Updated: Aug 27
Marjoram, a lesser-known but delightful herb, is a hidden gem in the culinary world with a rich history of medicinal use. Its warm, sweet, and slightly citrusy flavour makes it a delightful addition to a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, roasted vegetables and marinades. Hailing from the Mediterranean region, marjoram adds a unique and aromatic twist to culinary creations.
In addition to its culinary appeal, marjoram offers an array of health benefits, owing to its polyphenol content. One of the key polyphenols found in marjoram is rosmarinic acid, also present in basil, rosemary, and oregano. Rosmarinic acid is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, contributing to cellular health and potentially reducing inflammation, which is associated with various chronic diseases.
"If you like oregano, give subtler marjoram a try. Not quite as easy to find on the market shelves, grab a packet if you can find it, use it fresh or dried"
Other bioactive compounds include: eugenol, limonene, ursolic acid, 1,8-cineole, α-pinene, α-terpinene, carvacrol, farnesol, geraniol, p-cymene, sterols, thymol, apigenin.
Quercetin and kaempferol are flavonoids known for their antioxidant properties, while caffeic acid exhibits antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects.
Marjoram contains essential oils like terpinene and terpinen-4-ol, which contribute to its aromatic and medicinal properties. These oils have shown potential in supporting digestive health and providing relief from respiratory issues.
Additionally, marjoram has been used traditionally to promote relaxation and alleviate anxiety, making it a popular herb for herbal teas and aromatherapy.
"Milder than oregano or thyme, marjoram can even be used in desserts and combines well with fruit."
As part of a nutritionally rich, whole health lifestyle, at The Whole Health Practice we advocate enjoying herbs (and spices) as a regular part of one’s diet. While some herbs have shown positive results for specific health outcomes, nutrition science and the interaction of polyphenols from different plant sources is incredibly complex. Enjoy a healthy eating pattern with a variety of herbs, spices and whole foods that work in synergy to promote maximum health. Think fruits, berries, beans, vegetables, and whole grains; add colour to your dishes wherever possible. Incorporating marjoram into your culinary repertoire not only enhances the taste of your dishes but also provides a dose of health-boosting polyphenols.
Embrace marjoram in your cooking and relish in the flavourful delights and potential well-being benefits that it offers.
Learn more about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
More than just taste, herbs can bring health and joy to our lives. Read on for our complete collection of articles, recipes and more...
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Bina F, Rahimi R. Sweet Marjoram: A Review of Ethnopharmacology, Phytochemistry, and Biological Activities. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017 Jan;22(1):175-185. doi: 10.1177/2156587216650793. Epub 2016 May 26. PMID: 27231340; PMCID: PMC5871212.