Summer savory ( Satureja hortensis) may not be as commonly used as other herbs and spices, but it has many health benefits you can harness to your advantage this summer.

It contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help fight free radicals in the body and prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular problems.

The herb also has antiseptic properties that can help boost the immune system, ward off infections, and maintain overall wellness and good health. Keep reading to learn more about this unique but beneficial herb, including how to add it to your diet.

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Summer savory herb on white background

What is Summer Savory?

Summer savory, also known as Mediterranean savory, is an annual herb in the mint family. The common name comes from the fact that it is at its best during the summer months.

It is native to the Mediterranean region, but today it has naturalized to many other parts of the world.

It has been widely used since ancient Roman times to flavor meat and vegetables. In fact, its Latin name, Satureja hortensis, means scented savory in reference to its distinct aroma!

It has a mild, slightly peppery flavor that goes well with many different dishes. It is commonly used in soups, stews, and sauces.

It grows to about 20-30 cm tall and has linear leaves that are 2-3 cm long and 1 cm wide. The plant has pale green leaves with white or pale pink flowers that bloom in summer. The leaves can be used fresh or dried

Summer savory looks very similar to winter savory (Satureja montana), but tastes slightly different. 

Summer Savory Nutrition

A tablespoon provides about

  • Calories: 12
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Protein: 0.3 grams
  • fat: 0.3 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Calcium: 93.7 milligrams, or 9 percent of the daily recommendation
  • Iron: 1.1 milligrams, or 9 percent of the daily recommendation
  • Vitamin B6: 0.1milligrams, or 5 percent of the daily recommendation
  • Magnesium: 16.6 milligrams, or 4 percent of the daily recommendation
  • Vitamin C: 2.2 milligrams, or 3 percent of the daily recommendation

Summer savory Health Benefits

While summer savory may not be as popular as other herbs, it has its fair share of health benefits that make it well worth growing in your garden this summer.

In fact, with these amazing benefits, you’ll wonder why you never grew it before! Make the most of your summer by planting this hardy perennial herb to enjoy these savory benefits all year long!

Improves digestion

Summer savory is a herb that has been traditionally used to stimulate digestion. It is known to have a number of digestive benefits, including helping improve bowel movements, reducing gas and bloating, and promoting healthy gastric function.

In addition, it can help fight inflammation and infection in the stomach and intestines. Additionally, summer savory can help soothe indigestion and upset stomachs.

Boosts the immune system

Summer savory has been shown to boost the immune system. It is especially beneficial to people who are susceptible to colds and other infections. This is because it’s high in vitamin C, which fights infection and strengthens the immune system.

In addition, it contains compounds that can help cleanse the body and stimulate the production of antibodies. These compounds can help fight off infections and make you more resistant to them in the future.

Improves cognitive performance

Summer savory is a popular herb that has been shown to increase cognitive functions. One study showed that it improved memory and attention span in rats. In the study, researchers found that when rats were fed a diet supplemented with the herb, they performed better on tests of memory and learning than rats who were not fed the herb.

The herb also has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help improve brain function. In addition, the herb has antioxidants that may protect the brain against free radical damage.

Alleviates Menopause Symptoms

If you’re struggling with menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, or vaginal dryness, summer savory may be able to help.

This herb has been shown to have estrogenic effects, which can help alleviate these symptoms. Additionally, it can help reduce anxiety and promote sleep, both of which can be helpful during menopause.

Lowers blood pressure

Summer savory is a herb that has been shown to lower blood pressure. It works by increasing the production of nitric oxide, which is a natural molecule that helps to relax and dilate blood vessels. This improves blood flow through the vessels, leading to a drop in blood pressure.

Soothes throat

If you’re suffering from a sore throat, summer savory can help. This herb has soothing properties that can help ease the pain and discomfort associated with a sore throat. Simply add a teaspoon of the herb to a cup of boiling water and drink as tea. You can also add honey to taste.

It may help with urinary tract infections

The benefits of summer savory for treating UTIs are numerous, including its ability to speed up healing, ease pain, and prevent future infections. Plus, it is a natural diuretic, which can help flush out the bacteria that cause UTIs.

Has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral qualities

If you’re looking for an all-natural way to boost your health this summer, look no further than summer savory. This herb has a long history of medicinal use, dating back to ancient Greece.

Today, we know that summer savory has powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral qualities, making it a powerful ally in the fight against infection.

Repels mosquito

Summer savory has long been used as a natural mosquito repellent. The plant contains an essential oil called thymol, which is a powerful insecticide.

Thymol is so effective at repelling mosquitoes that it is often used in commercial mosquito repellents.

To use summer savory as a mosquito repellent, simply rub the leaves on your skin or burn the dried herb.

You can also mix some summer savory with water and spray the solution around areas where you’d like to deter mosquitoes.

fresh flowering summer savory on wooden background

Ways to use summer savory

Make a pesto

Summer savory pesto is a great way to use up an abundance of fresh herbs from the garden. It’s also a delicious way to add some extra flavor to your favorite dishes.

To make the pesto, simply combine summer savory, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Then, use it as you would any other pesto recipe.

Add to your salad

Salads are a summertime staple, and adding summer savory can take them to the next level. This herb has a savory, slightly peppery flavor that can really liven up a simple green salad. To use summer savory in your salads, simply add a few leaves to your favorite recipe. 

Make a dressing

One of the most versatile ways to use summer savory is in a salad dressing. This flavorful, herbaceous dressing is perfect for salads, grilled vegetables, or even as a marinade.

To make a dressing, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon r, 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Then, add 1 tablespoon of chopped summer savory and whisk everything together.

The next time you’re making a salad or grilling veggies on a barbecue, try adding this simple dressing on top!

Flavor roasted vegetables

Try roasting your vegetables with summer savory for a new twist on an old favorite. The savory will add a subtle flavor that compliments the natural sweetness of the roasted veggies. Simply toss your favorite vegetables with olive oil and summer savory, then roast at a high temperature until tender. The best ones to try include potatoes, carrots, or Brussels sprouts.

Garnish soup or chili

Summer savory is the perfect garnish for soups and chili recipes. It adds a bright, herby flavor that takes soups and chili to the next level. Plus, it’s a great way to use up any you have left over from other recipes.

Make a compound butter

Combine softened butter with chopped summer savory and garlic. Mix well and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Use it to flavor grilled tofu or vegetables, or spread it on bread or rolls.

Make  popcorn

Combine popped popcorn with a tablespoon of summer savory seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.

Use in baking

Add chopped summer savory to your favorite baking recipes for a boost of flavor. Try it in bread, muffins, or cakes.

Make tea

Steep 1-2 teaspoons of chopped summer savory in hot water for a refreshing drink.

These are just a few ideas to get you started using. There are so many ways to enjoy this flavorful herb, so find what works best for you and get cooking!

Risks and side effects

Like any herb, summer savory can have potential side effects when used in large amounts or in certain people. Some of its potential side effects include:

– Gastrointestinal upset: Summer savory can cause gastrointestinal upset when taken in large amounts. This is more likely to occur in people who are not used to consuming herbs or have sensitive stomachs. If you experience gastrointestinal upset after taking it, discontinue use and talk to your healthcare provider.

– Drug interactions: Summer savory may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and diabetes medications. If you are taking any medications, talk to your healthcare provider before using to avoid potential interactions.

-Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to summer savory. If you experience any allergic reaction after taking summer savory, discontinue use and seek medical attention immediately.

-Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough research available on the safety of summer savory during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, it is best to avoid using this herb if pregnant or breastfeeding.

How to plant summer savory

If you’re looking to add some summer savory flavor to your meals this season, try growing your own! This herbaceous garden crop is easy to grow and can be harvested throughout the summer months.

  • Start by buying seedlings or growing your own in a cool place until they sprout before transferring them outside. The best part about the plant is that it’s a hardy herb that can be grown in most parts of the country.
  • The plant grows best in full sun to part shade. It requires well-drained soil but can tolerate wide ranges of soil conditions. It’s also tolerant of drought and heat, making it an ideal plant for summer gardens.
  • Once established, summer savory will spread by underground stems and produce leaves throughout the season.
  • It can be harvested at various stages of growth. The plant can be harvested young and tender, or it can be harvested older and harder. 
  • Young plants should be harvested before the flowers bloom, around mid-to-late July. The plants will have small, bright green leaves and no flowers. Harvesting young plants will result in the most tender, flavorful herbs.
  • Older plants can be harvested throughout the fall. The plants will have larger leaves and may produce small flowers. The taste and flavor of the herb will change as it becomes more mature. Harvesting the older plants will result in more sturdy herbs with a stronger flavor.
  • The plants should be kept growing until you need them for a recipe, at which time, cut them down to about an inch tall and snip off the top of the stem with scissors.
  • You can harvest mature leaves and dry them for later use. You can also harvest, pack, and freeze for future use. The plant is usually seasonal, so after September, you may have to wait until the next planting season. 

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Final Thoughts

Summer savory has a wide range of benefits that make it a great addition to your summertime cooking. Not only does it add flavor to food, but it can also help repel insects, improve digestion, and soothe the throat. So the next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to pick up some and enjoy all its benefits!

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