Fire Cider is a traditional folk remedy for colds, flu's, fevers,coughs,even hangovers and preventative care. This immune-boosting tonic is essentially a sweet and spicy infused vinegar, packed with powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and circulatory stimulant herbs. Fire Cider is perhaps our greatest defense against cold and flu pathogens throughout the year.
Fire Cider Benefits
Before pills for ills, there were roots, herbs and fermented foods. While we haven’t found studies on fire cider specifically, this fire cider benefits list is based on the known benefits of the ingredients in fire cider.
Lowers high blood pressure
Remove plaques from arteries
Raise HDL cholesterol
Lowers blood cholesterol
Prevents LDL oxidation (low-density cholesterol)
Improves blood circulation
Energizes the body
Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis
Pain and inflammation
*Fire cider contains 10 antioxidant compounds known to help fight cancer based on the combined ingredients in most fire cider recipes:allyl cysteine, alliin, alicin, allyl disulfide, glucosinolate, polyphenols, vitamin C, flavonoids, tannins and curcumin.
We rely on Fire Cider to assist us at the first sign of cold symptoms, and as a decongestant and expectorant when illness has set in. This tonic is not only an ally for the immune system, but it also works to stimulate digestion and promote circulation throughout the body. It can be taken daily for prevention, before meals to assist in digestion, to keep us warm on those bone-chilling days, or in acute situations to fight off illness. "A shot a day keeps the doctor away"- I like to take a few droppers full daily as a form of preventative care.
Below you will find the basic ingredients and explanations on why this Immune boosting tonic is the BEST!
This versatile, tasty, albeit stinky, medicinal herb is widely known to help boost your immune system. One of the ways it does this is by stimulating the production of white blood cells in your body, who in turn attack and fight against invaders like harmful bacteria and viruses. The sulfur compounds in garlic also increases blood flow and overall circulation.
Allicin is one of the key immune-stimulating nutrients in garlic, but is slightly reduced when garlic is cooked, so raw garlic is the most potent and beneficial for immunity. My mom, who is a doctor of natural medicine, literally eats whole raw cloves of garlic when she feels a cold coming on. Did I mention she’s also a little bit nuts? I wonder where I got that from…
Similar to garlic, onion contains immune-boosting Allicin and also helps to increase circulation – sweat that infection out! A unique secret-weapon that lies within onion is quercetin! Quercetin is a plant pigment, often used for allergy symptom relief as it is believed to reduce histamine response and inflammation. A 2014 study at University of Michigan described quercetin as a “promising treatment for the common cold”, exploring its antioxidant and therapeutic properties, such as the ability to reduce viral replication and lung inflammation.
This pungent root vegetable, part of the mustard/brassica family that also includes kale and broccoli, uses its heat (similar to hot peppers) to increase your blood flow, body temperature, and digestion to keep that crud moving through and out of your body through increased sweat and urination. It also has antibacterial properties to fight sinus infections, and can help stimulate your lungs to assist with coughing and keeping your chest loose and “productive”. When you’re grating or processing this ingredient, open a window! It can definitely sting your eyes and throat.
Please note: It is recommended to avoid the consumption of horseradish if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It could be omitted from this recipe as needed.
**Fresh horseradish can usually be found at your local natural foods store, or at a specialty Asian foods market. Call around to see who has some!
As with the horseradish, it is best to use fresh ginger root. This is a favorite in this house! I add it to meals, fermented foods, and teas on a regular basis. Rosemary Gladstar( the creator of Fire Cider) describes ginger as “wonderfully warming and decongesting”. Enzymes present in ginger reduce inflammation, is used to ease nausea and stomach aches, activates your immune system, and soothes sore throats.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Where do i even start with ACV? I could write an entire post just on the benefits and uses of apple cider vinegar! I love this stuff. The best kind to use is Braggs that has the "mother" in it, Similar to Kombucha it has the brown floating stuff in it, its not rotten it is actually incredible for you.But uf you cant find Braggs any good raw unpasteurized ACV will do. In a nutshell, ACV is full of probiotics that support gut health, which is directly correlated with whole-body wellness. Its active ingredient, acetic acid, is a known antioxidant. It can help reduce blood sugar spikes and blood pressure, has anti-carcinogenic properties, and boosts the immune systems in those who regularly consume it.
CAYENNE PEPPERS (or other available hot peppers)
Capsaicin is one of the active ingredients in cayenne peppers, and all other chili peppers for that matter – the one that makes them so hot. The heat it brings not only makes you slobber and snot and cry (super cute, yeah?), it also stirs up your circulation system, warms your body, and serves as a decongestant, expectorant, and pain reliever all at once.
Chili peppers are also high in vitamin C and A – good friends to have around when you’re sick. Use caution (and maybe even gloves) when handling hot peppers! The oils can soak into your skin, and if you touch your eyes or pick your nose afterwards, it can burn the holy hell out of them, even after washing your hands “super well”. Ask me how I know…
“A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”! Honey is added after the infusion and separation process described below. It does help bring balance to make this spicy cider more tolerable, but that’s not all! Honey coats and soothes sore throats.
Consuming local raw honey (highly suggested for this recipe) is known to reduce allergies by exposing you to local pollen's. It is like a natural immunization – stimulating then reducing your reactive responses. For strict vegans who avoid honey, you can either brave it and go sans-sweetener, or use a natural plant-based replacement like maple or agave syrup.
Many herbalists stick with just the core ingredients listed above, but many others get creative and include all sorts of other good-for-you plants to make an even more potent brew. I have even heard of people adding sprigs of cedar and pine for a super earthy, woodsy vibe! Feel free to get creative with what you have available to you locally and seasonally. I just made a new jar and added grapefruit, lemons and blood oranges.
We included the following optional additions in our recipe:
Citrus, for an extra boost of vitamin C!
Fresh Turmeric, for extra antioxidants and inflammation-fighting. You all know how much I love turmeric. If you can’t get fresh rhizomes, you can substitute with turmeric powder, though in my experience it doesn’t mix in super well and can make for a more chalky end-product.
A couple sprigs of lemon grass and other fresh herbs. Many recipes incorporate rosemary, thyme, or oregano. We often add more fresh herbs than the photos shown in this batch.
Fresh hot chilis, to keep your blood moving and sinuses open!
Black pepper. This is especially important when using turmeric, as it vastly increases the activity and bio-availability of turmeric’s healing active ingredient – curcumin.
Dried homegrown calendula blossoms, for an extra kick of anti-inflammatory and fever-reducing action.
IT HAS TO STEEP A MONTH SO MAKE IT BEFORE YOU NEED IT AND STORE IN A DRY COOL PLACE AND SHAKE IT DAILY. While your at it, make 2 jars of it!
3 cups Braggs apple cider vinegar
½ cup peeled and chopped horseradish (or 2 TBSP of ground)
1 cup peeled and chopped ginger
½ cup peeled and chopped turmeric (or 2 TBSP of ground)
½ cup peeled and chopped garlic
1 large onion peeled and chopped
1 orange peeled and sliced
1 lemon peeled and sliced
1 jalapeno sliced