Oxymel: A Sour Elixir to Boost Your Immune System

Pascal Thiele / Utopia.org

Oxymel is an elixir made of honey, vinegar, and other ingredients like herbs or fruit. We’ll tell you about the health benefits of this ancient medicinal drink, and show you how to make your own oxymel at home. 

Oxymel has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine, dating all the way back to Hippocrates in 400 B.C.E. 

Its unfamiliar-sounding name is derived from the Greek word for “acid” and “honey”. We’ll show you how to make your own oxymel, and what it can be used for. 

Ingredients and Effects

honey
Honey and vinegar are the main ingredients in oxymel. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – PollyDot)

Oxymel is made of two main ingredients: vinegar and honey. Additional ingredients can be added for different flavors and effects, like herbs, flowers, fruit, or spices. 

Because honey is so sweet, many people assume that it is unhealthy, but in fact, honey has a long list of health benefits and has even been established as a potential therapeutic antioxidant agent. It is considered antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and has strong wound-healing properties. In traditional medicine, honey has been used to treat everything from eye diseases to worm infestation.

Vinegar has also long been used in natural medicine to treat various ailments and illnesses. It is a strong antioxidant and has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. 

With these two ingredients, oxymel is already a strong prophylactic. Other medicinal properties will depend on what types of other ingredients you decide to add to the mixture. For example, oxymel with sage, thyme, and ribwort is said to be particularly effective for cough and respiratory problems.

How to Make Oxymel

oxymel recipe
You can add additional ingredients to your oxymel to get different flavors and effects. (Pascal Thiele / Utopia.org)

To make oxymel, you’ll need high-quality honey, natural vinegar, the additional ingredients of your choice, like dried herbs or spices, and last but not least, a few weeks of time.

Ingredients:

  • 3 parts honey
  • 1 part vinegar
  • additional ingredients to add flavor or medicinal effect

Oxymel Recipe:

  1. Sterilize a glass jar, either with boiling water, in the oven, or the dishwasher. If you’re not sure exactly how, learn here how to sterilize glass jars.  
  2. Mix the honey and vinegar in the jar.
  3. Finely chop the herbs or other additional ingredients. If you’re using fruit, use a muddler to mash the pieces to a paste.
  4. Add your additional ingredients to the honey and vinegar and mix well together. Be sure that they do not float on the surface, otherwise, mold can form. Cover the jar with a sheet of baking paper or a flat stone.
  5. Close the jar tightly and leave it in a dark place for about four weeks. You can shake the jar about once a week to help dissolve the herbs or spices.
  6. Strain the liquid into a clean jar or bottle.

Additional Ingredients

Additional ingredients
Different herbs, spices, fruits, or flowers will add different flavor profiles to your oxymel. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Westerper)

Be sure to use only the highest-quality ingredients to make this medicinal drink:

  • Honey is best when it is both organic and local.
  • Vinegar is also best in organic quality. Choose unfiltered vinegar without additives. Naturally cloudy apple cider vinegar, for example, is well suited for oxymel.
  • Any herbs, spices, or fruits used as additional ingredients should also be as chemical-free as possible. If possible, source them from your own garden, or buy organic. 

Additional Ingredient Ideas:

  • Wild herbs such as ribwort, stinging nettle leaves, goutweed, groundsel, wild garlic, etc.
  • Kitchen herbs like sage, thyme, basil or mint
  • Wild fruits like rose hips or sea buckthorn.
  • Fruits like cherries, raspberries, or blackberries.
  • Garlic or horseradish.
  • Roots like turmeric or ginger.
  • Spices like black pepper, cinnamon, fennel, or anise. 

Oxymel: Application and Dosage

oxymel application
Oxymel can also be used as a base for salad dressings or soft drinks. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Stocksnap)
  • The use of oxymel can vary depending on the composition of the sour honey, the particular application, and the individual person.
  • To strengthen the immune system, adults should take about two to three tablespoons of oxymel dissolved in a glass of water daily. Children should take about a half-dose. 
  • After three weeks of daily intake, pause for one week before resuming dosage.
  • Alternatively, you can use oxymel as a base for soft drinks or even as an ingredient in cooking (for example, for dressings). However, be sure not to heat the mixture, in order to prevent destroying its beneficial properties. 

This article was translated from German to English by Christie Sacco. You can read the original version here: Oxymel: Mit Sauerhonig das Immunsystem boosten

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