What is Savory Winter?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 December 2019
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Savory winter is an essential oil that is extracted from the flowers of the winter savory, or Satureja Montana, plant. The botanical name, Satureja, was coined by the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder and comes from the word satyr. He thought it appropriate as the herb has long been famed as an aphrodisiac and, according to a myth, eating the herb was what gave satyrs their legendary sexual prowess.

It is a perennial plant that occurs naturally in some parts of Europe and Africa, and has been transplanted successfully in other parts of the world; it grows well in areas of sufficient sunlight and well-drained soils. Winter savory is a dwarf shrub, known as a sub-shrub, and does not grow much higher than 30 cm (12 inches). With its dark gray-green leaves, herbaceous branches and white flowers, it is an attractive-looking plant and can be used to an ornamental effect in a kitchen herbal garden. It is known to attract pollinators and repel pests. The plant is edible and is used as a spicy seasoning in various culinary preparations.


The flowers grow in bunches and are usually harvested in the summer. The picked flowers then undergo steam distillation to extract the savory winter essential oil. The oil may be either yellow or orange in color, and has a pungent, aromatic odor. It is widely used as an aromatherapy oil, but it is advisable to take this treatment under the guidance of an experienced aromatherapist and to avoid it altogether if pregnant. Savory winter is known to be a dermal toxin, and injudicious use could lead to dermal irritations.

The oil can be used to treat hair loss problems, and is used as an ingredient in making hair care lotions, massage oils, bath oils, perfumes, soaps and dental cleansers. The antiseptic properties of the essential oil make it highly effective in various herbal remedies to counter bacteria, fungi and viruses. As an antifungal, it is used to treat and limit the infections caused by Candida albicans.

The savory winter essential oil can be an effective home herbal remedy against colds, sore throats and bronchial problems, and can also be used to treat indigestion, colic, diarrhea and flatulence. Savory winter oil has a positive effect on the body's circulation, and is therefore well-suited to provide relief from menstrual disorders, arthritis and rheumatism. The oil can also provide a soothing herbal remedy for wasp stings and other bug bites.


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