Comparison of chemical composition and antioxidant activities of two Winter savory subspecies (Satureja montana subsp. variegata and Satureja montana subsp. montana) cultivated in Northern Italy

Nat Prod Res. 2019 Nov;33(21):3143-3147. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2018.1516661. Epub 2018 Nov 23.


The Satureja L. genus belongs to the Lamiaceae family and comprises about 30 species commonly known as savory. Savory is represented by aromatic plants which are used as spice, tea and food additive. In this study, we explored the differences in essential oil composition and antioxidant activity between two subspecies occurring in Italy, namely S. montana subsp. variegata and subsp. montana. Essential oils were analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and the major volatile constituents were carvacrol (22.5%), p-cymene (17.6%), thymol (17,4%) in the subsp. variegata, and carvacrol (61.9%), p-cymene (9,9%) and γ-terpinene (8.2%) in the subsp. montana. The main chemical difference was the carvacrol:thymol ratio, with the latter much higher in the subsp. montana (above 300) compared with the subsp. variegata. The antioxidant activity was determined by using DPPH, ABTS and FRAP and essential oils displayed noteworthy radical scavenging effects against the ABTS radical (IC50 of 30.02-34.5 µg/ml).

Keywords: Satureja montana; antioxidant activity; essential oil.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Cymenes
  • Free Radical Scavengers / chemistry
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Italy
  • Monoterpenes / analysis
  • Oils, Volatile / analysis
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry*
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Plant Components, Aerial / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Satureja / chemistry*
  • Thymol / analysis
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis


  • Antioxidants
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Cymenes
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • 4-cymene
  • Thymol
  • gamma-terpinene
  • carvacrol