Latin name: Origanum compactum
Synonyms: European Oregano, wild Marjoram, grove marjoram, origanum (oil).
Plant family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Extraction : Steam distillation of the dry flowering herb.
Origin: native to Europe, now cultivated all over the world.
Plant characteristics: A common garden, hardy, bushy, perennial herb growing up to 90cm high with an erect hairy stem, dark green ovate leaves and pinky-purple flowers that gives off a strong aroma when bruised.
Oil characteristics: A pale yellow liquid, which browns with age, with a warm, spicy herbaceous, camphoraceous odour.
Traditional use: It has been used traditionally for digestive upsets, respiratory problems (asthma, bronchitis, coughs, etc), colds and ‘flu as well as inflammations of the mouth and throat. The Chinease also used it to treat fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, jaundice and itchy skin conditions. The diluted oil has also been used externally in herbal medicine for headaches, rheumatism, general aches and pains and also applied to stings and bites.
Blends well with: Lavandin, pine, spike lavender, citronella, rosemary and cedarwood essential oils
Cautions and comments: Dermal toxin, skin irritant, mucous membrane irritant. To be avoided during pregnancy. Julia Lawless does not recommend that this oil should be used at all in Aromatherapy, however it is a most useful oil which trained Aromatherapists have been using safely for many years.
Main chemical constituents: Carvacrol, thymol, cymene, caryophyllene, pinene, bisabolene, linalool.
Chemical constituents in more detail
Terpenes 25-35% (mostly p-cymene and y-terpinene)
Alcohols 1-10% (mostly linalool)
Phenols 60-70% (carvacrol)
How to use?
4-5 drops in bath, on tissue or in a vaporiser. 15 drops in 50ml carrier.
WARNING – do not apply undiluted or internally. Keep away from children and eyes. Store in a cool, dark place.