Family • Lamiaceae - Marjoram hortensis Moench. - SWEET MARJORAM

Scientific names

Marjoram hortensis Moench.
Origanum majorana

Common names

Marjoram (Engl.)
Sweet marjoram (Engl.)
Knotted marjoram (Engl.)


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antimicrobial activity of methanol extract of Origanum majorana L. (Sweet marjoram) / L Leeja and J E Thoppil / Journal of Environmental Biology January 2007, 28(1) 145-146 (2007)

(2) Marjoram / (Majorana hortensis Moench.)

(3) Vapor Phase Toxicity of Marjoram Oil Compounds and Their Related Monoterpenoids to Blattella germanica (Orthoptera: Blattellidae) / Young-Su Jang et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2005, 53 (20), pp 7892–7898 / DOI: 10.1021/jf051127g

(4) Marjoram increases basal gastric acid and pepsin secretions in rat / Rafsanjani F N et al / Phytother Res. 2007 Nov;21(11):1036-8.


General info
Name derives from the Latin word amaracum or Greek amarakos. Its reputation as an aphrodisiac in Roman literature may be due to its unrelated similarity to the Latin “amor.” The Greeks and Romans dedicated it to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, fertility and beauty. In weddings, it is used as garlands to symbolize love and honor; in death, it is a funerary herb used to promote restful peace.

Herb is a plant with simple leaves, opposite and stalked, elliptic, 10-13 mm long. Flowers are small, purple or white, few to many, arranged in spikelets. Inflorescences with enlarged overlapping bracts.

Cultivated in the Baguio area.

– Plant yields an essential oil, between 0.7 to 3.5 %.
– Aroma components from a bicyclic monoterpene alcohol, cis-sabinene hydrate, a-terpinene, 4-terpineol, a-terpineol, terpinenyl-4-acetate, and 1,8-cineol.
– Yields the compound eugenol, used as flavoring agent.

Considered antiseptic, antidote, antispasmodic, digestive, decongestant, febrifuge, galactagogue, emmenagogue, sedating, stimulant, sudorific.

Parts used
Leaves, oil.

A condiment, popular for flavoring heavy vegetables like legumes and cabbage, eggplant, pumpkin and zucchini.
Used for delicate fish dishes.

No known folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
Elsewhere, traditionally used to relieve muscle spasms, alleviate insomnia, nausea and headaches.
Leaf extract used to loosen phlegm.
Oil used as toothache drops.

Aromatherapy: The oil used for its soothing relief of muscle aches and pains and joint maladies.


Marjoram4Study Findings
• Antimicrobial: Study tested the in-vitro microbicidal activity of the methanol extract of Origanum majorana tested against seven fungi and six bacteria. Results showed OM can be used as an effective herbal protectant against pathogenic bacteria and fungi. A high toxicity against the growth of Aspergillus niger was found.
• Fumigant / Anti-Cockroach: Study was done comparing the toxicity of O majorana oil, its 41 monoterpenoids and 2 sesquiterpenoids compared to four commonly used insecticides against adult females of German cockroach Blattella germanica. The adulticidal activities of pulegone, camphor and verbenone were comparable to permethrin, greater than that of propoxur, less than deltamethrin and dichlorvos. Results suggest marjoram oil and the monoterpenoids merit further study as potential fumigants.
• Increased Basal Gastric Acid and Pepsin Secretion: Study shows the marjoram contains some components that activate chief and parietal cells and increase basal acid and pepsin secretion.

Essential oils and other marjoram products in the cybermarkets.