Elderberry Oxymel

Elderberry Oxymel

An oxymel is a traditional medicinal preparation made by combining vinegar and honey, often with the addition of herbs or fruits. The combination creates a well-balanced elixir that can be used for various health purposes. Oxymels have historically been used as remedies for various ailments and are one of my favorite ways to incorporate medicinal herbs into my daily life.

With the shifting seasons, Elderberry Oxymel can be used to help support our health as they are rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C. They help to strengthen our immune systems against common winter ailments such as the cold or flu. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that make them particularly soothing for respiratory infections. Blending these beneficial berries into a tangy but sweet elixir makes a medicinal treat the whole family will love!


  • 2 Cups Elderberries, removed from stem
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Lemons, sliced
  • 2 Oranges, sliced
  • 2 Inches Ginger, chopped
  • 2 Sticks Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Raw Honey

It is important to remove as much of the stem as possible before processing the Elderberries, as the stems contain compounds that can upset your stomach. An easy way to do this is to put your fresh harvested Elderberries in the freezer. When the berries are frozen, you can easily use a fork to remove the berries from the stems.

In a large pot, bring Elderberries, water, lemon, orange, ginger and cinnamons sticks to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes. Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to smash well. Rest covered for 20 minutes. Strain and measure. This should make roughly 1 Cup Elderberry Juice.

With the juice still warm (but not too hot) mix in Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey at a 1:1:1 ratio, adjusting to taste. When the oxymel has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to a sterilized jar. Your oxymel should be shelf stable without refrigeration for roughly 6 months (if it lasts that long!). However, keeping it in the fridge isn’t a bad idea.

I personally keep the bulk of my Elderberry Oxymel in an amber jar at the back of my fridge and keep a small amount that I am using in a clear glass jar. I find the finished color to be absolutely beautiful… and beauty can be medicine, too.

Standard dosage for oxymels is 1-3 droppers full, or roughly ½ tsp +/-. I usually take a little bit most days during the fall and winter months to help support my immune system, then take a teaspoon- tablespoon if I feel illness coming on or if I have been exposed.

Cheers to your year-round health,

Kaylee Sweet

Naturopathic Herbalist || Wellness Coach

Sweet Leaves Farmacy

As always, consult with a medical professional before adding new herbs to your routine, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or on other medications. This recipe is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease. These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA.