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Guide to Savory Essential Oil and Its Benefits and Uses

Savory essential oil comes in two main varieties: winter (or mountain) savory (Satureja montana) and summer (or garden) savory (Satureja hortensis).

Because these oils can irritate or sensitize the skin, some sources recommend that only professionally trained aromatherapists use the oils.

Photo of winter savory plant with the works Guide To Savory Essential Oil Benefits and Uses

Plant family: Lamiaceae


  • Winter savory: steam distilled from leaves and stems of a perennial shrub-like herb native to the Mediterranean region.
  • Summer savory: steam distilled from the entire plant of an annual herb native to Europe.

Aroma: Sharp, camphoraceous, earthy

Perfume/Aromatic note: Middle

Is savory safe to use during pregnancy? No, and do not use while breastfeeding.

Is savory essential oil safe for children? Do not use on the skin of children under age 2.

Cautions: The oil can cause skin irritation. Do not use on hypersensitive, diseased, or damaged skin. May cause drug interaction or inhibit blood clotting—do not use if you have a clotting disorder or are taking blood thinners.

Main components:

Winter Savory

  • carvacrol    46.5–75%
  • gamma-terpinene 1.8–15.1%
  • p-cymene   2.2–14.6%

Summer savory

  • carvacrol   43.6–70.7%
  • gamma-terpinene 19.5–42.8%
  • p-cymene   0.9–8.7%

Suggested maximum dermal usage of 1.2% for winter savory and 1.4% for summer savory.

Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition

Savory Essential Oil Benefits and Uses

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy:

  • Use winter savory for rheumatism, skeletal aches and pains, muscle pain, digestive problems, wounds, and abscesses.
  • Use summer savory for catarrh, flu, muscle aches and pains, fungus, and insect bites.

375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols:

  • Winter savory is indicated for nervous fatigue, low blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and lymph node inflammation.
  • Use summer savory for all local infections and weakness of the body.

Eden's Garden: Diffuse winter (mountain) savory or use it in an aromatherapy inhaler to help you breathe easier when congested. Diluted, the essential oil may help relieve muscle pain and reduce acne, warts, and ringworm.

Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics, Volume 2: Psychologically, winter savory promotes courage and self-confidence, stimulates the mind, and promotes alertness. Physically, the essential oil stimulates and warms cold conditions and restores hypotonic/weak conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the essential function of this oil is to tonify the Yang, warm the interior, and strengthen the Shen. The book recommends not using this oil in a diffuser or massage oil. For a liniment, use a 0.25 to 1% dilution.

While the physical uses of summer savory are mostly the same as winter savory, the summer version has seen less clinical use and has fewer specific indications.

The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Third Edition, Vol. 1: The energetic qualities of savory are similar to thyme essential oil. Savory oil is hot and invigorating—it increases Qi, dispels wind cold, and stimulates and warms the Lungs, making the oil useful for dealing with infections that present with chills, aches and pains, stiff muscles, and fatigue. The essential oil is associated with the water and metal elements.

Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques: Winter savory helps your appreciate, connect, and understand the wisdom and spirituality found in nature. The oil links the second and seventh chakras, providing spiritual wisdom through the the emotional realm.

Stillpoint Aromatics: Use winter savory for the second chakra to support relationships and creation energy, for the third chakra to support personal power, and for the fourth chakra to support unconditional love. The oil is balancing, energizing, purifying, protective, and uplifting.

Mixing Essential Oils for Magic: Savory boosts sexual appetite and enhances sexual expression. The essential oil supports concentration and fuels the mind for dealing with problems, promotes productivity, and opens the way for creativity. Use the oil for healing and when you seek kindness and comfort.

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Photo Credit: Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons