Making Herbal Oxymels for the home apothecary can be a different way to preserve your herb harvest and retain their beneficial herbal properties. Learn how to create them.
Traditionally, an Oxymel recipe would be used to administer herbs that might not be so pleasant to take on their own. You will often find them as a recommendation for homemade cold and flu remedies. But don’t stop there, some of the more pleasant herbs (like mint and lemon) can become even more delightful after a soak in honey and vinegar!
Oxymels date back to the ancient Greeks and can be used to heal in many different ways. It is a simple yet powerful remedy, literally a mix of honey and vinegar. Most oxymels are infused with herbs to make them more potent.
As you are creating your own herbal combinations remember that each ingredient in this oxymel plays a starring role, and they should complement each other.
The Major Ingredients of an Herbal Oxymel
Honey is the anti-microbial superstar, is used to suppresses pathogen growth and It soothes dry throats. It makes those bitter herbs more palatable and masks some of the bitterness of the vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is also antifungal, antiviral and anti-bacterial. It is a known solvent for extracting the healing properties of herbs and it acts as a preservative that is also good for you.
Some of the best herbs for oxymel combinations are Basil, Elecampane, Garlic, Mullein, Lemon Peel, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Hyssop, Bee Balm, Elderberry, and Mint.
To make an herbal oxymel, you will need:
- A pint-size or larger Mason jar
- Dried herbs of your choice (enough to fill 1/3 of the jar)
- Raw apple cider vinegar ACV (enough to fill the jar to 2/3rd full)
- Raw honey (an amount equal to the ACV used)
- Spoon to stir
- A plastic Mason jar lid or use a plastic barrier between the liquid and a standard lid.
- Fill one-third of your jar with dried herbs, and pour in raw apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs up to the 2/3rd line. Store the jar in a sunny location and shake it once or twice per day for 2-4 weeks.
- After 2-4 weeks, strain out your herbal material and pour the ACV into a clean jar.
- Add an equal amount of honey to fill the jar. Shake well. There is some flexibility here, adding more honey to make it sweeter, or using more vinegar to make it sourer. You’ll know what you prefer after the first batch.
Store the finished oxymel in a cool, dark place. If you made this batch with dried herbs, your oxymel will keep for a year or more. This recipe can be made with fresh herbs, but the shelf life is greatly reduced (2-3 months) and it will need to be stored in the refrigerator.
To Use an Herbal Oxymel
Herbal oxymel can be taken as a remedy for cold and flu. Used as an herbal cough syrup, this sweet and sour mixture can be taken as-is by the spoonful, added to hot water, or added to an herbal tea for a pleasant boost.
Depending on the herbs used, it can also be used as the base ingredient in a salad dressing or add 1 tablespoon to a glass of ice and cold water. Add a pinch of salt and it will help replenish electrolytes.
Try these recipes to get started combining herbs to heal
Elderberry Oxymel for general immune support by Healing from Home Remedies
Blackberry Thyme Oxymel from Soul Holistic Health
Bee Balm Oxymel from Homespun Seasonal Living
Hyssop Oxymel for helping with symptoms of a cold or flu from Learning Herbs
Learn how to make an herbal oxymel for the home apothecary and preserve your herb harvest as you retain beneficial herbal properties.