Oxymels are infusions of herbs in apple cider vinegar and honey. They are really good for cold and flu remedies, soothing sore throats, calming coughs, and giving the immune system a boost.
FUN-FACT: Oxymel comes from the Greek word oxymeli, which translates to “acid and honey,” and has been documented from back to the time of Hippocrates.
Pine is very high is Vitamin C, which is great for immune health.
Collect your pine needles. Anything works really. I usually end up using my bandana. I prefer mid-morning or so depending on the time of year, once the dew has evaporated. I don’t always wash my needles off, depending on what I’m using them for, and it just seems better to harvest them dry, regardless. That’s my personal preference.
Separate out any brown needles, and rinse, if needed.
After rinsing, you want to dry them off completely. Moisture will make your vinegar go rancid. Roughly chop with a knife or cut with scissors like I do to get more of the plant matter in contact with the vinegar, and place in clean glass jar. The pieces don’t have to be that small. Mine are roughly about an inch and a half or so. I fill the jar 1/4-1/2 way with pine needles. Add more if you want it stronger. You can also let it sit long to get stronger as well.
You want to use about half and half of honey and apple cider vinegar.
*Warm honey pours better, but don’t heat the honey all the way up if you do heat it, or you can loose some of the honey’s health benefits. I don’t condone using a microwave for this, but it could be done. Heat generally affects the efficacy of pretty much everything to some extent, so the less heat you use, the better. Sometimes it is necessary, but it can be avoided in this instance. My honey is room temp.
Raw and unfiltered honey is best, but use what you have. You do, however, want to make sure you use Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother in it, which is what has most of the health benefits.
You probably want to put something between a metal lid and the vinegar, or it will oxidize, creating nastiness you don’t want in your oxymel. Or at least I don’t. It won’t actually hurt you, though. Since the vinegar isn’t constantly in contact with the lid, unless you filled it to the top, you can skip this part, and just keep an eye on the lid.
I use the lid as a guide so I don’t end up with too much parchment paper. I use parchment paper, which doesn’t prevent all oxidation, but it definitely helps without the leaching of wax from wax paper into my oxymel over time. Plastic wrap would work as well.
Place barrier if desired, cap jar, and shake to incorporate. Store in a temperate area, not too hot or too cold, where you will remember to shake it every few days.
4-8 Weeks Later: Your mixture won’t get any stronger after about the 8 week mark, unless you added fresh pine needles, but that seems excessive to me.
NOTE: Jars are different because these are not the same batches, but done the same–if anyone was wondering. It might have been obvious, oh well.
*Blackberry and ginger would be great to add to the infusion to strengthen the cold/flu fighting properties of your oxymel. You can of course do this with other herbs like garlic, or even cayenne, both of which are great for the immune system.
**Plants that can be used as food, or taken in higher concentrations, are great for using in oxymels, because you can make salad dressings and whatnot with your oxymel. If you use plants that are harmful in high doses, you should not use them in this way.
I hope you all enjoyed today’s post, and may it help you in the future.
This post is part of a series on Pine Trees. The other posts can be found below:
Pine Needle Tea & Medicine
Pining For You
Pine Tar Salve DIY
Pine Pitch Candles
Infused Cleaning Vinegar
Identifying Pine Trees
All About That Pine Bark
Collecting Pine Pitch