Semi-evergreen aromatic herb growing to 16 in (40 cm). Has lance-shaped leaves and white-pink flowers appearing in clusters.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to southern Europe, winter savory thrives in sunny, well-drained sites. It is commonly cultivated as a garden herb. The flowering tops are collected in summer.
Flowering tops, essential oil.
Winter savory contains about 1.6% volatile oil, composed mainly of carvacrol, p-cymene, linalool, and thymol.
History & Folklore
Winter savory was classified as “heating and drying” by the classical physicians Dioscorides and Galen, and was thought to have therapeutic benefits similar to those of thyme (Thymus vulgaris).
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Winter savory is most often used in cooking, but it also has marked medicinal benefits. It settles gas and stimulates digestion, helping to alleviate flatulence and colic. It is warming and has been taken for chest infections and bronchitis. The essential oil is strongly antibacterial and may be used to treat candidiasis and other fungal conditions.
Summer savory (S. hortensis) is a similar herb that has a milder essential oil. Calamint (Calamintha ascendens) is another close relative.
Do not take the essential oil internally without professional supervision. Do not take winter savory during pregnancy.