Scientific Name(S): Summer savory: Satureja hortensis L., syn. with Calamintha hortensis Hort. Winter savory: Satureja montana L., syn. with S. obovata Lag. and Calamintha montana Family: Labiatae
Botany: Summer savory is an annual herb that grows to about 2 feet in height featuring oblong leaves. Although it is native to Europe, it is now found throughout many parts of the world. Winter savory is a perennial shrub that grows to about the same height as summer savory, the leaves of which share some common characteristics with summer savory. Flowers of both species are pink to blue-white and flower from June to September.
History: The savories have been used for centuries as cooking herbs and have flavors reminiscent of oregano and thyme. Because the flavor of the summer savory is somewhat sweeter than that of the winter savory, summer savory is used almost exclusively in commerce. The green leaves and stems, both fresh and dried, along with extracts, are used as flavors in the baking and foods industries. Both summer and winter savory have a history of use in traditional medicine as tonics, carminatives, astringents and expectorants, and for the treatment of intestinal problems such as diarrhea and nausea. Summer savory is said to be an aphrodisiac while winter savory has been said to decrease libido.
Uses of Savory:
Savory has antifungal, antibacterial, and antidiuretic effects, in addition to being widely used as a condiment.
Side Effects of Savory:
Savory is not associated with any significant toxicity.
Toxicology: Savory is generally recognized as safe for use as a condiment and flavor. When applied undiluted to the backs of hairless mice, summer savory oil was lethal to half of the animals within 48 hours. The oil is strongly irritating to other animal skin models, but is not phototoxic. ln diluted form the oil is not irritating to human skin.
Summary: Summer and winter savory have been used for centuries as condiments. Their use in traditional medicine centers primarily on the antispasmodic and antibacterial effects of the volatile oil. Savory is not associated with significant toxicity and should be investigated for its antidiuretic properties.
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