While the word oxymel conjures images of medieval times, this simple elixir is a fantastic addition to our modern day routines. Oxymel originally comes from the Greek word “oximeli” which quite literally translates to acid and honey. Typically oxymels include raw honey and raw apple cider vinegar, but any vinegar will work.

Since its inception many variations of the oxymel have been created, including Rosemary Gladstar’s notorious Fire Cider recipe, which you may be familiar with. This punchy staple in an herbalist’s repertoire is loaded with aromatics like garlic, onion, rosemary, cayenne pepper, lemon peel, turmeric and ginger which give it a savory flavor and make it so effective at bolstering immunity (especially during the winter months).

On the sweeter side, there are countless recipes online for delicious blackberry thyme oxymels, elderflower oxymels, citrus oxymels and more – really any medicinal herbs and kitchen spices can be used here. Creativity is encouraged! If you’re not sold on this herbal tonic already, let’s talk about its many dazzling (yet proven) health claims. 

The Many Benefits of Oxymels

  • Digestive boost : The acetic acid in vinegar stimulates the secretion of gastric juices to improve your digestion.
  • Electrolytes: Essential minerals like potassium make oxymels deeply hydrating and replenishing, particularly if you’re dealing with any dehydration from being sick or physically exerted.
  • Immunity: Oxymels are antiviral and antibacterial, especially when they contain aromatic herbs, which enhance your immune system’s ability to stave off any infection. 
  • Antioxidants: Both honey and vinegar contain polyphenols – plant antioxidants that help to fight off oxidative stress and cellular damage.
  • Microbiome support: Raw honey and raw apple cider vinegar contain enzymes and beneficial bacteria that nourish your gut microbiome.

How to Use Oxymels

  1. For cellular hydration: Add a few spoonfuls of an oxymel to water for a natural alternative to sports drinks. Perfect for after a workout, travel day, or period outside in the sun!
  1. When you feel a bug coming on: Take 2 tablespoons of oxymel every few hours when  you’re either starting to feel under the weather or are already sick to help you kick it faster. 
  1. In cocktails & mocktails: Simply put, any time you would reach for a shrub or a syrup when crafting a fun drink you can sub in an oxymel. They add a level of sweetness while also bringing in some acidity which makes them perfect for almost every cocktail, from sidecars to gin and tonics. For a delicious non alcoholic bevvy, dilute your oxymel with some sparkling water and add your favorite herbal garnish. 
  1. To brighten up recipes: The high acidity of oxymels make them wonderful additions to marinades, especially when it comes to seafood. Another great way to use oxymels is in salad dressings in place of vinegar and honey!
  1. As a digestif: Take a spoonful of oxymel before sitting down for a meal, either straight up or in water, to start to get your digestive juices flowing. Even better if your oxymel has bitter herbs infused into it.
  1. Sore throat gargle: Instead of the classic warm saltwater option, try gargling with an oxymel next time you have a sore throat. Not only is the honey soothing to your inflamed tissues but the antimicrobial properties of both vinegar and honey will stop those pesky infection-causing bugs from multiplying!

Citrusy Spring Oxymel Recipe 

What You’ll Need: 

  • 16 oz mason jar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Raw honey 
  • Dried orange peel
  • Dried nettle
  • Dried lemon balm
  • Parchment paper


  • Add 2 tbsp of orange peel to your jar
  • Then add equal parts nettle and lemon jar to fill half the jar — you can eyeball this!
  • Fill half the jar with apple cider vinegar and then top off the other half with raw honey 
  • Cover the top of the jar with a piece of parchment paper and then cover with the lid (the parchment paper prevents the lid from rusting) 
  • Shake it up and store it in a cool, dark, and dry place shaking the jar every few days
  • Let it sit for at least a week and up to 2 weeks before straining the liquid
  • Store the liquid in a jar or squeezer bottle and add 1-2 tbsp at a time to your favorite sparkling water or water — you can also use the oxymel in salad dressings

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