Mountain Savory (Satureja montana) a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family is a dwarf woody evergreen perennial 16 inch shrub that spreads to about 8-12 inches, with whirls of tiny lavender-white colored flowers which bloom in summer. The leaves are small lance shaped dark green and very aromatic. About 30 species belong to this genus.
Perfuming dry hillsides in it’s native Mediterranean habitat winter savory prefers loose poor soil conditions, sunny, dry/well drained locations and is a hardy perennial in zones 5-8, unlike it’s relative summer savory (Satureja hortensis) which is an annual. Mountain savory branches profusely from the ground up and produces lanceolate, pointed leaves on more or less hairy stems.
Cutting the tops (growing tips) of mountain savory several times throughout the growing season will produce a more bushy plant in the herb garden. Plants can become woody after 2-3 years. To propagate, start by taking cuttings from the best plants in the garden, taken during the summer, or by dividing your best plants in early spring.
I personally do not distill my own essential oils as it takes far more of the plant material than any average garden can grow. Still I enjoy growing my favorite herbs because I like to see live plants and use the medicinal species for minor flavoring or concoctions. When I want good and fast relief from an ailment, I always turn to my essential oils. Read How Dried Herbs Compare to Essential Oils
One of my favorite uses including mountain savory is when I want a strong antibiotic action. This is one essential oil that I always have extra of in my First Aid Kit. For this I use:
- 4 drops Lemon essential oil
- 4 drops Mountain Savory essential oil
- 4 drops Oregano essential oil
I combine these essential oils in a “0″ size vegetable capsule and top off the capsule with olive oil. I take 2-3 of these capsules a day and have always had great results.
Mountain Savory Dipping Oil
The flavor is peppery and pungent. One of my favorite culinary uses of mountain savory essential oil is to put a couple drops in a dipping dish with about 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil for dipping my crusty homemade bread.
A Word of Caution on the Internal Use of Essential Oils
I only use Young Living Essential Oils because they are high quality and as long as the oil comes from an edible plant they can be used internally, unlike aromatherapy oils found in stores and online which should NEVER be taken internally or used in cooking.
More Recipes on Cooking with Essential Oils
The Satureja species are food plants for the larva of some Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). Caterpillars of the moth Coleophora bifrondella feed exclusively on mountain savory (Satureja montana).
History, Stories and Myths
Traditionally, mountain savory has been used as a general tonic for the body. Having strong antibacterial, antifunal, antiviral, antiparasitic and immune stimulating properties mountain savory is one of my favorite medicinal essential oils.
Known as “bean herb” in Germany, the savories not only provide flavor but cut down on the gas produced by beans. They also eliminate the strong odors in cabbage and turnips if you put 2 to 3 leaves, or one drop of mountain savory essential oil in the cooking water.
Anyone suffering from low blood pressure (Hypotension) would do well to use savory in addition to hyssop (not to be used if Epileptic) in the preparation of food. This herb was also highly valued in the Middle Ages because it was thought to stimulate the gonads.
For a long time, both summer savory and mountain savory were thought to be psychological and physical stimulants and had a reputation as aphrodisiacs. This apparently came about because the Latin word satureia was a synonym for the aphrodisiac made from savory, thus people suspected wrongly that there was a connection between the genus name lecherous satyrs of mythology. Clearly there was a mistaken definition happening…
lech·er·ous (lchr-s) adj. Given to, characterized by, or eliciting lechery. Adj.1. lecherous – given to excessive indulgence in sexual activity; “a lecherous gleam in his eye”; “a lecherous good-for-nothing.”
sa·tyr (str, str) n. often Satyr Greek Mythology. A woodland creature depicted as having the pointed ears, legs, and short horns of a goat and a fondness for unrestrained revelry.
Key Constituents of Mountain Savory Essential Oil:
Carvacrol Methyl Ether (4-9%)
ORAC Score: 11,300 &muTE/100g H
Using Mountain Savory Essential Oil
- Topically: Dilute one drop mountain savory with 4 TBSP V-6 Massage Oil, apply as many drops of this mixture to location or Vita Flex points and gently massage in.
- Supplement: As a supplement, put one drop in a capsule or in 4 fl. oz. of goat, cow or rice milk.
Possible skin sensitivity, mountain savory is considered a ‘hot’ essential oil due to it’s spiciness. If pregnant or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician.
Selected Research on Mountain Savory:
- Yamasaki K, et al. “Anti-HIV-1 activity of herbs in Labiatae.”; Biol Pharm Bull. 1998; 21(8):829-33.
- Panizzi L, et al. “Composition and anti microbial properties of essential oils of four Mediterranean Lamiaceae.”; J Ethnopharmacol. 1993;39(3):167-70.
- Radonic A, Milos M. “Chemical composition and in vitro evaluation of antioxidant effect of free volatile compounds from Satureja montana L.”; Free Radic Res. 2003 Jun;37(6):673-9.
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