Origanum majorana Linn

Family ► Orchidaceae.

Habitat ► Kashmir to Nepal at altitudes of 2,500-5,000 m in damp places.

Ayurvedic ► Munjaataka, Saalam-misri, Saalam-panjaa. (Eulophia campestris Wall. is also equated with Munjaataka.)

Unani ► Saaleb, Khusyaat-us-Saalab, Saalab Misri.

Siddha ► Silamishri.

Action ► Considered aphrodisiac and nervine tonic by Unani physicians. Tuber—nutritive, demulcent, restorative. Given

Synonym ► Majorana hortensis Moench.

Family ► Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat ► Native to Europe and Great Britain.

English ► Sweet Marjoram. (Origanum vulgare Linn., Wild Marjoram, occurs in Simla hills and in Kashmir valley.)

Ayurvedic ► Sukhaatmaka, Maruba-ka, Phanijjaka. (Ocimum basilicum is used as a substitute for Phanijja-ka.)

Unani ► Marzanjosh.

Folk ► Maruae. Santhraa. Jangali Maruaa (Origanum vulgare Linn.).

Oroxylum indicum Vent. 453

Action ► Emmenagogue, antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant. Leaves and seed— astringent, antispasmodic. Warm infusion of herb—promotes suppressed menstrual flow.

The herb contains about 3% volatile oil comprising sabinene hydrate, sa-binene, linalool, carvacrol, estrogole, eugenol and terpenes; flavonoids including luteolin-7-glucoside, dios-metin-7-glucoside, apigenin-7-gluco-side; rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid; and triterpenoids such as ursolic acid, olea-nolic acid, sterols.

Marjoram herb and oil exhibit antibacterial action. (German Commission E.) The herb contains arbutin and hydroxyquinone (a carcinogenic agent) in low concentrations. The herb is not suited for extended use. Topical application of hydroxyquinone leads to depigmentation of the skin. There is no reports of similar side effects with marjoram ointment. (German Commission E.)

Origanum vulgare Linn. (Wild Marjoram) contains volatile oil with a widely varying composition; major components include thymol, beta-bisabolene, caryophyllene, linalool and borneol; other constituents are similar to those of O. majorana.

The leaves of Wild Marjoram contain phenolic acids. The phenyl propionic acid and the phenyl glucoside showed antioxidant activity comparable to that of BHA, a synthetic antiox-idant.

Wild Marjoram preparations are used for bronchial catarrh and dis turbances of the gastrointestinal tract in Unani medicine.

Sweet Marjoram shows stronger effect on the nervous system than Wild Marjoram and gives better results in anxiety, headaches and insomnia.

Both the species have been included among unapproved herbs by German Commission E.

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