An oxymel is an herbal preparation generally made with medicinal plants, vinegar and honey. The preparation of medicinal vinegars is an eminently old one, dating back to the days of Hippocrates. Our ancestors recognized the solvent power of vinegar long before distilled spirits were known. Vinegar was also superior to water as a menstruum in its preservation due to the acetic acid content. It was later discovered that most pure alkaloids, which are highly active compounds found in most medicinal plants, are not soluble in water, but that alkaloidal salts are. These salts are formed by the reaction of free based alkaloids with acids and are therefore present in medicated vinegars.
The term vinegar is derived from the French, vin aigre, a sour wine. Most commercial vinegar is made from apples, unless denoted in the name (malt vinegar, wine vinegar, etc.). Vinegar, like alcohol, is created through the process of fermentation. First, microorganisms turn the sugar in the apples into alcohol. Then, the heroic microscopic bacteria Mycoderma aceti turns the alcohol into a dilute acetic acid. The concentration of acetic acid in vinegar is generally between 4-6%.
Pure (unmedicated) Vinegar is a nutritious food, non-toxic and tolerable by almost everyone. It is known for its refrigerant qualities, cooling and refreshing. It helps to regulate the body’s acid/alkaline balance and thus, is an excellent digestive tonic. Vinegar also helps to diminish thirst, promote the flow of saliva and soothe restlessness. Topically, vinegar helps to cleanse and tone the skin. Its natural acidic composition makes it an excellent skin care ingredient for burns, acne, rashes, itching and sunburn.
Vinegar extracts are an excellent alternative to alcohol or oil and are generally used as tonics. They are to be used over a longer period of time to tone and strengthen the body rather than as needed for an acute ailment. It is for this reason, that we paired raw apple cider vinegar with hemp, honey and nettle to create our new seasonal Tonic.
Nettle is a common weed in most places, littering fields and driveways. Native to Europe, it can now be found almost anywhere. The plants emerge in early spring, often as volunteers in the places they occupied the year before.
Nettle leaf is known for its toning properties and is often used as a “spring cleaning” herb. It gently cleanses the body of metabolic waste. The list of vitamins and minerals in this herb includes nearly all that are necessary for human health. It also contains a high amount of chlorophyll; an antioxidant rich pigment found in green plants.
Nettle can be used to support kidney function, gently stimulate the lymphatic system, build healthy blood cells and increase fertility in both men and women. It is one of the most wonderful and abundant herbs! It’s herbaceous and earthy, quite potent to the taste buds.
Local, raw honey
One of the most wonderful and delicious substances on Earth. Honey is made by the honeybee Apis mellifica, our planet’s premier pollinator. Honey consists of 70-80% sugar, wax, pollen, coloring and aromatic compounds.
Honey is emollient, demulcent and nutritive. It has long been touted as the remedy for a sore throat or a dry cough. Honey with pollen has been used to ease symptoms of seasonal allergies.
The ancient Egyptians used honey topically to soothe wounds, burns, and other ailments. The honeybee is a common image in Egyptian culture. They revered the insect as sacred to everyday life. According to the Ebers Papyrus, most early Egyptian medicines incorporated honey, wine and milk.
The beautiful and majestic plant that can clothe you, feed you and heal you. This herb contains a myriad of nutritional constituents including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and chlorophyll. The seeds and the seed oil are edible and contain several vitamins, trace minerals, beta-carotene, and amino and fatty acids.
The recorded historical use of this plant as medicine dates back nearly 5,000 years though it is likely to stretch back even further. The modern politics that surround this plant have made it inaccessible to most, and largely delayed or destroyed any medicinal clout it once had. Though many states have medical or recreational laws that allow for restricted use, it still has not fully reached our home gardens or herbal medicine cabinets. Over the past 10 years, researched has surged around the globe which hints at the promise of a clearer understanding of how to use this herb medicinally.
Our new Tonic is made with a blend of whole hemp flowers and broad-spectrum extract. We macerate the flowers in apple cider vinegar for 8 weeks before straining. This process extracts the sugars, tannins, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and terpenes from the plant. We then infuse the vinegar with honey, and our broad-spectrum extract.
We have been using a new broad-spectrum extract from an organic cultivator in Ashland, Oregon. This extract comes straight from the chemist, who is also the grower. This particular cultivator is very special, he grows outdoor, on a small scale, 100% organic, no sprays, no chemical fertilizers. He has been growing for 15+ years, working with high CBG strains, all from seed.
CBG or Cannabigerol is another compound that is getting some attention. Here is what Dr. Ethan Russo has to say about CBG,
“Cannabigerol (CBG), emphasis on the “G” as opposed to the “D”. I think this has great potential. So this is not an intoxicating agent. Rather, it does have a strong anti-anxiety effect and for people who have had access to it, this is an almost universal describer of the effects. Beyond that, it seems to be a powerful antibiotic that can work on bacteria that are normally resistant to antibiotics, especially Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which has caused some hospital-acquired infections.”
Each ingredient in the Tonic helps to support your body’s natural defense and regenerative mechanisms. It’s sweet and sour, slightly spicy and delicious. We grow and harvest the nettle locally. The hemp extract comes from Oregon, the raw hemp material is grown here is the Ojai Valley. We use raw apple cider vinegar that is made in Santa Barbara and our raw honey comes from a local beekeeper. We know each person in this supply chain, personally. It’s a beautiful thing when things come together like this. I’m pretty sure every ingredient is magic.
James Green; The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook
Susun S. Weed; Wise Women Herbal for the Childbearing Year
Rosemary Gladstar; The Art and Science of Herbalism