Fire Cider is a useful, widely-used herbal folk remedy that is wonderful to have on hand as a preventative measure against getting sick. For many generations, people have passed down this esteemed warming remedy for its ability to elevate natural health.
Although it has been prized for ages, it wasn’t until the 1970s that renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar coined the name of the ancient remedy as “fire cider.” Since then, it has grown in popularity in health and wellness circles. Perhaps you have seen it bottled on the shelves of your local health food store, at the farmers market, or in online shops.
This zesty vinegar infusion is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and has been touted for its ability to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, stimulate digestion, reduce congestion, stimulate circulation, and warm you up on cold days. As the saying goes, “food is medicine” definitely rings true for fire cider.
There are numerous varieties of fire cider as this recipe is highly adaptable to your tastes and the seasonal availability of the ingredients. In fact, many herbalists develop their own variation of fire cider based on what is available locally, their health needs, or taste preferences. Traditionally, the recipe includes medicinal herbs such as garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, and hot peppers that are soaked in raw apple cider vinegar, imparting their rich, supportive qualities to the vinegar. I have added some other ingredients for their medicinal and anti-inflammatory qualities.
Fire Cider Ingredients
Sourcing Fire Cider Ingredients
Whether you produce your own on the homestead, shop locally, or order them in, I recommend sourcing the best quality ingredients that you can to make this health-promoting elixir. Mindfully choosing each element will ensure the greatest health benefits since the vitality (or lack thereof) will be extracted from the herbs and foods by the apple cider vinegar. Conventionally grown ingredients are often lacking in nutrients due to poor soil quality. Furthermore, to avoid pesticides and herbicides making their way into your brew, organic produce is of utmost importance.
- Raw apple cider vinegar: ACV is a fantastic digestive aid teeming with beneficial enzymes.
- Garlic: Known as “poor man’s penicillin,” garlic is a powerful broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent that helps fight infection.
- Hot peppers: Many varieties of hot peppers support the cardiovascular system, metabolic health, and immune system, and reduce pain.
- Ginger: Ginger is a warming anti-inflammatory ingredient that improves digestion, eases nausea, and aids circulation.
- Horseradish: It may seem obvious, but horseradish helps to open the sinuses and clear congestion. It also can help to ease headaches.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory that also helps to modulate the immune system.
- Honey: Raw honey is an antioxidant powerhouse that helps to fight free radicals in the body. Raw honey can reduce mucus secretion and coughs. Local, raw, unfiltered honey has traces of pollen native to your area that helps to alleviate allergies if taken regularly.
Additionally, I often add echinacea, astragalus, and/or cinnamon sticks for their antioxidant, immune-supporting properties. Incorporating orange gives the fire cider a lovely deeper citrus flavor.
Fire Cider Recipe
Think of this more as a framework, rather than a hard and fast recipe. It is a fantastic medium to exercise creativity and utilize what you have access to. It is special to tuck fresh elements that you’ve worked so hard to cultivate throughout the growing season into apple cider to become a healing tonic to keep you and your loved ones healthy in the cooler months.
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 head garlic chopped
- 2 jalapeño peppers sliced
- ½ cup fresh ginger root grated
- ½ cup horseradish root grated
- ¼ cup turmeric root grated
- a handful of fresh thyme
- a handful of fresh rosemary
- the zest and juice of one lemon
- raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
- ⅓ cup raw local honey
- Place all ingredients in a quart-sized mason jar.
- Fill with apple cider vinegar. Ensure the herbs are underneath the liquid line. Place a tightly-fitting lid on the jar.
- Allow the jar to sit in a warm dark location for 3 weeks. Shake the jar daily, if possible.
- After at least 3 weeks, strain the remnants of the herbs through a fine mesh sieve and compost them.
- Stir in the raw honey until well combined.
- Store in a dark place, preferably in an amber glass bottle, to retain the tincture’s efficacy.
- After three weeks, most of the beneficial properties in the fire cider will have been extracted from the elements. Many herbalists will allow the fire cider to remain unstrained for months.
How to Take Fire Cider
Fire cider is very versatile because of its delicious hot, pungent, sour, and sweet taste. Here are some ways to incorporate fire cider into your daily routine:
- Oftentimes, a fiery shot or two of this infusion at the onset of sickness will stop it in its tracks.
- A tablespoon of fire cider can be taken daily to support overall wellness.
- Incorporate a tablespoon or two into mineral water.
- Mix fire cider with raw local honey to make a healing cough syrup.
- Whisk fire cider with oil for a vibrant salad dressing.
- Fire cider can be sprinkled on top of rice, tacos, roasted vegetables, or other foods.
About the Author
Dr. Ashley is a Board Certified Doctor of Holistic Health and traditionally-trained naturopath. She works alongside her husband, Dr. Kevin Turner running Restorative Wellness Center, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She is a homesteader and homeschooling mother of three girls. In addition to helping clients achieve their health goals through Functional Medicine, Dr. Ashley teaches classes on natural health and traditional food. She is also a contributor to the Weston A Price Foundation’s quarterly journal, Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts. Her work has been featured in She Reads Truth Bible studies and on the Family Christian website. She recently completed her first two books- Restorative Kitchen: a cookbook and lifestyle guide for reversing chronic disease and autoimmunity and Cultivating the Restorative Table.