Sweet marjoram, also called knotted marjoram, is known as one of the most used and most popular herbs from the Mediterranean that is used for cooking and for medicine. This particular herb is quite well-known for its sweet and delicate flavour though it is mildly pungent with a touch of spiciness to it although is it a lot milder as compared to oregano. Botanically, this herb belongs to the Labiatae family and scientifically named Origanum majorana. It may not be obvious to some people but sweet marjoram is related to anise, fennel, cumin, and dill as they all belong to the same family.
This herb may look nothing more than a weed to some people but it has a very rich history. For instance, sweet marjoram was made known to the Ancient Egyptians by way of the Ptolemies who brought it over from Europe. They made sure this herb was part of the plants they offered on the altars of various Egyptian gods and goddesses. A famous Roman writer named Pliny knew sweet marjoram by two names and in his book Natural History, identified it as “amaracus” which is a name that came from ancient Sicily; and “sampsuchum” a name which is of Syrian and Egyptian descent.
Indeed, this herb played quite an important role as it even caught the attention of such famous personages like Pliny. Why, in later years it even caught the eye of one Nicholas Culpeper and one William Shakespeare who made mention of it in one of his sonnets.
Properties and Constituents
Sweet marjoram oil is considered an analgesic, an expectorant, antiseptic, and anti-viral just to name a few of its vaunted properties. It has proven to be very effective in helping remedy a number of conditions like insomnia, anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, constipation, and even grief. Indeed, this is a very humble-looking plant that just so happens to contain rosmarinic acid and some other powerful constituents that elevate it above its status as just another herb to flavour food.
Uses and Benefits
The digestive benefits of sweet marjoram are very well-documented and recent findings show that it can really aid people who suffer from constipation, diarrhoea, lack of appetite, and aiding digestion as it stimulates stomach enzymes and prods the glands into producing more saliva that are full of enzymes. People who suffer from stomach cramps and spasms may even look top this herb for relief.
Aside from aiding in digestion and soothing digestive tract problems, sweet marjoram is also quite useful in warding off common illnesses like colds, and the flu. Some studies have shown that it works against food poisoning and staph poisoning. People who suffer from cardiovascular problems may also look to this herb for help as its properties help lower blood pressure and prevent the build-up of bad cholesterol in the body.
Sweet marjoram is usually drunk as tea, though it may also be used as mouthwash and even applied to the skin in the form of a poultice.
Sweet marjoram is generally safe if taken in food amounts and for limited amounts of time. Long term use may bring about the formation of cancer.