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Marjoram is a unique herb popular in many Mediterranean dishes.

It has long been used as an herbal medicine and contains several compounds that may offer health benefits.

This article tells you everything you need to know about marjoram.

marjoram plant in a potShare on Pinterest

Marjoram, also known as sweet marjoram, is an aromatic herb in the mint family that has been grown in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Western Asia for thousands of years (1).

While similar to oregano, it has a milder flavor and is often used to garnish salads, soups, and meat dishes.

It’s particularly potent when dried but can also be used fresh.

What’s more, marjoram has been shown to have several anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It has been used medicinally to help treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, infections, and painful menstruation (1).

Fresh or dried leaves can be made into a tea or extract. Both forms can be found in health food stores or online.

It’s important to note that marjoram extracts vary in strength and purity based on the manufacturer and source. To make sure you’re getting a high-quality product, look for third-party certification on the label.

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Marjoram is an aromatic herb long used medicinally to aid digestion and menstruation. It can serve as a garnish for soups, salads, and meat dishes.

Research suggests that marjoram may have several health benefits.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

Antioxidants help prevent cell damage caused by potentially harmful molecules called free radicals.

Several compounds in marjoram, such as carvacrol, have been shown to have antioxidant effects (1, 2).

In particular, they may help reduce inflammation in your body (2, 3).

While inflammation is a normal bodily response, chronic inflammation can increase your risk of certain diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Thus, reducing inflammation may lower your risk (4, 5).

May have antimicrobial activity

Marjoram has also demonstrated antimicrobial properties.

Common uses 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 (6, 7, 8).

However, more research is needed on these particular uses.

What’s more, this herb is utilized as a natural pesticide for various food crops (9).

May alleviate digestive issues

Marjoram has historically been used to prevent digestive issues like stomach ulcers and certain foodborne illnesses (10, 11).

A study of six herbs revealed that marjoram fought against Clostridium perfringens, a common foodborne pathogen (11).

In addition, a rat study noted that its extract protected against stomach ulcers (10).

Still, human studies are needed.

May help regulate your menstrual cycle and hormones

Marjoram has been shown to 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 (12).

It may also help 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 (13).

To avoid risks, check with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal supplements to aid menstruation.

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Marjoram is linked to several benefits, such as reduced inflammation, improved digestive health, and menstrual regulation.

Marjoram may have several side effects.

As such, you should use caution when supplementing.

Pregnancy complications

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid marjoram supplements.

Due to its influence on various reproductive hormones and menstruation, this herb may trigger negative side effects during pregnancy (14).

May affect blood clotting

Marjoram supplements may inhibit blood clotting (15).

One study analyzing 20 herbs determined that marjoram impeded platelet formation, which is a key factor in blood clotting (15, 16).

This may be especially concerning for anyone taking blood thinners.

May interact with certain medications

Marjoram may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and anticoagulants, to increase your risk of bleeding (12).

It may also interact with some diabetes medications by lowering blood sugar, potentially resulting in dangerously low levels. If you have diabetes, consult your healthcare practitioner before taking marjoram (17, 18)

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While generally regarded as safe, marjoram can cause side effects and should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Those on certain medications may want to consult their medical provider before taking it.

This herb is usually used in small quantities as a garnish or spice. Thus, you may have to drink its tea or take it in supplement form to experience its benefits.

Marjoram can also be incorporated into cooking oils by mixing 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of your favorite oil with 1 teaspoon (1 gram) of marjoram. You can use this mixture for everyday cooking or to marinate vegetables and meats.

When making soups or stews, try wrapping 2–3 tablespoons (6–9 grams) of marjoram in a small piece of cheesecloth and soaking it in your pot while cooking.

Substituting marjoram when cooking

If you don’t have any marjoram on hand, you can substitute several other herbs.

Oregano works particularly well, though it’s stronger than marjoram — so you may want to use a little less.

Thyme and sage — while slightly different in flavor — can also serve as viable replacements. Use a 1:1 ratio for these herbs.

summary

While marjoram is traditionally used in small quantities in cooking, you can also drink its tea or take supplements to experience its benefits.

Marjoram is an aromatic herb long used in cooking and traditional medicine.

It has several potential benefits, including reducing inflammation, relieving digestive issues, and regulating the menstrual cycle.

Use caution if taking it in supplement form and consult your healthcare practitioner if you have certain medical conditions.