Easy Homemade Oxymel Recipe With Any Herbs

by Kaitlynn Fenley

In herbal remedies, there is a timeless elixir with roots dating back over 2,000 years—known as oxymel. Oxymel comes from the ancient Greek word oxymeli, which translates to “acid and honey.” It is a potent blend of honey, vinegar, and herbs cherished for its numerous health benefits and delightful taste for centuries.

What is Oxymel?

“Oxymel” derived from the Greek words “oxys” (sour) and “meli” (honey), reflects its fundamental ingredients. This harmonious blend of sweet honey and tart vinegar is a perfect medium for extracting and preserving the medicinal properties of various herbs.

Organic apple cider vinegar is high in acetic acid, making it great for preservation. Raw vinegar also contains “mother,” a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast made of proteins, enzymes, and beneficial microbes.

Raw honey has soothing properties and some antimicrobial properties. Honey has been used for centuries as a natural antibacterial agent. Also, the cool thing about honey is that it isn’t antimicrobial against beneficial microbes associated with fermentation, but it can be effective against specific pathogens.

Its unique composition and nutrient-rich profile also offer various health benefits. Raw honey contains antioxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols, which help protect your body from the harmful effects of free radicals.

Babies under one year of age should never be given raw honey—so no oxymels for the little ones.

Where is Oxymel From?

The history is as rich as the elixir itself. It originated in ancient Greece and Persia, where it was considered a gift from the gods.

Hippocrates, the famous ancient Greek physician, was a staunch advocate of oxymel and incorporated it into his medical practices. The elixir gained popularity throughout the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, where it was used for its healing properties and as a flavorful condiment. In old-timey England, oxymel was recommended for everything from gout to ear infections.

Oxymel’s prominence continued through the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, with various herbalists and healers extolling its virtues.

How to Make Oxymel

Creating your oxymel is a straightforward process. You can customize the recipe with herbal mixtures that fit your needs.

Start by filling your jar halfway with loosely packed herbs. Then top off the jar halfway with raw honey and fill the rest of the way with raw vinegar. I like apple cider vinegar best, but any strongly acidic (5% acidity) raw vinegar will do.

Herbal Oxymel Recipe Combinations

Here are my favorite herbal combinations:

  • Thyme, oregano, ginger, dried chaga mushroom (great for cold and flu)
  • Raw garlic, turmeric, and black pepper (great for sinus and respiratory infections)
  • Cranberry, sage, and ginger (digestive and urinary support)
  • Rosehip, tulsi, skullcap, and chamomile (for menstrual cramps)
thyme, oregano, ginger, and chaga on a cutting board, ready to be used for making oxymel.

What Does Oxymel Taste Like?

Oxymel boasts a distinct flavor profile that combines honey’s sweetness with vinegar’s tartness. Depending on the herbs used, it can have additional nuances. For example, a thyme-infused oxymel will carry herbal and earthy notes, while a ginger-infused version will have a spicy kick.

The balance of sweet and sour makes oxymel a delightful and complex flavor that adds depth to both sweet and savory dishes. Its versatility in the culinary world is one of its many charms.

oxymeel made with thyme, oregano, ginger, and chaga in a glass weck jar. The liquid in the jar is amber colored from the raw honey and apple cider vinegar used to make it.

How to Use It

Oxymel is quite versatile. Here are a few ways you can incorporate it into your daily life:

  1. Sip it Straight: Take a teaspoon straight or diluted in warm water to soothe a sore throat, boost your immune system, or aid digestion.
  2. Salad Dressing: Use it as a sweet, tangy salad dressing. Its unique flavor profile adds depth to your greens.
  3. Cocktail Mixer: Get creative and add it to cocktails or mocktails for a unique twist. Its sweet and sour notes pair well with various spirits and flavors.
  4. Marinade: Use it as a marinade for meats or vegetables. The acidity of the vinegar helps tenderize and flavor your dishes.
  5. As a Tonic: Take a spoonful daily as a general health tonic to support overall well-being.

How Long Does it Last? Storing Long Term

When stored properly, it has a relatively long shelf life. It can last up to a year or even longer when kept in a cool, dark place and tightly sealed. Over time, the flavor may change slightly, but it remains safe to consume. Just ensure you use quality vinegar with good acidity (5%).

Overall, this remarkable herbal concoction bridges the gap between ancient wisdom and modern wellness. With its rich history, ease of preparation, and many uses, it’s no wonder that oxymel continues to be cherished by those seeking natural remedies and culinary delights.

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Easy Homemade Oxymel Recipe With Any Herbs

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In herbal remedies, there is a timeless elixir with roots dating back over 2,000 years—known as oxymel. Oxymel comes from the ancient Greek word oxymeli, which translates to “acid and honey.” It is a potent blend of honey, vinegar, and herbs cherished for its numerous health benefits and delightful taste for centuries.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 ounces
  • Category: Remedies
  • Method: Infusion

Ingredients

  • Herbs* (see notes)
  • Raw Honey
  • Raw Vinegar*

Instructions

  1. Loosely pack the herbs into the jar. The jar should be about half full of herbs.
  2. Fill the jar about halfway with raw honey.
  3. Add the raw vinegar to fill the jar.
  4. Wipe the jar rim, cap the jar with a rust-proof solid lid, and shake until the honey is fully dissolved in the vinegar.
  5. Put the oxymel in a cool place out of direct sunlight to infuse for at least a week and up to 30 days.
  6. After infusing it to your liking, strain out the herbs with a fine mesh strainer. (I like to compost the spent herbs)
  7. Store the strained oxymel in a jar with a lid in a cool place out of direct sunlight. It will keep for 6 months (possibly longer). I suggest storing it in the fridge for a longer shelf life.
  8. See suggestions in the blog post above for how to use it.

Notes

  • You can use a various combination of herbs. Please see herbal combination suggestions in the body of the blog above this recipe card.
  • Vinegar should be 5% acidity for best results

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Nutrition information is auto-calculated and estimated as close as possible. We are not responsible for any errors. We have tested the recipe for accuracy, but your results may vary. We are not liable for any damages caused by your use of this content.

author avatar
Kaitlynn Fenley Author, Educator, Food Microbiologist
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist and fermentation expert teaching people how to ferment foods and drinks at home.

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2 comments

Christine BP September 27, 2023 - 12:48 pm

Easy to make and lovely to look at. I haven’t tasted it yet but I’ve had oxymel before and this time I know the ingredients. My honey and ginger came from local farmers. My acv is Braggs and the herbs came from my garden. What could be better!






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Mayela December 13, 2023 - 8:16 pm

Super easy to make and follow instructions. We let it sit for 30 days. It definitely got more tart and spicy. We did garlic and ginger. However, only down side both my husband and I took a ‘shot’ of it and felt a weird sensation in our diaphragm / not good feeling. Maybe we took too much or needed it diluted.






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