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Elderberry Oxymel: A Nourishing Winter Tonic

Elderberry Oxymel: A Nourishing Winter Tonic

by Laurie Clark

The word oxymel stems from the Latin word meaning acid (oxy) and meli (honey). This ancient preparation comprising of apple cider vinegar and honey is claimed to be used to treat flu, colds, arthritis, gout and cholesterol. It supposedly acts as a metabolic stimulant and cure-all.

With raw honey's antibacterial and anti-allergenic properties and the probiotic properties of vinegar, I have incorporated Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) into the mix. This concoction fortifies the body's healing process by reducing inflammation, eliminates metabolic waste, stimulates sweating, and reduces flu and cold symptoms. Elderberry oxymel has a unique sweet flavor which appeals especially to children. It can be added to a salad dressing, kombucha or a warm cup of herbal tea. It is a wonderful tonic to be used during the flu season all winter long.


Fill a jar 1/3 full with Elderberries, 1/3 with honey, and 1/3 with organic apple cider vinegar. Cover with a lid and let it sit for a week or two, shaking daily. Then strain off the berries and bottle this honey-vinegar-elderberry mixture. It can be stored in the refrigerator for three to six months.

Dosage: Adults: 1 tablespoon a day. During an illness, it can be taken every few hours. Children: 1 teaspoon a day. It can be taken straight or mixed with water.

Laurie Clark is a restorative facilitator with Lanark County Community Justice and an outdoor educator with a passion to connect children and adults with nature.

Her website is:

Restorative Circle Practices 


Nature as a Mentor

“In this process of unlearning, in the process of feeling and hearing the plants again,
one comes to realize many things.”

-Stephen Harrod Buhner