Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is a perennial plant that grows as a shrub. The plant is also referred to as oregano, sweet marjoram and knotted marjoram. Marjoram is found in Cyprus, Turkey and is cultivated primarily for its culinary uses where it is used as a spice to flavour dishes. Medicinally the herb is used to treat a number of conditions including those of the central nervous system. For example, marjoram has been shown to have sedative and anti-anxiety effects. In rats, administration of marjoram caused a significant increase in the sleep time and a significant increase in exploratory behaviour, indicative of a sedative and anxiolytic effect. At higher doses, these effects compared favourably to the result obtained from use of the pharmaceutical drug diazepam. However, use of marjoram is not associated with any serious side effects, making it a safe and effective alternative to current pharmacological drugs. Because it is a food, marjoram can be eaten with other foods and a condiment and spice.
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