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Marjoram (Origanum majorana)


Origanum majorana

Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is an annual or biennial plant sixty centimetres tall, of the Lamiaceae family and native to the Mediterranean basin (Cyprus, Egypt, Turkey).
It grows very well on poor soils, but will suffer in wet cold. The stems are hairy, with rounded and slightly dentate green leaves.


Main aromatic molecules: Monoterpenols (terpinene-4-ol, thujanols), monoterpenes (γ and α-terpinenes).
Family: Lamiaceae.
Producing organs: Flowering tops.
Yield: 200 to 300g of essential oil per 100kg of flowers.
Equivalence: 1ml → 31 drops (dosage calculated for a calibrated dropper European Pharmacopoeia).

  • Bath Bath
  • Skin application Skin application
  • Oral route Oral route
  • Respiratory route Respiratory route

Main properties

Soothing and relaxing, it acts against mood disorders or by dissipating fatigue. It is an effective aid to stop smoking, as it removes anxiety, irritability and bulimia. Anti-infectious and fungicidal,
It treats respiratory pathologies or mycosis, facilitates difficult digestion, calms rheumatic pains but also obsessive sexual ardour. It is beneficial to hypertensives.

Find all the virtues and uses of essential oils in our tips section.


Place 2 to 3 drops of essential oil of marjoram in the wrist, on the solar plexus and along the spinal column, four times daily. Grief
Place 1 drop of essential oil of marjoram on the internal side of each wrist and breathe in deeply.

Digestive pains
Swallow 2 drops of essential oil of marjoram on a neutral tablet, in a teaspoon of olive oil or a sugar lump as soon as the pain appears, if it is occasional, or before each meal over 24 hours, if chronic.

1 drop of essential oil of Eucalyptus radiata, 1 drop of essential oil of marjoram. Take 2 drops on a neutral tablet three times daily for five days.


Marjoram is cultivated up to altitudes of two thousand metres. Its small lilac and white flowers blossom in July-August.


The scent of marjoram, fairly similar to that of thyme, is more delicate than that of oregano.


The distillation of a hundred kilograms of flowering tops provides two hundred to three hundred grams of a pale yellow to slightly amber essential oil, with a yield of 0.2% to 0.3%. The leaves are used as a condiment.


Its active ingredients are mainly monoterpenes (40%) and monoterpenols (50%), including terpinene-1-ol-4. Unlike oregano (or pizza herb), marjoram does not contain any phenols.

Not to be confused with Spanish marjoram (Thymus mastichina) with very different properties.

Precautions for use

The application of pure essential oil of marjoram should be avoided on sensitive skin and it should be diluted by half in a carrier oil. Do not use high doses or over a long period as it presents a risk of vertigo and addiction.

Do not use in: pregnant or breast-feeding women, children under the age of three years, persons allergic to one of the components (limonene), subjects with asthma without the advice of an allergologist before the first use, over a long period in persons with functional kidney failure (monoterpenes).

Marjoram was born from an accident. At the time when the world smelled good, Amarakos was in charge of caring for perfumes at the court of Cinyras. One day he had the misfortune of breaking a container with an exquisite content, and "he shrivelled in shame". The gods took pity on him and transformed him in marjoram or oregano (amarakos). In Egypt, marjoram was part of the salves and fumigations. The Greeks applied it in plasters on painful limbs and offered it to the gods. Dioscorides identified the main virtue of the plant: "It fights acid fermentations of the stomach." According to the "Edict of Maximum" (301 A.D.), was sold in Rome at a hundred dinerii the pound, i.e. more than rose oil. In the Middle Ages, marjoram called "flea-cover", was good luck and cured almost anything. The famous German physician Fabricius von Hilden (1560-1634) used to cure the famous general Wallenstein from a "head cold" who recompensed him with "two hundred gold écus".


Extracts from the book 'Aromatherapia - All about essential oils', by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book '41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently' and '48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy' by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.

The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.
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