Garlic oxymel: a delicious, cheap and effective cold remedy you can make at home


Garlic oxymel: a delicious, cheap and effective cold remedy you can make at home

30 Jan, 2017

It’s that time of year again when everyone seems to be coughing and spluttering, especially when you’re stuck on a packed train in peak-hour. If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, before reaching for over-the-counter medicines or antibiotics, have a go at making this immune-enhancing, antimicrobial syrup that tastes a whole lot better than it sounds.

Garlic oxymel is an old home remedy and is one of my go-to elixirs when I feel the dreaded lurgy starting to lurk. It’s easy to make, using only four or five ingredients that most people already have in their kitchen. Garlic has been used for more than 5000 years as a remedy for respiratory infections, skin conditions and parasitic infections. During World War Two it was used as a topical antiseptic treatment for soldiers’ wounds. More recently, studies have confirmed garlic’s uses as an antimicrobial, immune-enhancing, anticancer, hypolipidemic and antihypertensive medicinal food.

Garlic is most effective when it is raw and fresh. If garlic is stored or heated for too long, the antimicrobial activity is greatly reduced, so theoretically you’ll benefit most from chomping on a bunch of whole raw cloves every morning. For those of us who would prefer to avoid repelling everyone we know with our revolting garlic breath, having a few spoonfuls of garlic oxymel every day is the next best thing.


  • 10 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Manuka honey. If you don’t have Manuka, a good quality raw (unheated) honey
  • Other herbs like cinnamon, fennel and rosemary can be added but are not essential.


  1. Simmer herbs in vinegar over low heat for a few minutes.
  2. Remove from heat. Add garlic and honey.
  3. Heat VERY gently – just enough to blend the honey and vinegar. It’s important not to heat the garlic for too long to avoid destroying the antimicrobial properties.
  4. Pour into a sterilized glass jar.
  5. Store at room temperature in a dark place. The oxymel will be ready to use after 1-2 weeks and will keep for 2-3 months.

For colds, coughs, sore-throats and flu-like symptoms:

  • Adults: 1 tsp every 1-3 hours depending on severity of symptoms.
  • Children: 1/2 tsp every 2 hours.