Marjoram: Properties and Benefits
Marjoram is a spice that not only plays an important role in the Italian culinary tradition, its therapeutic properties are in fact supported by science, here are its health benefits
The marjoram plant, scientific name Origanum Majorana, is a perennial aromatic herb belonging to the Labiatae family. It has a slightly bitter taste and a more intense aroma than that of oregano.
The marjoram over the centuries has been used in traditional medicine to treat various diseases. They range from gastrointestinal to respiratory ailments, from eye to heart ailments.
Modern medicine has attributed to this plant a multitude of therapeutic properties capable of bringing various health benefits. Specifically, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, anti-platelet, gastroprotective, antibacterial and antifungal, antiprotozoal, anti atherosclerosis, anti-inflammatory, anti-metastatic, anti-tumor, anti-ulcer and anti-cholinesterase properties have been attributed to the plant. ( 1 )
- Chemical Composition
- Gastric Ulcer
- Muscle Aches
The parts of the plant used in the plant are dried leaves, leaf extract and essential oil. The essential oil is obtained from its dried flowers by steam distillation.
The plant can reach a height of 80/90 centimeters and has pink white flowers that begin to appear during the summer season. Thanks to its aromatic and therapeutic properties, it is used in the kitchen for the seasoning of many dishes.
The marjoram is harvested in early summer just before flowering and can be used both fresh which, dried, fresh, maintains its particular aroma unaltered while dried, it loses some of its aromatic properties.
|Chemical composition for 100 gr of dried marjoram seeds|
Source: USDA Database
An essential oil rich in tannins, flavonoids and terpenes is extracted from marjoram. Its main components are: sabinene, terpinene, alpha-terpinene, gamma-terpinene, terpinolene, terpineol and linalyl acetate.
Every 100 grams of dried marjoram has a caloric yield of 271 kcal.
Marjoram: Properties and Benefits
The plant not only proves useful in the kitchen but is also in possession of therapeutic properties which, however some aspects are able to bring benefits to our health.
The plant can be a valuable aid for people suffering from hypertension and heart problems. A 2012 study shows that the mere inhalation of its essential oil causes vasodilation which thus reduces cardiac effort and blood pressure. ( 2 )
Simply inhaling the vapors of the essential oil lowers the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and stimulates that of the parasympathetic nervous system. The result is a decrease in pressure on the entire cardiovascular system.
A 2009 animal study examined the effects of marjoram on gastric ulcer. At the end of the tests, it was found that the extract of the plant is capable of both preventing and healing the gastric ulcer. In addition to this, the spice has shown a large safety margin which does well to hope for its future application for the treatment of this pathology. ( 3 )
He owned calming and sedative, it is indicated to combat anxiety , migraine and the insomnia. In case of excessive nervousness caused by stress, a teaspoon of dry leaves left to infuse in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes, proves to be an excellent remedy. Often the masseurs add its oil to creams and other oils precisely for this analgesic property.
The effectiveness of its use in aromatherapy is documented by a 2016 study according to which the inhalation of its vapors has relaxing and beneficial effects on the whole body. ( 4 )
A few drops of essential oil placed in the tub before the bath is able to relax the nerves and promote sleep.
In case of headache and insomnia four drops of essential oil with a teaspoon of sugar show their benefits.
The marjoram tea during the studies showed the inhibitory activity against the hormonesteroid dehydroepiandrosterone-S. Tea has also proven useful in polycystic ovary syndrome. ( 5 )
In the form of an infusion it favors the production of gastric juices and is therefore used to promote the digestive process. Its scent can stimulate the salivary glands, this property promotes the primary digestion of food that takes place in the mouth.
Its intake, according to medicine, stimulates bowel movement and promotes evacuation. ( 6 )
The marjoram, for antiseptic properties of essential oil, is useful in case of bloating and flatulence. For the treatment of these ailments it is recommended to drink one or two cups a day of marjoram tea.
Both the leaves and the essential oil in the studies have shown antimicrobial activity. In particular, essential oil has shown inhibitory properties against various pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Among these we mention: Beneckea natriegens, Erwinia carotovera, Moraxella, Aspergillus, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Bacillus cereus, B subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella poona and Escherichia coli. ( 7 )
Vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and carotenes are flavonoids with powerful antioxidant properties, these compounds act as scavengers against harmful substances released by free radicals and play a crucial role in the aging and prevention of diseases.
Eyes and Skin
Vitamin A is known for its antioxidant properties and is essential for the health of the eyes and therefore of vision. At the same time this vitamin plays an important role for the health of the mucous membranes and skin. Zeaxanthin performs filtering functions of UVA rays and prevents macular degeneration, a pathology typical of old age.
The marjoram is one of the herbs rich in vitamin K, scientific research has attributed to this plant a positive role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s because it seems to be able to limit the neuronal damage in the brain.
Type 2 diabetes
According to the latest statistics, type 2 diabetes is a pathology in continuous growth, especially in industrialized countries around the world. The good news is that a healthy and balanced diet is one of the best ways to prevent and even manage type 2 diabetes.
Scientific research has shown that this plant has useful and effective properties for fighting diabetes 2. In particular, a 2014 study shows that this spice, together with oregano and rosemary, acts positively against diabetes 2. More specifically, the marjoram compounds act as inhibitors of the protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B. ( 8 )
Furthermore, these spices have proven to be excellent inhibitors of dipeptidyl peptidase IV. This property helps improve insulin tolerance resulting in beneficial effects on blood sugar management.
It increases the frequency of urination and the amount of urine thus promoting the elimination of excess fluids in the body. This virtue of the plant contributes to lowering blood pressure and cleaning the kidneys.
Marjoram and Muscle Pain
For external use it is used for frictions and massages in case of muscle and rheumatic pain. For massages you can dissolve 15/20 drops of essential oil in a glass with a finger of alcohol and proceed with the massage of the painful parts.
Always 15 drops added to the bath water bring benefits in case of muscle contractures.
Finally, among the properties of the plant, we report the mild diuretic effect.
The marjoram is considered safe when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts and for short periods of time. If taken for a long time it can become dangerous to health as it is suspected that it could cause cancer. Its essential oil use should not be used in pregnancy and breastfeeding. ( 9 )
The application of fresh leaves on the skin is not recommended as it may cause irritation. It is also not recommended to use it (consult a doctor) in the presence of the following pathologies: slow heart rate, asthma, hemorrhages and convulsions.
In case of stuffy nose from cold it is possible to breathe for about 20 minutes the vapors produced by an infusion of marjoram still boiling.
The plant is used in homeopathy to treat problems concerning the nervous system.
The dried marjoram maintains its properties aromatic for a period of up to two years if properly stored.
With this plant you can prepare a wine with digestive properties; 20 grams of dried marjoram, macerated in one liter of dry white wine for two weeks, give rise to a good digestive.
The marjoram is also used for making liquor herbal and most famous Vermouth.
Maybe not Everyone Knows That
In many parts of Italy, marjoram is also known by the name Persia as it is thought that this plant is originally from that country.
The marjoram is a plant that grows up to an altitude of 1.000 meters and prefers the warm climate and does not resist to low temperatures near zero.
The intake of fresh leaves can cause skin irritation problems in particularly sensitive individuals.
In the Middle Ages it was believed that this plant had magical properties and was therefore used to ward off evil spirits. Also in this period, marjoram was popular in Europe where it was used in cakes and puddings.
During the Renaissance, the spice was used to flavor eggs, meat, rice and fish.
It is one of the most popular herbs of the Mediterranean area, in ancient Greece it was used to create garlands and crowns as a symbol of peace. In Egypt it was used for therapeutic purposes and for food storage.
The marjoram is one of the plants used by singers to protect his voice.
The essential oil of marjoram has the opposite effect to the aphrodisiac one and is therefore recommended for those who have sudden sexual impulses that they cannot resist.
Marjoram: Properties and Benefits
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