Saint Hildegard’s Parsley Wine for Heart Health (Herzwein)

   reading time: 4 min

I first encountered medicinal wines that use herbs and spices for healing purposes during a 4-day Green Witch Retreat I attended last year. During the retreat we also made this
healing herb infused honey wine, also known as heart wine ("Herzwein" in German) or parsley potion ("decoctum petroselini" in Latin). The recipe originally stems from the medieval German abbess Hildegard from Bingen, who is regarded as an important naturopathic scholar.

The wine is said to strengthen the heart and circulation as well as the immune system. It is also said to improve gastrointestinal and kidney function.

It is easy to make, has a pleasant sweet taste, and makes for a wonderful gift for people who enjoy a glass of wine every now and then. In case you are in need of a quick and easy Christmas present ...

Although this wine is supposed to be used for medicinal purposes, you could just as well replace your "regular" glass of red wine with a glass of this heart wine to enjoy its health benefits!
As the name suggests, this beverage contains alcohol, therefore it should be consumed in moderation.

St. Hildegard (1098 – 1179) apparently said the following about this wine:

»Wer im Herzen oder in der Milz oder in der Seite Schmerzen leidet, der koche Petersilie in Wein unter Zugabe von etwas (Wein)Essig und reichlich Honig und seihe durch ein Tuch (Filter) ab. Den so zubereiteten (Herz)Wein trinke er oft, und es heilt ihn.«
(PL 1159 A)

(Freely translated: "Whoever suffers pain in the heart or in the spleen or in the side body, boil parsley in wine with the addition of a little (wine) vinegar and plenty of honey, and strain it through a cloth (filter). Drink the prepared (heart) wine often, and it will heal them.")

Portrait of Hildegard von Bingen, German Abbess and physician. (source)

The star of this recipe is definitely the fresh parsley. By the way, if you don't normally like parsley – like me! –, you will probably still actually enjoy this wine. Parsley is one of the very few foods I dislike, and I love this wine!

Parsley is high in vitamin C, provitamin A, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron which is necessary for blood formation. It has an invigorating effect and strengthens the entire digestive system. It purifies the blood, helps with rheumatism and gout, has a diuretic effect, stimulates the appetite, promotes metabolism, and supports kidney and bladder activity. For menstruating humans, it stimulates the uterus and promotes a pain-free period.
Honey is an old household remedy and an easily digestible tonic. It increases performance, has a calming effect on the mind and promotes healthy sleep. Its valuable components also have a positive effect on digestive disorders and help with upper respiratory tract complaints and cardiovascular diseases.
Wine, particularly red wine, has been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases due to the flavonoids in the skins of red grapes that have a favourable effect on the coronary vessels and blood flow. Red wine is said to have a strengthening and restorative effect. It stimulates the gastrointestinal system and promotes circulation, and might even prevent arteriosclerosis.
(Important: More than 125 ml / 1/2 cup of red wine per day are not beneficial and can lead to high blood pressure, liver disease and even cirrhosis!)

This heart-healing honey wine is a wonderful preventative drink and can also be helpful for aging heart, cardiovascular problems, chronic rheumatism, as well as heartache caused by stress, nervousness, insomnia and fatigue (in addition to and after consultation with medical care!). The Austrian herbalist Maria Treben recommends this wine against cardiac insufficiency, heart disease and angina pectoris.

Please note that in case of sudden chest pains, tightness, shortness of breath or cold sweats, Hildegart's heart wine will NOT be a sufficient treatment for a heart attack, so please see a doctor or call an ambulance!


Preparation time: 30 mins
Main ingredients: wine, parsley, honey
difficulty level: easy
makes: 1 bottle of healing wine
suitable for: vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, soy-free, yeast-free


1 bottle of organic red or white wine (I prefer red wine)
2 tbsp organic wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar (I used homemade kombucha vinegar)
8-10 organic parsley leaves with stems, preferably flat leaf
80-100 g organic honey or
vegan honee

1-2 clean, sealable bottles (I used the empty wine bottle that I sterilized with hot water and rinsed with a teaspoon of high-proof alcohol)
a funnel
a large saucepan with a lid


Rinse and roughly chop parsley.

To a large saucepan, add red or white wine, vinegar, and parsley leaves.

Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for about 10 minutes with the lid closed.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, allow to cool to about 40 °C / 100 °F, then add the honey, and allow to steep for another 10 minutes with the lid closed.

Sieve off the parsley, and fill the herb infused wine into sterile bottles, using a funnel.

Seal well and label, noting the content and the preparation date. Stored in a dark and cool place, the heart wine will keep for 6 months.

You can drink
up to one liqueur glass of this parsley wine per day, when ever you feel your heart needs a little support. Or drink 1-3 tablespoons daily over a period of 6-8 weeks.

To your health!

Looking for more medicinal recipes? Here are some of my favourites:

Vegan Saint Hildegard’s Nerve Cookies (Nervenkekse)
Ceremonial Chili Hot Chocolate (vegan)