Oxymels and Elixirs


What is an OXYMEL?!

If you ask me, an oxymels is the best of both worlds: Sweet and Sour. An oxymel is a honey-vinegar. This combination makes an outrageous morning tonic or afternoon mixed drink (oxymels and carbonated water that is…).

Oxymels are nutritious and preserve the bioflavonoids of the herbs you choose to infuse. It’s a way of waking up your digestive enzymes and boosting both your energy and immunity.


What’s the difference between a SHRUB and an OXYMEL?

Shrubs and oxymels are both infused honey vinegars. However, a shrub traditionally consists of berry infusions. It’s what peasants would use as an electrolyte while working with the land and it’s how sailors preserved their fruits while being out on the sea (ultimately helping reduce the risks of scurvy). So oxymels are herbal infused honey-vinegars and shrubs are fruit (&) herbal infused honey-vinegars.


How to make an oxymel?

Oxymel according to James Green:

Step 1: Prepare the base

-Mix 1 lb. honey with ½ pint vinegar (you can adjust the ratios to a smaller amount if needed).

-Place the mixture in a pot and simmer to a syrup consistency.

Step 2: Add the Herbs

-While the honey-vinegar is still in the pot, add freshly chopped herb, let infuse for 3 weeks in a non-metal lidded jar


-Pour in a prepared decoction, infusion or tincture to base and use as a gargle or expectorant medicine.



What is an Elixir?

Some may say it’s a “MagicalPotion” or a “Love Spell”. Yet if you ask an herbalist, it’s a combination of brandy and honey. It makes a great base for a Throat Spray and it also goes well in a Hot Toddy. With that said, I like to make Elixir mainly for viruses such as the cold and flu. Yet some people would prefer their tinctures to have some honey, because I believe Mary Poppin’s said “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.”


Oxymel OR Elixir Preparation:

-Chop fresh herb to fill about ½ jar

-Fill ½ jar with Vinegar (preferably Apple Cider Vinegar with mother) OR Brandy OR Vodka (alcohol states you are making an “Elixr”)

-Cover jar with non-erosive lid (especially I you are using vinegar)

-Let infuse for 3-4 weeks.

-Pour through strainer.


**1 TBSP./Day of Oxymel to keep the digestive system happy and 1 Tsp. 3-5 times/day of Elixr to fight symptoms





The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook; A Home Manual, James Green

Cedar Mountain Herb School, Suzanne Jordan

Healing From The Ground Up Apprenticeship, EagleSong E. Gardener