Herb: Headed Savory

Latin name: Thymus capitatus

Synonyms: Coridothymus capitatus, Satureja capitata

Family: Labiatae

Medicinal use of Headed Savory:

The leaves, and especially the essential oil contained in them, are strongly antiseptic, deodorant and disinfectant. The plant can be used fresh at any time of the year, or it can be harvested as it comes into flower and either be distilled for the oil or dried for later use. The essential oil should not be used in aromatherapy because it is highly irritant to the mucous membranes.

Description of the plant:


25 cm
(9 3/4 inch)

July to


Habitat of the herb:

Dry, usually calcareous soils.

Edible parts of Headed Savory:

The plant is sometimes used as a condiment. An essential oil from the plant is used for flavouring baked goods, condiments, beverages, ice creams etc. It is called "Spanish oregano oil". Leaves - raw in salads or added as a flavouring to cooked foods. An aromatic tea is made from the leaves. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly.

Other uses of the herb:

The essential oil, known as "Spanish oregano oil", obtained from the leaves is also used in perfumery and soaps, as a mouth wash, medicinally etc.

Propagation of Headed Savory:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Cuttings of young shoots, 5 - 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry, usually calcareous soils.

Known hazards of Thymus capitatus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.