"Oxymels are herbal preparations that date back as far as the ancient Greeks. They are made by combining herbs with both honey and vinegar. These sweet and sour preparations are specific to the respiratory system and can be used for bronchial complaints, especially when there is a lot of mucous present - such as coughs that are thick with mucous. I learned from herbalist Paul Bergner that William Cook, a Physiomedicalist of the 1800s preferred vinegar as a menstruum for issues of the respiratory system. He felt that it concentrated the herb’s actions to the respiratory system. Honey in itself offers us a wide range of benefits for coughs and sore throats. It’s anti-microbial, inhibiting the growth of pathogens as well as slightly expectorant. As most of us know, a spoonful of honey can soothe a sore throat."
Now that you know what an oxymel is, this recipe is a quicker version than most others, which usually include the infusion of the herbs in the vinegar for several days or weeks. As a result, this recipe probably produces a somewhat weaker end product, but let me tell you, it doesn't taste that way! Just a half teaspoon cleared my sinuses right up! This is most likely not a preparation that you will be able to get your kids to take, (while I was making it, my kids covered their noses and wouldn't come near the kitchen,) but it's definitely worth having on hand for cold and flu season. Plus, I think it would make a yummy salad dressing.
Without further ado...
Easy Garlic Cayenne Oxymel
4 ounces apple cider vinegar (with the "mother", if possible) 5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup fresh sage*
a few sprigs of fresh thyme*
a small handful of fresh rosemary*
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
5 ounces raw honey
*Note: When substituting dried herbs for fresh, use 1/3 to 1/2 the amount. Dried herbs are always stronger.*
Heat apple cider vinegar to a boil. (Make sure the garlic is pressed and the herbs are roughly chopped at this point). Remove from heat and add all ingredients but the honey. Stir and let steep with lid on for 15 minutes. Strain through a coffee filter or cheese cloth. Add honey and reheat ON LOW until just combined - not too much or the honey will begin to lose enzymes. Pour into a glass jar with a plastic lid (or make sure there is some type of cloth or plastic wrap between the oxymel and a metal lid due to the vinegar content), and place in the fridge. Will keep for up to one year. Dosage is approximately 1 tablespoon as needed for colds or congestion. Can also be mixed into a cup of tea.
*This recipe is from this website with slight alterations
***Keep an eye out for an Elderberry Elixir recipe for cold and flu season, which is a more "adult" version of my Elderberry Syrup recipe, coming soon!!***