Marjoram is the dried leaves of a herbal plant. Marjoram is a Greek word that means “joy of mountains.” There was a myth that if marjoram grew on a person’s grave, that person would enjoy eternal joy and happiness.
Both oregano and marjoram are two herbs of the Mint family used in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. They are available as both fresh leaves and dried herbs. They look very similar and taste alike. Sweet marjoram has a slightly sweeter taste than oregano and is used in much the same way as oregano, as a flavoring for soups, stews, vegetables, and meat dishes.
It is evergreen in zones 9 and 10, but in most zones, it is grown either as an annual or as a potted plant that is brought indoors when the weather turns cold. Sweet marjoram is a mound-forming shrub that grows 1 to 2 feet tall with aromatic gray-green leaves. Tiny white or pink flowers bloom from mid to late summer, though they are not especially showy.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
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
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.
Studies show that marjoram has anxiety-reducing properties. In people experiencing bruxism, or tooth-grinding, aromatherapy with marjoram oil enhanced the anxiety-reducing effects of neurofeedback training.
Marjoram has been used medicinally to help treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, infections, and painful menstruation.
It is important to note that marjoram extracts vary in strength and purity based on the manufacturer and source. To make sure you are getting a high-quality product, look for third-party certification on the label.
Common uses for marjoram include:
- applying its diluted essential oil to your skin to treat fungal infections, as well as taking supplements to help treat overgrowth of gut bacteria
- as a natural pesticide for various food crops
- prevent digestive issues like stomach ulcers and certain food-borne illnesses
- stimulate menstrual flow – its extract or tea may help regulate your menstrual cycle, as well as restore hormone balance in non-pregnant women with an irregular cycle
- treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder with symptoms like irregular periods and acne. A study in 25 women with PCOS found that marjoram tea improved their hormonal profiles and insulin sensitivity
How to Buy
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.
Fresh or dried leaves can be made into a tea or extract.
For fresh marjoram, make sure it is bright green and fresh-looking, and for dried marjoram, double-check the best by date.
How to Store
To store fresh marjoram, wrap it in a damp paper towel or cloth, tucked loosely in a silicone or air-tight container. Store it in the refrigerator. You can use it within 10-14 days for the best quality.
You can also store fresh marjoram cut side down in a glass or jar and put a little bit of water in there just like you cut flowers. Place it in the refrigerator at the back, where it’s quite cold.
Store dried marjoram in a cool, dry place in a glass container.
How to Cook
To prepare marjoram tea at home, steep the leaves in boiling water for at least three minutes.
You can also add marjoram as a spice to sautéed or roasted vegetables, and tomato-based stews and sauces. If you’re using fresh marjoram, remove the stems before adding the leaves to any recipe.
Marjoram is wonderful on cauliflower. Sprinkle the herb on before roasting. marinate mushrooms with oil, marjoram, and other spices.