Marjoram or sweet marjoram is an aromatic herb of the mint family which grows upto 30 to 60 cm high. Though perennial, it is treated as an annual herb under cultivation. It has small leaves hairy on either sides; tiny green, white flowers, forming small branched heads, which look like knots. The dried leaves of marjoram with or without flowering tops in small proportions, constitute the herb. It has a fragrant, spicy, slightly sharp, bitter and camphoraceous flavour. The colour of the dried herb is light green with a greyish tint.
Fractional distillation of the leaves and flowering heads yield a volatile oil, known as oil of sweet marjoram. However, the yield from the fresh herb is less than that from the dried herb. The oil is colourless or pale yellow to yellow-green, with a persistent odour reminiscent of nutmeg and mint.
Sweet majoram is stimulant and tonic. Its flowers and seeds are useful in arresting secretion or bleeding.
The warmth accumulated by the herb from the sun helps to clear bad colds. Tea made from majoram has the ability to stimulate the sweat glands. It helps to moisten taut, dry skin during influenza, if taken in small quantities.
The herb helps expel and loosen phlegm of the mucous membranes of the nasal and bronchial passages.
Marjoram is useful in promoting and regulating menstruation if taken in the form of an infusion. Such an infusion helps in promoting the secretion and flow of milk in nursing mothers.
Marjoram is beneficial in the treatment of digestive disorders. It expels gas from the stomach. Hot fomentations of the dried leaves and tops applied in bags is helpful in colic. The oil of marjoram can be used beneficially as hot fomentation in acute diarrhoea.
The oil of marjoram is useful in skin disorders and it can be applied externally in case of sprains, bruises, stiff and paralytic limbs. It also allays toothache.