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History and Chemical Composition.—Wild marjoram is common to Europe and America. It is found in limestone regions, on dry banks, and in dry fields and woods, flowering from May to October. The whole herb is medicinal, but it is seldom collected, except for the purpose of procuring its volatile oil (see Oleum Origani), on which its virtues depend, and which may be separated by distillation with water. The plant has a strong, peculiar, rather agreeable balsamic odor, and a warm, bitterish, aromatic taste, which properties are imparted to alcohol, or boiling water by infusion. This plant contains a bitter body and some tannin.
Mol Cells. 2001 Apr 30;11(2):137-43. Related Articles, Links
Inhibitory effect of ursolic acid purified from Origanum majorana L on the acetylcholinesterase.
Chung YK, Heo HJ, Kim EK, Kim HK, Huh TL, Lim Y, Kim SK, Shin DH.
Graduate School of Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul.
We screened 139 herbal spices in search of the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor from natural resources. AChE inhibitors, which enhance cholinergic transmission by reducing the enzymatic degradation of acetylcholine, are the only source of compound currently approved for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Among these herbs, edible plants and spices, the ethanol extract from Origanum majorana L. showed the highest inhibitory effect on AChE in vitro. By sequential fractionation of Origanum majorana L. the active component was finally identified as ursolic acid (3 beta-Hydroxyurs-12-en-28-oic acid). The ursolic acid of Origanum majorana L. inhibited AChE activity in a dose-dependent and competitive/non-competitive type. The Ki value (representing the affinity of the enzyme and inhibitor) of Origanum majorana L. ursolic acid was 6 pM, and that of tacrine was 0.4 nM. The concentration required for 50% enzyme inhibition of the active component (IC50 value) was 7.5 nM, and that of tacrine was 1 nM. This study demonstrated that the ursolic acid of Origanum majorana L. appeared to be a potent AChE inhibitor in Alzheimer's Disease.