EVERYTHING IS WAITING FOR YOU
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
~ David Whyte
Notes on Oxymel
Oxymel is an Ancient Greek word that translates into ‘acid and honey’. It’s basically an herbal extraction of vinegar and raw honey.
Another great way to ingest the benefits of different plant and herbal medicines.
In 400 B.C.E., in his On Regimen in Acute Diseases, Hippocrates wrote, “You will find the drink, called oxymel, often very useful…for it promotes expectoration and freedom of breathing.”
Although oxymel is an herbal elixir, not all elixirs and oxymels. For instance, shrubs and switches are herbal elixirs, but aren’t infused with honey, which is a crucial ingredient in oxymels.
A popular example of oxymel is fire cider-popularized by esteemed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, and recently the subject of a federal court case over the right to keep traditional remedies trademark-free. Fire cider is a renowned and beloved immune-supportive oxymel.
Most often, people use raw apple cider vinegar, which boasts a host of healthful qualities on its own. Bringing together the acid of apple cider vinegar with the healthful properties of honey is a potent way to get the benefits of both, while also extracting and ingesting supportive herbs, particularly pungent ones that aren’t always pleasant to take on their own.
Both apple cider vinegar and honey have been used for millennia to help boost the immune system, soothe dry throats, and temper digestive issues. Organic apple cider vinegar is high in acetic acid, and when you use the raw, unfiltered version, you are also getting "mother" strands of proteins, enzymes, and helpful bacteria (similar to what one might enjoy in fermented kombucha).
Meanwhile, the honey brings soothing qualities and provides germ-fighting properties. So, these two ingredients alone are beneficial to the body, and when you add herbs, you have an incredibly effective method of getting extra herbal support as well.
Traditional oxymel recipes tend to use a higher proportion of honey to vinegar: as much as five parts honey to one part vinegar. Depending on your palate and your goals for herbal extraction, you may find this heavy-on-the-honey proportion too sweet for your modern tastebuds—which is why today, most oxymel recipes aim for a more equal balance of vinegar and honey. But one of the beautiful things about oxymels is that you have a lot of room to play with the proportions in order to best match your health and herbal needs.
In this oxymel recipe, I’m going to provide you with a starting point of one part dried herbs to three parts vinegar-and-honey mixture. Feel free to change the proportions to make it your own!
Basic Herbal Oxymel Recipe
• Organic herb of choice - some of my favorite are dandelion, elderberry, mullein, lemon balm, nettle, rosehips, turmeric, oregano, thyme, garlic, basil and goldenrod
• 1 part organic, raw apple cider vinegar
• 1 part raw, local honey
The method I use is the STIR, SHAKE, SIT METHOD
1. Fill a pint jar 1/4 full of your choice of herbs.
2. Cover with equal parts apple cider vinegar and honey to fill jar.
3. Stir to incorporate.
4. Wipe any liquid off the rim and top with a tight-fitting plastic lid. Alternatively, place a piece of parchment paper under a metal canning lid and ring to keep the vinegar from touching the metal.
5. Shake jar until thoroughly mixed.
6. Store jar in a cool, dark place to extract for two weeks. Shake jar at least twice a week to assist in extraction.
7. Strain out herbs through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down on the herbs to release as much liquid as possible, retaining liquid and setting herbs aside to compost.
8. Pour strained oxymel into glass storage jars or bottle
9. Label and date.
10. Store in cool, dark place until ready to use. When stored properly, shelf life is approximately 6 months.
Some ways in which you can use your oxymel are:
adding some to warm water as a comforting drink to pull you through the sniffle season.
Or, use a splash or two to flavor bubbly water on a hot summer day for a refreshing boost.
I also love adding it to my salads with some olive oil to make my own salad dressing