Sweet marjoram nutrition facts
Sweet marjoram, also known as knotted marjoram, is one of the most traditional Mediterranean herbs grown for its culinary and medicinal values since ancient times. It has delicate sweet flavor, and subtle pungent (spicy) taste; comparatively gentler than oregano (Origanum vulgare).
Botanically, marjoram is a member of Labiatae family, of the genus, Origanum. Its scientific name: Origanum majorana. The Labatiacea family also includes some of the commonly known herbs and spices such as dill, anise, fennel, cumin, etc.Sweet marjoram is native to Asia Minor (Turkey); however, it grows in plentiful all over the Mediterranean and southern parts of the Europe. This herbaceous plant is a small woody-stemmed shrub that grows abundantly in well-drained, lime soils. It reaches about 75 cm in height, features hairy stems with soft oval shaped dark-green leaves, and tiny pinkish-white flowers.
In general, its leaves can be harvested soon after the flowering buds begin to appear. To blanch, hang harvested stems in dark, dry room for about 7-10 days, then strip leaves from the stems and store inside an airtight container.
Several related species of marjoram grown either for culinary or therapeutic purposes. Pot marjoram (O. onites) has white or pink flowers. Winter marjoram (O. heracleoticum) has a strong flavor, similar to that of wild marjoram (O.vulgare).Health benefits of marjoram
Sweet marjoram is one of very favorite herb, especially in the Mediterranean region. Ancient Greeks used it to make wreaths and garlands who firmly believed it as a symbol of peace, harmony, and happiness.
The herb composes many notable phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for optimum health and wellness.
The herb parts contain certain chemical constituents like eugenol sabinene, alpha-terpinene, cymene, terpinolene, linalool, cis-sabinene hydrate, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-ol, and terpineol. Together, these compounds are known to work as anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Fresh herb has high levels of vitamin-C (ascorbic acid); provide 51.4 µg or 86% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is one of the powerful natural anti-oxidant help remove harmful free radicals from the body. Ascorbic acid also has an immune booster, wound healing, and antiviral effects.
Fresh marjoram herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin-A, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. 100 g of dry marjoram leaves carry 8068 IU or 269% of DRI levels of vitamin-A. Carotenes, xanthins, and lutein are powerful flavonoid antioxidants. Together, these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, and various disease processes.
Vitamin-A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for healthy eyesight. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin A and carotenes are known to help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions. It has proven beneficial action against age-related macular disease (ARMD), especially in the older adult population.
Sweet marjoram is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin-K. 100 g of dry leaves provides about 518% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin-K has a potential role in the bone mass building by promoting osteoblastic activity in the bones. It also has an established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
Marjoram herb carries a good amount of minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the human body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Furthermore, its dry leaves are