Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is an aromatic herb used for its citrus and pine flavors. The leaves and oil extracted from marjoram shrubs flavor a range of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, where it is indigenous. Marjoram can also be prepared as an herbal tisane, and is sometimes referred to as “sweet marjoram” to distinguish it from oregano, or “wild marjoram.”
Dried marjoram can be found in the spice aisle of most supermarkets, and you can also find fresh leaves, oil extract, or tea bags at health food and specialty stores.
Marjoram has been used in a variety of traditional and folk remedies and can provide important health benefits. For example, compounds derived from marjoram have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.
In addition, marjoram can provide other health benefits, like:
Marjoram may be beneficial to hormonal health, especially for women. One study showed that women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) who consume marjoram tea twice daily for one month are able to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce their levels of adrenal androgens.
Marjoram has demonstrated anxiolytic, or anxiety-reducing, properties. In people experiencing bruxism, or tooth-grinding, aromatherapy with marjoram oil enhanced the anxiety-reducing effects of neurofeedback training.
Several studies have shown the antimicrobial effects of marjoram. One found that marjoram essential oil is effective against a wide range of infectious bacteria. Another showed marjoram oil to be an effective alternative therapy for urinary tract infections (UTIs) caused by E.coli bacteria.
Marjoram is also a good source of:
Nutrients per Serving
A one-teaspoon serving of dried marjoram (the amount typically used to flavor dishes) contains:
- Calories: 1.63
- Protein: 0.076 grams
- Fat: 0.042 grams
- Carbohydrates: 0.363 grams
- Fiber: 0.242 grams
- Sugar: 0.025 grams
Since marjoram is a spice used to flavor dishes, the portion sizes are small compared to other foods. Dried leaves and essential oil should be used sparingly for maximum benefits.
How to Prepare Marjoram
To prepare marjoram tea at home, steep the leaves in boiling water for at least three minutes. Then, add honey or a sweetener of your choice.
You can also add marjoram as a spice to sauteed or roasted vegetables, meat dishes, and tomato-based stews and sauces. Dried marjoram can be stored at room temperature, but fresh leaves should be kept in the refrigerator. If you’re using fresh marjoram, remove the stems before adding the leaves to any recipe.
Here are some recipe ideas:
- Season green beans with marjoram
- Add marjoram to dishes with goat cheese or ricotta
- Mix herbs, vegetables, and marjoram into your frittata
- Sprinkle marjoram on cauliflower before roasting it
- Marinated mushrooms with oil, marjoram, and other spices
- Season pork, beef, and poultry dishes with marjoram