Satureja hortensis L.

Last updated: 19 Aug 2016

Scientific Name

Satureja hortensis L.  


Clinopodium hortense (L.) Kuntze, Clinopodium pachyphyllum (K.Koch) Kuntze, Satureja altaica Boriss., Satureja brachiata Stokes, Satureja filicaulis Schott ex Boiss., Satureja litwinowii Schmalh. ex Lipsky, Satureja officinarum Crantz, Satureja pachyphylla K.Koch, Satureja viminea Burm.f. [Illegitimate], Satureja zuvandica D.A.Kapan., Thymus cunila E.H.L.Krause [1]

Vernacular Name

English Summer savory. [2]

Geographical Distributions

Satureja hortensis is originated from the eastern Mediterranean region and widely escaped from cultivation elsewhere. Then, it has been planted in Europe, Asia (the former Soviet Union, Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka), South Africa and the Americas (United States, Argentina). It is cultivated in the Philippines of the South-East Asia on a small scale for the fresh-herb market and similarly in the mountains of Java (Indonesia). [3]

Botanical Description

S. hortensis is a member of the Lamiaceae family [1]. It is an annual herb, erect, much branched, very aromatic, and measure about 10-50 cm tall. The stem is obtusely angular to subterete, without furrows, with short hairs. [3]

The leaves are decussately opposite, subsessile with linear to lanceolate or obovate blade, measure about 1-4 cm x 1-5 mm. The base is gradually tapering into very short petiole with entire, apex obtuse to rather acute margin and usually subglabrous but densely gland-dotted. [3]

The inflorescence is consisting of lax to densely congested verticillasters each with 2-20 bisexual flowers. The pedicel is very short, bracteoles usually longer than calyx and thinly long-ciliate. The calyx is tubular and 2-lipped, measure 3-4.5 mm long, 10-veined, glabrous inside and thinly pilose outside with 5 subequal triangular teeth (longer than the tube) or upper lip 3-dentate and lower lip 2-dentate. The corolla is tubular and 2-lipped, measure 4-10 mm long, tube widely funnel-shaped, lower lip 3-fid, upper lip emarginate, light violet to white in colour, in the throat sometimes red-dotted and is thinly pubescent outside. It has 4 stamens, curved, inserted in the upper half of the corolla tube under the upper lip and shorter than the corolla. The pistil has 4-lobed ovary and a style with 2 equal branches each ending in a small stigma. [3]

The fruit composed of 4 nutlets, enclosed within the persistent calyx while the nutlet is subglobose, measure about 1 mm long, glabrous, smooth, and blackish-brown in colours. [3]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

S. hortensis has been reported to contain terpenes (e.g. γ-terpinene, mycrene, and paracymene), phenols (e.g. carvacrol), sesquiterpenes, and terpenic alcohols [4][5][6]

Plant Part Used

Aerial parts, leaves, flowering tips [3]

Traditional Use

The essential oil of S. hortensis is used in therapeutic aromatherapy as a single oil as a topical antiseptic and in formulations for condition specific use. It also has been used in some foods and beverages, and less often in the fragrance industry though it is found in some soaps and herbaceous blends. [7]

Preclinical Data


Antimicrobial activity

In a laboratory setting, S. hortensis essential oil was found to demonstrate activity against 23 strains of bacteria and 15 fungal yeast species. [6]


S. hortensis essential oil has been shown to be antibacterial in a periodontal setting, but only in higher dosages. [8]


In vitro testing of S. hortensis against Aspergillus flavus showed that this oil had favourable antifungal activity, and could be used as an “eco-friendly” fungicide [9]. Another study found this oil inhibited aflatoxins B1 (AFB1) and G1 (AFG1) produced by an Aspergillus strain [4].

Antioxidant activity

S. hortensis  oil inhibited oxidative damage in animal lymphocytes produced by hydrogen peroxide. [10]

Antinociceptive activity

S. hortensis essential oil was used in an animal model against inflammation and pain.  The results showed that the oil possessed antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects in induced injuries in mice. [11]

Spasmolytic activity

S. hortensis essential oil was shown to have antidiarrheal activity in mice with castor oil induced diarrhea. In addition, antispasmodic properties in rat isolated ileum were also recorded during this study indicating a potential use as an antispasmodic in gastrointestinal disorders. [12]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Satureja hortensis L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 May 11]. Available from:
  2. Peter KV, editor. Handbook of herbs and spices. Volume 2. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing Limited, 2004; p. 91-92
  3. Huyen DD, Brink M. Satureja hortensis L. In: de Guzman CC, Siemonsma JS, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 13: Spices. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 200-204
  4. Razzaghi-Abyaneh M. Inhibitory effects of Satureja hortensis L. essential oil on growth and aflatoxin production by Aspergillus parasiticus. Int J Food Microbiol. 2008;123(3):228-233.
  5. Lampronti I, Saab AM, Gambari R. Antiproliferative activity of essential oils derived from plants belonging to the Magnoliophyta division. Int J Oncol. 2006;29(4):989-995.
  6. Güllüce M, Sökmen M, Daferera D, et al. In vitro antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant activities of the essential oil and methanol extracts of herbal parts and callus cultures of Satureja hortensis L. J Agric Food Chem. 2003;51(14):3958-3965.
  7. Lis-Balchan M. Aromatherapy science: A guide for healthcare professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.
  8. Gursoy UK, Gursoy M, Gursoy OV, Cakmakci L, Könönen E, Uitto VJ. Anti-biofilm properties of Satureja hortensis L. essential oil against periodontal pathogens. Anaerobe. 2009;15(4):164-167.
  9. Dikbas N, Kotan R, Dadasoglu F, Sahin F. Control of Aspergillus flavus with essential oil and methanol extract of Satureja hortensis. Int J Food Microbiol. 2008;124(2):179-182.
  10. Mosaffa F, Behravan J, Karimi G, Iranshahi M. Antigenotoxic effects of Satureja hortensis L. on rat lymphocytes exposed to oxidative stress. Arch Pharm Res. 2006;29(2):159-164.
  11. Hajhashemi V, Ghannadi A, Pezeshkian SK. Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Satureja hortensis L. extracts and essential oil. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002;82(2-3):83-87.
  12. Hajhashemi V, Sadraei H, Ghannadi AR, Mohseni M. Antispasmodic and anti-diarrhoeal effect of Satureja hortensis L. essential oil. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000;71(1-2):187-192.