Warming & sweet, marjoram essential oil benefits pack a wonderful, curative punch. We think of it as a culinary herb, but there are powerful health benefits as well
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History of Marjoram Essential Oil Uses
If you recall, oregano essential oil is derived from the Origanum vulgaris culinary herb. Sweet marjoram – Origanum majorana – is a close cousin. Also a culinary herb, marjoram shares similarities with oregano, but also has some marked differences.
Both plants are native to the Mediterranean, and marjoram quickly stood out for its restorative benefits. In Greek history, marjoram was a symbol of happiness, called “the joy of the mountains.” It was used in momentous ceremonies during life, such as weddings, as well as during death, such as a sign of post-life happiness when found growing on a grave. (1)
The whole herb was used extensively for healing, body pain and headache relief, and digestive relief. If each plant and oil has a theme – citrus for energy and revitalization, tea tree for microbes, peppermint for healing the gut – marjoram’s is that of relief.
Because marjoram essential oil benefits can include being used as an emmenagogue, stimulating blood flow in the pelvic area, historic cautions say it should be used when pregnant with caution. In various other stages of life, however, marjoram essential oil uses make it a must-have for its soothing and curative effects.
4 Marjoram Essential Oil Benefits
There are actually two oils referred to as marjoram – sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana) and Spanish marjoram (Thymus mastichina). It’s sweet marjoram essential oil uses that we’ll focus on today. Here are four ways marjoram oil has surprised me.
1. Pain Relief
Long known to be a pain reliever, marjoram has traditionally been a go to for muscle aches and pains or other generalized soreness. The essential oil makes this especially accessible, easily added to massages or baths, improving their already-soothing effects.
To test the oil on a more specific kind of pain, marjoram oil was added to a small blend of oils and diluted into a cream to be tested via randomized, double blind, clinical trial. The control group used a synthetic scent. When massaged onto the abdomen during a painful bout of dysmenorrhea, the analgesic effects of the oils combined together to help the test group find relief. (2)
Application: Dilute into a carrier or DIY cream blend with other soothing oils, or simply dilute and use as a single. Massage onto areas experiencing pain.
2. Internal Protective
The internal effects of essential oils are of great interest for researchers, wondering just how they work and what they do after we inhale, apply, or ingest an oil. Because the research process exists in steps – from exploring the validity of an idea before even bringing it to the lab to testing in vitro in petri dishes and mice and rats to finally observing controlled groups of people.
It was an in vitro study on marjoram essential oil that found a potential for the protective benefits of the oil.
The study in question observed the effects of diluted, internal marjoram against outwardly-unseen damage inflicted by a strong medication. After 28 days, the internal system showed a great deal of improvement both restorative and protective. (3)
While marjoram isn’t used extensively as an internal oil beyond culinary use, its potential protective effects can certainly be maximized when used in times of need.
Application: Use in culinary preparations and sparingly in diluted internal preparations. Work with an aromatherapist and your doctor to use marjoram oil and potentially other essential oils as a protective measure when taking potentially toxic medications, working around toxic fumes and chemicals, or other cases that put an extra load of work on the liver.
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3. Cancer Preventive
This may sound like a repeat of the previous benefit, but there is a significant difference between protection from medicinal damage and protection or prevention against a specific illness. The chemopreventive potential that marjoram displays fits nicely with our understanding of other protective culinary herbs.
It makes you think – God must have made all of these herbs to taste and smell so good that we would use them to guard our bodies against harsh meals!
Marjoram joins a long line of essential oils stepping forward in the literature with promising anti-cancer results. (4) As with all cases of cancer prevention, we must realize that the research is still in development and that we can’t know what hard and fast rule there is to making sure we don’t get cancer.
Still, we can include them as part of our daily routines and know that we’re doing all we can to make our bodies uninhabitable for cancer!
Application: A drop or two diluted and mixed into recipes for a flavorful and restorative meal.
4. Antioxidant Healer
When searching for a curative or healing essential oil, the action antioxidant is one to prioritize. The way that an antioxidant literally seeks out damaged cells for restoration is endlessly fascinating and can be incredibly curative.
Marjoram essential oil’s antioxidant abilities have been studied with very promising results. In a 2011 publication, the researchers said that we can “conclude that the marjoram EO has a significant potential to be used as a natural antioxidant and anti-AChE.” (5)
That last term refers to neurotransmission linked with Alzheimer’s disease – much like the benefits we see with lemon balm essential oil – and opens another group of exciting questions about marjoram for further study.
Marjoram Blends & Companion Oils
As a fresh, herbaceous scent, marjoram essential oil uses include pairing it with citrus, mints, and just about anything you can think of. Experiment with blends like these to enjoy complementary benefits – not to mention create one of a kind aromas!
- Topical: Dilute into a rich carrier oil and blend with oils like bergamot, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, and chamomile.
- Diffusion: Add a drop of marjoram with a drop each of orange, lemon, and cypress.
- Culinary: Cook with a drop of essential oil to flavor a full recipe – try with other culinary flavors like oregano, thyme, and basil.