Winter Savory (Satureja montana)
Winter savory was once grown in almost every kitchen garden. It is little used now, although it is tasty on poultry and beans. It has a spicy flavor. It also makes an attractive border plant. It is semi-evergreen with white flowers. The Romans introduced this herb to Britain, where it was not only used in the kitchen but was planted in formal gardens as hedges and borders. A small bushy plant with tiny pointed leaves, it is also used as a decorative plant in the garden.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Winter savory relieves gas and flatulence as it stimulates the digestion. It also relieves colic and diarrhea. It can also be used for altitude sickness. The herb is antiseptic and astringent, making it helpful for sore throats. It has also been used to treat excessive thirst in diabetics.
Along with summer savory, this herb was considered an aphrodisiac, although other resources say that it decreased the libido instead. Savory was also used to treat colds and fever, as well as ringing in the ears.
Externally The herb makes a good antiseptic gargle. A fresh leaf can relieve the sting of bees and wasps. An ointment can be made to apply to skin irritations and minor rashes. The essential oil can be applied for arthritis and rheumatism. It should be diluted, however, since it can irritate the skin.
Other Uses Winter savory has a long history as a culinary herb. It is strong and spicy and works well with meats and bean dishes. It is also combined with bread crumbs to dress fish. It's flavor holds up well to long cooking times such as are required for soups and stews. It can also be added to herb butters, vinegars, and stuffing. As an addition to bath water, it has a stimulating effect on the skin. It is also said to repel bean beetles.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Aerial parts All aerial portions of the plant are used medicinally.
Winter savory should not be taken in medicinal doses by pregnant women. There are no other contraindications or drug interactions known for the herb.
Preparation and Dosage
Winter savory will probably be hard to find in commercial preparations. To make an infusion, add 2 to 4 tablespoons of dried herb to 1 cup of hot water and allow it to steep for 20 minutes. Take one cup per day.