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Savory tea and other uses

Savory tea and other uses

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Savory tea - Areas of application and modes of action

When it comes to savory tea, many first think of a decoction made from the whisked plant parts of the runner bean. However, this herb is an independent genus of plants in the family of the labiate family called Satureja. Your German name "Savory“But the plant actually owes it to the beans. Because in ancient times Satureja was used to refine bean dishes. The spicy aroma of the savory leaves goes well with the taste of the legumes. It has a slight sharpness, which earned the herb the nickname pepper herb. In addition to their use as a spice plant, species of Satureja are also used for medicinal purposes. The savory is said to help reliably against digestive and gastrointestinal complaints.

Profile of savory

  • Scientific name: Satureja
  • Plant family: Lip flower family (Lamiaceae)
  • Popular names: Eel herb, cheese herb, pepper herb, wine herb, sausage herb, saturey
  • Occurrence: Arabian Peninsula, Europe, Mediterranean, South Africa
  • Parts of plants used: Leaves, stems
  • application areas:
    • Difficulty breathing,
    • impaired libido,
    • Skin problems,
    • inner unrest,
    • Menstrual cramps
    • and indigestion.

Herbal portrait

To a certain extent, savory can be counted among the Mediterranean herbs, because it grows in Europe mainly in the Mediterranean region and its culture depends on sunny and warm conditions. The appearance of the plant, which is up to 60 centimeters high, is strongly reminiscent of Mediterranean herbs such as thyme or rosemary. Characteristic of the savory, which usually grows as a shrub or subshrub, is lanceolate leaves, which from a distance are somewhat reminiscent of the needles of conifers. Last but not least, Satureja, like most medicinal and aromatic herbs from the Mediterranean, is one of the labiate flowers, all of which stand out due to their upper and lower lip-shaped petals. Incidentally, these also have a high ornamental value, which is why Mediterranean herbs are now grown with us, despite their moderate winter hardiness. In the case of savory in particular, the two most important medicinal and culinary types of the plant are at the forefront of culture:

  • Summer savory / garden savory (Satureja hortensis)
  • and winter savory / mountain savory (Satureja montana)

tip: With some winter protection measures, such as wrapping the plants with coconut fiber or wintering in the house, Mediterranean herbs can survive the cold season with us! What is important, however, is a light-filled and frost-free location where the temperatures do not fall too low below zero.

The medicinal properties of savory have been known since ancient times. It is hardly surprising when you consider that the plant comes from the Mediterranean region, where many ancient cultures flourished in ancient times, which are still known today for their pioneering knowledge in the field of herbalism. From the Romans and Greeks to the Egyptians and Arabs, the local doctors mostly knew very well the medical value of Satureja, the scientific origin of which is not clearly understood.

On the one hand, it is conceivable to derive the term from the Latin word satus for "seed" or "planting", which gave the famous Roman god of agriculture and planetary patron Saturn its name. On the other hand, the term "Satureja" could also come from the Latin saturo for "saturate", which would be particularly clear with regard to the use of the plant as a culinary herb and a means of promoting digestion.

The truth is somewhere in between, because the ancient image of savory as a protective, spice and medicinal plant resonates in both terms. Above all, the divine protection aspect should have fascinated the monks of the Middle Ages. At that time Satureja came under the popular name Saturey to European monastery gardens and later in pharmacy gardens. One of the most important herbal descriptions of that time came from the pen of Pietro Andrea Mattioli, a South Tyrolean botanist of the 16th century and personal physician of Duke Ferdinand II and Emperor Maximilian II. The herbalist is considered one of the most important translators of medical herb writings such as the "Materia medica." ”From Dioskurides. He also published his own comments and first descriptions of herbs.

The savory records in Mattioli's "Neuw Kreütterbuch" from 1563 not only provide explanations for the common names of savory such as eel or wine herb, but also another interesting explanatory approach to the origin of the satureja, which Mattioli refers to as an aphrodisiac. He also shows some of the earliest examples of how the medicinal plant can be used:

"Saturey is very comfortable for the food / the common man spices cooked with meat and fish / gives a lovely sharpness / with which she awakens the desire and desire to eat / strengthens the dewing in the stomach / senses the discomfort and the bulge / brings the chaste desire / therefore some menuen [mine] / they have the name of the Satyris [Greek fertility spirits].

The skinny Saturey is used to chop the sausages / become graceful / and eat healthier. They are also cooked with the peas and other leguminibus or legumes / then they obstruct the flatulence.

The cabbage is boiled in ox tongue water and drunk from it / too easy for those who faint.

An honored Artzney for the Fraiven [women] / who all boil at their time (menstruation) / who should boil Saturey in Maluasier [Malvasier, a grape variety] / and drink it early every day / so they gain their natural sickness / and are cleaned . Then they use such doctorney / should they have previously taken a purgation [detoxification process for detoxification via the intestine] / with which the mucus is carried out through the stool. "

- P. A. Marttioli (Source:

The descriptions of Mattiolis are largely congruent with the modern fields of application of the bean herb. In addition, there are some healing effects that were only discovered on the plant later in the course of history. Overall, Satureja is used today for the following health complaints:

  • Respiratory problems (e.g. cough or mucous throat),
  • Skin problems (e.g. acne, oily skin or skin irritation),
  • Indigestion (e.g. loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea or liver problems)
  • and other complaints (e.g. headache, sleep disorders, poisoning, cycle or libido disorders).

Ingredients and effects

The medicinal properties of the savory herb are particularly good because there is an abundance of classic medicinal agents in the plant. Particularly noticeable are expectorant, digestive and metabolic regulating substances contained in the essential oil of Satureja (Saturejae Atheroleum). These include:

  • Bitter substances,
  • Tannins,
  • Phytosterols,
  • Mucilage
  • and terpenes.

Bitter substances

Bitter substances hide substances that are classified as phenols, a group of plant substances with a taste-forming function. They are common to almost all digestive herbs, which mostly have a bitter aroma. Said plant substances are known, in particular, from bitter bitters, a herbal liqueur that does not rely on the combination effect of such bitter herbs for nothing. The so-called Theriak, a brew from antiquity that was used until the late Middle Ages to treat poisoning and numerous general diseases, relied on the healing power of these natural substances, which are mostly provided by glycosides or alkaloids.

Characteristic for bitter substances or plants containing bitter substances are, in addition to their bitter to bitter taste, above all a blood circulation-promoting effect in the gastrointestinal tract and a stimulating effect on the production of digestive secretions, such as biliary or gastric juice. In addition, bitter substances also have one

  • antibacterial,
  • antifungal,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • relaxing
  • and immune boosting

Effect, which makes it a good helper for symptoms that are typical of indigestion and gastrointestinal infections. The antispasmodic effect in particular also has a calming effect on abdominal cramps, as are typical for menstrual cramps.


Tannins owe their name to the fact that they traditionally served to tan animal skins, which can be converted into leather by the tanning process. The tanning process itself actually has another purpose, namely to make the untreated animal skin sterile. This is due to the special property of the tannins to remove the water content from the proteins in the animal skin. As a result, the skin dries out and no longer provides a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and the like, which prefer to settle on moist skin. In addition, the skin vessels narrow under the influence of tannins, which causes the skin surface to become denser and therefore more difficult for germs to pass through. Agents that act in this way are also referred to as astringents.

Tanning agents are natural antibiotics, whereby vegetable tanning agents (tannins) are used not only for the disinfection of animal skins, but also for the treatment of infectious diseases. In addition, tannins also have other medically valuable healing powers. All in all, they work

  • astringent,
  • antimicrobial,
  • hemostatic,
  • anti-inflammatory
  • and soothing.

Tannins can therefore not only be found in numerous antibiotic natural remedies, but also in medicines for gastrointestinal inflammation, inflammation of the mouth and throat, skin creams, healing salves and antidotes.

Important: Despite their excellent healing properties, tannins should only be used temporarily. Long-term effects can lead to a number of undesirable and dangerous complications. You can learn more about this in the sections on dosage and side effects of savory.


Savory is also given a very unusual active ingredient with ß-sitosterol. A plant hormone that belongs to the so-called phytosterols. Herbal active ingredients are described as phytosterols, or phytosterols, which have an effect similar to the body's own cholesterol. This is known to be an important marker for the fatty acid content in the blood. In addition, cholesterol also influences signaling in body cells and the production of bile acid and sex hormones such as testosterone and progesterone. Based on this effect, it is therefore not unreasonable that savory, thanks to phytosterols, not only has a cholesterol-lowering effect, but can also stimulate libido and regulate the menstrual cycle.

The curative effects of phytosterols are actually primarily concentrated on the cholesterol level in the blood. The plant substance stimulates the body's own cholesterol production by inhibiting cholesterol absorption in the intestine. This is especially important for people with high cholesterol. And also for people who suffer from hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) or want to prevent this disease, phytosterols can be valuable helpers. The disease is mainly triggered by a very high-fat diet, which is known to cause cholesterol levels to skyrocket. In addition to vascular calcification, the result can also be an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. It is all the better that phytosterols are a natural product that can counteract this danger. This property always fits in the repertoire of effects on nutritional health complaints.


The mucilage of the herb is primarily responsible for the cough suppressant and expectorant effect of Satureja. It is a special form of carbohydrates that take on a slimy consistency when added with liquid. This mucus has an unexpected healing effect, especially on the mucous membranes in the mouth, throat and gastrointestinal tract. Because they cover the mucous membrane like a protective and soothing film, which one

  • disinfectant,
  • detoxifying,
  • anti-inflammatory
  • and soothing

Produces an effect that is particularly desirable for rough neck and irritated intestinal mucosa. Mucilages are also known to lower blood sugar and strengthen the immune system, which also benefits the health value of these carbohydrates.


The group of terpenes is most widely represented in savory with over 60 percent active ingredient in the essential oil. Their mode of action is sometimes very individual and ranges from hormone-regulating and anti-inflammatory effects through muscle and immune-strengthening aspects to cancer-inhibiting properties. However, terpenes are particularly efficient in combating infection germs. This applies in particular to ingredients such as

  • Carvacrol,
  • p-cymene,
  • Lime,
  • Thymol
  • and ursolic acid.

The antibiotic active ingredients are used in medicine on the one hand to fight infections and to de-worm. On the other hand, they are also popular ingredients for anti-inflammatories and insect repellents.

Ursolic acid in particular is also known for its cholesterol and blood sugar lowering effects. There is also evidence that the acid is cytotoxic, which could open up alternative treatment options in cancer therapy. A corresponding study on this is available, for example, from the Institute for Natural Products at the Kaohsiung University of Medicine in Taiwan, China.

Carvacrol, on the other hand, is a secret weapon against rheumatism and gout. The effect of the terpenoid natural substance is similar to that of chemical cyclooxygenase inhibitors such as celecoxib and other rheumatic agents.

useful information: Terpenes are often also aroma-forming agents in herbs. Lime and thymol in particular can often be found in aromatic herbs.

Application and dosage

The season for savory is from June to August. For a particularly powerful taste experience, the harvest should be carried out immediately after flowering, when the Satureja aroma has fully developed. Both fresh leaves and whole shoots can be collected. The latter are ideal for storage. The savory can then be used as a spice herb either fresh or dried. For example, seasoning hearty dishes such as

  • Bean and pea vegetables,
  • Potato or cabbage dishes,
  • Sausage and meat dishes (especially lamb),
  • Fish and seafood
  • or the production of herb butter or herb curd.

tip: In addition to the traditional savory species, the citrusy aroma of the cultivar Satureja citrodora is also recommended for fish dishes.

In any case, the herb should first be finely chopped for use in cooking. It is also important to use spice herbs sparingly, since the taste is very intense. If you cook the savory sufficiently, you don't need much because the flavors can be distributed so well in the food.

Savory tea

In contrast to seasoning, you should definitely use dried plant parts for a savory tea. Two teaspoons are then enough to make a cup of healing and digestive decoction. The correct brewing time for the tea is five to ten minutes. The recommended daily dose is approximately two to three cups.

Cooled savory tea can also be used as gargle water for inflammation in the mouth and throat area. The herbal infusion is also suitable for cleaning or soothing the skin. It is conceivable, for example, to soak soothing compresses in the herbal water before placing them on insect bites, wounds or irritated facial skin. In the case of insect bites, some simply crush the Satureja and put the herb porridge directly on the sore skin.

tip: Washes, medicinal and steam baths made from savory are also possible. Those who have experience in the production of ointments can also use the herb as an ingredient.

Side effects

The tannins in the savory can lead to liver damage, abdominal cramps and nausea if overdosed. It is therefore important to use the herb's medicinal effects only occasionally when there are clear health problems or only very moderately as a digestive aid.

Due to the cramp potential in case of overdose, pregnant women should refrain from using the Satureja in order not to take any risks. The plant could also lead to cross allergies in allergy sufferers, provided that an allergy to other herbs such as B. mugwort is present. (ma)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Miriam Adam, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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