Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
Marjoram is a low, bushy herb which belongs to the Lamiaceae family and is closely related to oregano.
Marjoram has a warm, slightly bitter flavour with hints of camphor and notes of subtle spiciness and balsam.
Marjoram’s aroma is sweet, woody and slightly campherous.
Marjoram, like oregano, is used extensively in Mediterranean cuisine and because it’s flavour is more delicate that oregano, marjoram should be added at the last moment. It flavours pizza, lasagne, egg dishes, salads, fish and poultry wonderfully and adds amazing flavour to barbecued meats. Marjoram loves artichokes, beans, cauliflower, cheese, chicken, eggs, mushrooms and spinach and marries with basil, chilli, garlic, parsley, rosemary, sage, sumac and thyme.
Marjoram plants grow to 50cm and have small, ovate greyish/green leaves. It goes best in well-drained soil with lots of sun. When the plants are grown in warm to hot climates it increases the aroma and flavour of the herb.
Marjoram is native to the Mediterranean and Western Asia. Marjoram was said to be the favourite herb of Aphrodite and relatives would plant marjoram on their loved one’s grave to ensure they found eternal happiness.
Folk medicine throughout history has used marjoram primarily to sooth the digestive system and aid with loss of appetite, colic, nausea, indigestion, cramps and gastritis. It has also been used in gargles and teas to tackle bad breath and coughs. Herbalists used to grind marjoram and oatmeal into a poultice to relieve arthritis, skin ulcers and boils.
Facts about Marjoram
Other members of the marjoram and oregano family include sweet marjoram, pot marjoram, golden marjoram, garden marjoram, golden oregano, Cuban oregano, Greek oregano and Mexican oregano.
Both marjoram and oregano are members of the mint family.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can I substitute marjoram for oregano?
The two can be interchanged for another in a recipe if needed though you will find oregano has a more peppery flavour and aroma compared to marjoram.