This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Marum Syriacum Pharm. Lond. Majorana syriaca vel cretica C. B. Marum cortusi J. B. Chamadrys maritima incana fru-tefcens foliis lanceolatis Tourn. Origanum Syria-cum Linn. Marum, Syrian herb-mastich: a low shrubby plant, with small oval leaves, pointed at each end, set in pairs, without pedicles, of a dilute green colour above, and hoary underneath: in their bosoms appear solitary, purple, labiated flowers, wanting the upper lip; the lower lip is divided into five segments, the middlemost of which is larger than the reft, and hollowed like a spoon: each flower is followed by four roundish seeds inclosed in the cup. It is said to be a native of Syria, and of one of the Hieres islands, on the coast of Provence: in our climate it does not well bear severe winters without shelter,
The leaves of marum have a bitterish, aro matic, very pungent tafte; and when rubbed a little, yield a quick piercing smell, which provokes freezing. They have been chiefly made use of as an ingredient in sternutatory powders, though, from their sensible qualities, they pro-mise to be applicable to more important pur-poses, and to have no ill title to the stimulating, attenuating, deobstruent, antiseptic virtues as-cribed to them by Wedelius in a dissertation on this plant: they seem particularly well adapted as an ingredient in the volatile oily aromatic spirits with which their agreeable pungency in a great degree coincides.
The marum loses but little of its pungency on being dried, and in this respect it differs remarkably from many other acrid herbs, as those called antiscorbutic. It gives out its active matter partially to water, and completely to rectified spirit: the watery infusions, in colour yellow, though pretty strongly impregnated with the smell of the marum, have only a weak taste: the spirituous tinctures, in colour yellowish-green, are strongly impregnated with the taste, but have the smell in great measure covered by the menstruum. Distilled with water, it yields a highly pungent, subtile, volatile essential oil, similar to that of scurvygrass, but stronger, and of a less perishable pungency: the remaining decoction is little other than bitterish. Rectified spirit carries off likewise, in the infpiffation of the spirituous tincture, a considerable share of the smell and pungency of the marum, but leaves much the greatest part concentrated in the extract; which, on being tasted, fills the mouth with a durable, penetrating, glowing warmth.