Marjoram Allergy Test
Latin name: Origanum majorana
Common names: Marjoram, Sweet Marjoram
Synonyms: Majorana hortensis
Marjoram is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Marjoram Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
The marjoram plant originated in the southern Mediterranean region (specifically in Cyprus and southern Turkey) and spread to southern Europe. It is recorded as being used by the ancient Greeks. Marjoram is a member of the mint family, and is closely related to several commonly used culinary herbs, including mint, basil, oregano and sage.
It is particularly similar in appearance to oregano, to the point that the two species are often confused for one another. This is compounded by the fact that historically classifications often confused the two. Today, both are placed in the genus Origanum, and marjoram is considered to be a type of oregano.
French marjoram, or hardy marjoram is a cross between marjoram and oregano, and shares many of the same properties or marjoram but with increased resistance to cold.
Marjoram has a more delicate aroma and flavour compared to oregano, and is a summer annual rather than a perennial. It is most commonly used in English and French cuisine, and lends its flavour to a variety of soups and stews, as well as poultry and seafood. By comparison, oregano is more commonly used in Italian, Greek, North African and Mexican cuisines.
It is commonly included in herb mixtures, or bouquets garni, and can also be steeped in hot water to produce a tea.
The flowering leaves and tops of marjoram are steam-distilled to produce an essential oil that is yellowish in color. Oil of marjoram is used in perfumes and some other cosmetics. Medicinal uses have included pain relief and the treatment of digestive complaints.
Marjoram Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens present in marjoram have been characterised to date.
Marjoram Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected, and in particular between oregano and marjoram.
Marjoram Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Marjoram may uncommonly induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals. As little has been reported in the literature, adverse reactions to the closely related family member oregano will be of help.
In one case a 45-year-old man experienced three reactions to food: as a result of oregano on a single occasion, and twice to thyme. He had pruritis and swelling of the lips and tongue, dysphagia, dysphonia, and progressive upper respiratory difficulty, as well as intense facial and palpebral oedema. On two occasions he also had hypotension, vomiting, and nausea. The onset was within minutes after the ingestion of pizza containing the herb in the first instance, meat seasoned with thyme in the second, and snails with thyme in the third.
In another case a 45-year-old female patient with facial eczema that appeared 20 minutes after ingestion of oregano and was exacerbated by sun exposure was reported. A patch test was positive. Three other patients were reported to be positive to oregano on a patch test, but their symptoms were not described.
Perioral dermatitis following ingestion of Marjoram has also been reported.