Fire Cider: A Delicious Tonic for your Winter Home Apothecary

October 15, 2023

In my household, it is an annual autumn tradition to make the first batch of fire cider for the year! This spicy tangy kitchen craft is one of my favorites to share with others – mainly because it is so easy to make. Every single ingredient in fire cider can easily be found in the grocery store. But don’t let the accessibility fool you into thinking it’s not potent medicine! After all, food is the best preventative medicine we have.

fire cider

History of Fire Cider

Fire cider was inspired by ancient vinegar-based herbal remedies that have existed for hundreds of years, and passed down through the oral tradition of herbalism. Rosemary Gladstar popularized this particular antiviral, antibacterial tonic in the 1970’s, in hopes that she could inspire people to bring herbal medicine back into their kitchen. 

In 2014, there was a well-known legal battle, when an herbal company that attempted to trademark fire cider and demanded others to stop selling it. The herbalist community fought back, insisting this was a medicine of the people and should remain so. Thankfully, the herbalist community won and this remains a tonic we all have the freedom to make – and potentially sell, if we feel so inclined.

Fire Cider Ingredient Benefits

As you look at the list of ingredients, you will start to understand why this is called “fire cider”. Most of these ingredients are warming herbs, which will bring stimulating and warming energy to the body.  This energy can help boost your immune system and fight off the beginnings of a cold or flu. Below are just some of the benefits of these ingredients:

  • Honey – Honey has shown to possess antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-oxidant properties. It can also help ease allergies and lower the incidence of acute respiratory symptoms 1
  • Apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar can reduce blood sugar, prevent heartburn and contains antimicrobial properties 2
  • Rosemary – Rosemary contains antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is also well known for improving digestion 3
  • Turmeric – Turmeric is a kitchen spice with a host of benefits, including containing antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antioxidant and antiseptic properties 4
  • Garlic – Garlic is antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and can reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases 5
  • Orange & Lemon – These citrusts are well known for containing antioxidants and vitamin C 6, 7
  • Cinnamon – This popular spice has antimicrobial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties 8
  • Ginger – This potent root is well known for its ability to reduce nausea and support digestion, but did you also know it can reduce pain and improve respiratory stress? 9

Getting Creative with your Fire Cider

fire cider

While I am sharing my fire cider recipe with you, I encourage you to get creative with yours! There are so many ways to make fire cider. For example, some folks like to add in horseradish, which is excellent at clearing sinuses. But I strongly dislike horseradish, so I do not add it to mine. Also, some folks like to use an infused honey with their fire cider. And some don’t like honey at all!

If there are any ingredients listed that you do not like – feel free to omit them (except for the apple cider vinegar – that’s a pretty important one). If you are looking for more inspiration, check out Rosemary Gladstar’s recipes online or in her book, 101 Zesty Recipes.

How to Integrate into Wellness Routine

There are many ways you can integrate fire cider into your wellness routine. Some folks like to take a shot of fire cider everyday to act as a preventative. This is a perfectly acceptable way to take it. You can also find ways to integrate it into your food. For example, you could add olive oil to it and use it as a dressing for your salad (this is quite delicious!). 

Other folks prefer to only take fire cider when they are starting to not feel well. Similar to how we take elderberry syrup, it’s important to take a shot of fire cider consistently – about every hour or so until you feel better. This way, we are giving maximum support to our immune system to help it fight off any bug we may have. If you are interested in making your own elderberry syrup, you can find my recipe here.

fire cider
fire cider

Winter Home Apothecary: Fire Cider

A fiery tonic that will support your immune system and shorten duration of cold & flu
Print Recipe
Prep Time:45 minutes
Infusion time:30 days
Total Time:30 days 45 minutes

Equipment

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large glass jar with secure top

Ingredients

  • Organic apple Cider Vinegar
  • 10 Cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 Medium onion chopped
  • 1 Ginger root grated
  • 1 Orange grated peel and fruit chopped
  • 1 Lemon grated peel and fruit chopped
  • 1-2 Jalapeño pepper chopped
  • 2 tbps Rosemary chopped
  • 1 tbps Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 Cinnamon sticks crushed
  • 3-4 Star anise crushed
  • Local raw honey

Instructions

  • Chop and shred everything into tiny pieces! I’m serious – no large pieces of anything should be in this fire cider if you want to extract all of the medicinal benefits I listed above!
  • Add to a large glass jar that has a secure top. I prefer to use glass storage jars with a hinge top. (Note: If you have a rubber seal on your storage jar, be prepared for it to be your dedicated seal for fire cider. The smell of fire cider will be forever infused on this seal!).
  • Pour the apple cider vinegar to the top of the jar, making sure all ingredients are covered.
  • Shake the jar, making sure all ingredients mix together.
  • Store somewhere dark and cool – and somewhere you will remember to shake it everyday!  I like to keep mine on my kitchen counter with a towel draped over it – otherwise, I will never remember to shake it!
  • After about one month, your infusion will be ready. Use a cheesecloth to strain the infused cider into a bowl.
  • Add honey until you have reached the desired sweetness.
  • Store in the fridge for up to one year.  Make sure to give a little shake before taking a shot!
Keyword: fire cider
Author: Katie McGinn

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.

References

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5822819/#:~:text=Honey%20clasps%20several%20medicinal%20and,%2C%20antiviral%2C%20and%20antidiabetic%20effects
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15698693/##
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8513767/
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/#:~:text=The%20activities%20of%20turmeric%20include,%2C%20radioprotective%2C%20and%20digestive%20activities.
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2533031/
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8458774/
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019938/

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