Recently, the oil of mountain savory caught my attention, again.
It’s one of those stories…
I start using a new essential oil, fall in love with it when I get results, and then… another shiny oil or blend catches my attention. The previous beloved oil gets pushed aside and goes unnoticed for a bit. With so many amazing essential oils accessible, I think most essential oils’ lovers can relate to this scenario.
It’s not a bad thing to have “oils in waiting.” In fact, most essential oils can last a long time and maintain a high efficacy, especially with proper storage.
But I’m getting off track.
Let me bring you back to how I got re-hooked on mountain savory oil.
It began with a fond memory of kunzea oil.
I know, lots of twists and turns here, but we’re getting there.
It All Started with Kunzea Oil
A few years ago, I became a bit obsessed with Kunzea essential oil.
One essential oil researcher described it as a single oil which possessed the qualities of a blend. Now this was so fascinating that I dug deeper into this concept. As a result, kunzea stole the limelight for several weeks on my blogs.
The synergism found in kunzea is, in fact, very similar to what one may find in a blend that combines several categories of essential oils. Kunzea oil contains an impressive mixture of compounds. Its constituents include:
- Alpha pinene- a compound associated with pine species. It is a phytoncide that supports resiliency, lowers stress, and enhances defense and repair. It is also found in sacred frankincense oil.
- 1-8 cineol – this constituent dominants the makeup of many eucalyptus oils. It is known to be supportive for respiratory and lung health.
- Viridilfloral – a sesquiterpene present in niaouli and peppermint. Sesquiterpenes have immune and neurological supporting properties.
- Bicylogeramacrene – another sesquiterpene that is also found in oregano and hyssop.
I mean, really, an oil with properties of frankincense, oregano, eucalyptus, hyssop, and peppermint in one bottle!
Do you see why I was locked into this scent-sational aromatic cuisine?
Kunzea continues to impress me. I often inhale it to enhance focus, aid in mood, and enhance my physical well-being. It is also so refreshing in that it almost “forces” one to take a deeper breath. This helps to reset the nervous system and provides various other benefits.
Enter Mountain Savory
Enter, my next re-obsession.
An oil from a perennial herb of the mint family, mountain savory (Satureja montana), it is also commonly known as white thyme and winter savory.
A few weeks ago, I had a friend with a nasty case of the sniffles. She was using several remedies to no avail. That very day, I was cleaning my cupboards and found mountain savory sitting innocently between its buddies for respiratory health. I immediately called my friend to tell her about my finding of our old friend. She was quite pleased with the reminder and for the serendipitous suggestion.
In the past, I had interchanged and/or added mountain savory to recipes with oregano and thyme oil. This was due to its powerful properties against microbes and its ability to enhance the body’s defense and repair processes.
Then, I got curious. I wanted to dig in deeper on the science of mountain savory. I know that with sniffle season, people will be wanting natural solutions to support their body under additional strains.
Hence, I will now start diving into the information I found on mountain savory.
Another “Single Oil Blend?”
According to the Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology (Second Edition):
Winter savory (Satureia montana) contains pinene, carvacrol 30–40%, cymene 20–25%, terpenes 40–50%, cineol, and a small amount of thymol. A study of the antibacterial and antifungal properties of savory oil was investigated. The action of this oil on 10 types of Staphylococcus, 14 other microorganisms, and 11 fungi were examined, including Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, and Trichophyton interdigitale. The results were encouraging as it was equal to thyme in performance. Savory oil, which is rich in carvacrol (56.8%), is very active in vitro against C. albicans. (source)
Although its attack on fungi in vitro was interesting, this wasn’t why I was so intrigued. It’s blend of constituents is what caught my eye! Though not as diverse as kunzea, mountain savory appeared to be another single oil with a beautiful blend of compounds found in several popular essential oils, oregano, thyme, pine, and eucalyptus.
The Make-Up of Mountain Savory
The Main Players
- Carvacrol is the most abundant compound in mountain savory. It is found in many spice oils, such as oregano and thyme. Carvacrol has microbe-inhibiting properties, acts as an antioxidant, impacts inflammation at the cellular level, and may protect from heavy metals. (sources)
- Thymol is a well-known companion to carvacrol. Both are revered for their potential to inhibit resistant organisms. This phenol is also beneficial for oral and respiratory health.
The Supporting Cast
- Pinene is often found in pine oil and is also nourishing to the respiratory system. As stated above, it is known as a phytoncide, which is beneficial for defense and repair and decreasing stress. In Japan, the benefits from the practice of forest bathing is said to be due to the pinenes released from the trees.
- 1,8 cineole (cineol), also known as eucalyptol, has been studied for its ability to enhance antioxidant status and modulate inflammation. It has been reported to be beneficial for respiration and may relieve anxiety.
- Terpenes are largely found as constituents of essential oils. There is so much to explore here. Let’s pause for a minute to discuss “the terpene factor.”
The Terpene Factor
If you study essential oils, you should probably be aware of one of the main components. Below is a bit more biochemistry on terpenes and their terminology from Science Direct:
Terpenes are mostly hydro-carbons. The building block is a five-carbon isoprene (CH2C(CH3)CHCH2) unit (Figure 22.1). Terpene hydrocarbons have a molecular formula of (C5H8)n; the n dictates the number of units involved. Terpene hydrocarbons are classified according to the number of isoprene units:
- Monoterpenes: 2 isoprene units, 10 carbon atoms.
- Sesquiterpenes: 3 isoprene units, 15 carbon atoms.
- Diterpenes: 4 isoprene units, 20 carbon atoms.
- Triterpenes: 6 isoprene units, 30 carbon atoms.
- Tetraterpenes: 8 isoprene units, 40 carbon atoms. (Source: Science Direct)
The benefits of monoterpenes and their pharmacological actions are diverse and reported on in this abstract (bold emphasis mine):
Monoterpenes, the major components of essential oils, belong to the group of isoprenoids containing ten carbon atoms. Being widely distributed in the plant kingdom they are extensively used in cuisine and human health care products. Studies have shown that both natural monoterpenes and their synthetic derivatives are endowed with various pharmacological properties including antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, anticancer, antiarrhythmic, anti-aggregating, local anesthetic, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, antihistaminic and anti-spasmodic activities. Monoterpenes act also as regulators of growth, heat, transpiration, tumor inhibitors, inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation, insect repellants, feline and canine attractants and antidiabetics. These interesting activities which might be potentially used not only in pharmaceutical, but also food and cosmetic industries are discussed below.
This excerpt on “Terpenes from Forests and Human Health” explains more about various terpenes and the impacts of forest bathing:
Forest bathing has beneficial effects on human health via showering of forest aerosols as well as physical relaxation. Terpenes that consist of multiple isoprene units are the largest class of organic compounds produced by various plants, and one of the major components of forest aerosols. Traditionally, terpene-containing plant oil has been used to treat various diseases without knowing the exact functions or the mechanisms of action of the individual bioactive compounds. This review categorizes various terpenes easily obtained from forests according to their anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic, or neuroprotective activities. Moreover, potential action mechanisms of the individual terpenes and their effects on such processes, which are described in various in vivo and in vitro systems, are discussed. In conclusion, the studies that show the biological effectiveness of terpenes support the benefits of forest bathing and propose a potential use of terpenes as chemotherapeutic agents for treating various human diseases. (See this table for actions of various terpenes found in the article.)
The entourage effect:
In this post, I discuss how terpenes in plants enhance its effects and provide a synergy which is greater than the sum of its parts. You may have heard of this concept as the “entourage effect,” in regards to cannabis. This term references the idea that the whole spectrum extract of hemp or cannabis will have enhanced benefits over any of its isolated compounds alone or in a selected combination.
Click on the link to find out about “Terpenes, Phenylpropanoids, Sulfur and Other Essential Oil Constituents as Inhibitors of Cholinesterases.” (AKA Memory Support)
Learn about the immune-enhancing power and other properties of limonene here.
The Caveats of Chemotype & Conclusion
As with all essential oils, you must be careful and aware that what is in literature may not match your bottle. Variations in constituents occur related to how an oil is manufactured, harvested, the time of year, environmental conditions, quality and standardization practices, and distillation processes. These are all factors that determine an oil’s chemotype (the main compound present in the species).
So, while its true that mountain savory can contain all these compounds, the ratios and percentages will differ, and manufacturers may have variations.
That being said, this is definitely a good oil to choose to have in your cabinet to help support you during the winter months.
In the next post, I’ll review the main components and more about mountain savory.
When I’m done, you will understand how this single oil contains an amazing synergy and that many oils themselves are like harmonious blends.
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.