Marjoram is such a common herb on every kitchen shelf, so ubiquitous to our cuisines that we take it for granted and have long forgotten its healing virtues.
Scent: A spicy, aromatic, hot, slightly musky scent. Blends well with Rosemary, Thyme, Clary Sage, Bergamot, Chamomile, Cypress, Cedarwood, Myrtle, Eucalyptus and Lavender.
Traditional: Marjoram is an excellent oil for topical treatment of tense muscles and joint pains. It relaxes and increases circulation, creating a warming and soothing effect and making it useful for arthritis, rheumatism, lumbago, muscle aches, sprains and strains. It also relaxes the smooth muscles of the womb and the digestive tract, making it helpful in digestive disorders, intestinal cramps as well as for PMT related discomforts. It helps in cases of insomnia, especially where it is due to stress and worries or emotional upset. Marjoram helps at times of grieving and loss. Caution - Avoid during pregnancy.
Magical: The ancients planted Marjoram on graves to give an indication of how the soul fared in the world beyond. It was also used in marriage ceremonies as it is sacred to Venus, her son Hymen and, even more anciently, to the Earth Goddess Ge (Gaia). The modern practitioner may use Marjoram to connect with the spirits of the ancestors or to communicate with a departed loved one. It is also a suitable herb for handfasting rites. Marjoram was considered a 'lucky plant', protective, spreading joy and bringing good fortune.
Mountain Joy' is what the Latin name for Marjoram Sweet and a joy it is indeed, when one comes across it in the mountains. Their crowns of pink-purplish flowers are a playground for butterflies. Marjoram oil is perhaps one of the original oils of aromatherapy; even the ancients were well familiar with it.
In Greek mythology it was sacred to the God Hymen, son of Aphrodite, a God of marital union. Wreaths of Marjoram were worn by the young couple on their wedding day. Some writers associate Marjoram with celibacy and claim that it acts as an anaphrodisiac, while others say the opposite.
Fact is that Marjoram relaxes, so much so that one writer warns of its narcotic effect if used excessively. But it also stimulates blood flow if applied topically. It may be a matter of dosage that determines its effect. In the days when Absinth had cult status and was a legal 'drug', Marjoram was one of the additive herbs that went into the mix and before hops became the main brewing herb, Marjoram was also often used for brewing ale. The ladies of the day tended to appreciate it more for its scent than for its narcotic effect - or perhaps a bit of both. In Elizabethan times it was a popular strewing herb and was also used in stuffed herb sachets to perfume the air.
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