Sunday, December 13, 2015

Celebrating the 2015 Herb of the Year-Savories-Part Nine!

Really Love Books That Delve Into the Old Herbals!
I am going to start by using the very important quote at the beginning of this book:

"The information in The Herbalist's Bible is compiled from a blend of historical and modern scientific sources and from personal experience.  It is not intended to replace the professional advice and care of a qualified herbal or medical practitioner.  Do not attempt to self-diagnose or self-prescribe for serious long-term problems without first consulting a qualified professional.  Heed the cautions given, and if already taking prescribed medicines or if you are pregnant, seek professional advice before using herbal remedies."

I am not an qualified herbal practitioner.  So what I am giving you is herbs for thought, please do further research if you are going to use savory medicinally.

One of my new favorite herb books is this one and I couldn't help but use this book when talking about savory.  If he isn't already, John Parkinson should be on your radar as one of the influential herbalists of England.  I love this book because it gives the page as Parkinson wrote it and then a modern take on the same herb or equivalent interpretation from Julie Bruton-Seal and her husband, Matthew Seal.

They talk about the savories of Parkinson's time being summer savory (Satureja hortensis) which is a tender annual from 4 to 15 inches high and is softer and more aromatic than the other savory of the time, winter savory (Satureja montana) which is a woody perennial, a bit larger with bluish-white flowers and similar to hyssop in scent.

Savory was taken to America by early English colonists.  There are specific North American savories such as yerba buena or Oregon tea (S. douglasii) and Japanese peppermint (I know it as Jamaican mint tree.) (S. viminea).  Both make mint flavored teas.

"Expelling wind:  Parkinson beings with the medicinal use of savory as an aromatic.  He says it will expel windiness in the stomach and intestines, but also go deeper to adjust a displacement of the womb and provoke urination and menstruation where impeded."   The focus of savory these days is on relief from flatulence and stimulating digestion.

"Aphrodisiac:  Savory's supposed aphrodisiac's reputation is probably more a result of its provocative ancient name than its actual effects."  Savory's genus name Satureja which is taken from satyrus or satyr, the drunken and lusty woodland deities.  Parkinson isn't convinced.  He does think that it was a sexual aid.

"Appetite:  Savory does have a peppery taste, especially summer savory which stimulates taste in adding flavor to vegetables, soups, meats and fish.  Savory is a main ingredient in stuffing for the turkey in the U.S., a key component of the Turkish condiment zatar and German cooks call Bohnenkraut or the bean herb to cook broad beans or peas.  It adds both flavor and counters the inevitable windiness.  It is often grown with beans."

"Expectoration:  Cutting 'tough flegme' is an aspect of savory's warming and stimulatory action as indeed is its wakening effects on drowsiness ('the Lethargye')."  The authors say that taking savory as a snuff sounds intriguing and they will try it.

"Eyes & ears: Parkinson's reported uses are probably hardly practiced at all in our times, but his specificity is convincing."  Paraphrasing Parkinson's words "Using the juice of savory in the eyes to cleare the dull sight and using the juice of savory and the oil of rose heated and dropped into the ears to ease them of the noyse and singing in them and deafness also."

"Sciatica:  Again, using savoy as a hot poultice with white flour to ease nervous pain, gout or sciatica sounds excellent practice, but this is a forgotten remedy."

Finally "Insects:  Parkinson's mention of using savory to alleviate bee or wasp stings may have its source to Virgil, who suggested growing the plant near beehives for this purpose."

I think there is so much from past practice that may still be useful as a home remedy and this book is really relevant if you want to see a side by side comparison of old and new.  As I have said and it is mentioned in the book, please use caution if you want to try any of these remedies mentioned.

No sight of snow or cold weather.  We are just getting warmer in the 'Burgh!  It was almost 70 degrees for the Victorian Christmas Tour yesterday!  More about that in a later post.  Trimming back the herbal containers that have started to go south.  Don't want to overwhelm The Herbal Husband with herbs that aren't doing well inside.  Posts for later this month!  Hope you are having a great day, talk to you tomorrow!


Terra said...

This book and your information on savory are fascinating. I enjoy growing herbs for cooking with. Fresh herbs from the garden, delicious.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

I think I need some savory for my stomach. :-)

Wow, you are having warm weather. It's warm here this morning around 78, some showers predicted, breezy. Cold weather is supposed to be coming by Sunday. That would be nice.

Happy Christmas holidays ~ FlowerLady