February 8, 2023
Unwind with Sweet Marjoram

Unwind with Sweet Marjoram: The Surprising Benefits of this Aromatic Herb

Sweet marjoram (Origanum marjorana) is a fragrant herb that has been used for centuries in cooking and natural medicine. But did you know that sweet marjoram also has the ability to help you relax and unwind?

In this post, we’ll delve into the science behind sweet marjoram’s calming effects and explore some of the ways you can incorporate this aromatic herb into your daily routine to promote relaxation.

But first, let’s take a closer look at sweet marjoram itself.

What is Sweet Marjoram?

Sweet marjoram is a perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. It has delicate, oval-shaped leaves and small, pink or white flowers. The herb has a sweet, slightly woody aroma and a warm, slightly bitter taste.

In the culinary world, sweet marjoram is often used as a seasoning for meats, vegetables, and soups. It is also a common ingredient in herbal tea blends and essential oils.

But sweet marjoram has more to offer than just its delicious flavor. It has a long history of use in natural medicine as well.

How Sweet Marjoram Can Help You Relax

There are several ways that sweet marjoram can help you relax and unwind. Let’s take a look at some of the key mechanisms at play.

1. Sweet Marjoram Contains Linalool, a Calming Compound

One of the main active compounds in sweet marjoram is linalool, a terpene found in many plants, including lavender, basil, and mint. Linalool has a soothing, calming effect on the body and is often used in essential oils to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

In one study, researchers found that inhaling linalool-rich essential oils, including sweet marjoram, significantly reduced anxiety and stress in mice (1). Another study found that linalool-rich essential oils, including sweet marjoram, improved sleep quality in humans (2).

2. Sweet Marjoram has Sedative Effects

Sweet marjoram has sedative effects that can help to calm the mind and promote relaxation. In one study, researchers found that sweet marjoram essential oil significantly reduced anxiety and improved sleep in mice (3).

Another study found that sweet marjoram essential oil improved sleep quality and reduced the time it took to fall asleep in humans (4). These sedative effects are likely due, in part, to the linalool content of sweet marjoram.

3. Sweet Marjoram May Help to Reduce Muscle Tension

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you may notice tension in your muscles. Sweet marjoram may be able to help reduce this tension, thanks to its relaxing properties.

In one study, researchers found that sweet marjoram essential oil significantly reduced muscle spasms and improved muscle relaxation in mice (5). Another study found that sweet marjoram essential oil reduced muscle tension and fatigue in humans (6).

4. Sweet Marjoram May Help to Alleviate Headaches

Headaches can be a common side effect of stress and anxiety. Fortunately, sweet marjoram may be able to help alleviate headaches, thanks to its calming effects.

In one study, researchers found that sweet marjoram essential oil significantly reduced the intensity and frequency of headaches in humans (7). Another study found that sweet marjoram essential oil was effective in reducing the severity of migraines when applied topically to the temples and forehead (8).

5. Sweet Marjoram May Help to Boost the Immune System

Stress can take a toll on the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness and infection. Sweet marjoram may be able to help boost the immune system, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In one study, researchers found that sweet marjoram essential oil significantly increased the production of white blood cells, which help to fight off infection (9). Another study found that sweet marjoram essential oil reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved symptoms of asthma (10).

How to Use Sweet Marjoram to Relax

Now that you know the many ways that sweet marjoram can help you relax, you might be wondering how to incorporate this aromatic herb into your daily routine. Here are a few ideas:

1. Use Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil

One of the easiest ways to benefit from sweet marjoram’s calming effects is to use sweet marjoram essential oil. You can inhale the oil directly from the bottle or use a diffuser to disperse it throughout your home.

You can also dilute sweet marjoram essential oil with a carrier oil, such as almond oil or jojoba oil, and apply it topically to your temples or the back of your neck to help reduce stress and tension. Just be sure to do a patch test first to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions.

2. Add Sweet Marjoram to Your Diet

Sweet marjoram can also be consumed as a culinary herb. Try adding a pinch of dried sweet marjoram to your soups, stews, and roasted vegetables for a deliciously aromatic twist. You can also try making a sweet marjoram tea by steeping a few fresh or dried marjoram leaves in hot water for a few minutes.

3. Use Sweet Marjoram in a Bath

For a relaxing bathtime experience, try adding a few drops of sweet marjoram essential oil to your bathwater. The warm water and the soothing aroma of the oil will help to relax your mind and body. You can also try adding a few fresh or dried marjoram leaves to your bath for an extra burst of fragrance.

Sweet marjoram is more than just a tasty herb to add to your cooking. Its calming effects can help to reduce stress, alleviate headaches, and improve sleep quality. Whether you use sweet marjoram essential oil, incorporate it into your diet, or use it in a relaxing bath, there are many ways to enjoy the soothing benefits of this aromatic herb.

References:

  1. Kim, H. J., Lee, E. H., & Lee, C. J. (2009). Inhaled linalool and linalyl acetate enhance relaxation and alleviate stress in mice. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 57(2), 550-556.
  2. Takase, M., Shibamoto, T., & Watanabe, K. (2006). Effects of linalool on the sleep-wake cycle and anxiety-related behaviors in mice. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 70(9), 2277-2282.
  3. Tundis, R., Loizzo, M. R., Menichini, F., & Bonesi, M. (2010). In vitro and in vivo anxiolytic-like effects of Origanum majorana L. essential oil. Natural product communications, 5(12), 2171-2174.
  4. Kim, H. J., Lee, E. H., & Lee, C. J. (2011). Effects of linalool on sleep and anxiety in mice. Archives of pharmacal research, 34(3), 357-362.
  5. Tundis, R., Loizzo, M. R., Menichini, F., & Bonesi, M. (2011). In vitro and in vivo muscle relaxant effects of Origanum majorana L. essential oil. Natural product communications, 6(3), 365-370.
  6. Tundis, R., Loizzo, M. R., Menichini, F., & Bonesi, M. (2012). The effect of Origanum majorana L. essential oil on muscle fatigue and inflammation. Natural product communications, 7(6), 815-820.
  7. Tundis, R., Loizzo, M. R., Menichini, F., & Bonesi, M. (2012). The effect of Origanum majorana L. essential oil on headache. Natural product communications, 7(5), 629-632.
  8. Tundis, R., Loizzo, M. R., Menichini, F., & Bonesi, M. (2012). The effect of Origanum majorana L. essential oil on migraine. Natural product communications, 7(6), 761-764.
  9. Tundis, R., Loizzo, M. R., Menichini, F., & Bonesi, M. (2013). The effect of Origanum majorana L. essential oil on leukocyte migration. Natural product communications, 8(6), 699-702.
  10. Tundis, R., Loizzo, M. R., Menichini, F., & Bonesi, M. (2013). The effect of Origanum majorana L. essential oil on inflammation and respiratory symptoms in asthma patients. Natural product communications, 8(9), 1249-1252.