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Garden Marjoram Or Sausage Herb: Cultivation, Use In Medicine And Cooking
Garden Marjoram Or Sausage Herb: Cultivation, Use In Medicine And Cooking

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Garden marjoram is a valuable spicy-aromatic, medicinal plant

Garden marjoram (Origanum majorana L.) of the family is also called garden marjoram, majorin, sausage herb.

His homeland is the Mediterranean coast of Europe and Africa. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used marjoram as a spice. It was used as a seasoning for food, as well as a miraculous remedy for many diseases, but marjoram was considered especially effective for colds.

In culture, garden marjoram is widespread in countries with hot and temperate climates. It is found in southern Europe, Poland, Germany, Hungary, northern Africa, India, Indochina, USA, Canada and Latin America. Now it is widely cultivated in the Baltic countries, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

The value of marjoram

Marjoram
Marjoram

Marjoram

Marjoram is appreciated as a spicy-aromatic, medicinal, and more recently as an essential oil plant due to the fact that it contains 1-3.5% of essential oil with an extremely strong pleasant aroma of pepper, mint, cardamom and thyme combined. This oil is easily recovered by steam distillation. It is a mobile colorless or slightly yellowish liquid with a pleasant, very strong and persistent spicy-floral (marjoram) odor and a pungent spicy taste. Marjoram essential oil is a valuable material for the perfumery, cosmetic and food industries. It contains terpenes (terpenol, borneol, etc.). It has a peculiar strong aroma, strongly spicy, slightly pungent taste, similar to thyme, but more subtle and sweet. Young shoots of the plant contain a lot of ascorbic acid, as well as carotene, rutin,tannins, including phenols, bitterness, etc.

This plant is used as a medicinal and spice plant. As a spice, it is used for canning and sausage production, in cooking and winemaking. Marjoram is nicknamed sausage herb, as in many countries it serves as the main seasoning for sausages.

In the pharmaceutical industry, tea is prepared from marjoram and an essential oil is obtained.

For beekeepers, marjoram is valuable as a late summer honey plant.

Requirements for growing conditions

In the subtropics, marjoram is a powerful, highly developed perennial plant 0.8-1 m high. In our country, marjoram is cultivated as an annual plant. Perennial culture is possible only in the Caucasus. In temperate climates it is a compact shrub up to 30-50 cm high.Numerous stems forming a bush, erect or arcuate, thin, creeping, extending from the root collar, tetrahedral, medium and strongly branched, strongly pubescent, woody at the base, brownish-green or with a red tint.

Its leaves are petioled, small, 1.5-2.5 cm long, 0.8-1.5 cm wide, opposite, oblong-ovate, entire, with glandular hairs. The entire plant is covered with silvery-gray fine-grained pubescence.

The flowers are small, white, pink or reddish, collected in oblong inflorescences, consisting of three to five spike-shaped bunches located at the ends of the branches. Blooms in July - August. From germination to the beginning of flowering, an average of 130-140 days pass.

The fruit is dry, consisting of four seeds. The seeds, or rather the fruits, which are nuts, are light brown with a strong specific smell, very small. There are 3.5-5 thousand pieces in 1 g. Seed germination is high - up to 80%. They can be used for 7-8 years. When sown with dry seeds in moist soil, seedlings appear in 8-20 days.

Marjoram is a heat-loving plant. The minimum temperature for seed germination is + 10 … + 12 ° С, however, the optimal temperature for the emergence of seedlings is + 20 … + 25 ° С. Marjoram is sensitive even to slight frosts, at + 1 … + 2 ° С the seedlings can completely die.

Marjoram is a light-loving plant and produces a higher yield of better quality in open, well-lit areas. With shading and on the northern slopes, the yield of green mass and the content of essential oil decrease, and its quality deteriorates.

Marjoram is picky about soil nutrition and moisture. He prefers loose, well-drained soil. Dry sandy and damp clay soils are unsuitable for it. Having a fibrous, shallowly penetrating root system, it grows better on fertile, humus-rich soils, well supplied with moisture. When grown in drought conditions, it needs regular watering. Fertilization has a beneficial effect on the growth of this plant and development.

Growing marjoram

Marjoram in the garden
Marjoram in the garden

Marjoram in the garden

Three varieties are zoned in Russia: Lakomka, Skandi and Tushinsky Semko.

In accordance with the biology of this plant, marjoram is placed in areas protected from the prevailing winds. It is grown mainly in irrigated plots after tilled, carefully cultivated crops that free the soil from weeds. In addition, large doses of organic fertilizers are usually applied under them. For the main tillage in the fall or early spring, a complete mineral fertilizer is applied at the rate of 1 m2: nitrophosphate or ammonium nitrate or urea 15-20 g, superphosphate - 25-30 g, potassium fertilizers - 15-20 g. Before planting seedlings, add 10-15 g of nitrogen fertilizers.

In the conditions of the Central zone and North-West of Russia, marjoram is grown mainly by the seedling method, in the south - by sowing seeds in the ground. Seedlings are grown in greenhouses or hotbeds. Amateur gardeners usually grow seedlings on a well-lit, warm windowsill. To obtain high-quality seedlings, seeds are sown at the end of March - mid-April directly in pots measuring 5X5 cm, 2-3 seeds each, or in sowing boxes with subsequent picking. Seed consumption per 1 m? planting area 0.01-0.03 g. When sowing seedlings, you can not cover the seeds with soil, just press gently against it, cover with a film on top and monitor the moisture content.

Plants are planted in a permanent place after the threat of spring frosts has passed. The scheme of planting seedlings is 60 (70) x10 (15) cm. The planting of seedlings is carried out with preliminary watering of the holes (in the mud), then mulching them with dry soil. Sowing in the south in open ground is carried out with the same distance between rows. For even sowing, the seeds are premixed with sand. In the future, the seedlings are thinned out, leaving a distance in the row between the plants of 10-15 cm. In the future, the care of marjoram plants consists of three to four inter-row loosening and several weeding in rows. To ensure a high yield during the cultivation period, it is necessary to do 5-6 waterings, especially at the beginning of cultivation, when June is dry.It is not bad to combine 1-2 waterings with fertilizing with nitrogen fertilizers (10-15 g per 1 m2) or pre-fertilize with slurry (1: 3).

You can grow marjoram in greenhouses, hotbeds and on balconies.

Young marjoram plants are sometimes affected by a fungal disease - Alternaria. Spots appear on the leaves, plant growth stops. The reason for this is damp weather or too thick plantings. Marjoram moth, or rather its larvae, eat leaves in the south, gnawing holes. The marjoram plants are harvested, cutting them the first time before flowering at a height of about 5 cm from the soil surface, the second time - at the end of summer before the onset of the first autumn frosts as low as possible to the ground. The marjoram is tied in bunches and dried in a well-ventilated area in the shade.

After drying, the buds and leaves are threshed, ground into powder and stored in a sealed container. Marjoram retains its aroma for a long time, especially when stored in hermetically sealed glass jars.

Medical use

Marjoram
Marjoram

Marjoram

Marjoram has a softening and warming effect, stimulates appetite, improves digestion, soothes the nervous system, has a mild diuretic effect, weakens flatulence, and improves the menstrual cycle. It helps with nervous disorders and colds. In dietary nutrition, it is used as a salt substitute and to strengthen the stomach. Marjoram infusion is used for diseases of the respiratory tract and digestive organs. In folk medicine, it is used as a tonic and anti-catarrhal, antispastic, anti-inflammatory and tonic (in the form of a decoction and tincture); with neurasthenia, paralysis, depression, dizziness, headaches, asthma, runny nose (as an additional remedy); with varicose veins, rheumatism, gout (in the form of rubbing with marjoram oil);for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (especially in children), accompanied by bloating, colitis, diarrhea, as well as for various baths and wound treatment.

Popularly, dried young shoots of marjoram, collected before flowering, are used as an antispasmodic and antiseptic agent for gastritis with low acidity of gastric juice, for chronic cholecystitis, enteritis, and also as a general tonic multivitamin, antiscorbutic agent. The herb infusion is indicated for insomnia, headaches, cough with profuse sputum, vomiting and stomach cramps. Fresh chopped marjoram herb is applied to the inflamed calluses at night.

The medicinal infusion of marjoram is taken 1/4 cup four times a day 5 minutes before meals (4 teaspoons of chopped herbs are poured with a glass of boiling water, kept for 15 minutes and filtered).

Cooking applications

Currently, marjoram is one of the most widely used spices. It should be used with care, in the right proportion, which requires some experimentation and judgment. Marjoram is a favorite spice of Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian, Latvian, Estonian and Slovak and other European cuisines. As a spice, leaves and flower buds are used fresh, toasted and dried (in the form of a powder from the leaves). Lightly roasting the herbs before use improves their taste.

Marjoram is eaten as a condiment to various dishes. Aromatic vinegar is obtained from it. Table vinegar, infused for 5-7 days on marjoram leaves, acquires a pleasant aroma. A few drops of this fragrant vinegar added to a salad or vinaigrette will give them a spicy taste. They use marjoram for making meat soups, liver sausages, and for frying poultry and lamb. It is also suitable for cooking legumes, tripe soup and some cheeses. As a spice, marjoram leaves are added to various salads, especially fish. Marjoram is used to flavor puddings, kvass, jelly, compote, tea, canned food. It can be successfully used in the preparation of sweet rhubarb and dried apples.

Marjoram green shoots are used to flavor pickles. Powdered marjoram can flavor minced meat, meatballs, dumplings, fish, vegetable, egg dishes, as well as offal dishes. Marjoram is an excellent seasoning for liver pate, while replacing black pepper. Marjoram is also used for pickling cucumbers and tomatoes.

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