An oxymel is a traditional preparation that mixes honey and vinegar with medicinal plants.
Honey was used traditionally to act both as a preservative and as a flavouring agent to mask some of the stronger tasting herbs while vinegar acted as a preservative and as the solvent to which the herbs were added.
The advantage of making your own garlic oxymel is that it is very cheap and easy to make and it will last years in the cupboard as garlic is such a strong antibacterial agent.
This is such a great cold, cough and sore throat remedy that I recommend you always have a batch handy in your cupboard.
Garlic has been revered through the centuries for its health giving properties to the point where it was credited with life-saving properties during the Tudor-age plague in England. Its medicinal properties were also well known to the Egyptians as well as the Romans, though it tended to be a lower class food as the nobility disdained its unpleasant smell.
Modern technology has enabled herbal manufacturers to analyse the amazing phytochemical composition of garlic confirming its undisputed antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and immune enhancing properties, making it an all-round winner winter remedy.
In addition, garlic has strong anticoagulant and antithrombotic properties, making it a good herb for high blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
In order to get the most out of your garlic though, you have to consume it raw. Garlic’s superb anitbacterial properties come from a sulfur compound called allicin, which is only released when garlic is freshly chopped or crushed. Unfortunately this compound is heat sensitive and is lost in the cooking process.
Another little known fact about garlic is that it is rich in minerals. As well as sulfur, mentioned above, it also contains calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium.
- 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 3 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 heaped tsp fennel seeds (optional)
- 1 heaped tsp caraway seeds (optional)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (get a good quality one like Melrose brand)
- 1/3 cup Manuka honey. If you don’t have Manuka, a good quality raw (unheated) honey
- Gently warm the seeds (if using) in the vinegar without boiling for a few minutes.
- Place the garlic and ginger in a glass jar with a plastic lid. Do not use a metal lid as the vinegar will corrode it.
- Pour the vinegar and seeds into the jar. Replace the lid and shake to stir.
- Shake the mixture 1-2 daily for 1-2 weeks.
- After 2 weeks, strain all the herbs using a cheesecloth.
- Add the honey and mix well.
- Place in a clean jar and replace the lid. Add a label with date and name of preparation.
- Store in a dark cupboard until needed.
For colds, coughs, sore-throats and flu-like symptoms take:
Adults: 1 tsp every 1-3 hours depending on severity of symptoms.
Children: 1/2 tsp every 2 hours.