In the age of pharaohs, marjoram was used in manufacturing perfumes because of the essential oil it carried in the flowering tips of the herb. Today it is more of a seasoning herb despite the fact that it is also used in cosmetics.
Description of Marjoram plant
Marjoram (Satureja hortensis) is an aromatic perennial herb. Specific to the Mediterranean climate, the herb originated in Egypt and Arabia. It grows in the form of a bush and it can reach a maximum height of 30 cm. Its stem is ramified and the leaves are very fragrant because of the presence of ethereal oil. It can be cultivated in flower pots, in gardens or in greenhouses but it needs to be exposed to high temperatures. The herb is useful even without being digested, as it scents the garden and keeps mosquitoes away. It is also grown as a decorative herb but most especially as an aromatic herb. As a spice, marjoram is used in tomato soups, sauces, oriental salads, steaks and pies. Both the fresh and dried leaves can be used in foods. Soaked in olive oil, marjoram leaves keep their fragrance for a longer time and, at the same time, the oil can be used for preparing salads. Despite that, it has many less known therapeutic indications as in cases of: blood circulation problems, water retention, muscle spasms, fatigue, insomnia, depressions etc. In this purpose only the higher parts are used: the dried marjoram leaves, flowers and stems. The harvest is done during the blossoming period (July – August).
Properties and benefits of Marjoram
The synthesized essential marjoram oil is formed of a number of active substances such as terpinen, terpineol, carvacrol, ursolic acid, beta sistosterine. Along with the essential oil, tannin, bitter and sistosterine elements, marjoram is also rich in vitamins A and D. Because of these compounds, marjoram stimulates digestion, increases diuresis, absorbs gases, increases food appetite and it is recommended in nervous states or cases of insomnia.
Mixtures and treatments
For marjoram we present the following therapeutic indications which can be used in cases of: anorexia, insomnia, neurosis, abdominal pain (enterocolitis, pancreatitis, appendicitis, neurovegetative disorders), flu, fever, vomit, diarrhea, hepatitis, children’s malnutrition, cutaneous eruptions, pruritus (itchy skin). It is a good diuretic and appetite stimulant, helps to remove mucosities. Marjoram treatments clear the sinuses and produce strong perspirations.
Taken in normal doses (one teaspoon of herbs per 200 ml of water), marjoram tea stimulates appetite, digestion, eliminates gases and calms stomach pains. The tea is prepared by boiling one teaspoon of marjoram powder in a cup of water for 15 minutes. In an interval of two hours the consumption of two to four cups of marjoram infusion is recommended. The same treatment is efficient for overcoming the incipient state of the cold and, at the same time, prevents flu. To obtain a strong tea, add two teaspoons of marjoram to a cup of cold water and keep it macerating for 24 hours. After filtering, honey can be added. If the doses are increased (six teaspoons to 200 ml of water), marjoram produces a calming and antidepressive effect, induces somnolence and even a slightly euphoric state. During summers when the temperature is hardly bearable, marjoram tea is recommended especially to people with blood circulation problems because it has an adjusting effect on the body temperature. For hair revitalization, replace the washing water with a marjoram infusion obtained from 20 g of herb to one liter of water.
The local marjoram decoct poultices are very useful against pruritus (itchy skin). These poultices will be used on the affected areas. The decoct in this case will be prepared by boiling approximately 150 grams of marjoram in half a liter of water. The decoct can also be used to eliminate foul breath. Also through the strong sudorific effect it causes, the brew helps eliminate body toxins.
Cataplasms can be prepared from marjoram leaves, for calming intestinal colics in children’s cases. Before applying locally, make sure that the cataplasms are warm.
Marjoram tea is not recommended to hypertensive individuals, to those who have undergone vascular accidents or to patients with febrile states (fever values higher than 38 Celsius degrees). In summer heated days, the marjoram tea should be consumed carefully.