Summer savory is an aromatic herb belonging to the mint family. It is scientifically known as Satureja Hortensis. This plant is not only used as a spice in various dishes but also as a remedy for cough, sore throat, intestinal cramps, and nausea. It is also rich in minerals and vital nutrients, making it great for medicinal purposes.

What is Summer Savory?

Summer Savory

Summer savory is commonly found in North Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. It is said to be tolerant to different climatic conditions while being similar to winter savory, which has a slightly more bitter taste. It is a herbal plant used for medicinal purposes and in different cuisines globally. 

The plant has dark green, thin and smooth leaves, which turn soft and fragile in June. The plant becomes fully mature in July, and its lilac flowers bloom in August. It is used as sage while cooking. 

Summer Savory Herb

The summer savory herb belongs to the mint family and has a sweet touch, which chefs worldwide prefer. The herb has a great nutritional value, so much so that 4 grams of ground summer savory contain 4% of Vitamin A, 4% of Vitamin B6, 13% Manganese, 9% Calcium and Iron, and other essential vitamins. [1]

The leaves and the herb stem are used to produce medicines that can benefit multiple people facing different health issues. A Summer savory oil is also extracted from the plant, normally used as a flavoring agent in cooking. 

Summer Savory Uses

It is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals and is used in multiple ways. The herb is used for different purposes, which include: 

  • Cough 
  • Gas
  • Intestinal cramps 
  • Indigestion 
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Sore throat 
  • Increasing sex drive 
  • Controlling thirst in diabetic patients 
  • Insect bites, when applied topically 

The herb has great astringent and antiseptic properties, which make it the perfect remedy for treating various body and skin disorders. [2]

Taste

It is compared to thyme and marjoram when it comes to taste. With a spicy aroma and strong peppery flavor, it is the perfect ingredient to add to mild dishes to give them a kick without an overpowering flavor. However, there is also a touch of sweetness in the herb, which makes it preferable when compared to its counterpart, winter savory. Overall, you will find mint, marjoram, and thyme notes when smelling and indulging this herb. [3] 

Summer Savory vs. Winter Savory

Summer Savory

Summer savory and winter savory belong to the same plant family. The main difference is that summer savory is an annual plant that lasts one season. In contrast, winter savory is a perennial plant that regrows each year. The plants also have different leaves, with summer savory having slender bronzy green leaves while winter savory has oval-shaped leaves. 

Summer savory grows lilac flowers, whereas winter savory grows white flowers. Moreover, they have different flavor profiles. It has a minty and peppery flavor similar to that of thyme. Still, it is sweeter than winter savory. Winter savory has a more bitter and resinous flavor which tends to die during cooking. Winter savory has pine and thyme accents accompanied by notes of sage. [4]

Summer savory is usually more easily available than winter savory. Winter savory is also used more for creating essential oils rather than cooking. Summer savory is normally added to meat dishes for more flavor and intensity. 

Benefits

This herb is packed with essential nutrients and minerals. However, its potential benefits for health are still being researched. 

Antibacterial Properties 

It also leaves contain carvacrol and thymol, which are chemical constituents. Carvacrol is an antibacterial and fights against strains such as E.coli and Bacillus cereus. Thymol has antiseptic and antifungal properties, which protect the body against various fungal infections. 

Rich in Antioxidants 

The leaves and tender shoots of the herb contain a high amount of chemical compounds, which give it antioxidant properties. While reducing oxidative damage, they also help control bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. 

Treating Intestinal Disorders 

It also contains tannins, carvacrol, linalool, 1-borneol, and cymol. All these chemical constituents help treat various intestinal disorders such as cramps, gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite. Summer savory tea or juice is highly effective in treating digestion-related issues. 

Side Effects

Summer Savory

Even though it is safe for cooking and medicines, it may cause certain irritations. Summer savory oil should be diluted before being applied to the skin. Using it directly may cause skin rashes and redness with irritation. Those on anticoagulants should refrain from using this herb since it tends to slow down blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. 

If you have to undergo surgery, you must stop using it 2 weeks before the procedure since there is a risk of increased bleeding during and after surgery. You should also consider the dosage doctors suggest since it depends on the user’s health, age, and other underlying conditions. Pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn’t use the herb since there is no information on whether it is safe. [5]

The Bottomline

Summer savory is a natural herb that is used in cooking around the world, and it also has various medicinal uses. However, since research on its effectiveness is lacking, it may be best to use it in controlled amounts. It may be used for its multiple benefits while keeping the risks in mind.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Skubij, N., Dzida, K., Jarosz, Z., Pitura, K., & Jaroszuk-Sierocińska, M. (2020). Nutritional Value of Savory Herb (Satureja hortensis L.) and Plant Response to Variable Mineral Nutrition Conditions in Various Phases of Development. Plants (Basel, Switzerland)9(6), 706. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060706
  • Mirzaei, F., Bafghi, A. F., Mohaghegh, M. A., Jaliani, H. Z., Faridnia, R., & Kalani, H. (2016). In vitro anti-leishmanial activity of Satureja hortensis and Artemisia dracunculus extracts on Leishmania major promastigotes. Journal of parasitic diseases : official organ of the Indian Society for Parasitology40(4), 1571–1574. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12639-015-0730-9
  • Spice Islands. (2020, October 12). Summer Savory. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://spiceislands.com/product/summer-savory/#:%7E:text=Often%20compared%20to%20marjoram%20or,bouquet%20garni%20and%20fines%20herbes.
  • SPICEography. (2022, March 21). Summer Savory Vs. Winter Savory: SPICEography Showdown. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://www.spiceography.com/summer-savory-vs-winter-savory/
  • Hamidpour, R., Hamidpour, S., Hamidpour, M., Shahlari, M., & Sohraby, M. (2014). Summer Savory: From the Selection of Traditional Applications to the Novel Effect in Relief, Prevention, and Treatment of a Number of Serious Illnesses such as Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Cancer. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine4(3), 140–144. https://doi.org/10.4103/2225-4110.136540
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Farah Jassawalla

Farah is a veteran writer, season journalist, and copywriting expert with over six years of professional experience in the content creation field. Her forte lies in translating medical jargon and complicated health terms into easy-to-understand language for readers who may not have a medical background. LinkedIn

Author

  • Farah is a veteran writer, season journalist, and copywriting expert with over six years of professional experience in the content creation field. Her forte lies in translating medical jargon and complicated health terms into easy-to-understand language for readers who may not have a medical background. LinkedIn

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Farah is a veteran writer, season journalist, and copywriting expert with over six years of professional experience in the content creation field. Her forte lies in translating medical jargon and complicated health terms into easy-to-understand language for readers who may not have a medical background. LinkedIn