With cold and flu season right around the corner, now is the time to make Fire Cider!
Fire Cider is an herbal remedy to take at the first signs of a cold. There are many different versions of Fire Cider, each herbalist making their own adjustments, but the basics are all the same: fresh garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish and chile peppers sit in vinegar for a desired amount of time, strained, and then a bit of something sweet is added at the end.
I had heard of Fire Cider for many years, but had never tried it myself. Usually, I rely on Echinacea tincture and Elderberry syrup to get me through the season, but I had a sample when I sat in on a workshop during the Farm to Fermentation Festival this year. I wanted to try something new, and I jump at any opportunity to take control of my own health and using natural remedies, so I made sure to put up a batch this past weekend. I encourage you to do the same!
How to Make Fire Cider
For your fire cider, you want to make sure to use raw, unpasteurized and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. This is the vinegar that has the weird brown silty stuff at the bottom, also known as the mother. Bragg’s is a common brand, but there are others out there. Just make sure to check the label. The vinegar pulls out the important healing properties of the foods, but it could also pull out any poison residues. Avoid that, and make sure to use organic ingredients for your homemade medicines.
These ingredients, particularly the horseradish, are intense. I wear my snowboarding goggles any time I’m dealing with onions, and they helped with preventing lemon juice to the eye. I recommend keeping all your windows open when you’re grating your horseradish and find some goggles of your own. There is also no need to peel your ginger.
This recipe calls for cayenne chili. If you can’t find fresh cayenne, you could add powdered cayenne when you add the honey, or use a different chili. Cayenne is the standard in Fire Cider, but all chilis have healing property, regardless of how hot they are. I used Serrano because that’s what I had growing. This recipe is easily scaled up. I figured since I was going through all the effort of grating and chopping, I’d make some for gifts, so I doubled the recipe.
- 1/2 cup freshly grated ginger root
- 1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish root
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 10 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cayenne peppers, chopped
- 1 lemon, chopped
- 1 quart raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup, or more, raw local honey
- Sprigs fresh rosemary, thyme and/or oregano
- 2 Tbsp fresh turmeric, chopped
- 1 orange, chopped
- Place all prepared ingredients in a large glass jar. Cover with apple cider vinegar
- Close jar. If using a metal lid or ring, put a piece of parchment paper between glass and lid, to keep the vinegar from touching the metal
- Set aside on the counter, pantry or windowsill. Shake daily.
- After 3-4 weeks, use cheesecloth to strain.
- Add honey and stir until incorporated. Taste and add more until desired sweetness.
This will keep for 2 years in the fridge. Take 1-2 tablespoons at the first sign of a cold, and repeat every 3-4 hours until symptoms subside.
Health Benefits of the Fire Cider Ingredients:
Ginger is a warming and decongesting herb, and is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. Ginger helps with imbalances such as poor circulation, colds and flus. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, is effective for nausea and gastrointestinal infections, and is is often added to other herbal preparations to make them taste more appealing. The Chinese name for ginger translates to ‘to defend’.
Horseradish is a potent infection fighter. It contains a natural antibiotic and is useful for treating upper respiratory problems. It can clear congestion, thin mucous, reduce inflammation, fight bacteria and viruses and relax muscles. It stimulates the immune system, and ounce for ounce, horseradish has more medicinally active compounds than any other spice.
Onion can help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and kill cancer cells. They are anti-inflammatory, and can help relax the airway muscles and asthma systems. They are rich in antioxidants, which protect the body against free radicals, which encourage a strong immune system.
Garlic is one of the most versatile culinary herbs for treating colds, flus, sore throats and poor digestion. It boosts the body’s immune systems and is anti-septic, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial; making it effective against many types of infections, even those found to be from antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
Chili gets its healing powers from its main constituent Capsaicin. It stimulates circulation, digestion, and signals the brain to release endorphins. It can aid and support the immune system, relieves congestion, and are anti-parasitic.
Citrus is high in Vitamin C, which helps boost immunity. It also adds to the flavor of the Cider.
Honey is loaded with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can help suppress coughs and helps with sleep. It adds a balancing sweetness to the other pungent ingredients.
Apple Cider Vinegar is well known for its long list of health benefits. For Fire Cider, it’s valuable for cold and flu care as it can soothes sore throats, helps with digestion issues, thins mucus and reduces congestion, boosts energy, and can kill free radicals.
The term ‘fire cider’ has been used by herbalists for decades. However, a company on the East Coast was recently awarded the registered trademark of ‘fire cider’, and herbalist name as common as ‘elderberry syrup’. They then started to send cease and desist letters to small companies and herbalists, proclaiming they could not use their trademarked name. People and herbalists from all over grouped together in outrage, and have taken the matter to court in an effort to appeal the trademark. The product and the name should be free of trademark restriction. The recipe that I’m posting today is public info from this movement. You can find out more at http://freefirecider.com.
Legal blah blah blah so I don’t get in trouble with the Man.
All information presented on this website is for ideas and education only.This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. I research all information shared on this site, but any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk and not a substitute for medical or any other professional advice of any kind. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary.