Shrubs and oxymels are delicious, easy to make, nutrient dense drinks that are made with herbs, fruit and apple cider vinegar. Yes, you read that right, vinegar! But not just any apple cider vinegar, you want to use the raw unpasteurized vinegar with the mother because of all the health benefits it has. These drinks help alkalize your body and are very beneficial for your gut health and digestion.

Is There A Difference Between Oxymels And Shrubs?

There is a difference between an oxymel and a shrub. An oxymel is on the medicinal side of the spectrum because herbs are infused in the honey and vinegar. Fire cider is a perfect example of an oxymel. See my article and get the recipe for fire cider.

Oxymels are an infusion of herbs, raw apple cider vinegar and honey. These medicinal drinks are shelf-stable and versatile. This sweet and sour ages old remedy can be enjoyed by itself, or mixed into beverages or salad dressings for delicious tonic enjoyment.

Shrubs are a wonderful way to preserve seasonal fruits whether you buy them at a farmers market, grow them or wild harvest them.

A shrub is a concentrated syrup of fruit infused vinegar and honey. This concentrated sweet and vinegary syrup is the mixer added to ice water, club soda, clear sodas or alcohol. I really like drinking shrubs with just ice water or club soda, they’re refreshing and cooling with a nice zing to them.

Any vinegar can be used to make shrubs but the taste will be different with each type. I like raw apple cider vinegar for both shrubs and oxymels because its milder and more mellow than white vinegar which has a sharper taste. Other vinegars to try are champagne vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and red wine vinegar. Experiment with different vinegars to see which ones you prefer!

Apple cider vinegar’s acidic quality helps to draw out minerals from the herbs and berries, making it easier for your body to absorb.

Health Benefits Of Oxymels And Shrubs

Oxymels are excellent as preventative medicine, high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics and nutrients due to the raw vinegar and honey combination. The addition of herbs and flowers make oxymels well-rounded remedies with broad applications.

These tasty nutrient dense tonics can boost your immune system, soothe your sore throat, tame a cough, ease upset stomachs, or soothe frayed nerves. And this is just a few of the ailments oxymels help with!

Taken before meals, the vinegar in shrubs stimulates your appetite, improves digestion, and lowers blood-sugar levels. The different fruits such as citrus and berries in shrubs contain anti- inflammatory, antioxidants, anti-stress and anti-cancer actions. I find I get the most benefit from this drink when I take them 15 minutes before my meal.

Shrubs are not only enjoyed as a refreshing beverage on a hot day (or any day for that matter!) but are also medicinal, assisting your body to better health.

Apple cider vinegar benefits include:

  • enhancing weight loss
  • stabilizing blood sugars
  • lowering cholesterol
  • maintain alkaline ph
  • promotes detoxification of the liver
  • eases digestion
  • fights free radicals to reduce aging

Ideas For Herbs To Use In Oxymels

  • Tulsi (Holy Basil)
  • Rosehips
  • Turmeric
  • Basil
  • Elecampane
  • Garlic
  • Mullein
  • Lemon Peel
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Dandelion
  • Elderberries
  • Elderflowers
  • Garlic
  • Lemon balm
  • Hyssop
  • Nettle

Herbal Oxymel Recipe

This is the stir, shake, sit method of making an oxymel, it’s one of the easiest ways I have found to make oxymels.

Ingredients

  • Organic dried herbs of choice
  • 1 part organic, raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 part raw, local honey
  • pint jar and plastic lid

Directions

  • Fill a pint jar 1/4 full of your choice of herbs.
  • Cover with equal parts apple cider vinegar and honey to fill jar.
  • Stir to mix well.
  • Wipe any liquid off the rim and fit with a tight-fitting plastic lid. If you don’t have a plastic lid, place a piece of parchment paper under a metal canning lid and ring to keep the vinegar from touching the metal.
  • Shake jar until thoroughly mixed.
  • Store jar in a cool, dark place to extract for two weeks. Shake jar at least twice a week to assist in extraction.
  • 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.
  • Pour strained oxymel into glass storage jars or bottles.
  • Label and date.
  • Store in cool, dark place until ready to use. When stored properly, shelf life is approximately 6 months.

Shrub Recipe

Shrubs are made with a variety of fruits, rhubarb, berries, stone fruit or tropical fruit. Experiment and pair herbs with the fruit, such as strawberries with basil or peaches with ginger.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fruit diced into very small 1/4 inch pieces, if using berries lightly crush them
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar or other vinegar of your choice
  • pint jar and plastic lid

Directions

  • Mix the fruit and granulated sugar in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4–5 days, stirring twice a day.
  • Strain the liquid, pressing down hard on solids.
  • Mix the fruit syrup with vinegar and pour into a pint jar.
  • Wipe any liquid off the rim and fit with a tight-fitting plastic lid. If you don’t have a plastic lid, place a piece of parchment paper under a metal canning lid and ring to keep the vinegar from touching the metal.
  • Refrigerate for a week so the flavors will deepen and meld.
  • Add to cocktails or sparkling water.
  • This will keep up to a year.

Combine 1 ounce of shrub with 5 to 6 ounces of water or soda over ice for an easy-drinking beverage. To make a cocktail, combine 1/2 oz. shrub, 1 1/2 oz. desired alcohol, and 3 to 4 oz. sparkling water or club soda over ice.

Remember, babies under 1 year of age should NEVER be given raw honey.

They are easy to make and I think a great change from more common every day beverages. These herbal nutrient dense drinks are a valuable addition to your health regimen. Will you give these a try and make oxymels and shrubs?

Wise Woman, Herbalist & Reiki practitioner. Subscribe to my blog at https://herbalmusings.net & receive a free guide to making salves & oils.

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