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Developed during The Renaissance, oxymel means “from acid and honey”. It is a type of herbal remedy made by steeping herbs in vinegar and honey, so the flavour is tangy-sweet. Oxymels are great for children, during pregnancy and for those avoiding alcohol.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is well-known for its medicinal value – it helps lower blood sugar levels, adds probiotics to your digestive system, helps with asthma, reduces triglyceride levels and much more. When using vinegar in your plant medicines it helps with extracting more of the nutrients out of the plant material. ACV also helps lengthen the shelf-life of your preparations.

Honey is also beloved as a potent medicine - it’s antimicrobial and promotes healing. Locally sourced, raw honey also helps reduce allergies. Honey also helps to make bitter or pungent herbs more palatable. So, when making plant medicines with ACV and honey, you receive not only the benefits of the plants you are using, but also their medicinal qualities as well.

You can use oxymels as you would shrubs (Middle Eastern vinegar-based cordials) – add a tablespoon to fizzy water, still water or tonic water prior to meals. Oxymels taste so nice, though, you can take them straight out of the bottle – one teaspoon to one tablespoon daily for maintenance (to support the immune system through Winter or to support heart health, etc.); 1t – 1T a few times a day for acute conditions, e.g. sore throats, coughs, etc.

Oxymel preparation ideas for your home apothecary:

  • Garlic, Thyme & Sage – sore throat and/or cough (could also add mullein)

  • Dandelion Root – detoxification

  • Olive Leaf – potent antimicrobial and supports heart health (similar to olive oil in the Mediterranean Diet)

  • Hawthorn Berries – heart health

  • Elderberry – immune support

  • Dried Orange & Rose Hip - high Vitamin C (could use Pine Needles instead)

  • Lemon Balm/Melissa – relieves depression

  • Rosemary – increased circulation (to the whole body, including the brain and the feet)

  • Yarrow – reduce fever

  • Nettle – reduce seasonal allergies (also increases minerals, like iron)

  • Mint – relieve stomach upset

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