Marjoram, wild

Also known as origano. Origanum vulgare, Labiatae. The fresh and dried leaves with or without the flowering tops are the parts of the plant used.

Harvest the leaves and flowers when needed, but it is best to gather them as soon as it flowers to avoid the larger thicker stalks. Hang them in small bunches if you need to dry the leaves.

Functions of wild marjoram

Marjoram is widely used in folk remedies and in cooking. Marjoram:

  • as a stimulating diaphoretic is often used in the treatment of colds and flu.
  • has antiseptic properties that make it useful as a mouth wash for inflammation of the mouth and throat.
  • can be used externally for the treatment of infected cuts and wounds and as a lotion it can be used for insect bites and stings.
  • drunk as an infusion will ease the acidity, indigestion, nausea and gas in the stomach and intestines and will also treat gastroenteritis.
  • infusion is used in coughs and whooping cough.
  • drunk as an infusion or as an infusion oil rub placed on the temples it can be used to ease headaches caused by tension.
  • as an infusion oil can be rubbed on the abdomen to help relieve menstrual pain.
  • as an infusion oil it can be rubbed into areas of muscular and rheumatic pain.

Notes on wild marjoram

  • This herb has a stimulating effect on the uterus. Small amounts used in cooking are generally safe, but do not take internally in medicinal doses during pregnancy.

Dosages

Infusion: for internal use, pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day.

Mouthwash: this is made by pouring 1/2 litre (1 pint) of boiling water onto 2 tablespoons of the herb. It is then left to stand in a covered container for 10 minutes. A gargle is them made from this whenever it is needed by reheating it. Gargle for 5-10 minutes three or four times per day.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

Marjoram and oregano are both grown from seed that is sown in the spring or by taking cuttings or dividing clumps in the spring or autumn.

Both prefer to grow in the full sun and will grow in most soils as long as they are well drained. Marjoram will not tolerate cold wet winters all that well and is often grown as an annual because it is not very frost hardy.

References

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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