Origanum majorana L.

Last updated: 30 May 2015

Scientific Name

Origanum majorana L.


Amaracus majorana (L.) Schinz & Thell. Majorana dubia (Boiss.) Briq. Majorana fragrans Raf. Majorana hortensis Moench, Majorana majorana (L.) H.Karst. [Invalid], Majorana mexicana M.Martens & Galeotti, Majorana ovalifolia Stokes, Majorana ovatifolia Stokes, Majorana suffruticosa Raf., Majorana tenuifolia Raf, Majorana tenuifolia Gray, Majorana uncinata Stokes, Majorana vulgaris Gray [Illegitimate], Origanum confertum Savi, Origanum dubium Boiss, Origanum majorana var. majoranoides (Willd.) Nyman, Origanum majorana var. tenuifolium Weston Origanum majoranoides Willd. Origanum odorum Salisb. [Illegitimate] Origanum salvifolium Roth Thymus majorana (L.) Kuntze [1]

Vernacular Name

English Sweet marjoram, marjoram, knotted marjoram [2]
India Marupatra, marva, murwa [2]
Saudi Arabia Mardqouche, mardaddoush, mardaqoush, bardaqoush [2].

Geographical Distributions

Origanum majorana originated from Asia. However, now it is cultivated throughout Europe and the Mediterranean and is cultivated as a specialty plant in other parts of the world. [3]

Botanical Description

O. majorana is a member of Lamiaceae family. This plant is a perennial and grows up to 1 m. It has thin square, glabruos to tomentose, reddish stem. The leaves are ovate, small and grey-green. The flowers are pink or purple. [3]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

O. majorana has been reported to contain monoterpenes (40%)which are sabinene, myrcene, α and β terpinene, monoterpenols (50%) which are terpinene 1 ol 4, thuyanol terpene para cymene. [4][5][6]

Plant Part Used

Shoot and leaves [7]

Traditional Use

O. majorana is used as sedative , majoram eases stiff joints and muscle spasm, including tics, excessive coughing, menstrual cramps and headaces ( especially migraine).It also slightly lowers high blood pressure, testing has shown it to be one of the most effective fragrances in relaxing brain waves. As a result, it makes excellent calming massage oil, delightful when combined with the soft lavender. It has specific properties that fight the viruses, soothes burns, bruises and inflammation. [8]

Preclinical Data


Antioxidant activity

An animal study examined the antioxidant effects of marjoram essential oil along with grapeseed extract in ethanol induced toxicity. The results showed that the co-administration of ethanol and the two treatments reduced the negative effects seen with ethanol. The authors concluded that the grapeseed and the marjoram essential oil together were an effective antioxidant. [9]

Another animal study observed the effects of marjoram oil on lead toxicity in mice. The administration of the oil on these mice showed a decrease of micronucleus and chromosomal fragments, therefore showing strong antioxidant activity. It was concluded that the oil could improve function of the liver and kidneys in lead toxicity in mice. [10]

Antimicrobial activity

When tested against other essential oils, marjoram essential oil showed some antimicrobial activity against two forms of Escherichia coli. [11]

Insecticide activity

O. majorana oil was studied against cockroaches and compared to several other conventional insecticides.  The results showed that the oil could be a potential fumigant. [12]

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Origanum majorana L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 May 12]. Available from http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-143853
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 343.
  3. Spiridon EK. Oregano: The genera Origanum and Lippia
    Medicinal and aromatic plants - Industrial profiles. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2003; p. 154.
  4. Bauer K, Garbe D, Surburg H. Common fragrance and flavor materials. 3rd ed. New York: Wiley-VCH; 1997.
  5. Novak J, Bitsch C, Langbehn J, et al. Ratios of cis- and trans-Sabinene Hydrate in Origanum majorana L. and Origanum microphyllum (Bentham) Vogel. Biochem Syst Ecol. 2000;28(7):697-704.
  6. Jelali N, Dhifi W, Chahed T, Bellila A, Kchouk Me, Marzouk B. Essential oil composition of Origanum majorana leaves. Revue des Régions Arides. 2007;(1):190-193.
  7. Roth I, Lindorf H. South American medicinal plants: Botany, remedial properties and general use. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2002; p. 51
  8. Bashar S, Omar S. Greco-Arab and Islamic herbal medicine: Traditional system, ethics, safety, efficacy, and regulatory issues. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons; 2011.
  9. El-Ashmawy IM, Saleh A, Salama OM. Effects of marjoram volatile oil and grape seed extract on ethanol toxicity in male rats. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2007;101(5):320-327.
  10. El-Ashmawy IM, el-Nahas AF, Salama OM. Protective effect of volatile oil, alcoholic and aqueous extracts of Origanum majorana on lead acetate toxicity in mice. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2005;97(4):238-243.
  11. Peñalver P, Huerta B, Borge C, Astorga R, Romero R, Perea A. Antimicrobial activity of five essential oils against origin strains of the Enterobacteriaceae family. APMIS. 2005;113(1):1-6.
  12. Jang YS, Yang YC, Choi DS, Ahn YJ. Vapor phase toxicity of marjoram oil compounds and their related monoterpenoids to Blattella germanica (Orthoptera: Blattellidae). J Agric Food Chem. 2005;53(20):7892-7898.