Spring Oxymel for Clearing Liver and Gallbladder Stagnation

If you've ever had a Wholistic Skin Health Consultation with me, it's likely I recommended incorporating an oxymel (or herb-infused and sweetened vinegar) into your diet. I'm a firm believer in food as medicine, and oxymels are a brilliant food medicine.


Because vinegar is an excellent solvent for extracting specific and vital constituents from herbs: minerals!

This is one reason I love using apple cider vinegar to make extractions of plants like nettle, raspberry leaf, alfalfa, and dandelion. These plants are all high in minerals and creating an extraction with vinegar makes them extremely bioavailable and convenient to incorporate in your day to day.

But it isn't just the plants that are beneficial. Apple cider vinegar itself has long been touted as a panacea - a cure for most ailments. Folks swear by taking a shot of it before meals to prepare their digestive system and help make the nutrition from their food more bioavailable.

Did you know it's flavor also hints at its energetic effects on the body system? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the sour flavor is associated with the spring season along with the Liver and Gallbladder organs. The astringent quality of sour helps relieve dampness, inflammation, and counteract the energetics and release the accumulation of the heavier foods many of us ate through the winter to sustain us.

In the spring, the liver (a major organ of elimination) and gallbladder are especially active as our bodies' elimination pathways are busy clearing stagnation and metabolic waste, and regulating qi and blood. The liver even helps process our emotions!

As an organ of elimination, supporting your liver is a vital way to assist your skin in its role in detoxification as well. If your liver is not functioning efficiently, if it gets backed up and can't purify your blood, if it gets tense and can't regulate the flow of qi, your skin will tell you. This is one reason why, when I work with clients, we always look at what's going on with the liver.

Liver health is directly related to skin health.

So, at a time in the year when our liver and gallbladder are most needing support in clearing winter's accumulation and prepare our bodies for spring renewal, herbal vinegars are a gentle, accessible way to support our bodies' natural detoxification processes.

Curious to learn more?

The following is an excerpt from the article Spring Oxymel for Clearing Liver and Gallbladder Stagnation by Stephanie Hein featured in the Spring 2024 edition of Botanical Anthology. Our herbal magazine, featuring remedies, recipes and projects with plants for the spring season, can be purchased as a digital version here and as a printed version here.

Spring Oxymel for Clearing Liver and Gallbladder Stagnation

To rejuvenate enthusiasm for life and embrace new growth, consider boosting the function of the liver and gallbladder by utilizing three spring herbal allies to craft a traditional remedy known as an oxymel.


  • 1 c dandelion, chickweed, and violet, fresh, aerial parts 
  • 2 c raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ - 2 c local honey
  • Quart-size mason jar
  • Muslin or cheesecloth
  • Labels
  • Amber dosage bottles
  • Small funnel
  • Large bowl
  • Liquid measuring cup


Chop the fresh plant material as small as possible so that maximum plant surface is available during the maceration (extraction) process.

Fill the mason jar with freshly chopped herbs. Cover chopped herbs with raw apple cider vinegar and honey. Put the lid on and label it with the ingredients list, the date made, and a fun and creative name.

Store in cool, dark space. Shake the jar every day. Make sure herbs stay covered with liquid mixture and add more raw apple cider vinegar if needed. This is a great time to put good vibrational energy into the herbal creation! After 4-6 weeks, it’s time to press out the oxymel.

Remove jar lid and secure muslin or cheesecloth on top of jar and flip it upside down above a large bowl and strain the liquid through the muslin / cheesecloth into the bowl. Remove any remaining liquid by using both hands to squeeze it out of herbs into the bowl.

Pour the strained liquid (oxymel) into a liquid measuring cup. Place funnel into the mouth of the amber dosage bottle and carefully pour liquid from the measuring cup into the amber dosage bottles. The number of amber dosage bottles needed will depend on which size amber bottles you decide to store your finished oxymel in.

Pressed Spring Herbal Oxymel


  • Try taking 1-2 tbsp daily. 
  • The oxymel can also be added to seltzer water for a healthy mocktail, or try using as a salad dressing.
  • Oxymels are shelf stable for 1 year.

Stephanie lives in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and is a mother, farmer, herbalist, and dedicated land tender. She runs a regenerative medicinal herb farm called Wise Earth Way, where she teaches and produces artisanal herbal extracts. You can learn more about Stephanie's upcoming classes and explore her apothecary's products by visiting www.WiseEarthWay.com or Instagram @WiseEarthWay

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