Satureja / Bonekruid

Botanical Description:

Summer savory is a low growing annual plant that can sometimes grow up to 18 inches tall. Generally, it has a purple hairy stem with narrow leaves. Summer savory flowers are small white to pink blossoms, and flowers from midsummer to the first fall frost when they should be cut and dried for winter use. Summer savory prefers moist soil and grows well in containers and from seed (Castleman, 1991). The summer, garden savory is more commonly grown and used (Grieve, 1971). Winter savory is a smaller, woody bush that grows 12 inches tall. It has similar leaves to summer savory but they appear darker. Winter savory flowers are white to lavender colored and bloom mid to late summer. It prefers dryer soil and may not overwinter in New England. When growing from seed, it may be slow to germinate. The leaves can be cut and used fresh when they reach 6 inches tall (Castleman, 1991). It is recommended to grow savory near bee hives, as the flowers attract bees and repel undesirable insects (Grieve, 1971).

Key Constituents:

Essential oil makes up between 0.2% and 3% of summer savory. It contains 30% carvacrol, 20% cymol (Tierra, 1988) pcymene 20-30%, 0.2-1.3% rosmarinic acid, alpha-thujene, alpha-pinene, beta-myrcene, alpha- and beta-terpinene, beta-caryophyllene, thymol (Gruenwald, 2007). The rosmarinic acid makes up 2137 +/- 233 mg/100g of plant extract and is a powerful polyphenol antioxidant (Exarchou, 2002). Winter savory essential oil has an orange to yellow color (Felter, 1898) and could adulterate summer savory essential oil.

Savory Uses

In ancient Rome, summer savory was linked to mythological satyrs, the lustful half-man, half-goat creatures who worshiped the God of Wine, Dionysus. This association led Romans to believe that summer savory was an aphrodisiac and the winter savory was a sexual depressant. This may be why summer savory is more popular today (Castleman, 1991). It was brought to Europe and became popular in Germany where the Saxons said it made all food taste savory, hence the name (Madaus, 1938, Castleman, 1991). It continued to be grown into the 9th century in European monastic gardens for its aphrodisiac properties (Madaus, 1938).

In 1672, John Josselyn, in his book New-England’s Rarities Discovered, observed that early American settlers brought savory with them to remind them of the gardens they left behind (Grieve, 1971; Bremness, 1988). By the 18th century, it had lost is associated as an aphrodisiac where, in Germany, it began being used for more respiratory and digestive conditions. It was also used as a uterine cleansing herb and for limb paralysis through the 18th century (Madaus, 1938).

Savory has aromatic and carminative properties but today is mostly used as a culinary herb. It is added to foods for its aromatic and warming qualities, as it also is to medicine formulas. Savory’s taste is often compared to thyme, oregano, and marjoram, and the medieval herbalist Hildegard von Bingen used savory as one of her main culinary herbs in salad dressings and other food preparations (Strehlow, 1988). It can be used in sausages, stuffing, soups, bean and cabbage dishes (Castleman, 1991), and with marjoram and thyme for turkey, veal, or fish (Grieve, 1971). For individuals on a salt free diet, savory is a good seasoning because of its spicy flavor. It has been used as a garnish replacing parsley and chervil (Grieve, 1971). Savory can also be added before roasting into fresh corn husks or sprinkled on sliced or broiled tomatoes (Rogers, 2014).

Savory makes a great infused oil and vinegar (Bremness, 1988). At one time, vinegar flavored with savory was used like mint sauce is now (Grieve, 1971) and is also delicious with wine vinegar for salad dressings. Savory also makes a good jelly (Bremness, 1988), syrup, and honey infusion. One can also create a smoke seasoning by throwing it on some on coals before grilling (Rogers, 2014); when allowed to smoke on a fire, it creates an aromatic disinfectant (Bremness, 1988). Some say summer savory is sweeter than winter savory but they can be used interchangeably in cooking (Castleman, 1991).

The most common topical use of savory is on wasp and bee stings where it gives instant relief from pain (Gremness, 1988; Grieve, 1971). It can be made into a poultice for sciatica and “palsied members” or paralyzed limbs (Castleman, 1991). For facial steams and baths, it is astringent and antiseptic, particularly good for oily skin (Bremness, 1988). Savory has also been used topically in the areas of romance. It was used by Egyptians and the French in love potions and in England as a massage lotion for “unromantic women.” Italian mothers would feed their soon to be wed daughters savory for a month before their wedding so that they would not be returned after their wedding night (Rogers, 2014).

Internally, savory is an ideal remedy for children. It is less powerful than other mints, making it a gentle but effective remedy for coughs and to soothe the stomach of little ones. It may also be effective for diarrhea due to the cineole compounds, which sooth the digestive tract (Castleman, 1991). Savory is also especially good at hiding bad tasting herbs in formulas (Rogers, 2014) that children may otherwise refuse.

For complaints of the digestive system, savory has a calming action on over-activity. As a digestive tonic, savory can reduce both vomiting and diarrhea, settle indigestion (Madaus, 1938; Bremness, 1988), and stimulate appetite (Bremness, 1988; Rogers, 2014). Savory is also an anthelmintic, supporting the removal of worms from the digestive system (Madaus, 1938). When diabetes presents with a strong thirst, savory may be particularly helpful (Madaus, 1938). It can also be used for excessive flatulence (Grieve, 1971) due to its tannic, astringent effect, helpful for various acute gastroenteritis-associated problems (Gruenwald, 2007).

Tincture of savory can be used as a carminative, and also applied to the teeth for toothaches (Felter, 1898). Eclectics liked savory essential oil and used it like clove oil for toothaches (Castleman, 1991), applying a drop or two to a cotton ball and placing that in the mouth near the painful tooth.

Due to the varied effects on the gastrointestinal system, savory has been evaluated for its ability to control blood lipid and glucose levels. Savory was found to inhibit peroxidation of lipids with its antioxidant actions. There was not a direct effect found on blood glucose levels, however. Rather, it was found that savory delays gastric emptying time resulting in prolonged digestion and extended feeling of food satisfaction. This perhaps may support food control for those with overeating challenges (Babajafari et al., 2015).

Up through the 17th century, savory had a strong history as an aphrodisiac, particularly for women. It then lost its relationship with lust and the summer and winter savories became interchangeable. There is no research at this time regarding savory as a sexual stimulant, particularly for women (Castleman, 1991). It was, however, considered to be an emmenagogue and menstrual suppressant by Felter (1898) and a uterine cleansing agent by Madaus (1938) who also recommended that pregnant women avoid savory ingestion because of its tonic effects on the uterus. Tierra (1988) now recommends savory to bring on menses and relieve the associated discomfort. Cook (1869) also used savory for painful obstructive menstruation, adding some debate on the validity Felter’s use as a menstruation suppressant.

Due to its historical use as a sexual depressant, some scientists began evaluating it as a potential treatment for premature ejaculation. Zavatti et al. (2011) found that it was effective against premature ejaculation in mice and did not result in any overall sedative effects on normal sexual function other than delaying ejaculation. Abd El Tavab et al. (2014) continued the research and found that winter savory has the ability to raise serum levels of testosterone, supporting evidence from previous studies on its effect on the male reproductive system. The authors also proposed that savory reduced testicular DNA damage from oxidative compounds, thereby improving the viability of sperm as well as delaying ejaculation.

A 2008 study looked into the effect of summer savory on the cardiovascular system. The authors found that savory reduced platelet adhesion by 48% at a concentration of 200ug/ml in methanol extract. The researchers believe that these observations “provide the basis for the traditional use of these herbs in treatments of cardiovascular diseases and thrombosis” (Yazdanparast and Shahriyari, 2008).

Culpepper also spoke of savory, saying “the juice dropped into the eyes removes dimness of sight if it proceed from thin humors distilled from the brain. The juice heated with oil of roses and dropped in the ears removes noise and singing and deafness.” He continues to recommend that summer savory is better for these uses (Grieve, 1971). It can also be eaten to help clear the eyes (Hozeski, 2001) particularly to sharpen the eyesight and relieve strain due to tiredness or poor lighting (Rogers, 2014). 18th century German Herbalist, Weinmann also used savory directly in the ear for earaches (Madaus, 1938).

Similar to oregano and thyme, savory can be used in baths and inhalations to clear the lungs and nasal passages of mucus. Like other mints, it also promotes perspiration to help cold and flu symptoms (Scudder, 1898; Madaus, 1938; Tierra, 1988). Scudder (1898) also recommended it specifically for the early stages of fevers and inflammatory diseases, similar to sage, when there is mucus trapped in the lungs. Cook used it as a stimulant for perspiration as well as for measles. All of these recorded uses suggest it may have been a general herb for colds and flus, although both Cook and Scudder have noted it wasn’t commonly used as medicine. Felter (1898) even used it as a stimulating tonic during the end stages of colds and flus to stimulate the energy returning to the body. In a wine tonic, savory could reduce fevers (Bremness, 1988) most likely through its perspiration induction.

Savory is both warm and moist, making it equally beneficial for both the sick and healthy to eat. It is said to strengthen individuals who are sick and weak in their hearts (Hozeski, 2001). Its warming nature also makes it a good expectorant and ideal for calming colic babies (Grieve, 1971). In Elizabethan times, savory poultice was applied to the chest for colds and other chest constrictive problems like asthma and mucous congestion (Rogers, 2014).

Topical application of savory was traditionally used in Turkey for infectious diseases and general inflammatory conditions involving the sinuses (Uslu et al., 2003). Uslu et al. found that a water extract of summer savory was effective at relieving rhinosinitus symptoms. This may be an ideal herb to use in a neti pot for nasal congestion.

The antimicrobial actions of savory are primarily attributed to the essential oils. In tests of hydrosols, savory had the highest antifungal effect tested, reaching 100% eradication on all but two samples (Boyraz and Ozcan, 2005). Savory essential oil is even effective at reducing oral bacterial growth. It is not effective at breaking biofilm, however (Gursoy et al., 2009). Essential oil, directly applied, in dilution, to stomach ileum tissue relaxed smooth muscles and showed antibacterial activity against common gastroenteritis and infectious diarrhea pathogens (Hajhashemi et al., 2000).

Gruenwald et al. (2007) observed savory’s antiseptic activity due to cymol and carvacrol in the essential oil and noted that an aqueous extract was also antiviral. Rosmarinic acid is by far the most studied component of the essential oil due to its high antioxidant capacity. It is the major component of an ethanoic extract of summer savory and specifically relieves oxidative stress from hydrogen peroxide through reducing signaling molecules such as IL-2 and IL-10 that stimulate an inflammatory response (Chkijikvishvili et al., 2013).

The essential oil is now being studied for use as a bio-fungicide for crop production systems to protect organically grown crops from spoiling (Boyraz and Ozcan, 2005). To expand the use of savory essential oil to this field, its extraction technique has been studied. Microwave assisted hydrodistillation was found to extract essential oil faster than traditional hydrodistillation with the same antibacterial effects on food pathogens (Rezvanpanah et al., 2011). This proposed use will require more testing because on a panel of bacterial and fungal tests, savory was found to be effective for a wide variety of microorganisms that affect humans but much less on plant pathogenic microorganisms (Sahin et al., 2003).

Madaus (1938) also suggested that savory could be used for gallbladder and heart problems but no other references suggesting this use have been found. Some references to savory being used for limb paralysis have been made by both Mattiolus and Culpepper (Madaus, 1938; Grieve 1971).


Abd El Tawab, A. M., Shahin, N. N., and AbdelMohsen, M. M. (2014). Protective effect of Satureja monatana extract on cyclophosphamide-induced testicular injury in rats. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 224, 196-205. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2014.11.001

Babajafari, S., Nikaein, F., Mazloomi, S. M., Zibaeenejad, M. J., and Zargaran, A. (2015). A review of the benefits of Satureja species on metabolic syndrome and their possible mechanisms of action. Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine. doi: 10.1177/2156587214564188I88

Boyraz, N. and Ozcan, M. (2005). Antifungal effect of some spice hydrosols. Fitoterapia. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2005.08.016

Bremness, L. (1988). The Complete Book of Herbs: A practical guide to growing & using herbs. New York, NY: Viking Studio Books. p 127.

Castleman, M. (1991). The Healing Herbs: The ultimate guide to the curative power of nature’s medicines. New York, NY: Bantam Books. p 480-483.

Chkjikvishvili, I., Sanikidze, T., Gogia, N., Mchedlishvili, T., Enukidze, M., Machavariani, M., Vinokur, Y., and Rodov, V. (2013). Rosmarinic acid-rich extracts of summer savory (Satureja hortensis L.) protect jurkat T cells against oxidative stress. Hindawi Publishing Corporation. doi: 10.1155/2013/456253

Cook, W. (1869). The Physiomedical Dispensatory. Retrieved on 5/15/15 from

Exarchou, V., Nenadis, N., Tisimidou, M., Gerothanassis, I. P., Troganis, A., and Boskou, D. (2002). Antioxidant activities and phenolic composition of extracts from Greek oregano, Greek sage, and summer savory. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 50, 5294-5299.

Felter, H. W., Lloyd, J. U. (1898). King’s American Dispensatory. Retrieved on 4/15/15 from

Greive, M. (1971). A Modern Herbal. Vol 2. New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc. p 718-719.

Gruenwald, J. ed., Brendler, T. ed., Jaenicke, C. ed. (2007). Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines 4th Ed. Montvale, NJ: Thomson Healthcare Inc. p 825.

Gursoy, U. K., Gursoy, M., Gursoy, O. V., Cakmakci, L., Kononen, E., and Uitto. V-J. (2009). Anti-biofilm properties of Satureja hortensis L. essential oil against periodontal pathogens. Anaerobe. 15, 164-167.

Hajhashemi, V., Ghannadi, A., Pezeshkian, S. K. (2002). Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Satureja hortensis L. extracts and essential oil. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 82, 83-87.

Hajhashemi, V., Sadraei, H., Gannadi, A. R., and Mohseni, M. (2000). Antispasmodic and anti-diarrhoeal effect of Satureja hortensis L. essential oil. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 71, 187-192.

Hozeski, B. trans. (2001). Hildegard’s Healing Plants: from her medieval classic physica. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. p 36.

Madaus, G. (1938). Textbook of Biological Remedies. Retrieved on 4/15/15 from Translated by Google Translate

Rezvanpanah, S., Rezaei, K., Golmakani, M-T., and Razavi, S. H. (2011). Antibacterial properties and chemical characterization of the essential oils from summer savory extracted by microwave-assisted hyrdrodistillation. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology. 42, 1453-1462.

Rogers, M. ed. (2014). Herbalpedia: Savory-Herb of the year 2015. Retrieved on 4/15/15 from

Sahin, F., Karaman, I., Gulluce, M., Ogutcu, H., Sengul, M., Adiguzel, A., Ozturk, S., and Kotan, R. (2003). Evaluation of antimicrobial activities of Satureja hortensis L. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 87, 61-65.

Scudder, J. (1898). The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics. Retrieved on 4/15/15 from

Scudder, J. (1898). The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics. Retrieved on 4/15/15 from

Silva, F. V., Martins, A., Salta, J., Neng, N. R., Nogueira, J. M. F., Mira, D., Gaspar, N., Justino, J., Grosso, C., Urieta, J. S., Palavra, A. M. S., and Rauter, A. P. (2009). Phytochemical profile and anticholinesterase and antimicrobial activities of supercritical versus conventional extracts of Satureja montana. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 57, 11557-11563. doi: 10.1021/jf901786p

Strehlow, W., Hertzka, G. (1988). Hildegard of Bingen’s Medicine. Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company, Inc. p 62.

Tierra, M. (1988). Planetary Herbology. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press. p 151-152.

Uslu, C., Karasen, R. M., Sahin, F., Taysi, S., and Akcay, F., (2003). Effects of aqueous extracts of Satureja hortensis L. on rhinosinusitis treatment in rabbit. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 88, 225-228.

Yazdanparast, R. and Shahriyary, L. (2008). Comparative effects of Artemisia dracunulus, Satureja hortensis and Origanum majorana on inhibition of blood platelet adhesion, aggregation and secretion. Vascular Pharmacology. 48, 32-37.

Zavatti, M., Zanoli, P., Benellia, A., Ravasi, M., Baraldi, C., and Baraldi, M. (2011). Experimental study on Satureja montana as a treatment for premature ejaculation. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 133, 629-633.

Satureja monograph

The genus Satureja L. contains over 30 species. S. montana contains numerous subspecies, and there is much variability in morphologic characteristics with the species S. montana L. The various species within the genus Satureja hortensis L. are primarily located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean region, but can be found throughout many parts of the world. Summer savory is an annual herb with oblong leaves that grow to about 0.7 m in height. Winter savory is a perennial shrub that grows to about the same height; the leaves of winter savory share some common characteristics with summer savory. Flowers of both species are pink to blue-white and flower from June to September. 1 , 2 , 3 , 4


The savories have been used for centuries as cooking herbs and have flavors reminiscent of oregano and thyme. Because the flavor of summer savory is somewhat sweeter than that of winter savory, summer savory is used almost exclusively in commerce. The green leaves and stems, both fresh and dried, along with extracts, are used as flavors in the baking and food industries. 1 , 2 , 5

Tertiary resources document both summer and winter savory having a history of use in traditional medicine as tonics, carminatives, astringents, and expectorants, and for the treatment of intestinal problems such as diarrhea and nausea. However, the scientific literature primarily documents S. hortensis as a folk remedy in treating various ailments such as cramps, muscle pains, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, and infectious diseases. Tertiary resources also document summer savory as being an aphrodisiac, while winter savory is said to decrease libido. 1 , 3 , 5 , 6


Dried summer savory contains approximately 1% of a volatile oil composed primarily of carvacrol, thymol, and monoterpene hydrocarbons such as beta-pinene, p-cymene, limonene, and camphene. The leaves contain a variety of minor components including minerals and vitamins. 2 , 7

Winter savory contains about 1.6% of a volatile oil. Some authors document the dominant components of the oil as caryophyllene and geraniol or as carvacrol. Twenty-one compounds, which represent 97.4% of the total oil, have been identified. The major compound was phenolic monoterpene thymol followed by monoterpenic hydrocarbons p-cymene, gamma-terpinene, oxygen-containing compounds carvacrol methyl ether, thymol methyl ether, carvacrol, geraniol, and borneol. It also contains triterpenic acids including ursolic and oleanolic acids. The relative composition of the volatile oil varies with location of cultivation, the species, and the strain. 4 , 5 , 7 , 8 , 9

Uses and Pharmacology

S. hortensis has in vitro antispasmodic, antidiarrheal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.

Chemotherapeutic activity

In vitro

The proposed mechanism of action is related to the high content of phenolic components in the essential oil, particularly carvacrol and thymol. It is also suggested that the chemotherapeutic activity is associated with these chemicals acting synergistically. 10

One study examined the antimicrobial activities of hexane and methanol extracts of S. hortensis L. The hexane extract of S. hortensis inhibited 4 strains belonging to 3 Bacillus species ( Bacillus amyloliquefaciens , Bacillus megaterium , and Bacillus sphaericus ). The methanol extract inhibited 6 Candida albicans isolates and 23 strains of 11 species belonging to 5 different bacterial genera including B. amyloliquefaciens , Bacillus atrophaeus , Bacillus macerans , B. megaterium , Bacillus pumilus , B. sphaericus , Bacillus substilis , Escherichia coli , Kocuria varians , Micrococcus luteus , and Pantoea agglomerans . 11

The antifungal activity of the essential oil was studied and inhibition of growth was found against Alternaria alternate , Aspergillus flavus , Aspergillus variecolor , Fusarium culmorum , Fusarium oxysporum , Penicillium spp., Rhizopus spp., Rhizoctonia solani , Moniliania fructicola , Trichophyton rubrum , Trichophyton mentagrophytes , Microsporum canis , Sclerotinia sclerotiorum , and Sclerotinia minor . The authors of this study suggest that the antifungal activity of S. hortensis essential oil is higher than that of amphotericin B. 10

The essential oil of S. montana L. has broad-spectrum activity against 46 species of yeast. S. montana L. also has potent anti-HIV-1 activity. 12 , 13

Antispasmodic and antidiarrheal activity

In vitro

S. hortensis essential oil inhibits acetylcholine concentration by activating muscarinic receptors, which reduces ileum contraction and mediates the response of acetylcholine. 14

S. hortensis L. is reported to have a spasmolytic effect on isolated smooth muscle and may have an antidiarrheal effect due to the phenolic compounds in the oil and the tannins contained in the plant. S. hortensis essential oil inhibits castor oil-induced diarrhea and is a relaxant of rat ileum smooth muscle in vitro. The effects were qualitatively similar to dicyclomine. 2 , 6 , 7 , 14

Anti-inflammatory activity

In vitro

The anti-inflammatory activity of S. hortensis L. was examined based on measurements of nitric oxide metabolites and histological changes in rabbits being treated for rhinosinusitis. The concentration of nitric oxide metabolites and activity of nitric oxide synthesis in mucosal specimens were reduced by topical administration of S. hortensis L. extract. As compared with the control group, histological evidence demonstrated no edema and/or reduced inflammation. S. hortensis also inhibited carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats. 1 , 15


The oil has been reported to possess an antidiuretic effect due to carvacrol. 5 Teas made with savory have been used traditionally in Europe to treat excessive thirst in diabetic patients, a use that may have some pharmacologic basis. 6

The antioxidant properties of S. hortensis L. may be related to its secondary metabolites. 16 , 17


There is no clinical evidence to support specific doses of savory for therapeutic use. The herb is widely used in foods as a condiment and seasoning.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Research reveals little or no information regarding adverse reactions with the use of savory.

The oil is strongly irritating in animal skin models, but is not phototoxic. 7 In diluted form, the oil is not irritating to human skin.


Savory is generally recognized as safe for use as a condiment and flavoring. When applied undiluted to the backs of hairless mice, summer savory oil was lethal to half of the animals within 48 hours. 7


1. Uslu C, Murat Karasen R, Sahin F, Taysi S, Akcay F. Effects of aqueous extracts of Satureja hortensis L. on rhinosinusitis treatment in rabbit. J Ethnopharmacol . 2003;88:225-228.

2. Simon JE. Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography, 1971-1980 . Hamden, CT: Shoe String Press; 1984.

3. Schauenberg P, Paris F. Guide To Medicinal Plants . New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing; 1990.

4. Slavkovska V, Jancic R, Bojovic S, Milosavljevic S, Djokovic D. Variability of essential oils of Satureja montana L. and Satureja kitaibelii Wierzb. ex Heuff. from the central part of the Balkan peninsula. Phytochemistry . 2001;57:71-76.

5. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs . Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1985.

6. Tyler VE. The New Honest Herbal . 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: G.F. Stickley Co.; 1987.

7. Leung AY. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used In Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics . New York, NY: J. Wiley and Sons; 1980.

8. De Vincenzi M, Stammati A, De Vincenzi A, Silano M. Constituents of aromatic plants: carvacrol. Fitoterapia . 2004;75:801-804.

9. 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;37:673-679.

10. Güllüce M, Sökmen M, Daferera D, et al. In vitro antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant activities of the essential oil and methanol extracts of herbal parts and callus cultures of Satureja hortensis L. J Agric Food Chem . 2003;51:3958-3965.

11. Sahin F, Karaman I, Güllüce M, et al. Evaluation of antimicrobial activities of Satureja hortensis L. J Ethnopharmacol . 2003;87:61-65.

12. Ciani M, Menghini L, Mariani F, Pagiotti R, Menghini A, Fatichenti F. Antimicrobial properties of essential oil of Satureja montana L. on pathogenic and spoilage yeasts. Biotechnol Lett . 2000;22:1007-1010.

13. Yamasaki K, Nakano M, Kawahata T, et al. Anti-HIV-1 activity of herbs in Labiatae. Biol Pharm Bull . 1998;21:829-833.

14. Hajhashemi V, Sadraei H, Ghannadi AR, Mohseni M. Antispasmodic and anti-diarrhoeal effect of Satureja hortensis L. essential oil. J Ethnopharmacol . 2000;71:187-192.

15. Hajhashemi V, Ghannadi A, Pezeshkian SK. Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Satureja hortensis L. extracts and essential oil. J Ethnopharmacol . 2002;82:83-87.

16. Souri E, Amin G, Farsam H, Andaji S. The antioxidant activity of some commonly used vegetables in Iranian diet. Fitoterapia . 2004;75:585-588.

17. Dorman HJD, Hiltunen R. Fe(III) reductive and free radical-scavenging properties of summer savory ( Satureja hortensis L.) extract and subfractions. Food Chem . 2004;88:193-199.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Jul;71(1-2):187-92. Antispasmodic and anti-diarrhoeal effect of Satureja hortensis L. essential oil.Hajhashemi V, Sadraei H, Ghannadi AR, Mohseni M.This study shows that SHEO is a relaxant of rat isolated ileum. In addition to antispasmodic activity in vitro, essential oil of this plant at a dose of 0.1 ml/100 g inhibited castor oil induced diarrhoea in mice. As the inhibition of contractile overactivity of the ileum is the base of the treatment of some gastrointestinal disorders such as colic, SHEO may have clinical benefits for treatment of these conditions.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Oct;82(2-3):83-7.Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Satureja hortensis L. extracts and essential oil.

Hajhashemi V, Ghannadi A, Pezeshkian SK.

Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.


Satureja hortensis L. (Lamiaceae) is a medicinal plant used in Iranian folk medicine as muscle and bone pain reliever. In the present study, hydroalcoholic extract, polyphenolic fraction and essential oil of the aerial parts of the herb were prepared and evaluated for the analgesic activity using light tail flick, formalin and acetic acid-induced writhing in mice. Also, the anti-inflammatory effects of the above-mentioned preparations were assessed using carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats. Results showed that in the light tail flick test neither the essential oil nor the extracts could exert any significant effect. The hydroalcoholic extract (2000 mg/kg, p.o.) and the essential oil (200 mg/kg, p.o.) inhibited the mice writhing responses caused by acetic acid. In formalin test, hydroalcoholic extract (500-2000 mg/kg, p.o.), polyphenolic fraction (250-1000 mg/kg, p.o.) and the essential oil (50-200 mg/kg, p.o.) showed analgesic activity and pretreatment with naloxone (1 mg/kg, i.p.) or caffeine (20 mg/kg, i.p.) failed to reverse this antinociceptive activity. Polyphenolic fraction (1000 mg/kg, p.o.) and the essential oil (200 mg/kg) reduced edema caused by carrageenan. These results suggest that S. hortensis L. has antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects and probably mechanism(s) other than involvement of opioid and adenosine receptors mediate(s) the antinociception.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jan 27;133(2):629-33. Epub 2010 Oct 30.Experimental study on Satureja montana as a treatment for premature ejaculation.

Zavatti M, Zanoli P, Benelli A, Rivasi M, Baraldi C, Baraldi MDepartment of Anatomy and Histology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via del Pozzo 71, 41100 Modena, Italy.


Satureja montana (winter savory) is a medicinal plant traditionally used to treat different disorders including male sexual dysfunction. In this study we evaluated the effect of Satureja montana hydroalcoholic extract on copulatory behavior of sexually potent male rats.


The extract was orally administered acutely or repetitively for 8 consecutive days at the doses of 25 and 50 mg/kg. The main parameters of sexual behavior, mount (ML), intromission (IL), ejaculation (EL) latencies and post-ejaculatory interval (PEI), were evaluated in animals submitted to mating test and multiple ejaculations test. Testosterone serum levels were measured in rats acutely treated with Satureja montana extract dosed at 50 mg/kg. In addition the open field test was conducted to evaluate the locomotor behavior.


When acutely administered at both dosages, the extract was able to significantly increase EL and decrease intromission frequency (IF) in comparison with controls. The significant increase in EL was found also when the extract was subacutely administered, daily for 8 consecutive days, at the dose of 25 mg/kg. In the multiple ejaculations test, EL values of treated rats were significantly increased during the 1st and 2nd sequence in comparison with controls; in addition only rats treated with the extract were able to reach the 4th ejaculation within 30 min. Testosterone serum level measured in rats acutely treated with Satureja montana at the dose of 50 mg/kg was significantly increased in rats in comparison with controls. Finally, the locomotor activity recorded in the open field test was not affected by the acute administration of the plant extract.


These data suggest that Satureja montana could be considered as a natural remedy for the treatment of premature ejaculation delaying ejaculation latency without exerting any negative effect on the other parameters of sexual behavior and without exerting a sedative effect. In addition the increased serum level of testosterone confirms the positive influence of Satureja montana on male sexual function.

J BUON. 2004 Oct-Dec;9(4):443-9. Antioxidative and antiproliferative effects of Satureja montana L. extracts. Cetojević-Simin DD, Canadanović-Brunet JM, Bogdanović GM, Cetković GS, Tumbas VT, Djilas SM. Institute of Oncology Sremska Kamenica, Department of Experimental Oncology, Sremska Kamenica, Serbia and Montenegro.

To study in vitro the antioxidative effect of 6 Satureja montana L. extracts on free radicals and their antiproliferative effect on human tumor cell lines.


The antioxidative effect of extracts on 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picryhydrazyl (DPPH) radical was investigated by electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy. Cell growth effect was measured by sulforhodamine B colorimetric assay on HeLa (human cervix epidermoid carcinoma), HT-29 (human colon adenocarcinoma), and MCF-7 (human breast adenocarcinoma) cell lines. IC(50) values were calculated from the concentration response curves following 48 h exposure time.


The antioxidative activity of extracts increased dose-dependently at mass concentrations ranging from 0.05 to 0.3 mg/ml, and decreased in the following order: n-butanol > methanol > water > ethyl acetate > petroleum ether. All extracts effected cell growth but in a different way, depending on the extract dose and cell line. Extracts exhibited antiproliferative effect on HeLa cell line with IC(50) values ranging from 0.41 to 0.84 mg/ml except petroleum ether (IC(50) >1 mg/ml). Petroleum ether and chloroform extracts stimulated proliferation of HeLa cells within a concentration range from 0.0625 to 0.125 mg/ml. No extract reduced MCF-7 cells growth by 50% even at the concentration of 1 mg/ml. Only petroleum ether and chloroform extracts induced significant growth inhibition of HT-29 cells (IC(50) was approximately 0.74 mg/ml for both extracts). Strong stimulation of HT-29 proliferation was observed within a concentration range from 0.0625 to 0.25 mg/ml for petroleum ether, n-butanol and chloroform extract, and from 0.0625 to 0.5 mg/ml for methanol and water extracts, respectively.


The obtained results indicated that Satureja montana L. extracts are strong antioxidants in vitro. ESR data demonstrated that n-butanol, methanol and water Satureja montana L. extracts possess high antioxidative activity. Chloroform extract did not show any antioxidative activity. Satureja montana L. extracts selectively inhibited the growth of human tumor cells.

The antioxidative activity of summer savory (Satureja hortensis L.) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) in dressing stored exposed to light or in darkness.Madsen HL, Sorensen B, Skibsted LH, Bertelsen G

Food Chemistry [1998, 63(2):173-180]

For an oil-in-water emulsion dressing, addition of 0.15% of dried leaves of summer savory (Satureja hortensis L.) or more significantly of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.), resulted in a significantly better antioxidative protection than addition of 80 ppm propyl gallate (standard concentration for this type of product) during dark storage at 19 degrees C for up to 24 weeks, as determined by development of conjugated dienes, peroxide value, head space hexanal and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances. Addition of freeze-dried methanol extract of the two spices, in an equivalent concentration, had less antioxidative effect, but was comparable to the effect of propyl gallate. Exposure to fluorescent light (850 lux) during storage had a clear pro-oxidative effect for dressing with or without spice or spice extract added, when compared to dark storage. For dressing with extract of savory added, the antioxidative effect found for dark storage was during light exposure, changed to a pro-oxidative effect, and a hexanal level as high as 600 mg kg-1 oil was detected after 8 weeks of storage, while the net antioxidative effect of rosemary was maintained for storage exposed to light.