Marjoram (Origanum majorana) – Uses, Remedies, Dose, Side Effects

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Marjoram (Maruwa) is an aromatic Ayurvedic herb used traditionally in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases, skin diseases, pain, sore throat, cough, scorpion bite etc. It is considered as a good emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow), cardio-protective and liver tonic. It is often used as cooking spice and adds flavour in food and beverages.

Introduction, home remedies

Essential oil of sweet marjoram is widely used to relieve muscular pains, toothache, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory tract disorders etc.

Botanical Name – Origanum majorana
Synonyms – Majorana hortensis, Majorana fragrans, Thymus majorana
Family – Lamiaceae

Home remedies of Marva:

  • In abdominal colic, leaves of marva is given with white Hurhur.
    Read – Hurhur Herb – Uses, Remedies, Dose, Side Effects, Research
  • Infusion of leaves is given in diarrhoea.
  • Its juice or ash of whole plant is applied to heal wound and helps to relieve pain.
  • Plant infusion was used to relieve nervous headaches.
  • In painful swelling, rheumatism externally hot fomentation is given using plant infusion.
  • Sweet marjoram has been used externally for healing scirrhous carcinoma of the breast.
  • Marjoram oil is used externally in sprains, bruises, stiffness, paralytic limbs, toothache and as hot fomentation in acute diarrhoea.

Qualities, uses, dose

Medicinal Qualities of Marjoram:
Taste – Pungent (katu), Bitter (tiktha)
Vipaka (taste after digestion) – Pungent
Virya (potency) – hot (ushna)

Laghu – Light to digest
Tikshna – Sharp and penetrating
Ruksha – Dry

Special qualities of marwa
Ruchya – increases taste
Hrdya – good for heart
Agniprada – increases digestive fire
Sughandhika – aromatic
Mukhasughandakrith – relieves bad oral breath

Effect on Tridoshas
Balances Kapha and Vata doshas
Increases Pitta dosha

Traditional Uses of Maruva
Scorpion bite, poisoning and toxic conditions
Kushta – skin diseases
Krimi – worm infestation

Dose of Marubaka
Juice – 5 – 10 drops
Sweet marjoram oil – 2 – 6 drops

Part used
Flowers, stem, leaves
Essential oil

How to use?
Leaves -are used for salad dressing. Leaves are added as flavouring along with vegetables and oils. Leaves are either freshly used or cooked.
The aromatic seeds are used as a flavouring in sweets and drinks.
Kashaya – herbal decoction or tea is prepared from fresh or dried leaves. (1)

Essential oil, morphology, pharmacology

Essential oil of Sweet marjoram
Sweet marjoram essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of leaves of maruba. It is yellowish in colour.

Uses of Marjoram essential oil
Muscular pains, Toothache, Headache, Joint pain
Flatulence, Indigestion,

Sweet marjoram oil components
Monoterpene hydrocarbons, including α and β-pinene, camphene, sabinene, α- and β- phellandrene, ρ-cymene, limonene, β-ocimene, γ-terpinene, terpinolene, α-terpinene, carvone, and citronellol

Morphology of Origanum majorana
Origanum majorana is a tender aromatic bushy herb grows up to 1 – 2 feet in height. Leaves are simple, alternate, smooth, ovate to oblong-ovate and have short hairs.. Flowers tiny, two lipped, tubular, white or pale pink in colour. Stem straight, reddish, square and hairy.
Plant yields aromatic essential oil.

Pharmacological Activities of Sweet marjoram
Antioxidant, antibacterial, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, anti-ulcer, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and anti-fungal activities.

Chemical components of Sweet marjoram
Origanum majorana contains terpinen-4-ol, cis-sabinene hydrate, p-cymene, sabinene, trans-sabinene hydrate and α-terpineol.

side effects, distribution

Distribution of Maruwa:
Origanum majorana found in North Africa, Turkey and Asia. It is extensively cultivated in India.

Side effects of Marubaka
In excess dose can cause stomach irritation, burning sensation, constipation due to its pungent, penetrating and dry nature.
Avoid its usage in patient suffering from bleeding disorders, bleeding piles, heavy periods, burning sensation and high pitta condition.
It is best to avoid its usage in lactation and pregnancy.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Shloka, research, synonyms

1. Review article on ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, and biological activities of Sweet marjoram. (read here – 1, 2)

Names of Phanijjaka (maruwa) in different languages
English Name – Sweet marjoram, knotted marjoram
Hindi Name – Maruwa, Maruba,
Bengali Name – Murru
Marathi Name – Marwaa
Gujarati Name – Marvo
Telugu Name – Marvamu
Tamil Name – Marru, Maruvu
Kannada Name – Maruga
Malayalam Name – Maruvanu

Sanskrit Synonyms of Marjoram
Marutha, Marubaka, Maruth
Maru, Phani, Phanijjaka,
Prastapushpa, Samirana
Jambira, Karapatra, Bijapushpa
Tikshangandha – gives strong aroma

Classical Categorisation
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Pushpa Varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu – Karaviradi Varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadi Varga
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