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Marjoram is a native of the Mediterranean region. It is a perennial herb of the mint family and loves warm climates and well-drained soil. It has a close relative in oregano. The three more popular variants of marjoram are:
• Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana LINN.) – used for therapeutic purposes.
• Showy marjoram (Origanum pulchellum)
• Wild marjoram or oregano (Origanum vulgare)
(Source: Price, Shirley 2000 Aromatherapy Workbook London, UK: Thorsons)
Marjoram oil is extracted using methods of steam distillation. Steam is passed over flowering tops, fresh and dried leaves of sweet marjoram and the vapors are collected and cooled before retrieving the oil. Marjoram oil has a spicy, woody and camphoraceous aroma.
Marjoram oil is rich in chemical compounds such as origanol, pinene, borneol and camphor as well as sabinene, cymene, gamma terpineol, terpinolene and alpha terpinene. A complete list of chemical compounds and their amounts can be found in Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases (Source URL: http://sun.ars-grin.gov:8080/npgspub/xsql/duke/plantdisp.xsql?taxon=678)
Marjoram oil is a middle note essential oil which means its usage lasts for approximately four days on the person using it. Like most middle note oils it affects the metabolism, digestion and other functions of the body.
Health benefits of marjoram oil include:
1. Marjoram oil is believed to bring relief from pain and may be used for headaches, migraines, arthritic conditions, sprains, toothache, body aches, etc.
2. Marjoram oil is said to benefit cases of tetanus and sepsis development by application on wounds and cuts, burns and insect bites.
3. Marjoram oil is a tested antispasmodic. Thus it is beneficial to those experiencing muscle cramps, pulls, convulsions and spasms in the respiratory and digestive system.
4. Carminative – Marjoram oil relaxes the tight muscles of the abdomen and helps absorption of digestive by-product gases and is said to promote the downward movement of excess gas thus reducing instances of nausea, stomachache and vomiting.
5. Marjoram oil has digestive properties.