Savory, Winter

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Savory, Winter

Botanical Name: Satureia montana (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Part Used: Herb.

Winter Savory is a dwarf, hardy, perennial, glabrous or slightly pubescent under shrub, also a native of Southern Europe, and it has been known in Great Britain since 1562.

The stems are woody at the base, diffuse, much branched. The leaves are oblong, linear and acute, or the lower ones spatulate or wedge-shaped and obtuse. The flowers, in bloom in June, are very pale-purple, the cymes shortly pedunculate, approximating to a spike or raceme.

Cultivation: It is propagated either from seeds, sown at a similar period and in the same manner as Summer Savory, or from cuttings and divisions of root. It is woodier and more bushy than Summer Savory.

Cuttings formed of young side shoots, with a heel attached, may be taken in April or June, and will readily root under a hand-glass, or in a shady border outside.

Divisions of the roots should be made in March or April, and plants obtained in this way, or from cuttings, should be permanently inserted during a showery period in the latter part of summer, in rows, at the distance of 1 foot apart.

The plant grows better in a poor, stony soil than a rich one. In a rich soil, plants take in too much moisture to stand the severity of our winter. In soil that suits it, Winter Savory makes a good-sized shrub. It will continue for several years, but when the plants are old the shoots are short and not so well furnished with leaves. It is, therefore, well to raise a supply of young plants every other year.

Parkinson tells us that Winter Savory used to be dried and powdered and mixed with grated bread-crumbs, 'to breade their meate, be it fish or flesh, to give it a quicker relish.' It is recommended by old writers, together with other herbs, in the dressing of trout.

When dried, it is used as seasoning in the same manner as Summer Savory, but is not employed medicinally.

Culpepper says that it is a good remedy for the colic.

Other Species:
Satureia thymbra, which is used in Spain as a spice and is closely allied to the Savories grown in English kitchen gardens, yields an oil containing about 19 per cent of thymal. Other species of Satureia contain carvacrol. The oil from wild plants of Winter Savory contains 30 or 40 per cent of carvacrol, and that from cultivated plants still more.