Tuesday, 21 December 2010

No. 90 Thoughts on Sweet marjoram (origanum majorana)


Sweet Marjoram (Origanum Majorana) is well known as a culinary herb cultivated in gardens all over the world. Steam distillation of the herb Origanum Majorana, gives this strongly aromatic oil vaguely reminiscent of Nutmeg and Cardamom. Egypt is the prime source for this oil.

 Here is Liz Fulcher's profile of Sweet marjoram 


Try blending 1 drop of Sweet Majoram, 2 drops of Mandarin and 3 drops of Lavender in a teaspoon of Peach Kernel oil, and add to a warm bath before bedtime to help you sleep.

Blend 1 drop each of Sweet Marjoram, Rosemary and Cypress in 10ml of Sweet Almond oil and use as an after-sport massage oil.

In latin sweet marjoram is called "amaracus" and marjoram oinment is known as "amaracinum".  The ointment or culinery herb has monastic use for suppressing sexual desire.  With so much aromatherapy talk about inflaming sexual desire it is nice to have the opposite in the storage box and a remedy for the oversexed!

Sometimes the clue to ancient uses lies in the roots of the word.  The closest I can see is "amarus" meaning sad or ill natured.  Maybe for someone who has lost in love or suffered bereavement and can benefit from the sedative effects of sweet majoram.

It is important to differentiate between the various types of Marjoram, Thyme and Oregano as their names tend to get very confusing, even to experts. Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil makes up only a small proportion of the Marjoram oils produced, most of which tend to be Spanish Marjoram. Spanish Marjoram (Oregano) is a completely different species, Thymus Masticina, and the so-called Wild Marjoram is the common garden herb, Origanum Vulgare, cultivated all over the world.


Do not use during pregnancy.

Price p111 writes "true majoram has a significent content of therapeutic and hazard free alcohols and esters (around 40%) of each.  This with its low or non existent phenol content (0-0.5%) makes it a safe oil for general use." 


Continuing the 'ancients' theme.....did America's legal system and freedoms spring from Atlantis?  Now before you turn hastily away consider this. Though the greeks had their Courts our legal systems are based on the Roman model.  Where did this come from?  A Spaniard called Hercules perhaps.  Hercules was the first great admiral recorded by history.  Keeping trade routes clear of pirates (something for all our sophistication we are struggling to do off Somalia) Hercules brought war followed by civilisation and the rule of law to the peoples of the western mediterranean.  From under the ashes of Vesuvius emerged a port city called in Ancient times 'Herculaneum'.  This is where it is thought Hercules established his port when his fleet arrived to subdue the natives of the area.  This was long before Aeneas and the Trojans arrived to found Rome with the local Latins.

Modern Gibraltar was known in ancient times as the 'Pillars of Hercules' and the legend was of an Island in the Atlantic beyond the 'Pillars of Hercules' of great legal sophistication and prosperity lost to natural catastrophe.  There is no reason to doubt that whatever the hazards of Atlantic storms mediterranean peoples traded with the atlantic seaboard and peoples. Greek fleets travelled as far as the Indian Ocean in Alexander's time.  Modern archeologists point though to eastern mediterranean islands lost to volcanic eruption as the true source of the Atlantis story.  Theres an essay in there somewhere!

Ok I wandered off the point.  Ancient Language and Aromatherapy.  Consider then one of the fathers of Aromatherapy 'Paracelsus'.  Translated Paracelsus means equal to or greater than Celsus.  Celsus was a Roman and we have some fragments of his writings on maintaining health.  He records how the greeks swore by regular massage which they called 'rubbing'.  In ancient times male musculature was important whether to wield a spear or oar.  The ability to take to the sea was also important to evade pestilence or attack from an overwhelming neighbouring tribe.  The phrase was 'in mare in peliculum' or 'to the sea in times of danger'.  Clarity of thought was also important in keeping accounts and conducting business.  Massage would have been just as good and welcome stress relief then as now.

Maybe you'll look on remembering those Botanic latin names as a bit less daunting.  The latins werent a remote people they were us...then and they knew a thing or two.  Now a question.  How does origanum translate? Battaglia p229


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