BLACK CURRANT and Thyme Oxymel

It is always exciting to find and experiment with something new. I made three oxymels this year, each using a different type of fruit-oranges, currants, and hawthorn berries. An oxymel is an infusion of herbs into vinegar and honey (see also shrubs, kvass, kombucha, switchels and other similar fermented “sodas”/drinks ). Plants easily give up their vitamins and minerals when added to vinegar. The raw honey serves as a powerful antibiotic when not exposed to heat. The yummy result can be mixed into salad dressing, braises or marinades. A tablespoon added to carbonated water or iced tea makes a refreshing drink. Because of a hiatal hernia I am highly sensitive to both the acid and spices in a typical fire cider. I can safely and comfortably consume a small amount oxymel and some of its health benefits (nutrients, medicinal properties, pro-biotics, acid).

Currant and Thyme Oxymel

2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups blueberry juice

2 cups of fresh black and or red currants (mashed)

1/4 cup of dried tyme

2 cups of raw honey

Combine all ingredients in a very large canning jar. Put a piece of plastic wrap or baking parchment between the lid and jar lip. Seal tightly. Let sit six weeks in a a cool dark place. Shake and invert weekly. Press and strain to remove any solids or seeds. Divide up into smaller bottles which can be stored or refrigerated. With proper storage an oxymel will last for at least a year.

Ribes nigrum

Currants are one of my favorite medicinal plants. I am a big fan of red currant jam and traditional English “black currant tea”. The fruit is high in the vitamins and anti-oxidants that our circulatory system loves. The berries have 4 times the amount of Vitamin C as oranges and 2 times more anti-aging properties than blueberries. The leaves are a strong astringent for use in external skin care. The variety I grow has a spicy taste similar to juniper berries, so it works better in savory dishes or simple syrups rather than dried, jam or in a dessert.

You will find black currants as a rare cultivar in a few states in America. Importation of plants has been banned and growing illegal in the US as the plant can carry a fungus known to kill pine trees. The plant grows as a wide, untidy bush of long shoots, 4-6 feet high. The leaves are textured, alternate on the shoots, palmate, with 3-5 lobes and double serrate. Drooping racemes of yellow or white flowers appear in mid spring, a favorite of bumble bees. The berries are almost black, ripe when large, almost bursting their skins, and no longer hard. I know to pick mine when they start falling onto the ground or disappear when the animals start to eat them.

An infusion of black currant leaves stimulates the kidneys and historically has been used to treat gout, inflammation, liver issues and heart disease. The berries in can be used to treat kidney disease, high blood pressure, colic, glaucoma, eye strain, and rheumatism. The fruit and leaves can be consumed as tea or juice for bad coughs, sore throat, gum disease, and laryngitis. If you have diarrhea or organs that need toning a tea of black currant leaves might prove useful. The essential fatty acids in the oil from the seeds is thought to(internal use) prevent and repair damage to joints or (external use) relieve eczema and psoriasis.

Contraindications:clotting/bleeding disorders, surgery.

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

2 thoughts on “BLACK CURRANT and Thyme Oxymel

  1. I have to say I’m pleased to read this. I was googling blackcurrant oxymel and there’s not alot out there – i always need confirmation I guess! I love the idea of combining it with thyme – both blackcurrent and thyme are in my garden. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Black currant is becoming one of my favorite medicinal plants. The leaves for their astringent properties (internal and external). The berries for their V-C and anti-oxidants. I found black currant in only one herbal ( I have close to 50 books now). I think because it was illegal to grow in the US for so long. The berries are great in a cough syrup. Addicting in a simple syrup, like punch. Thank you for the comment.


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