Why Marjoram and Oregano are Superfoods

Discover why sweet marjoram, pot marjoram, and oregano is considered a powerful superfood. (Hint: They're full of antioxidants.)

| February 23, 2011

2-25-2011-marjoram oregano

Used with permission from Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard, $24.95 paperback, Firefly Books, 2010. The following excerpt can be found on Page 159. 

Origanum majorana Sweet Marjoram
Origanum onites Pot Marjoram
Origanum vulgare Oregano

In a Nutshell 

ORIGIN: Oregano: the Mediterranean to central Europe; sweet marjoram: North Africa and southwest Asia; pot marjoram: the Mediterranean
SEASON: Summer to autumn
WHY THEY'RE SUPER: High in vitamin K; good source of fiber, calcium, iron, and manganese; contain antioxidant phenols, flavonoids, and carvacrol
GROWING AT HOME: Easy to grow

What’s in a Serving of Dried Marjoram/Oregano(2 teaspoons/3.6 grams)
CALORIES: 10 (40 kJ)
PROTEIN: 0.4 grams
TOTAL FAT: 0.2 grams
FIBER: 1.6 grams

Sweet marjoram, pot marjoram, and oregano are the best known of the 36 species belonging to the genus Origanum. By far the most widespread and best known is oregano, now inextricably linked with Italian foods such as pasta sauces and pizza. Native to Europe, it was, however, originally used more widely as a medicinal herb. Spanish explorers in what is now Oregon may have mistakenly conferred its name after spying an aromatic herb resembling oregano on the coastline. Marjoram is closely associated with England and cottage gardens, but it was not introduced to England until 1573, when it was brought from Portugal. As its name implies, sweet marjoram has a sweet scent (it is sometimes incorporated in perfumes) and a sweet flavor, milder than oregano. Pot marjoram, which originated in the Mediterranean region, has a stronger flavor, more akin to oregano; it is widely used in Turkish cuisine. Marjoram and oregano are an excellent source of vitamin K, and a good source of fiber, calcium, iron, and manganese. They also contain antioxidants such as henols, flavonoids, and carvacrol.

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