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Stay Well with Oxymels

Use vinegar and your favorite herbs and flowers to create this sweet and zesty everyday remedy.

| May/June 2019


Photo by Getty Images/Shaiith

Oxymels are a thin herbal syrup that combine the sweetness of honey, the tanginess of apple cider vinegar, and your favorite medicinal flowers for a summer remedy unlike any other. They’re certainly one of the lesser-known forms of herbal remedies — less likely to be found on the shelf of your local food co-op — which makes them a perfect do-it-yourself project for your kitchen machinations that can be enjoyed for years or gifted with glee.

Oxymels have been in use for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient empires of Persia, Greece, and Rome, where great minds such as Hippocrates, Cato, and Pliny lauded them. The delicious practice has persisted, as you can still order a traditional oxymel called sekanjabin as a drink at some Persian restaurants. They largely fell by the wayside in United States herbalism practice until Rosemary Gladstar began teaching her perennially popular fire cider recipe, a traditional immune-supporting remedy, in 1981. As the herbal renaissance blooms in the country, oxymels are becoming increasingly popular too, and creative herbalists are exploring the nuances of medicine making.

Properly made oxymels are one of the most delicious herbal remedy forms. Their complex flavor is versatile enough to use as a medicine from a dropper or spoon, but also as a salad dressing, marinade, or baking sweetener in the grand tradition of food as medicine.


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