The name (Origanum) is derived from two Greek words, oros (mountain) and ganos (joy), in allusion to the gay appearance these plants give to the hillsides on which they grow. Similar to tarragon (botanically not related), it is a spice which on one hand needs a warm climate to develop its specific aroma, but on the other hand loses some fragrance when dried. Despite these deficiencies, it is a well-established culinary herb in Central Europe.
Dried marjoram is extremely important in industrial food processing and is much used, together with thyme, in spice mixtures for the production of sausages; in Germany, where a great variety of sausages is produced, it is thus called Wurstkraut sausage herb. Furthermore, application of marjoram to boiled or fried liver is somewhat classical. Marjoram may be effectively combined with bay leaves; furthermore, it goes well with small amounts of black pepper or juniper. Combinations of the last type are well suited to ragouts, particularly venison.