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How to Make a Garlic and Herb Oxymel…for respiratory health

garlic and herb oxymel

It really is that time of year. The lush green of Summer melds into vibrant hues of red, yellow, and orange. There is a slight crisp to the morning air. And your kids wake up with the crud. You know the crud. Not quite sick enough to stop life, but left to its own devices, the crud can quickly turn into something worse.

Well, this morning, my youngest daughter, Liza Jane-4, woke up with the crud. She had a slight cough last night, but by morning it was hacking and phlegmy.  The first thing I did, was give her a healthy dose of my Elderberry Plus Syrup.  Then, I got to working on my Garlic and Herb Oxymel recipe. Before I get into the details of the recipe (there are two ways to make it), you are probably thinking “Oxy-what?” Oxymel comes from the Latin “oxymeli” meaning “acid and honey”. Put simply, it is a mixture of an acid-vinegar-with honey to make various herbal remedies. In our case, for respiratory support.

As I mentioned earlier, there are several ways to prepare your oxymel. The first is the preferred, but as is the case with most herbal preparations, it takes time to reach its full potency and is the way that you would make it BEFORE you need it. The second is a faster preparation for those of us who need something NOW.

The ingredients that you need for both methods are exactly the same:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar (preferably raw and organic)
  • Raw Local Honey (if possibly)
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Various Herbs (I chose mullein, thyme, sage, and oregano because these are great herbs for respiratory health)

METHOD 1

  1. Get a clean canning jar. Put equal parts of chopped garlic and your herbs in the jar. Fill it 1/3-1/4 full.
  2. Add equal portions of vinegar and honey until jar is full.
  3. SHAKE IT! Give it a shake every day.
  4. Patience. Let it sit for 2 weeks.                                                                                           IMG_0585
  5. Strain, label, and refrigerate.

METHOD 2

  1. Add herbs and apple cider vinegar to a glass pot/pan. Make sure that you use twice as much vinegar than you intend to have at the end. Also, make sure that you have a glass pot for this method. Vinegar leaches minerals and you do not want any metals leached into your oxymel. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Please be careful as vinegar is very strong when heated.                                                            IMG_0583
  2. After vinegar is reduced by half, strain, cool, and add equal parts of honey.
  3. SHAKE IT!                                                                                                                             IMG_0614
  4. Try to convince a very picky 4 year old that it doesn’t taste disgusting! I usually give a tablespoon or two every 3 hours. It should get rid of the crud fairly quickly. I’ve never had to give an oxymel for more than 24 hours!

Now, there is a pretty popular oxymel that is making its way around the internet-any guesses as to what it is called? The first person to comment below the correct answer wins an 8oz. bottle of my Garlic and Herb Oxymel-not available for purchase!

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All About Violet

 

 

wild violet title picWild Violets (viola odorata) are pretty little perennials that tend to pop up in late winter/early spring (depending on where you live). Unfortunately, most people consider them to be annoying weeds. They are easily identified by their purple flowers and heart shaped leaves. Please don’t confuse them with African violets that are grown as houseplants. They are NOT the same thing.

This sweet little plant really is versatile and useful! But, before you start, you need to know a few things about wild harvesting. First, make SURE that the area that pick from isn’t sprayed by chemicals, where your dog defecates, close to the road, or any other place that you think is contaminated. Secondly, you want young and healthy growth. Look for vibrant colors. Third-you always want to ask permission from both the land owner and the plant itself. Fourth, never take more than you will use and never more than 5-10% of what is available. And lastly, always give thanks to the plant, earth, Mother Nature, God, or who/whatever you recognize as the giver of what you are taking. You should try to do your harvesting in the morning just after the dew has evaporated. Some of the ways that we will use wild violet call for fresh plant material and some require it to be dried, so make sure you save some to dry. 

Nutritional. Violets are packed full of minerals and vitamins-especially A and C. One of my favorite things to make is a wild green salad with violet leaves, blooms, dandelion greens, yellow dock, plantain, purslane, henbit, dead nettles, and cleavers. You can also saute the leaves like you would any other green. Another delicious treat is Wild Violet Lemonade. This is a great way to sneak in some extra nutrients to your kids and replace those toxic ‘fruit’ drinks they love so much.  Infused vinegar is my other go-to usage for wild violet. Vinegar is well known for its ability to extract vitamins and minerals from plant sources. Infusing vinegar is super easy. Get a clean mason jar and fill it with either violet blossoms, leaves, or both and cover with either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Let it set in a cool dark place for 2-6 weeks. Strain and label. If you use white vinegar, try to make a batch with just blossoms-you will make a BEAUTIFUL purple vinegar! I use vinegars for all kinds of things. I flavor cooked greens with them, you can make a salad dressing with it, you can even use it as a hair rinse and a bath soak. Think of all the goodness of apple cider vinegar that you hear about-and add a power punch of nutrients with plant infusions!

10247459_728384073849329_8258624107772710316_nMedicinal. Wild violet has numerous medicinal properties. It is anti-inflammatory, helps the lymphatic system, is a blood purifier, it is a mild laxative and diuretic, a fever reducer, and supports the immune system. Making a syrup from the flowers is probably the easiest way to get your kids to reap the benefits. A syrup or tea is great for young ones who are constipated or have a fever. Simple fill a glass jar with the fresh flowers and pour boiling water over them. Allow to steep for 4 hours. Strain. You can stop here if you would like to have a cup of violet tea ( really, it’s an infusion…) or continue if you would like to turn it into a syrup. Herbal syrups are really just ways of making teas/infusions palatable for children (or those with tastebuds of children!).  Pour the infusion into a saucepan. Add equal quantities of sugar or honey and bring to a slow boil. Allow to boil for about 20 minutes or so and pour into glass jar. Store in fridge.  A great preparation for violets is in a salve or balm. It has been known to treat eczema and fibrocystic breast issues. Simply infuse dried violet leaf in an organic oil of your choice for several weeks. Strain and heat in a double boiler with a bit of beeswax. Continue to heat until wax is melted. Pour into glass jar. If it is too hard, remelt and add more oil. If it is too soft, remelt and add more wax. Tinctures are probably my favorite herbal preparation. Whenever possible, use fresh plant material. Place in clean glass jar (notice a theme here?) and cover with 100 proof alcohol (I prefer vodka, but use what you would like). LABEL! Give a good shake and place in cool dark area for 6+weeks. Give it a shake every day or so. Strain and bottle in an amber dropper bottle. Tinctures are the most effective form of herbal medicine. It is quick and easily absorbed into your blood stream. 

Just for fun! Crystallized violet blossoms and violet ice cubes! Crystallized violets are a fun garnish for baked goods and violet ice cubes would be a hit a kid’s party. Just fill an ice cube tray with the blossoms and fill with water as normal.

If you do not have access to fresh violets for some reason, you can always order them. I prefer to use Mountain Rose Herbs, but there are plenty of other herbal companies available!

WEHswirl

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may  receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services that are in line with my personal and professional ethics and standards. 

 

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Featured Herb: Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus)

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Everyone is familiar with raspberries: delicious, abundant summertime treats.  However, the leaves are more nutritious and medicinally beneficially, too! Along with being rich in vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, phospohorus, potassium, and vitamins B, C, and E) Red Raspberry Leaf’s (RRL) active ingredient is the alkaloid fragarine. Fragarine (when combined with the rest of the plant’s constituents-NOT isolated as an extract) tones and relaxes the pelvic and uterine muscles. This property makes it a favorite among women.

Used during a woman’s moon time, RRL can calm inflammation and reduce painful menstruation.  During pregnancy, it provides nutritients and tones and strengthens the uterus. It also can curb morning sickness due to the tannins.

Not only is it great for women, but the whole family can benefit from this powerhouse herb. Because it strengthens pelvic muscles, it may help children with bed wetting issues! It is also great for colds, the flu, digestive issues, sore throats, and more!

Red Raspberry Leaf is best used as an herbal infusion. Steep an ounce in a quart of boiling water and allow to infuse overnight.  Sweeten and refrigerate!