Written On: Monday, Jun 15 2020

Oxymels and syrups

In last weeks blog, which included a recipe for a herbal vinegar, I mentioned that they can then be turned into an oxymel.  This week I’m going to explain what an oxymel is and how to make one.

An oxymel is a classic, but often overlooked herbal preparation made from a combination of vinegar and honey.  They are often made with herbs that are beneficial to the respiratory and immune system and can be an extraction of a single herb or a more complex herbal combination (such as the classic Fire Cider).  There are a number of different ways of making an oxymel.  At its simplest you can simply add equal parts honey to a herbal vinegar.  However as a friend has just gifted me some Hyssop I’m going to explain how to make a Hyssop Oxymel.

Hyssop is an incredible addition to your herbal medicine chest. It can help a wide range of maladies, specifically as a bronchitis home remedy, and has been relied upon for centuries. Hyssop comes to us originally from the Mediterranean and has been a beloved medicinal plant for thousands of years. It now grows easily around the world and has been naturalized throughout a lot of North America. The Romans are said to have introduced hyssop wherever they settled, valuing it as both a ceremonial and healing plant.

Hyssop is probably most well known as an herb for helping with symptoms of a cold or flu. It is often used for children and is very effective for adults as well. Energetically hyssop can be explained as a warming and stimulating herb with a pungent taste. We use it to warm up the body and get things moving! Think of it for moving stagnation like stuck mucous, delayed menses or congealed blood (bruises). As a stimulating diaphoretic it warms the body, pushing out coldness and opening the pores. This is especially ideal for when a person feels cold and is shivering with a slight fever. Hyssop is perfect for coughs with congested mucus. It both stimulates mucus and expectorates mucus, which enables the lungs and coughing mechanisms to rid it from the body. Hyssop is incredibly easy to grow in the garden and I highly recommend cultivating it! Bees LOVE this plant. It’s also quite a beautiful little shrub with gorgeous purple blooms. If you are interested in trying hyssop but don’t have access to the fresh plant, you can buy dried hyssop and use it in the same way.

Hyssop Oxymel combines the stimulating properties of vinegar with the soothing qualities of honey. This centuries-old preparation is specific for coughs and congestion, especially when there is lots of mucus stuck in the lungs. To make this recipe you’ll need:

Hyssop (fresh or dried)
Good quality honey
Apple cider vinegar
Jar with a non-metal lid

To make your hyssop oxymel, fill a jar lightly with chopped fresh hyssop herb. (If using dried hyssop just fill the jar half way with hyssop.) Next fill the jar about 1/3 of the way full with honey. (For a sweeter and thicker preparation fill the jar half full with honey.) Then fill the jar the rest of the way with the vinegar. Vinegar can corrode a metal lid, so you’ll need to cover it with a plastic lid, or place a barrier between the metal lid and the liquid. Place a label on it and let it sit for 2-4 weeks. Strain it well. Label the bottle!

​Oxymels can be taken in teaspoon to tablespoon amounts. If dealing with an acute issue it is generally better to take smaller amounts more frequently, rather than larger doses only a few times a day. If I had a congested cough I would take this bronchitis home remedy 1 teaspoon at a time at least every hour. 

1 Comment

  1. Sue-Anne Mayne

    I am really keen to try making this. It sounds wonderful. What sort of herbs would you use for a chronic infection? My friend had a wisdom tooth out, the dentist took some bone with it and now she has an infection in her face. The NHS is taking forver to deal with it…


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