My Herbs Blog
Oxymel- comes from the Latin meaning of 'acid and honey.' When I refer to the term oxymel- I am referring to Apple Cider Vinegar, and raw honey. The old, or ancient recipes called for more honey than vinegar. I prefer to use more vinegar than honey, but that decision is up to you. You can gladly play around with different recipes.
The following historical information was gathered from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224834098_Oxymel_in_medieval_Persia and accessed on 6/17/2020
Oxymel- as a medicine has been used for thousands of years. There are many recorded recipes and uses. One of the first recorded uses was by Hippocrates (460-370BC) and Dioscorides (1st century AD). Oxymels were used widely in medieval Persia, and much of their knowledge was gathered from Greek and Roman civilizations.
According to the article in Pharmaceutical Historian, March 2012 Oxymel was a kind of syrup which is called traditionally Sekanjabin in Persia. Traditional Oxymel contained 1 part vinegar, 2 parts honey, and 4 parts water. The mixture was boiled, until one-fourth remained as a syrup. There are many many variations to this basic recipe, and the article describes some 1200! I like this simple recipe using pomegranates.
Pomegranate oxymel: "Administered in chronic fevers and useful effects on liver and stomach function." Sweet and sour pomegranate juices (200g of each) are mixed with vinegar (100g) and then sugar (200g) dissolved in the mixture and boiled.
You can read the full article on www.researchgate.net here:
I am kind of new to oxymels- I have been experimenting with different preparations and have found that I like this method best for using fresh herbs. It is summer right now and I am collecting flowers daily and have made a batch of dandelion, Taraxacum officinal and honeysuckle (woodbind), Lonicera periclymenum oxymel. For my recipes I did not boil any of the ingredients. I plan to do so with some dried herbs, to store for the winter, but this batches were meant to be fresh, lighter, and to be enjoyed in this summer season. (As an alternative to tea).
Honeysuckle is in bloom right now.
Botanical name Lonicera- (sometimes called woodbind). As a kid, we use to stand for hours at the honeysuckle bush, sucking out the little sweet nectar from the trunk end of the flower. I still do this today, but not for hours at a time!
Yesterday I picked half a quart jar of the flowers and pressed them down as I put them in the jar. The petals are very light and airy, and you need to gather a lot to fill a jar.
I then decided to make an Oxymel- which is a vinegar/ honey preparation. I considered a tincture with vodka (but the state stores are closed)... and I considered soaking them in wine to make a tincture, but finally settled on the oxymel because I thought the honey would be a nice accent.
What have honeysuckle flowers been used for- historically?
-Stomach disorders and more.
To make the Oxymel I filled a jar half way with the flowers, pressing them down about every inch of flowers gathered. I then added apple cider vinegar until the liquid filled about 2/3's of the jar. I do not use ACV with the Mother when I make my tinctures. I don't feel like they keep as well. I use the purified ("dead") vinegar because it makes a stronger tincture and lasts longer.
Then I added honey to top off the jar, leaving about 1 inch headspace.
* Of using a metal lid, place a piece of wax paper between jar top and lid. Vinegar corrodes metal.
Cover the jar with a lid. SHAKE well. Shake well 2-3 times a day for a week. After a week, strain and save in a brown glass bottle, in a dark cabinet. Make sure you label and date, and this will last for years.
Amounts to take- this of course varies. I like to use energetics to decide how much to take. During a cold/ flu- I would probably take 2 teaspoons a day.
Basic recipe with Tools/ Ingredients:
1 cleaned Quart jar with lid
1 piece of wax paper
2 cups fresh flowers (rose, dandelion, honeysuckle, etc.)
2-3 cups Apple cider vinegar. (I do not use the raw vinegar with the mother to make medicines. It preserves better to use vinegar that has been heated. If I did the heating process myself, as some of the ancient recipes direct, I would use vinegar with the mother. This is up to you).
1 cup raw honey
1 label and sharpie marker
I press the flowers into the bottom of a clean quart jar. Next I add enough vinegar to cover the flowers, and fill the jar about 3/4's full. I use more vinegar with honey to help with preservation. I also use the finished oxymel for my salads, so that is another reason for more vinegar. Then I add the raw honey and stir this mixture with a wooden spoon. I put the lid on the jar without the wax paper, and shake vigorously. To store, I take the lid back off and wipe it dry. Then I place the wax paper down first and tighten the lid, so not to corrode the metal. I will leave this out about 24 hours before putting in the refrigerator. I will then keep this mixture in the fridge until a week has passed and I am ready to strain. You will need to stir 2-3 times a day to mix the flowers around.
This version could be medicinal, but is more of a nutritive recipe. If I were making this for medicine, I would use dried herbs, more herbs, and concentrate the formula with heat. I wanted to make something that was light and airy and reminded me of summer. My dandelion oxymel is very reminiscent of dandelion and when I make salad dressing with it, the salad tastes like it contains dandelion greens. It is delicious!