An oxymel is an ancient Greek medicinal drink that is simply honey and vinegar mixed together. An oxymel is traditionally used for cough with congestion. It is said to break up the congestion so that you can cough it up and it can also be used as a tonic for wellness and energy.
Healing Benefits of Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar
When looking up apple cider vinegar and honey online you can find just about every health claim possible. While some of these claims are not warranted both honey and apple cider vinegar have many health benefits and have been used as medicine since ancient times.
Honey in folk medicine is said to have healing properties. It has antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral qualities. Honey also has a good amount of minerals and enzymes. It is said to be healing to wounds and though it is controversial it has been used on burns throughout history. It is a great medicine to sooth the throat and to use as a base for herbal syrups. Raw and organic honey are the best choices for medicinal use.
Apple Cider vinegar also has an amazing history in folk medicine. It is a great supplement for gastrointestinal problems, heartburn, and low levels of acid. It can be used as a bitter before meals to assist with digestion. It is used for natural skin and hair care and for skin complaints. It is great for making salad dressings and for making medicinal herbal extracts when alcohol needs to be avoided. It is important to purchase a natural apple cider vinegar with the mother in it.
Making an Oxymel: More Juniper
We can add herbs to a simple oxymel and boost it’s medicinal properties significantly.
Staying with the same theme as my post early this week, Edible and Medicinal Plants of The Bible: Juniper, today I will be sharing a simple recipe for a juniper oxymel with you. You can find medicinal information on Juniper in the previous post as well as any safety concerns. Juniper is a great choice for an oxymel because it has traditionally been used for coughs and congestion.
An oxymel is an herbal creation that can vary significantly and is usually made according to the simple folk method. I do however prefer to weigh and measure my ingredients so I know exactly what I am getting and can repeat it again. You may add more apple cider vinegar and less honey if you want an oxymel that is less sweet.
2 ounces by weight dried ripe juniper berries, crushed
(Can be obtained from Mountain Rose Herbs)
approx. 10 ounces by volume honey
approx. 6 ounces by volume apple cider vinegar
1 16 ounce glass jar and a plastic lid.
Weigh 2 ounces of juniper berries and crush with a mortar and pestle until just broken up. Pour into your clean jar. Pour 6 ounces of apple cider vinegar on top of your berries. Add 10 ounces of honey or as much as will fit into the jar. Stir well. Apply a plastic cap or a metal cap with plastic in between because vinegar will react with metal and cause corrosion.
Label your jar, with herb name, latin name (so you know what variety of juniper), date, ingredients and strength. This recipe makes about a 1:8 strength oxymel. You should record on your label or in your notes how much vinegar and honey you chose to use, so you can alter it to taste next time. You will need to stir your oxymel for the first several days as the honey and vinegar will separate. After that shake your jar daily and with a tight lid you can flip it and set it upside down. Eventually the honey and vinegar will blend into a nice smooth solution. Let sit for 2-4 weeks. Strain, discard berries. Cap and relabel your jar. These normally last all year and refrigerating can help increase preservation.
Normal oxymel dosages are 1 tsp to 1 T several times a day. During acute illness small doses of 1 tsp are often taken frequently throughout the day.
Always remember to consider safety with any herb. Juniper should not be taken during pregnancy. It should also be avoided in kidney disease or kidney inflammation. It should not be taken longer then 6 weeks at a time.