Kitchen Remedy: Garlic Oxymel for winter wellness
One of my favourite kitchen remedies to make is an Oxymel.
An oxymel is an elixir of honey and (apple cider) vinegar, and it is used as a medicine, especially in winter, which has hit us on the East Coast of Australia.
If you find you and your family starting to come down with a cold or sore throat, this is an easy to make kitchen remedy made from ingredients you have in your kitchen.
This particular oxymel is using garlic as it antimicrobial, antispasmodic, an expectorant (meaning it brings things from the respiratory system up and out) and it is a carminative - all of these wonderful actions help with a cold.
This recipe also uses some beautiful herbs:
Caraway is an analgesic, antispasmodic and carminative. It is therefore a good remedy for colds and congestion, and it also contains mild antihistamines and antimicrobial compounds that help to relax the muscles that cause coughing spasms.
Fennel is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, carminative, a decongestant and antispasmodic.
Side note: you can also make Fennel tea on its own by steeping 1 teaspoon of Fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water for 5-minutes - great for after-dinner digestion too!
Apple Cider Vinegar or ACV
ACV is a natural expectorant that can loosen and thin mucus or phlegm in the throat to enable you to breath and swallow more easily. It is also antibacterial and contains the probiotic inulin which may boost your beneficial bacteria in the gut.
You can take ACV on its own each day, I like mine in water with lemon in the morning. Use a straw to reduce impact on the enamel on your teeth.
Honey has antiviral properties that may inhibit the viral actions in a cold. It is antibacterial and antioxidant. I choose raw honey over commercial honey as it has not been heated and therefore has more of its beneficial properties. And, if you are someone prone to hayfever, having a local honey can be beneficial for you due to the local flora the bees have been pollinating.
You can also use Manuka honey for an extra-dose of amazing antibacterial properties.
Honey helps to reduce irritation by soothing a sore or scratchy throat and it may boost the immune system which can then reduce the severity of your cold. Plus, a stronger immune system will aid prevention of future colds and viruses.
Food is medicine very much so in this lovely kitchen remedy. If you make it and share it on social media please tag me so I can see it @carissacrosdale
1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
1 heaped teaspoon caraway seeds
100ml apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (raw, if you can get it)
1 garlic bulb (approx. 10-12 cloves or 30g)
Gently warm the seeds in vinegar, without boiling to infuse. Remove from heat after several minutes.
Strain this mix, and discard seeds.
Add honey to vinegar and warm to combine.
Peel and crush garlic and place in a sterile glass jar. Do this just before you are ready to add the honey and vinegar mix so that the garlic doesn’t oxidise.
If you are going to remove the garlic later (or you find the raw garlic too harsh) you can add to the honey and vinegar and warm for another 1-2 mins first.
Pour into the glass jar.
The garlic can be kept in the mix or strained as desired. I keep mine in there as it continues to steep into the honey and vinegar.
Take 1-2 teaspoons ‘as needed’ or around 2-3 times per day.
If you are in the cold already you can take as often as you like, however as the garlic is quite strong in this form you may find you need to strain it off or be aware of your breath...peppermint tea anyone?
Storage and Use by
You can keep this in the fridge for around 3 months.
This recipe doesn’t make a lot so you may find yourself making it quite a few times over winter, or you can increase the ingredients and make a bigger batch up front to last you for the season.
I would love to know how you get on if you make this. Tag me in posts on social media and if you feel that someone you know may benefit from this, please feel free to share this post.
Here is to a happy, healthy winter!