Marjoram is a frequently used flavor enhancer that is also popular among herb fans.
Marjoram has a very ancient medical reputation. The Greeks used it extensively, both internally and externally. It was a remedy for narcotic poisons, convulsions and dropsy. Among the Greeks, if Marjoram grew on a grave, it augured the happiness of the departed, and among both the Greeks and Romans, it was the custom to crown young couples with Marjoram.
The whole plant has a strong, odd yet fragrant, balsamic odor and a warm, bitterish, aromatic taste.
Marjoram as an Herb for Medicinal Uses
Marjoram is useful for treating asthma and coughs, to strengthen the stomach and intestines, as well as used with other herbs for headaches.
- Minor antioxidant with antifungal properties.
- Mild infusion (tea) has been used as a gargle for sinus congestion and hay fever.
- An infusion of the flowers said to prevent seasickness and to have a calming effect.
- Has been used in the bath for relieving aches and pains and chest congestion.
Marjoram yields about 2 per cent of sweet marjoram oil, which is separated by distillation. A few drops, put on a cotton swab and placed in the hollow of an aching tooth frequently relieves the pain. In a case of measles, it is useful in producing a gentle perspiration and bringing out the eruption, being given in the form of a warm infusion, which is also valuable in spasms, colic, and to give relief from pain in dyspeptic complaints.
Externally, the dried leaves and tops may be applied in bags as a hot fomentation to painful swellings and rheumatism, as well as for colic. An infusion made from the fresh plant will relieve nervous headache.
An essential oil made with Marjoram is used in aromatherapy to help the insomnia, especially when used in a very warm bath. It is also used with a carrier oil as a rub for bruises, sprains, and arthritis. The leaves can and have also been used in sachets and sleep pillows to help improve sleep. Leaves and flowers can be added to potpourri for a soothing scent. Flowers dry well for dried arrangements.
Culinary Uses of Marjoram
The Marjorams are some of the most familiar of our kitchen herbs. They are cultivated for the use of their aromatic leaves, either in a green or dried state, for flavoring and other culinary purposes, being mainly used in stuffings. Sweet Marjoram leaves are also excellent in salads.
Very mild (almost tasteless) oregano flavor and not really suitable for use except in a culinary emergency where anything is better than nothing. If desired or needed, the fresh or dried leaves are used.
Large quantities of it are still gathered and hung up to dry in cottages in Kent and other counties for making Marjoram tea.
The tops are sometimes put into table beer to give it an aromatic flavor and to preserve it. Plus, before the introduction of hops, the tops were nearly as much in demand for brewing ale as the ground ivy or wood sage. It is said that Marjoram and Wild Thyme, laid by milk in a dairy, will prevent it being "turned by thunder".
In February, in the New of the Moon, sow Borage, Coriander, Marjoram, Radish, Rosemary and Sorrel." - Gervase Markham, The English Housewife, 1683
Place marjoram plants around your house to protect it. Use it in love spells, and mix with violets to ward off colds.
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