Winter Savory - Useful Herb for Skin Infections

Winter savory

Satureja montana Lamiaceae

This small, woody perennial grows wild as a small bush in welldrained, chalky areas of southern Europe and bears tough, shiny, lance-shaped leaves. Winter savory has been grown as a culinary herb in Britain since the Middle Ages. Its flowers are pure white or speckled with pink.

Parts used

Non-woody flowering tops

The herb is harvested just after the flowers come into bloom in summer. . The crop may be dried for use as a seasoning or as an infusion or it may be processed for its essential oil.


The essential oil is rich in carvacrol and thymol but also contains other monoterpenes. The exact mix of compounds varies according to the time of year and the weather.

Medicinal uses

Winter savory owes its therapeutic properties mainly to its essential oil. The plant is traditionally used for its tonic and digestive qualities. Today it is used in pharmaceutical products that relieve intestinal spasms as well as fungal and bacterial infections.Externally, the herb's antiseptic properties mean it is useful for treating minor wounds, fungal skin infections, mouth ulcers, thrush and sore throats.

In 1998 in vitro studies performed by Japanese scientists found that winter savory demonstrated potent activity against HIV type 1.


Plant seeds in spring in a sunny spot. Use well-drained, preferably alkaline soil.


For internal use

TO TREAT belching, flatulence, diarrhoea
INFUSION Put 20g of dried flowering tops into 1 litre of boiling water. Infuse for 10 minutes and strain. Drink 2-3 cups a day.
TO TREAT bronchitis, cystitis ESSENTIAL OIL Requires the supervision of a trained herba I ist or doctor.

For external use

TO TREAT minor wounds INFUSION Put 30g of dried flowering tops into 1 litre of boiling water. Infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. Apply directly onto the wound to clean it.

TO TREAT fungal skin infections COMPRESS Soak a cloth in the infusion (above) and apply to the affected areas two times a day.

TO TREAT mouth ulcers, thrush, sore throats
GARGLE Use the infusion (above) three or four times a day.



  • Only take the essential oil internally under the supervision of a medical herbalist or doctor.
  • When the essential oil is used externally, there is a risk that it will irritate the skin.
  • Winter savory is not recommended in any form for pregnant women.


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