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Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana, Majorana hortensis)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, 6-hydroxyapigenin, 6-hydroxyapigenin-7-O-(6-O-feruloyl)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, 6-hydroxyapigenin-7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, 6-hydroxyflavonoids, 6-hydroxyluteolin-7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, alanya kekigi (Turkish), alpha-pinene, alpha-terpinene, alpha-terpineol, apigenin-7-glucoside, arbutin, beyaz keki (Turkish), Blattmajoran (German), caffeic acid, carnosic acid, carnosol, carotenoids, carvacrol, chlorophylls, cinaroside, cis-sabinene hydrate, cis-sabinene hydrate acetate, coumaric acid, diosmetin, eugenol, ferulic acid, flavonoids, französischer Majoran (German), gamma-terpinene, garden marjoram, Gartenmajoran (German), havemerian (Danish), herbes de Provence, hydroxybenzoates, hydroxycinnamic acids, hydroxyquinone, Labiatae (family), Lamiaceae (family), linalool, luteolin-7-glucoside, maajoramu (Japanese), maggiorana coltivata (Italian), măghiran (Romanian), maioran sadovyi (Russian), majoram, Majoran (German), majorana (Medieval Latin), Majorana aetheroleum oil, Majorana herb, Majorana hortensis Moench, majorane (Old French), manjerona (Portuguese), mantzourana (Greek), marduix (Catalan), marjolaine (French), marjolaine cultivée (French), marjolein (Dutch), marjoram oleoresin, marubaka (Sanskrit), maruva (Sanskrit), matzourana (Greek), maustemeirami (Finnish), mažuran (Croatian), meirami (Finnish), mejorana (Spanish), mejram (Swedish), merian (Danish), monoterpenes, murwa (Hindi), mycotoxins, orientin, origan d'Espagne (French), Origanum majorana, p-cymene, phenolic compounds, phenolic glycosides, pot marjoram, sabinene hydrate, sinapic acid, sterigmatocystin, syringic acid, terpinen-4-ol, terpineol-4, terpinolene, thymol, topoisomerase II, ursolic acid, vanillic acid, vitexin, Wurstkraut (German), yon-be (Burmese), za'atar (Arabic).
  • Combination product examples: Prolong P (rosemary, thyme, marjoram mixture).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Sweet marjoram is a perennial herb with dark green leaves and small white flowers, valued for its purported sedating and warming characteristics. The essential oil is steam-distilled from its leaves and flowers and is noted for having a sweet and spicy aroma. Indigenous to North Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean, marjoram has been used medicinally around the world and is also cultivated for its aromatic leaves (either green or dry), which are use in herbal culinary mixtures, such as herbes de Provence and za'atar.
  • Sweet marjoram has been traditionally used for muscle spasms, insomnia, nausea, and headaches, as an antidote to poison, and as an antiseptic. The German Commission E, however, designates marjoram as an unapproved herb due to potential risk from arbutin and hydroxyquinone content. Marjoram is often used as an ointment or a compress, as an antioxidant food preserver, or as an addition to bathwater. The compound eugenol, extracted from sweet marjoram, is used as a flavoring agent (1).
  • In preliminary study, sweet marjoram has been shown to have antimicrobial (2;3;4;5;6;7;8;9) and potential gastroprotective (10) effects. Preliminary data from clinical trial indicate that marjoram may be used for asthma (11), atopic eczema (12), and skin irritation (13). The clinical studies for atopic eczema (12) and skin irritation (13), however, employ combination products. High-quality human trials using marjoram monotherapy are needed before further conclusions may be drawn.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.