Companion Botanical Close-Up: Marjoram

Origanum majorana is a member of the Lamiaceae family, a family of flowering plants that’s more commonly referred to as the mint family. It includes a wide range (over 7000 species!) of well-known herbs such as basil, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. Many of these plants, including marjoram, are grown for their culinary and medicinal properties because their leaves and/or flowers contain copious amounts of essential oils. For this reason, they are also classified as aromatics. Marjoram is native to the Mediterranean region, North Africa and Western Asia. It is part of the same genus, Origanum, as oregano. The Latin name comes from the Greek word origanon, which means “joy of the mountains.”

Both oregano and marjoram have oval-shaped fuzzy leaves, purple flowers, square stems and can grow between 1-3 ft tall.; however, there is a way you can tell the difference between the two. Marjoram smells sweet and floral, so much so that it is also commonly referred to as sweet marjoram. Oregano, on the other hand, is much spicier both in taste and aroma.


What Are The Historic Uses of Marjoram?

Marjoram appears frequently in Greek culture. Aphrodite was said to have grown it and claimed that the scent of it was an omen of good fortune. This reference could also be a reason why it was used in marriage ceremonies throughout the middle ages, perhaps a tribute to the goddess of love in hopes of her blessing? Wild marjoram found growing on a grave was believed to signify a soul at ease.

Throughout the world, marjoram has also long held a place of high esteem in both home and professional kitchens. It pairs particularly well with other aromatic herbs and can be utilized fresh or dried in marinades or dressings and to season vegetables, fish and meats alike.  In England for many years it was used as an ingredient in snuff, then as a somewhat exotic flavoring for beer.


What Are The Therapeutic Uses of Marjoram?

In traditional systems of western herbology, marjoram has historically been used to treat various ailments related to inflammation and microbial infection. Most often these treatments are focused on the digestive and female reproductive systems. In Ayurveda, marjoram is used in formula to pacify both kapha and vata conditions and it supports a balanced pitta constitution. It is thought to have a positive effect on the heart chakra (goes to show that mythology has roots in reality) and is used to relieve pain and muscular tension. Preparations range from teas, to infused oils and therapeutic baths.

As an essential oil, marjoram can be used both topically and for aromatherapy. In topical formulations it is chosen for its analgesic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects to relax overworked muscles. The scent of marjoram is described as warm and woody, which contributes to creating a tranquil effect. Aromatically it is traditionally used to ease tension and anxiety, to counteract symptoms of PMS and to comfort in times of loneliness and grief. The relaxing qualities of marjoram can be attributed to its terpenes. Terpenes are volatile organic compounds that contribute to a plant’s aroma and taste and they play a key role in immune system functions.


What Terpenes Are Present in Marjoram?

Significant terpenes present in marjoram are pinene, sabinene, terpinene, limonene and linalool. All of these are also found in cannabis. Knowing which terpenes are in various cannabis cultivars can help you understand their potential therapeutic effects. For example, linalool is classified as an anti-inflammatory and sedative. Therefore, cannabis cultivars that contain high levels of linalool can potentially be better choices for addressing underlying inflammation that can lead to chronic illness or help improve sleep hygiene. Understanding terpene content can also help you determine which companion botanicals might best combine with cannabis for effective herbal formulations.


How Do We Use Marjoram in Our Products?

In our Relax Aromatic CBD Roll-on, we pair essential oils of bergamot, lavender, and marjoram with botanically-sourced terpenes representing the aromatic and therapeutic profile of Skunk #1, a tried and true Indica-dominant cannabis cultivar known for its relaxing qualities. Applied topically, the oils and terpenes in this blend have a long-standing reputation for relieving pain and inflammation. Aromatically, they are known for their potent sedative and stress-reducing qualities. Together, they support the therapeutic benefits attributed to CBD.

Our Companion Botanicals series aims to provide further background and education on ingredients that we use in our products. Check out our other blogs about bergamot and lavender to learn more about the product and what might be right for you.


The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the statements made regarding these products. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.