A Crash Course in Oxymels!

A Crash Course in Oxymels!

Never heard of Oxymels? Watch our Oxymel intro HERE, and read on for a crash course! 

Oxymels are traditional herbal preparations used for ages around the world for a variety of wellness benefits, including immunity and respiratory health.

Originating in ancient Greece and Persia, the name comes from the ancient Greek “oxymeli,”which translates to “acid and honey,” the two ingredients that form an Oxymel’s base. 

Since the time of Hippocrates, the Greeks used oxymels to extract and preserve pungent herbs like garlic and cayenne, which may be too overpowering when taken straight. Persian history reveals over 1,200 different formulas for making oxymels. One of the oldest known examples utilized squill, a lily-like plant, was recommended as far back as 7th century A.D to prevent coughs. 

Another Persian Oxymel - more well known today - is Sekanjabin, a combination of vinegar, “serkeh,” signifying old age, patience, and perseverance,  and honey, “angabin,” signifying sweetness and new beginnings, together signifying the delicate balance of life.

Especially popular during long, hot summers, a refreshing iced drink called sharbat-e sekanjabin mixes Sekanjabin with rose water, cucumbers and mint.  

In the Caribbean, Switchel is made  using vinegar and honey (though it is often made with molasses, maple syrup or cane sugar). In the late 17th century American colonies, it became a traditional drink for farmers to rehydrate during the hot days of hay harvest time, earning the drink  the nickname haymaker’s punch. 

Throughout Europe and North America we find countless other examples of oxymels, often using herbs and roots like Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Dandelion, Raspberry Leaf, Rose Hips, Lemon Balm, Basil, Ginger and others prized for their medicinal qualities.

Western herbalism attributes vinegar and honey with a range of wellness properties. They are expectorants, clearing mucus from the upper and lower airways, including the lungs, bronchi, and trachea. Diluted, they can soothe a sore throat and reduce fevers.

Vinegar has astringent properties, creating more highly functioning mucosa within the body, which protects against bacterial invasion and soothes the digestive tract, as well as promoting barrier functions, which increases immunity. Honey provides further antibacterial properties, and also helps the mucous membranes by acting as a demulcent to soothe inflamed tissues.  

At Hany’s Harvest, we use only the finest organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, along with local raw honey. Our oxymel line currently includes Elderberry Oxymel Syrup - offering consumers an alternative to cane sugar and additive-infused elderberry products - and Sweet Fire Oxymel Syrup - our oxymel version of fire cider.

Keeping with tradition, all of our oxymels feature honey in generous quantities of at least 50% in volume and feature premium herbs, such as rosemary, rosehips, orange peel and elderberries, to name a few ingredients with immune-boosting and antioxidant properties. We NEVER use cane sugar, alcohol, or any artificial flavorings.  Each of our products is crafted in small batches by a dedicated team in Catskill, NY.

Try one HERE! And watch HERE for ideas on how to use them every day!


I, Janet. “Making Oxymels: The Sweet-Tart Medicine.” Homestead.org, DigiWolves, 27 Aug. 2020, https://www.homestead.org/health-diet/making-oxymels-medicinal-benefits-of-oxymels/. 

Mackinnon, Kat. “Oxymel.” Meet The Green, Squarespace, http://www.meetthegreen.com/oxymel. 

Saba, Heather. “How to Make an Oxymel.” Herbal Academy, The Herbal Academy, 18 Oct. 2018, https://theherbalacademy.com/how-to-make-an-oxymel/. 

“Switchel.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2 Nov. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switchel. 

Mehran, Azita. “Sekanjabin: A Sweet and Sour Ancient Persian Syrup and Drink.” Turmeric & Saffron, Blogger, 2021, https://turmericsaffron.blogspot.com/2010/02/sekanjabin-sweet-and-sour-ancient.html. 

Alieta. “Herbal Oxymel Recipes & Benefits.” Blog, Mountain Rose Herbs, 5 Jan. 2017, https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/herbal-oxymels. 

“Oxymel Syrups.” Hany's Harvest, Shopify, https://hanysharvest.com/collections/oxymel-syrups. 

Greg. “How to Preserve Fruit in Honey: A Step by Step Guide: Homestead Crowd.” Homestead Crowd | Homesteading, Gardening, Raising Animals Tips, Homestead Crowd, 7 Feb. 2021, https://homesteadcrowd.com/how-to-preserve-fruit-in-honey/.