October 17th, 2019 | Posted By: Magdalena Wszelaki | Posted in Recipes, Teas, Drinks & Tonics

Immune-Boosting Winter Syrup (Oxymel)

How to Make Immune Boosting Winter Syrup

Reach for this immune system boosting syrup when a scratchy throat or sniffles strike. This immune-supporting syrup combines fresh and dried roots infused in potent antiviral apple cider vinegar for a powerful natural medicine that helps to prevent cold and flu viruses.

Oxymel: Beat the Bitterness

To make the apple cider vinegar go down smoothly with less of the bitter vinegar flavor, raw honey is stirred into the syrup after it has been strained. This creates what’s known as an oxymel, which means “acid and honey.” The sweetness of the honey balances the syrup giving a much more pleasant taste. You can adjust the sweetness of your oxymel to fit your preferences, but equal parts honey to herb cider infusion is recommended.

Note: While this winter oxymel may be similar to fire cider, it omits the usual nightshades used in fire ciders (like cayenne) that can be problematic for people with autoimmune issues. Instead, this recipe incorporates horseradish and peppercorns for a similar sensation, and unlike fire cider, adds honey to make it more palatable.

Tips for Making the Perfect Oxymel

Immune Boosting Winter Syrup Ingredients

  • Strain first. Once the herbs are strained you’ll have a better idea of how much liquid is left and how much raw honey is appropriate.
  • If you have 2 cups of herb infused cider, start with 1 cup of raw honey and taste before adding more.
  • Fresh horseradish root can be found in the produce section of many grocery stores or health food stores.
  • If using a jar with a metal lid, place a piece of parchment paper between jar and lid to prevent the vinegar from corroding the metal.

Herbs and Roots for Immunity

Tips for Making Immune Boosting Winter Syrup

Before the oxymel is created, herbs and roots sit in the apple cider vinegar for a couple of weeks to a month, allowing their healing properties to infuse into the apple cider vinegar.

  • Horseradish Root helps reduce sinus congestion and headaches
  • Ginger helps with nausea and inflammation.
  • Garlic can help greatly reduce the severity of colds and flus.
  • Rose hips are high in Vitamin-C, which helps prevent colds and flus.
  • Elderberry contains antioxidants to support a healthy immune system.
  • Turmeric and Peppercorns work together with peppercorns increasing the absorption of turmeric by a whopping 2,000%. Turmeric is rich in antioxidants, so you want your body to absorb all of these compounds.

These powerful herbs work together to fend off viruses and give the immune system a much needed boost, especially in the winter season when colds and the flu are more prevalent.

Learn how to add more hormone-balancing ingredients to your meals with our FREE 19 Estrogen Balancing Superfoods Guide here.

The Benefits of Drinking This Winter Syrup Oxymel

Reach for this immune system boosting syrup when a scratchy throat or sniffles strike! This immune-boosting syrup combines fresh and dried roots infused in potent antiviral apple cider vinegar for a powerful natural medicine that helps to prevent cold and flu viruses.

  • Clearing away of mucous and ease congestion
  • Reduced scratchy/sore throat
  • Less nausea, queasiness
  • Aiding in digestion, bloating and gas
Immune-Boosting Winter Syrup (Oxymel)
Prep time
Total time
Equipment: 32-ounce wide mouth mason jar
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 3 cups
  • ½ cup fresh orange peel
  • ½ cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh horseradish root, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosehips
  • 1 tablespoon dried elderberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon crushed peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked fennel seed
  • ¼ teaspoon whole clove
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar with “the mother”
  • ½ cup or more raw honey
How To Make
  1. Combine herbs in a 32-ounce jar and pour vinegar on top leaving 1 inch from the top. Secure lid and store in a dry spot for 4 weeks.
  2. Strain infused vinegar into a clean jar and stir in raw honey until dissolved. Secure lid and store in refrigerator or in a dry, cool spot away from heat and light for up to 1 year.
Dosage: Take 1 tablespoon per day to support your immune system and when you feel like you're coming down with any icky seasonal stuff.
For more recipes tips (like what to do if you don’t have fresh turmeric), watch me make this immune-boosting winter syrup in the video below 🙂

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Herz, Corinna et al. “Evaluation of an Aqueous Extract from Horseradish Root (Armoracia rusticana Radix) against Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Cellular Inflammation Reaction.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2017 (2017): 1950692.

Lete, Iñaki, and José Allué. “The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy.” Integrative medicine insights vol. 11 11-7. 31 Mar. 2016.

Koczka, Noémi et al. “Total Polyphenol Content and Antioxidant Capacity of Rosehips of Some Rosa Species.” Medicines (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 5,3 84. 4 Aug. 2018.

Tiralongo, Evelin et al. “Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” Nutrients vol. 8,4 182. 24 Mar. 2016.

Hewlings, Susan J, and Douglas S Kalman. “Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health.” Foods (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 6,10 92. 22 Oct. 2017.

Nantz, Meri P et al. “Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention.” Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland) vol. 31,3 (2012): 337-44.


54 Comments to Immune-Boosting Winter Syrup (Oxymel)

    • Dosage was given under Notes above. Listed as 1 tablespoon a day and when you feel something coming on.

    • Hi Sandy,
      Essentially, fire cider is a type of oxymel. To add to this, I think what traditionally sets a fire cider apart from other oxymels is that fire cider usually has some type of hot pepper-like cayenne-to it. This recipe only has black pepper, which is pretty mild and not what others usually associate with a fire cider. Thank you for asking this 🙂 ~HB Team

  1. Hi thanks for your great work and support withh all your recommendation Gina

    • I was wondering the same thing. I looked at other recipes and they have many different herbs. I think I will assume it was meant to be just whole clove. I think that would go well with the cinnamon.

      • Garlic clove is different than spice clove. Spice clove is pictured above around 10 – 11 o’clock on the white plate in the picture above.

  2. Could you us monk fruit for sweetener so not to have more
    carbohydrates when on a Keto diet

    • Correct! Magdalena wants to inspire you to choose your own ingredients and what you want to experiment with. Have fun choosing your ingredients! Jen HB support

    • Hi Romana, This is the beauty of the recipe, that you can make it your own. If you want onion, feel free to add, if not, leave it out. Thanks for reaching out! Jen HB Support

    • Hi Cindy, honey has the most healing properties, so it is really our favorite to use. Thanks! Jen HB Support

  3. I like the addition of the orange and elderberries!! Sounds better than the fire vinegar.

    • I know, right!? The citrus is so brightening, and both are so healing! let us know if you try it! Jen HB Support

  4. Thank you Magdalena. I am definitely going to do this, with my own vinegar. I have been pulling out a lot of dandelions and I will try that root as well.

  5. I will definitely give this a try. I do make Master Tonic ( fire cider) and I like it. It works so well. With this though, I think I will use it regularly and will then have the full benefits. Thank you so much

    • So I poured a whole bottle of acv over this concoction but it doesn’t reach the top of my vessel.. the things on top are wet but not immersed or covered with the acv. Is it important to cover and pour to top of vessel? I just don’t want it to get moldy.

  6. I want to try this recipe; however, I have never used elderberries. In my research, I found that they can contain cyanoglycogens, in a low level, which can be toxic to the body. To avoid the toxins, I read that one can boil the berries to completely remove the toxins. Your thoughts?

  7. Thank you for sharing this recipe and for the video. It’s wonderful to have something like this that promotes good health. I am so excited to try this and share it with friends!

  8. Thank you for this beautiful recipe. Apparently horseradish slow down the activity of the thyroid gland. Could you please tell us more about thyroid nodules issue?

    • Can you kindly respond or address the questions asked concerning the toxicity of the edible berries and the horseradish and thyroid function. I have Hashimoto’s. I would love to try this recipe. All other questions or statements were responded to, however these questions received no response. I would appreciate it. Thank you.

  9. Hello! I cannot find fresh horseradish here where i live, can I use the jar kind?

    • I would like to know this as well as I live in a very rural area with only a small grocery store that doesn’t stock much more than basics.

      • HI Margo, Please feel free to experiment with the recipe and add some of the the fresh horseradish (in the jar) or leave it out. We have not tested the recipe with horseradish in a jar so please let us know how it works for you:) ~ Jeanne HB Team

    • Hi Deborah, Please feel free to experiment and add the fresh horseradish in the jar or leave it out. We have not tested the recipe with horseradish in a jar so please let us know how it works for you:) ~ Jeanne HB Team

  10. Success!
    I just completed my first batch of your immune boosting syrup four weeks after I was inspired by your video post.

    Omitted the onions, found a jar of fresh grated horseradish with salt and vinegar at the local butcher shop. Worked fine. Dried my own rosehips from my dad’s mountain home in Beulah this summer ~ loved being creative with nature’s local abundance.

    The rich flavor and color are reminiscent of a spiced OSHA honey with many layers of other herbal goodness. Brightly opens taste buds and super soothing for digestion.

    Excited to bottle up for holiday gifts! On to batch 2…
    Thank you for the inspiration
    sweet Magdalena!

    • Hi Linda, Thank you so much for sharing your feedback here, we are thrilled to hear you are enjoying the oxymel! ~ Jeanne HB Team

  11. It’s quite liquid, not so much like a syrup, as I chose not to add too much honey.. i’m watching my glycemic index. But I still love the taste , even first thing in the morning. I enjoy adding a freshly pressed lemon as well.
    I didnt expect it to taste like so, but i do enjoy it! (I didnt add horseradish as i could not find any!)

    My hubby struggles a lot with it though.. 2 days in a row, he tried and it made him very upset in the stomach for the rest of the day.

    More for me 😀 Thank you for the recipe

  12. I made this and forgot to add the honey how long is too long to let it sit before adding the honey? Does it go bad?

  13. This vinegar is multifaceted, its uses transcend the food aspect. It is also used for cleaning and preservation of meals. It is even used for skin disinfection. In the old age, it was recommended to consume it in small daily doses to ward off diseases. It also serves as a natural energizer. One of the simplest and most common ways to ingest apple cider vinegar is by including it in the salad dressing. It looks great in the vast majority of these preparations for its peculiar flavor. The best way to obtain the benefits that this vinegar brings is to consume it in its pure state,preferably natural, without pasteurizing, that is why it is advisable to produce it at home and even if it does not seem so, its preparation is very simple. Just extract the juice from as many apples as you want and keep it in a glass container for a few days for the fermentation process to take place. This will give you a dark liquid that is ready to be used.

    • For this recipe, we used ACV.
      Kombucha typically includes extra sugars, however you are welcome to play around with the recipe and let us know how it turns out.

  14. I have a seriously compromised immune system and since I started making Fire cider, which is similar to this, I have not had pneumonia, or bronchitis which I had every year for most of my adult life.

    Two years ago I was staying with a group of people for two weeks, all of which came down with colds. Before the gathering I started taking Fire Cider and was the only one who didn’t get sick.

  15. Do you advise to store the herb/vinegar/fruit mixture in the refrigerator while it is infusing, or can it be left out without spoilage? Thank you for any response.

  16. Can you add hot water to the tablespoon of syrup and make it an a.m. and p.m. tea and still retain healing properties?

    Also does all store bought bottles of ACV contain the “mother”? Or do I have to look for thay soecifically?

    • hi Kathy, Yes, you can add a tablespoon of the mixture to hot water and drink it that way also. If you look for Braggs ACV, that will have the mother in it, you can find this at most grocery stores or natural food stores. Jen @HB Support

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