An Oxymel is a healthful beverage that is Greek in origin and dates back to antiquity. It is based on honey and vinegar and is served straight or diluted to treat a range of conditions. Traditionally, vinegar, honey and water are gently simmered until only 1/3 remains(1 part vinegar, 1 part water and 2 parts honey) and this preparation is cooled and used as a treatment (gargle for sore throats; “agues” and fevers; as an expectorant/coughs; breathing issues; aches and pains)as well as a restorative and energising tonic.
The recipe I have embraced uses raw apple cider vinegar and in this case berries for their health boosting punch and raw local honey to taste. Apple cider vinegar is medicinal by itself and is strongly anti-inflammatory, supportive of digestion and immune enhancing and of course is naturally fermented resulting in probiotic goodness. Local raw honey is also a potent healer and it particularly useful during allergy season and to support immune health.
This drink can be used on a daily basis to improve well-being and to treat underlying health issues. I have seen this tonic benefit a range of conditions including eczema, hayfever, ongoing URT infections as well as cystitis when cranberries are used. The addition of honey gives this tonic much loved sweetness so other less palatable herbs can also be added under guidance to achieve compliance.
There really is no limit to what can be added to an Oxymel and I like to use a range of berries in this recipe based on condition and also what is organic and seasonally available.
All you need to do is source organic of the following:
- 250gm berries, I usually use blueberry, goji and raspberry (use more for a big batch)
- apple cider vinegar to cover
- local raw honey to taste (it needs to be sweet enough), you can go up to equal or twice as much honey as vinegar
Place the berries into a sealable jar with a plastic lid, a metal lid will corrode, and cover with the vinegar. Tightly seal the lid and give it all a good shake. Do this 1-2 times daily for 10 days then strain the liquid through a seive really pressing the berries/ingredients to ensure all the liquid is extracted. Add honey and combine well then store in the fridge to be enjoyed daily either on its own, made into cordial, added to sparkling water or even added to smoothies. For colds and flus or in cold weather it can also be added to hot water and consumed as a tea. This tonic will last for months in the fridge.
Being strong in flavour, you can even hide the daily dose of oils and probiotics in there, down it all goes in one easy brew!
For thousands of years both apple cider vinegar and honey have been considered a panacea or cure-all. There are volumes written about them recognising their potential health benefits so it stands to reason that traditional societies would have known their inherent offerings. An Oxymel, a base of vinegar and honey, can be used as a carrier for any herb or spice. I think age old practices such as this can teach us a lot, why not have a brew on stand by in your home.