Oxymels are classic herbal remedies for drying the respiratory system. I use this one in the spring and early summer, when hay fever challenges my system. It’s also a wonderful remedy for recovering from bronchitis, pneumonia, or flus and colds that leave you with excess mucus, a damp and productive cough, or a lot of throat clearing and mildly runny nose.
For this recipe, I used an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker, 6 Qt for the pressure cooking part of this process. You can use a standard pressure cooker or a pressure canner just as easily. If you choose the pressure canner, put the ingredients into glass canning jars and cap them as if you were planning to can them. Set your pressure cooker or canner to 10 pounds pressure. (Instant Pot pressure cooks at about 11 pounds pressure automatically.)
When I use raw apple cider vinegar or other raw vinegars (like my homemade plum or grape vinegar), I set aside 1 cup of the vinegar to include when I add the honey. Raw vinegars contain a lot of healing properties that are destroyed in the heating process, so setting some aside to be added cool preserves those properties. You can use any vinegar you like, although I recommend avoiding straight white vinegar because it’s a grain-based product and can have a more harsh quality.
If you don’t have access to fresh dandelion tops, you can substitute 80 grams (3 ounces) of dried dandelion tops.
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- 120 grams (4 ounces) fresh Dandelion tops
- 80 grams (3 ounces) dried Dandelion root
- 20 grams (1 ounce) dried Nettle tops
- 1 liter (4 cups) vinegar
- 1/2 cup (approximately 120 ml) raw, local honey (up to 1 cup/240 ml if you like your oxymels sweet)
- Measuring cups
- Glass bowl or jar that can hold about 8 cups/2 liters (with lid or any sort of cover)
- Instant Pot (5 quart/5 liter or larger) or similar pressure cooker
- Spoon for stirring
- Glass quart jar with plastic lid or plastic-wrapped standard lid
- Label and pen
- Add the herbs and vinegar to your Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
- Following the directions for your pot, pressure cook the mixture for 25 minutes (at approximately 10-11 pounds pressure).
- When the pressure cooking is done, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 10 minutes, then release the pressure by opening the vent or cooling the pressure canner using cold water or another method that’s appropriate to your pot.
- Pour the mixture into a glass jar or bowl with a cover.
- When the mixture has cooled to body temperature or lower, add the honey (and any remaining vinegar if you’d reserved any).
Cover the mixture and let it stand overnight.
- The next day, strain the plant material from the liquid and pour the liquid into a glass jar with a plastic or rubber lid.
- Compost the plant material and label the jar.
- You can use oxymel as a salad dressing, in greens, or to flavor other foods. It can also make a nice shrub or drink mixer. I drink about an ounce straight-up daily through allergy season or as long as my respiratory system feels damp and congested.
Do not take oxymel when you have a dry cough, dry nasal passages or sinuses, or are suffering other dry conditions in your respiratory system.