Oh, what wonders vinegar and honey and herbs can do for our bodies, and why they can be so helpful this winter. Easy to make and store. Here's another item for your kitchen apothecary -- Oxymels!
In my previous blog, we talked about introducing you to an oxymel or herbal tonic. What is it? How to make it? It's so simple! Actually, you already know about them from my last blog that discussed Elderberry Syrup and Fire Cider. The simple definition of an oxymel is herbs that are placed in vinegar (acid) along with honey. The vinegar helps to draw out the herb's beneficial properties, and the introduction of honey allows you to enjoy the benefits of those herbs that may not be that palatable otherwise.
Raw apple cider vinegar (contains friendly bacteria [the "mother"] to support your immune system, and also has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties) and raw honey (nourishes good bacteria in your intestines and helps soothe a sore throat). They are both common kitchen allies that can be used to help calm a cough or bolster the immune system through colds and flu. When combined with herbs that carry complementary actions, oxymels offer a potent, yet tasty, support for times of sickness or compromised immunity. It's healthy and alcohol-free too.
Over the ages, herbal oxymels have been utilized to assist with respiratory issues, coughs, reducing mucous, and even breathing issues. They had disappeared for a while but are now making a comeback.
Making an herbal oxymel is a simple and convenient herbal preparation that creates an ideal balance between vinegar and honey for supporting the immune and respiratory systems. Since I grow my own herbs and vegetables, I got to use my own garden herbs. If you don't have a garden you can always find organic herbs at the supermarket.
Thyme boasts antiviral & antibacterial properties and is a great choice for those with upper respiratory infections, coughs, & bronchitis. You can use fresh herbs, but in this case, I chose to dry the thyme for a few days to make sure that all the moisture had evaporated. Other herbs that can aid your respiratory issues are oregano, mullein, bee balm, elderflowers, or rosemary.
There are varying opinions on how oxymels should be prepared: 1 part honey to 1 part raw vinegar; 5 parts honey to 1 part vinegar; with water (or decoction) or tincture (alcohol) added. Let your taste buds be your guide. Below is the method I use:
Sanitize all the equipment you intend to use.
In a clean, dry pint jar, place enough dried herb to fill ¼ of the way full.
Cover the herbs with vinegar and honey (1/3 each) until the jar is full or slightly less than full.
Stir the mixture with a clean, dry spoon, screw on a tight plastic lid, then shake until well mixed.
Store the jar in a dark, cool place and shake every couple of days.
Strain the mixture after about two to six weeks and store it in a glass jar.
As always, remember to label the jar with the name of the product, ingredients used, and expiration date.
Note: Oxymels should be stored in glass jars with plastic lids as the vinegar in the mixture will corrode a metal lid. If you don’t have plastic lids available, you can place a piece of parchment or wax paper between the jar and the lid.
HOW TO USE IT
Starting in the Fall, you can take one to two teaspoons daily to boost your immune system. But if you're not feeling quite like yourself, taking one to two tablespoons will help bolster your immune system. You can also add it to tea, sparkling water, or mix it with oil and use it as a salad dressing. Oxymels have a sweet/sour taste that younger children may not enjoy so perhaps a little more honey might suit them. Play with it and develop your own ratios. Prepared like the recipe above the oxymel should have a shelf-life of six months to a year.
Caution: Raw honey should not be given to children under one year old.
I hope you give this simple recipe a try. No equipment to purchase since you probably have everything you need in your own kitchen.
Please share your comments and stories about the preparations you are taking for your immune system this winter. Hope you'll join me again. Just click on my name above to follow me.
Peace and Herbal Blessings,
The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. The information provided by this website or this company is for informational purposes only, it is not meant to substitute for medical advice or diagnosis provided by your physician or other medical professionals, and is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a health care provider, and should not be construed as individual medical advice. Always consult your physician or health care provider before using any herbal products.