Summer Savory

Summer savory is an aromatic plant from the mint family (Lamiaceae) which is known for its pleasant taste. It is an essential ingredient in the American and East-European cuisines. Savory is an herb that seems to be an amalgamation of sage, thyme, and rosemary in the context of taste, traits, and flavor. These plants feature a needle-shaped, narrow, smooth gray-green colored leaves along with purplish pink flowers. The leaves exude a mildly sweet flavor similar to the blend of marjoram, thyme, and oregano. It is a bushy loose plant that can grow up to 18 inches and have woody branches like rosemary. The herb is enriched with various scented oils hence, releases an intense pine-like aroma. Summer savory remains available throughout the year.

The plant is highly tolerant to diverse climatic conditions and demands a good amount of sunlight to grow. It can reach a maximum height of 40-60 cm. Satureja montana (winter savory) is its sister variety that is characterized by sharp, pungent/tart flavor, purple flowers, hard stems, and intense aroma, therefore it is less preferred for cooking.

Scientific Name

Satureja  hortensis

Other Names

  • Bonenkruid
  • Cubar
  • Bohnekraut
  • Grishm jadee buti
  • Sarriette
  • Ajedrea
  • Throubi
  • Yaz Kokulu
  • Cimbru
  • Marzeh
  • Santoreggia

Nutrition Content

Nutrients Value (Per 100 g)
Total Fat 5.91 g
Dietary Fiber 45.7 g
Energy 272 Kcal
Cholesterol 0 mg
Niacin 4.080 mg
Carbohydrates 68.73 g
Pyridoxine 1.810 mg
Protein 6.73 g
Vitamin C 50 mg
Riboflavin 0.471 mg
Vitamin A 5310 IU
Thiamin 0.366 mg
Zinc 4.30 mg
Phosphorous 140 mg
Copper 0.847 mg
Magnesium 377 mg
Calcium 2132 mg
Potassium 1051 mg
Selenium 4.6 µg
Iron 37.88 mg
Sodium 24 mg
Manganese 6.100 mg
Phytosterols 1.3 mg

Health Benefits

  • The tea prepared from dried or fresh herbs assists in treating the intestinal parasites and worms as well as provides relief from various conditions like a cough, headache, throat, colic, and cold
  • Essential oil from the plant helps in curing headaches, joint pains, and gout (to avoid the skin irritation one can dilute the oil)
  • Alcohol manufactured by adding this herb acts as an effective disinfectant and treats the wounds as well as skin infection
  • Applying the sprig or leaves of summer savory by rubbing on bee sting spot and wasp relieves the pain
  • Possesses antispasmodic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties due to the availability of carvacrol (volatile oil) in it
  • Dietary fiber present in it helps in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing the good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Leaves hold the properties of several crucial volatile oil phenols like carvacrol and thymol
  • Has the presence of many essential compounds such as camphene, myrcene, Linalool, caryophyllene, terpineol, and other terpenoids
  • Thymol content makes summer savory antifungal and antiseptic in nature
  • Carvacrol compound prevents the growth of bacteria such as Bacillus cereus and E.coli and is used as a preservative and food additive due to its anti-bacterial qualities
  • Develops resistance in the body against infectious pathogens due to the presence of Vitamin C and helps in scavenging pro-inflammatory and harmful free radicals

Other Medicinal Uses

  • Herb is enriched with essential minerals and vitamins which help in maintaining the optimum health. It holds the abundance of iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc
  • Potassium present aids in regulating blood pressure and heart rate
  • Assists in red blood cell formation
  • Helps in relieving the stress by soothing neurotransmitter
  • Vitamin A maintains the health of skin, eyes, and mucosa due to being an antioxidant as well as a fat-soluble vitamin
  • The flavonoids and carotenes present in this plant protects the oral cavity and lungs from cancer
  • Assists in digestion

Side Effects

  • Can slow blood clotting
  • Increases the risk of bleeding
  • Causes skin problems
  • Results in irritation and inflammation
  • Can cause allergies
  • Can give rise to stomach disturbances

Uses

  • Used in fresh or dried form for making curry or soup
  • Added as a seasoning in various cuisines/dishes like stews, barbecues, pies, grilled meat, soups, and sauces
  • Added in scrambled egg and omelet by chopping them
  • Used as garnishing agent along with parsley
  • Consumed alongside paprika and salt by adding in Bulgarian cuisine sharena sol/colorful salt
  • Used as a flavor enhancer
  • Utilized as key ingredients of a unique cuisine ‘sarmale’ that get prepared from the rolls made of grape leaves and stuffed cabbage
  • Offers a tangy taste and marjoram like flavor to the food
  • The herb is used for preparing a blend of aromatic herbs (“herbes de Provence”)
  • Mixed in bread stuffing
  • Used in some Romanian dishes
  • Consumed as a substitute for salt by the individuals preferring a low sodium diet
  • Used for marinating and dressing salads

During Pregnancy

There is no reported case or evidence of severe side effects of consuming summer savory during pregnancy. However, the infusions prepared from this herb are considered to be an effective cure for edema and convulsion in expecting mothers. Many experts and medical professionals suggest that pregnant women and lactating mothers should avoid eating summer savory in any form because it can cause serious health complications. One must take advice from the doctor before eating or adding this herb to their diet.

How to Prepare?

  • Choose fine shoots and leaves
  • Rinse them in cold water
  • Spread them on a paper towel to be dry
  • Cut or make small slices with a knife
  • Use as per your requirement

Recipes

  • Sausage stuffing with summer savory
  • Brined fried chicken
  • Warm potato and green bean salad
  • Marinated tomatoes with lemon
  • Savory herb butter
  • Mushroom Pate
  • Mici

Interesting facts

  • In ancient times, Romans believed that this herb is linked/associated with their half man and half goat deity ‘’
  • From its Roman mythological connection it is said to be a stimulator of sexual desire, i.e., it is an aphrodisiac
  • Summer savory is more popular than its cousin winter savory
  • This herb has around thirty cultivars and types, but only two are popularly known and comes in medicinal and culinary use
  • It is an annual plant

Storage

Generally, separated leaves and cut shoots are allowed to be dried at room temperature on a sheet or screen for preserving it. Those dried leaves need to be kept in an airtight container and stored in a dark, cool and dry place where it will survive for several months. Another way of preserving is to wrap them (fresh leaves) in moisten paper towels then keep them in the plastic and put inside the refrigerator. You can also place these herbs in a bottle filled with vinegar and place them in the fridge.

References

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