A sweet, flavorful culinary and medicinal herb, marjoram (Origanum majorana) is an incredibly rich source of essential nutrients with powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti aging as well as heart-protective properties. Rich in B vitamins and iron, marjoram increases energy levels naturally and helps protect against anemia. The high amounts of vitamins A and C not only help maintain good eyesight and detoxify the body, but also stimulate immunity, reduce inflammation levels as well as overall chronic disease risks.
With over 500% of the RDA of vitamin K, marjoram supports blood coagulation and bone health, reducing both blood loss and bone fracture risks. Last, but not last, this delicious aromatic herb promotes cardiovascular health by preventing harmful plaque buildup on artery walls and heart valves and helps regulate both blood pressure and heart activity. At the same time, it is important to remember that marjoram is an aromatic herb and, unlike fruits and vegetables, it is best eaten in limited amounts (for example, amounts normally used for seasoning food).
What does marjoram look like? As you can see in the image above, marjoram is a beautiful aromatic herb with lovely small green-gray leaves, quite similar in appearance to oregano, hence the confusion between the two herbs. Unlike oregano, marjoram is quite sensitive to cold and, as a result, does well in a pot indoors during cold weather. Marjoram is also known as sweet marjoram or knotted marjoram and is available in both fresh and dried form. Wild marjoram often refers to oregano.
What does marjoram smell and taste like? As its name indicates, (sweet) marjoram is a sweet-tasting aromatic herb with pleasant pine and citrus aromas. Grassy and somewhat lemony, it works best in soups or stews, marinades, paired with tomato sauce, poultry and other roasted meats. Unlike oregano, marjoram has a far milder flavor and a slightly sweeter, more delicate taste (see properties and benefits of oregano). Dried marjoram is just as savory as fresh marjoram and is obtained by cutting off the tender tops and leaving them to dry in the shade. Personally, I prefer fresh marjoram. I like to chop 3-4 leaves and add them to a heavenly rye bread and feta cheese or goat cheese sandwich topped with fresh tomato slices and chopped olives.
What is marjoram good for? Considering its incredible nutritional profile, I’d say marjoram is good for just about anything. Each nutrient in this pleasantly aromatic herb fulfills specific functions within our body and eating it on a regular basis can significantly up our diet value. Here are the most amazing 8 nutrition facts and health benefits of marjoram:
1) Stimulates immunity. With 269% of the RDA of vitamin A and 86 % of the RDA of vitamin C, marjoram offers excellent immune system support. Vitamin A, for example, protects the mucous membranes at the level of the nose, mouth, throat, digestive tract and lungs, the parts of our body directly exposed to the outside world and prevents any breaches that pathogens may use to infect us. Vitamin C increases the aggressiveness of our white blood cells, making them better at dealing with viruses and bacteria, thus strengthening the immune system (see 10 vitamins and minerals for good immunity).
2) Maintains good eyesight. Marjoram contains exceptional levels of both vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids with vitamin A activity, namely beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. Vtamin A promotes visual acuity and supports night vision. Carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin compose the macula lutea area and the retina, protecting against macular degeneration (loss of central vision) and reducing cataract risks.
3) Potent natural anti-inflammatory. Although most nutrients and all antioxidants exhibit impressive anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin C is by far the most potent of all. Having a high daily intake of vitamin C not only significantly reduces inflammation markers, but also greatly reduces the risk of developing virtually any chronic disease ranging from cancer to heart disease, asserts world famous chemist and biochemist, two-time Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling in his revolutionary book, How to live longer and feel better.
While you would need to take supplements as well to meet the daily needs set by this great scientific mind, including marjoram and other vitamin C-rich foods in your diet can contribute immensely to reaching desired intake and results.
4) Offers antioxidant protection and boasts anti aging properties. Vitamins A, C, E, K, copper, iron, manganese as well as antioxidants-proper such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene are all found in great amounts in marjoram and contribute to its powerful antioxidant effects.
Antioxidants protect cells and DNA from free radical damage and prevent carcinogens from disrupting cellular processes, two major functions that ensure cell and DNA health and prevent damage that will ultimately lead to cancer and other forms of chronic disease. In addition to this, antioxidants protect tissue integrity, hence their strong anti aging effects.
5) Promotes bone health. Marjoram is an excellent source of calcium (200%) and vitamin K (518%), two nutrients of pivotal importance for bone health. Everyone knows calcium is needed to physically form bone structures. However, few know that vitamin K is just as important for bone health. Basically, vitamin K regulates the process through which bones renew themselves, preventing too much bone mass from being discarded, a process called bone demineralization. By preserving bone integrity, vitamin K greatly contributes to the prevention of osteoporosis and bone fractures (see what foods to eat and to avoid for osteoporosis).
6) Supports blood coagulation and helps manage anemia. As little marjoram as you may eat, it still provides you with good amounts of vitamin K, a minerals which supports blood coagulation processes and, by doing this, promotes faster wound healing while preventing blood loss. While vitamin K ensures our blood is clotting well, the astonishing amounts of iron in marjoram (1034%) ensure blood quality.
More exactly, meeting your daily iron requirements ensures that our red blood cells efficiently transport oxygen to cells in tissues and organs and carbon dioxide to the lungs to be exhaled via haemoglobin. This result in better energy levels.
7) Regulates blood pressure and promotes heart muscle and vascular health as a result of its high potassium, magnesium and vitamin K content. Potassium regulates body fluids and blood pressure, while magnesium ensures the health of all muscles, including the cardiac muscle. Vitamin K helps redirects calcium into bones, not blood vessels, helping prevent the formation of plaque buildups on the inside of artery walls (or heart valves), a condition known as arterial calcification. If the condition is left unattended, it will eventually evolve to atherosclerosis and posibly cause strokes or heart attacks.
8) Supports brain activity and soothes digestive problems. Rich in B vitamins, marjoram contributes to meeting daily requirments. B vitamins not only support brain activity, but also digestive health, promoting a good physical and mental state. Although marjoram consumption is limited, it still provides generous amounts of nutrients as a result of its high nutritional profile.