Sweet Marjoram

Sweet marjoram

Origanum majorana lamiaceae

A woody perennial, sweet majoram grows to a height if about 60cm.
Small velvety, oval leaves crowd its stems, with tight spikes if white or pinkish flowers opening all summer. Apart from its medicinal uses, the sweet aroma makes it a popular culinary herb. It is widely cultivated in Hungary, Spain and North Africa, as well as being picked from the wild in its native Portugal.

Parts used

  • Stems, leaves and flowers
  • Aerial parts are collected from July to September, as the plant flowers.
  • The stems and leaves are dried, then used to prepare infusions, powders and tinctures.
  • A yellowy green essential oil is extracted from fresh flowers. It has a very penetrating, camphorated smell.


Sweet majoram contains bitters, tannins, flavonoids, manganese and zinc. Its essential oil is rich in cavacrol and thymol, and sabinene, linalool and terpenes are also present.

Medicinal uses

Sweet marjoram is recognised as a useful plant for treating digestive problems, such as intestinal spasms, nausea, bloating, loss of appetite, flatulence and diarrhoea. It can also act as a sedative, so is effective incases where indigestion is due to a nervous problem, as well as being an effective remedy for insomnia and palpitations. Researchers in Korea have recently shown that the plant's ursolic acid (a terpene) is responsible for this power to calm.

Sweet marjoram is also known to stimulate lactation and perspiration. The latter action, coupled with the plant's diuretic powers, helps to expel toxins from the body.

Applied externally, the essential oil will soothe joint and muscle ache, and can be helpful in easing the pain of toothache and mouth ulcers


  • Always seek medical advice before using sweet marjoram essential oil.
  • It is advisable to avoid all sweet marjoram essential oil preparations when pregnant or breastfeeding.


For internal use

TO TREAT flatulence, abdominal bloating, nausea, minor nervous problems
INFUSION Put 1-2 teaspoons of the dried plant into a cup of boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain. Drink 1 cup three times a day. TINCTURE Put 20 drops into a large glass of water or fruit juice. Take three times a day.

For external use

TO TREAT joint and muscle ache ESSENTIAL Oil Dilute, allowing 3 drops of essential oil to 10ml of carrier oil. Massage into affected areas as required.



Sweet majoram will grow from seed. Plant in a warm, sunny position in spring. It thrives in well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil.


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