Savory is an aromatic plant used in cooking to enhance flavor. Summer savory (Satureja hortensis) and winter savory (Satureja montana) are the two types most commonly used. A commonly studied constituent is carvacrol.
Savory is native to the Mediterranean region but has been used across Europe, North America, and South America as a seasoning for meats and salads.
In traditional medicine, savory is used to treat diarrhea, nausea, cramps, muscle pain, indigestion, and infectious diseases. Limited evidence suggests that savory may help lower cholesterol in diabetics.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Savory (Satureja khuzestanica) capsules, used together with standard drugs, significantly improved the amount of cholesterol and fat in the blood of people with diabetes and high cholesterol. Additional study is needed before conclusions can be made.
* Key to grades
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use B: Good scientific evidence for this use C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work) F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)
Tradition / Theory
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to savory, its constituents, or members of the Lamiaceae family. Savory may cause allergic skin reactions.
Side Effects and Warnings
Side effects from savory are rare.
Savory may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Savory may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Savory may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients with low blood pressure and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that lower blood pressure.
Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Savory is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Savory may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Savory may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Savory may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
Savory may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
Savory may also interact with antibiotics, anticancer drugs, antifungal agents, anti-inflammatory agents, antiparasitic agents, antiviral agents, cholesterol-lowering agents, cyclophosphamide, drugs that affect the nervous system, drugs that that may damage the liver, fertility agents, gastrointestinal agents, laxatives, muscle relaxants, painkillers, and prednisolone.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Savory may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Savory may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
Savory may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
Savory may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.
Savory may also interact with antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungal agents, anti-inflammatory agents, antioxidants, antiparasitic agents, antiviral agents, cholesterol-lowering agents, fertility agents, gastrointestinal agents, herbs and supplements that affect the nervous system, herbs and supplements that may damage the liver, laxatives, muscle relaxants, painkillers, and probiotics.
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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.