Marjoram, categorized under genus Origanum, is a widely used herb for culinary and healing purposes. Belonging to the oregano family, it imparts a mild oregano taste to the dish, mixed with a tangy, balsamic flavor. It is bushy with soft and oval-shaped green foliage, bearing small, delicate flowers. Three main varieties of this herb are grown and used, namely, common or wild marjoram, sweet marjoram, and pot marjoram. And depending upon the variety, the herb is either classified as annual or perennial.
Marjoram herb's benefits are innumerable. Each of the three cultivars have different applications. The wild marjoram (Origanum vulgare) is well-known for its medicinal value, while the sweet variety (Origanum majorana) is used in cooking. Contrary to these two types, pot marjoram (Origanum onites) is grown in hanging baskets to beautify the interiors due to its trailing property.
Uses in Cooking
Fresh and dried leaves of this herb blend well with any type of recipe, except with sweet desserts. Non-vegetarian marjoram recipes taste delicious; its strong aromatic flavor complements the taste of fish and meat. Freshly chopped marjoram is also sprinkled to garnish salads, soups, and baked foods. You can use oregano, sage, basil, thyme, or summer savory as a substitute for this herb.
Uses in Herbal Medicine
The marjoram herb has long been used to combat digestive problems and pain. Enriched with antioxidants, antifungal, and antiviral active ingredients, this herb or its extracts are used to treat infections. Adding marjoram to the water during steam inhalation aids in relieving sinus blockage and laryngitis. According to herbalists, this herb possesses antispasmodic, diuretic, and carminative properties.
How to Grow
This herb grows to a height of about 24-36 inches at maturity. It adapts to a wide range of growing conditions including indoors, outdoors, and soilless culture. Hence, it can be grown in almost all the parts of the world. If you are planning to include this flavorful herb to your garden, refer to the following tips:
Warm climate is the basic requirement for maintaining this herb. Hence, prepare the soil in an area that receives full sunlight. In case of indoors, you can place the herbs in a sunlit corner of the room. The required pH range for growing it is between 6.5 and 7.5.
It is propagated with seeds or starter plants. However, to skip the germination stages and transplantation, you can purchase healthy marjoram plantlets from the nursery.
This herb is tolerant to drought conditions, but requires well-drained soil. You can mix equal amounts of heavy potting soil and sand for planting it.
Dig a hole in the soil and place the plant in it with the roots intact. Cover the hole with soil and press it firmly. If you are growing it in garden soil, maintain a space of about 15 inches between two plantlets.
Water the plant on a regular basis when the top layer of the soil dries out. Strictly avoid over-watering, as it can cause root rotting and other undesirable effects. Ensure that you guard the plant against fungal infestations.
After the herb is thriving in the soil, probably after six weeks of plantation, you can start harvesting the leaves. The leaves harvested before the flower buds start appearing are the best in aromatic flavor. Being a strong fragrant herb, your marjoram plant will fill the garden with a pleasant scent and pinkish-white blooms.