjoram tea may also produce vomiting sensation, nausea and diarrhea. It depends upon the adaptability of the individual. Hence to star with only small quantities of the tea is consumed which can be gradually increased to a cup full at a time.