Savory (Satureja spp., Satureja hortensis, Satureja montana)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Ajedra, α-pinene, α-terpineol, apigenin, beta-bisabolene, β-caryophyllene, β-cubebene, beta-sitosterol, beta-d-glucopyranoside, borneol, camphor, carvacrol, caryophyllene, catechin, chlorogenic acid, cineole, dipentene, desmethoxynobiletin, dimethoxyflavone, erigeroside, eriodictyol, eugenol, fatty acid methyl esters, hexadecanoic acid methyl ester, flavonoids, geraniol, geranyl acetate, Lamiaceae (family), limonene, linalool, linalool esters, luteolin, magnoliophyta, marzeh khuzistani (Persian), monoterpene hydrocarbons, mountain savory, naringenin, neral, octadecatrienoic acid methyl ester, oleanolic acid, p-cymene, phenolic monoterpenes, phenols, protocatechuic acid, quercetin, rosmarinic acid, sater, Satureja atropatana, Satureja boissieri, Saturejaboliviana, Saturejabrownei, Satureja coerulea, Saturejacuneifolia, Satureja douglasii, Satureja forbesii, Satureja gilliesii, Saturejahortensis, Satureja icarica, Saturejakhuzestanica, Satureja kitaibelii, Satureja laxiflora, Saturejamontana, Satureja obovata, Saturejaparnassica, Satureja parvifolia, Satureja pilosa, Satureja spicigera, Satureja spinosa, Satureja subspicata, Saturejathymbra, Satureja viminea, Satureja visianii, Satureja wiedemanniana, Saturejae folium, Saturejae herba, steroids, spathulenol, summer savory, tannin, tau-cadinene, tau-cadinol, terpene alcohols, terpinene, terpineol, tetrahydroxyflavanone, tetramethoxyflavone, thymbra, thymol, thymol methyl ether, thymonin, thymoquinone, tocopherols, trimethoxyflavone, ursolic acid, vanillic acid, winter savory.
Savory is an aromatic plant used in cooking to enhance flavor. Summer savory (Satureja hortensis) and winter savory (Satureja montana) are the two types most commonly used. A commonly studied constituent is carvacrol.
Savory is native to the Mediterranean region but has been used across Europe, North America, and South America as a seasoning for meats and salads.
In traditional medicine, savory is used to treat diarrhea, nausea, cramps, muscle pain, indigestion, and infectious diseases. Limited evidence suggests that savory may help lower cholesterol in diabetics.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
High cholesterol (in diabetic patients)
Savory (Satureja khuzestanica) capsules, used together with standard drugs, significantly improved the amount of cholesterol and fat in the blood of people with diabetes and high cholesterol. Additional study is needed before conclusions can be made.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Alzheimer's disease, analgesic (painkiller), angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels), antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antimutagenic (inhibits changes in DNA), antiparasitic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, aphrodisiac (increases sexual desire), aromatic, asthma, astringent, blood thinner, blood vessel dilation, cancer, colic, cramps, cystitis, diabetes, diarrhea, digestive problems, excessive thirst, expectorant (induces cough), fertility, food preservative, gum disease, heart disease, hepatitis B, infections, insect bite/stings, insecticide, liver protection, lung congestion, menstrual disorders, menstrual flow stimulant, muscle pain, nausea, rash, rhinitis ("stuffy nose"), skin irritations, sleep aid, snake bites, sore throat, stimulant, vaginal infections.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
Savory has been taken in tea, cold infusion, or tablet form.
For high cholesterol, tablets containing 250 milligrams of dried savory leaves have been taken once daily for 60 days.
Children (under 18 years old)
Insufficient available evidence.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to savory, its constituents, or members of the Lamiaceae family. Savory may cause allergic skin reactions.
Side Effects and Warnings
Side effects from savory are rare.
Savory may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Savory may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Savory may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients with low blood pressure and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that lower blood pressure.
Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Savory is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Savory may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Savory may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Savory may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
Savory may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
Savory may also interact with antibiotics, anticancer drugs, antifungal agents, anti-inflammatory agents, antiparasitic agents, antiviral agents, cholesterol-lowering agents, cyclophosphamide, drugs that affect the nervous system, drugs that that may damage the liver, fertility agents, gastrointestinal agents, laxatives, muscle relaxants, painkillers, and prednisolone.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Savory may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Savory may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
Savory may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
Savory may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.
Savory may also interact with antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungal agents, anti-inflammatory agents, antioxidants, antiparasitic agents, antiviral agents, cholesterol-lowering agents, fertility agents, gastrointestinal agents, herbs and supplements that affect the nervous system, herbs and supplements that may damage the liver, laxatives, muscle relaxants, painkillers, and probiotics.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Baser KH. Biological and pharmacological activities of carvacrol and carvacrol bearing essential oils. Curr Pharm Des 2008;14(29):3106-19.View Abstract
Carramiñana JJ, Rota C, Burillo J, et al. Antibacterial efficiency of Spanish Satureja montana essential oil against Listeria monocytogenes among natural flora in minced pork. J Food Prot 2008;71(3):502-8.View Abstract
Cetojevic-Simin DD, Bogdanovic GM, Cvetkovic DD, et al. Antiproliferative and antimicrobial activity of traditional Kombucha and Satureja montana L. Kombucha. J BUON 2008;13(3):395-401.View Abstract
Gursoy UK, Gursoy M, Gursoy OV, et al. Anti-biofilm properties of Satureja hortensis L. essential oil against periodontal pathogens. Anaerobe 2009;15(4):164-7.View Abstract
Lampronti I, Saab AM, Gambari R. Antiproliferative activity of essential oils derived from plants belonging to the Magnoliophyta division. Int J Oncol 2006;29(4):989-95.View Abstract
Local Food-Nutraceuticals Consortium.Understanding local Mediterranean diets: a multidisciplinary pharmacological and ethnobotanical approach. Pharmacol Res 2005;52(4):353-66.View Abstract
Oussalah M, Caillet S, Lacroix M. Mechanism of action of Spanish oregano, Chinese cinnamon, and savory essential oils against cell membranes and walls of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes. J Food Prot 2006;69(5):1046-55.View Abstract
Razzaghi-Abyaneh M, Shams-Ghahfarokhi M, Yoshinari T, et al. Inhibitory effects of Satureja hortensis L. essential oil on growth and aflatoxin production by Aspergillus parasiticus. Int J Food Microbiol 2008;123(3):228-33.View Abstract
Redzić SS. The ecological aspect of ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology of population in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Coll Antropol 2007;31(3):869-90.View Abstract
Rodov V, Vinokur Y, Gogia N, et al. Hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidant capacities of Georgian spices for meat and their possible health implications. Georgian Med News 2010;(179):61-6.View Abstract
Skocibusić M, Bezić N. Phytochemical analysis and in vitro antimicrobial activity of two Satureja species essential oils. Phytother Res 2004;18(12):967-70.View Abstract
Tariku Y, Hymete A, Hailu A, et al. Essential-oil composition, antileishmanial, and toxicity study of Artemisia abyssinica and Satureja punctata ssp. punctata from Ethiopia. Chem Biodivers 2010;7(4):1009-18.View Abstract
Tzakou O, Skaltsa H. Composition and antibacterial activity of the essential oil of Satureja parnassica subsp parnassica. Planta Med 2003;69(3):282-4.View Abstract
Vosough-Ghanbari S, Rahimi R, Kharabaf S, et al. Effects of Satureja khuzestanica on Serum Glucose, Lipids and Markers of Oxidative Stress in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008 Feb 27. View Abstract
Yazdanparast R, Shahriyary L. Comparative effects of Artemisia dracunculus, Satureja hortensis and Origanum majorana on inhibition of blood platelet adhesion, aggregation and secretion. Vascul Pharmacol 2008;48(1):32-7.View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017