An oxymel is a standard herbal medicine preparation used to make bitter-tasting herbs easier to take. The herbs are preserved in both the vinegar and the honey.
Herbal oxymels are easy to make using infused vinegar and added honey. They are used in herbal medicine to make bitter herbs more appetizing. Like the song, “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down”, herbal oxymels make the medicine easier to swallow.
The word “oxymel” comes from the Latin, oxy = acid, Mel = honey, so acid and honey. An oxymel is usually made up of 1/3 to ½ honey, 1/3 herbs, and 1/3 vinegar. If you’ve ever made fire cider, you’ve already made an oxymel.
“You will find the drink, called oxymel, often very useful… for it promotes expectoration and freedom of breathing” (Hippocrates, 400 B.C.)
Health Properties of Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar comes into many herbal preparations. It’s a good way to preserve the minerals found in herbs and fruit. Vinegar also contributes potassium to a beverage, an essential electrolyte that helps quench thirst and prevent dehydration.
Apple cider vinegar has a huge pile of health benefits that include weight loss, stabilizing blood pressure, control of blood sugar levels, help for arthritis and joint pain, and relief of constipation and IBS. Those who benefit from apple cider vinegar incorporate apple cider vinegar into their diet 2 to 4 times a day.
Properties of Honey
Most ancient populations, including the Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Romans, Mayans, and Babylonians, consumed honey both for nutritional aims and for its medicinal properties.
The ingredients of honey have been reported to exert antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, anticancer, and antimetastatic effects. Many pieces of evidence suggest the use of honey in the control and treatment of wounds, diabetes mellitus, cancer, asthma, and also cardiovascular, neurological, and gastrointestinal diseases. [source]
Suggested Herbs for an Oxymel
- Bee Balm or Monarda
- Golden Rod
Basic Ingredients and Equipment for Making an Herbal Oxymel
- a glass jar
- dried herbs
- apple cider vinegar
Follow typical plant to vinegar ratio’s using one part dried herbs, one part honey, and one part apple cider vinegar.
Using the Quick Method to Make an Oxymel
During the during harvest season it is common for us to infuse individual batches of herbs in vinegar and then create a separate infusion of herbs in honey. Perhaps you do this too.
Since you have already taken the time to make these items, you’ll only need to combine them in equal parts to have an oxymel very specific to your needs.
Use this recipe if you are starting from scratch with your infusions.
The Standard Oxymel Recipe
- Prepare all ingredients by cleaning and chopping.
- Place the part of dried herbs in a one-quart jar
- Fill the jar with vinegar until the ingredients are completely covered.
- Use a chopstick to release any trapped air. Cover with more vinegar if necessary, so that all herbs are completely covered with vinegar.
- Let this mixture steep for 4 to 6 weeks, at room temperature. Shake daily or as often as you think of it.
- After 4 to 6 weeks, strain the infused cider through cheesecloth, being careful to squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the herbs. Reserve the liquid and feed the merk to your chickens or add it to the compost pile.
- Combine by adding one part of honey to the infused vinegar in equal parts (so if you are left with 1 cup of strained, infused vinegar, mix in 1 cup of honey.)
Store: The finished herbal oxymel will keep in a dark cupboard for up to one year.
Dosage: for adults, use by the teaspoon as needed.
Uses for Herbal Oxymel
- Use as a marinade for meat or vegetables
- Use with oil to make your own specialty salad dressing
- Infuse with herbs known to reduce cold and flu symptoms
- Used daily to boost your overall immunity
Get started making an oxymel today by getting ready for cold and flu season with these remedies from Joybilee Farm
How to Make Thieves Vinegar
Homemade Fire Cider Your Way
5 Uses for Sage Oxymel
What is your favorite combination of herbs for a homegrown herbal oxymel?
Can you use bottled ground or dried herbs… as I don’t have fresh herbs.
Can fresh herbs be used in lieu of dry? If so, would the fresh herbs be increased to 2 parts?
Joybilee Farm says
Generally fresh herbs would be twice as much as dried herbs.
Can oxymels be made using essential oils?
Joybilee Farm says
No they are different plant constituents. Oxymels use infused plant parts. Essential oils are distilled.