Origanum vulgare 

Origanum marjorana

OrIganum and Marjoram are closely related but differ slightly in these ways:  OrIganum tends to be tougher and broader-leafed and generally have a sprawling, trailing habit. It is stronger in flavour and is a more robust plant.  Marjoram tends to have more slender shaped leaves, a more compact and upright shrub-like form and milder flavour. They are both perennials and can tolerate heat and dryness. Oregano is known as Wild Marjoram. There is also a Pot Marjoram which has smooth – edged, oval leaves and a distinctly sweet spicy scent. This may sometimes be treated as an annual.

Parts used:  

The leaves and flowers are used. Great as a digestive aid they can be used in many culinary dishes. The flower top are often used in Italian cooking. Dried the flowers are added to potpourris.  The tall stalks of Marjoram can be used in floral arrangements. They are both part of the classic ‘Bouquet garni’.


Oregano and Marjoram are both outstanding antiseptic herbs due to their high thymol content.

Marjoram tea eases symptoms of a cold, has a tranquilizing effect on the nerves and will help settle an upset stomach. Hot poultices can be applied for rheumatism and colic. They are both high in antioxidant phytochemicals. They have anti-inflammatory properties and are anti-carcinogenic.


Both Marjoram and Origanum make lovely pot plants. They can both be propagated by taking cuttings, though they can be grown from seed. Once established they will need to be cut often to maintain their shape. Harvest both these plants just before

they flower in summer and early autumn.

They tend to go woody so trim the woody and dead bits out before Spring so new growth can be more vigorous.

Did you know?

These two herbs originate from the Mediterranean region, growing on hillsides.

Marjoram was used as a strewing herb – as an antiseptic to disinfect the home. Due to the pleasant clean smell they were also used in sachets to freshen linen.

Marjoram can be made into a lotion and used to darken dark hair and beards.

Dried leaves are added to sleep pillow blends and can be used in a refreshing bath bag.

The name Origano derives from the Greek – oros – Mountain – and ganos – joy / beauty. Literally ‘joy of the mountain’. It was woven into bridal crowns, used as a perfume and as a massage oil. Marjoram was incorporated into nosegays to ward of pestilence and plague in 16th century Europe.

Disclaimer: Properties of herbs discussed and their uses in NO WAY replace the advice of a medical practitioner. Please consult a qualified practitioner before using herbs medicinally.