Maruvu or marjoram is a perennial aromatic herb. It is a pleasant smelling herb belonging to the mint family. The plant has its origin in Egypt and Arabia.
The plant is mainly cultivated for its aromatic leaves used for culinary purposes. Marjoram grows up to 12 inches in height and has woody stem. The leaves, flowers and stem are also used in medicine preparations. The essential oil extracted from the plant has various therapeutic and other uses.
The leaves of the plant are cut when the plant start flowering and dried in shadow. The leaves are used as green leaves or dried leaves. The plant is widely grown in Spain, North Africa, Portugal and Hungary.
The botanical name is origanum majorana, meaning “joy of mountain”. It is not the same as oregano though it may look similar by appearance. Both are different spices. The leaves have extremely smooth structure due to innumerable hairs grown on it which makes it silky.
Maruvu contains many nutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins. Every two tablespoons of the leaf powder gives 6 % (Recommended Daily Amount) vitamin A, 8% Calcium, 3.5% vitamin C and 18% Iron.
- It is used in the form of green leaves, dried leaves, powder or oil extract.
- Fresh leaves contain more vitamins and minerals than dried leaves or powder.
- In culinary it is used in soups, salads and roasted meats for its aromatic flavor. It is also used in beverages for its flavor.
Health benefits of Maruvu/ Marjoram
Besides culinary uses, it provides a number of health benefits. Some of them are:
- It acts as an appetizer by enhancing the production of digestive enzymes. Provides relief from other digestive disorders like diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and cramps in the stomach.
- Marjoram also cures liver disease, gallstones and gas formed in the intestines. It cures spasm in the respiratory system and limb muscles.
- It acts as a laxative and facilitate easy bowel movement and excretion of feces.
- Anti-inflammatory function of the herb prevents development of inflammations and also relieve migraines and headaches due to sinus, asthma, and fever and muscle pain.
- It possesses anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Due to this property it has the potential to cure common cold, flu, food poisoning and measles.
- Essential oil extracted from the herb, on external application or massaging, helps in removing stress, anxiety and insomnia. The oil is also used to remove dizziness, depression and paralysis.
- The maruvu leaf tea is given to infants and young children to cure running nose, chronic cough, ear, and nose and throat disorders.
- Women use marjoram tea to regulate menstrual cycles and enhance lactation in feeding mothers. It is consumed in the form of infusion to obtain these benefits.
- The tea is also used to control blood sugar, and as a tonic for heart and nerves.
- Oil has anti-bacterial properties. It cures infections in the digestive system, urinary tract, excretory system in addition to providing relief from malaria and typhoid.
- As the oil aids perspiration it increases sweat and as a diuretic it facilitates excretion of unwanted toxins through urine. Both these functions in turn help reducing fever and other infections.
- Consumption of the oil lowers the blood pressure and prevent certain heart diseases.
- The oil is applied on the skin to treat skin disorders.
- Oil from the plant is used in soaps and other cosmetics for its aroma.
- External application of the oil cues toothache, sprain, muscular pains, joint pains and back ache.
- Application of the oil externally can cure wounds and boils. Internal wounds are also cured when consumed. It reduces fungal infections and phlegm.
- Flavonoids, tannins and sterols present in maruvu cures gastric ulcer in addition to replenishing the mucus of the gastric wall. Its use is both curative and preventive.
- Tea prepared from the leaves is consumed to cure various ailments. Marjoram tea is prepared by boiling the crushed leaves in water for about 15 minutes and then extracted as tea. It can be consumed straightaway and there is no need to add milk or sugar or honey.
In addition to culinary and the health benefits it is also used by cosmetics industry in preparation of skin creams, shaving gels and lotions and soaps.
Marjoram is available in the form of capsules, tincture or tea in stores. Quantity of marjoram consumption has to be decided only in consultation with a medical practitioner taking into consideration other medical conditions of the person concerned. Application of raw leaf on the skin may cause irritation in some people. Likewise long term use of the herb need to be cautiously attempted as it could cause cancer.