Origanum Pharm. Lond. Origanum fil-vestre, cunila bubula plinii C. B. Agrioriganum five onitis major Lob. Origanum anglicum Ger. Origanum vulgare Linn. Origanum or Wild marjoram: a plant with firm round stalks, and oval, acuminated, uncut, somewhat hairy leaves, set in pairs upon short pedicles: on the tops grow scaly heads of pale red labiated flowers, whose upper lip is entire and the lower cut into three segments, set in form of a convex umbel, intermixed with roundish purplish leaves: each flower is followed by four minute seeds inclosed in the cup. It is perennial, grows wild on dry chalky hills and gravelly grounds, in several parts of England, and flowers in June. The flowers, or rather flowery tops, of a somewhat different species, origanum creticum, were formerly brought from Candy, but have long given place to those of our own growth, which are nearly of the same quality.

The leaves and flowery tops of origanum have an agreeable aromatic smell, and a pungent taste, warmer than that of the garden marjoram, and much resembling thyme; with which they appear to agree in medicinal virtue. Infusions of them are sometimes drank as tea, in weakness of the stomach, disorders of the breast, for promoting perspiration and the fluid secretions in general: they are sometimes used also in nervine and antirheumatic baths; and the powder of the dried herb as an errhine. Distilled with water, they yield a moderate quantity of a very acrid penetrating essential oil, smelling strongly of the origanum, but less agreeable than the herb itself: this oil is applied on a little cotton for easing the pains of carious teeth; and sometimes diluted and rubbed on the nostrils, or snuffed up the nose, for attenuating and evacuating mucous humours.