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Boost your Immunity with Oxymels!

With cold season coming, its essential to keep your immune system strong. Many herbal formulas for prevention are considered tonics- tinctures you can take on a daily basis to keep your system strong and resilient. I was introduced to Oxymels in Seattle when I helped form the Seattle Herbal Society, a group of women herbalists and aspiring herbalists. Each week one member taught a skill, such as tincture making, herbal infusions, poultices, respiratory tonics, and more. Using folklore and herbal science concepts, we learned different tools to keep ourselves and others healthy. One of the projects that really stood out was Oxymels. Not only were they fun and easy to make, they have made each winter since flu-free!

Oxymels are typically a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar to honey with berries and herbs. This ancient preparation originated in Greece as a medicine for respiratory issues and building immunity. According to herbalists, apple cider vinegar's acidic quality helps to draw out minerals from the herbs and berries, making it more bio-available (or more absorbable).

Inland Natural Medicine

Health Benefits

  • As a tonic, oxymels are excellent preventative medicine, high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.

  • Medicinally, oxymels are helpful for colds, coughs, congestion, and soar throats.

  • Depending on what herbs and berries you use, the oxymel has different medicinal properties.


  • For illness prevention, you can take a small shot glass of an oxymel, serve in a tincture bottle, or use a few tablespoons a salad dressing with olive oil, salt and pepper.

  • For colds or other respiratory issues, serve in a shot glass and take 2-3 times a day for relief.

Tonic Oxymel

1 cup raw organic honey 1 cup organic apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, tarragon, mint, and/or sage) 4 oz blackberries 1 tbsp gojiberries

peel of 1 lemon

Cough Syrup Oxymel (Wet Coughs)

1 cup raw organic honey 1 cup organic apple cider vinegar 4 oz elderberry 1 oz slippery elm 1 oz mullein leaf .5 oz licorice root 1 oz elecampagne 1 oz dried ginger

Cough Syrup Oxymel (Dry coughs)

1 cup raw organic honey 1 cup organic apple cider vinegar 4 oz elderberry 1 oz thyme 1 oz anise seed 1 oz hyssop 1 oz marshmallow root 1 oz wild cherry bark

Immune Boost Oxymel

1 cup raw organic manuka honey 1 cup organic apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup fresh pine 1/4 cup fresh rosemary 1 oz raspberries 1 oz elderberry 1 oz hawthorne berry 1 oz goldenseal root


  1. Thoroughly mix honey and apple cider vinegar in the glass jar you wish to use

  2. Add berries and crush with a wooden spoon

  3. Add chopped herbs and mix well, making sure all ingredients are submerged in the liquid

  4. Make sure to use a plastic top or put wax paper or a piece of an old plastic bag under the metal top as a barrier to prevent oxidation.

  5. Label with date and ingredients

  6. Let sit in a dark place for 3-6 weeks. Shake every once in a while to ensure contents are fully submerged. If the berries expand, you can add some more apple cider vinegar to cover it.

  7. Strain with fine mesh strainer into tincture bottle or a glass jar


Practical Self Reliance

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