For one thing, anyone interested in self sufficiency topics can learn to make their own vinegar. Vinegar is simply fruit juice+bugs (well, bacteria "bugs", that is). The juice is allowed to ferment, and then certain kinds of bacteria take up residence in the juice-alcohol, and begin turning it into vinegar. The bacterial culture sets up house as a gummy little disc referred to as a colony or “The Mother” (I’m not making this up. Promise.) The mother can be used to start the next batch of juice. . . and the next one. . . and the next one. Which makes vinegar a very sustainable choice for home industry.
For another thing, the kind of distilled alcohol used in herbal extracts is complicated (if not illegal) for the herbal home enthusiast to make. This makes vinegar even more of a valuable fall-back option.
Herbal Vinegars are also extremely versatile. Depending on the herbs, they can:
- be used as liniments for sore muscles
- made into soothing preparations for skin problems like sunburns and poison oak
- crafted into compounds for a wide variety of health challenges
- used as condiments to add zest and minerals to the diet
- used as a base in the sweet and sour syrups for oxymels and shrubs (types of yummy vinegar based drinks)
Over the next few weeks, I will show you some of the herbal vinegar recipes I use, both for first aid uses and for overall health resiliency. In the meantime, check out some of these links I’ve gathered from some of my favorite resources around the web for an even better overview on the practicality and versatility of herbal vinegar.
- How to Make Medicnal Vinegars over at the Mountain Rose Blog
- Medicinal Vinegars and Oxymels over at The Nerdy Farm Wife
- Rosemary Gladstar's original Fire Cider Recipe
- Four Thieves Vinegar over at Wellness Mama
- Another Four Thieves Recipe at Nourished Kitchen
- Kloss Liniment I've made this same recipe with vinegar instead of the rubbing alcohol in the past (minus the echinacea), and I loved it! It doubles as an antiseptic wash for cuts, and feels great on sore muscles, bruises, and other achey-issues. Another find over on the Mountain Rose blog.
- Bee Balm Oxymel with Rosalee de la Foret at Learning Herbs- I can't tell you how much I want to try this recipe. I have a thing about bee balm- I absolutely adore this plant- and this looks amazing.
I've also done a previous post on violet oxymel, which is based on vinegar made from fresh violets. In the winter, I like to use it as a tonic. Violets are really wonderful as a gentle expectorant. I also love to use it after a run or work out in the summer. I've found that a small spoonful mixed in water is a great thirst-quencher and cool down drink.