It feels warm this winter – unseasonably warm – but we’ve still got to protect ourselves from the bugs that inevitably lead many of us to develop colds and coughs. This winter, take the time to brew up an oxymel.

This is a honey based medicine. Many of you will have heard of Manuka honey – this is honey made by bees who cleverly find their pollen on the manuka plants (Leptospermum scoparium) of New Zealand. This is a honey which has extra anti-microbial activity that the manuka provides.

Oxymels are different – by adding a herb to your local honey, you can enrich its qualities. For example, my colleagues in the USA might use osha root (Ligusticum porteri) while we in the UK may choose the beautiful and amazing elecampane root (Inula helenium).

To make an oxymel, carefully dried pieces of elecampane may be added to the honey and infused over a very gentle heat for a few days. You may also just leave the herb to infuse having heated the honey once (without burning it) for a few weeks. Once ready, the honey is strained and bottled and is a fantastic medicine for colds and flus when served as hot tea. They taste lovely too and both adults and children enjoy them.

If you are interested in making herbal remedies then check out my workshop days – i offer a variety of workshops in remedy making.