Fire cider is a delicious immune-boosting tonic with tremendous healing power and a long history of use dating back to Medieval Europe, when it is said it was first used to ward off the plague. It has strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties, and has been used successfully for all types of infections, and for strengthening the immune system to help ward off infections, any time of year.
It is also a great digestive tonic taken prior to meals to help boost your digestion and assist in the breakdown of foods for better nutrient absorption.
Fire cider is made using a variety of anti-microbial ingredients which are steeped in raw apple cider vinegar for at least 2 weeks (and up to several months) to extract the medicinal properties of the contents.
The classic base for fire cider starts with onions, garlic, ginger and/or turmeric, citrus, and something for heat: horseradish, chili peppers, black pepper, and/or cayenne.
[Note: The classic base also usually includes a sweetener such as honey, but I strongly recommend against that, as sweeteners are inflammatory and strain the immune system, feeding infections and making seasonal allergies worse, which of course defeats the purpose of the tonic!]
Additional ingredients are also often added to the classic base to change the flavor and/or medicinal properties, to be in sync with the seasons, and/or to use what is currently available.
Some popular add-ons are oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley, cinnamon, beets, rosehips, reishi, chaga, astragalus, elderberry, burdock, lemongrass, echinacea, tulsi, and more. So get creative with your mixes and have fun! And if you really get into making fire ciders, you might enjoy this book of 101 unique fire cider recipes by renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar: Fire Cider!
Below, I’ve shared a version of the classic preparation which is steeped for 2+ weeks, and I have also included a quick version that can be thrown together in 5 minutes and used immediately, for those times when you want an immediate booster. Many people find this quick version to be very helpful for calming allergy symptoms, usually within minutes!
So, let’s look at the quick version first, and then I’ll share the traditional, steeped version.
And if you’d like to just buy some fire cider ready-made rather than making it yourself, here are 2 versions that I really like because they are organic, and do not contain any sweetener:
Ready in 5 minutes
- 8 oz. filtered water
- 1 Tablespoon raw organic apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg’s
- 2 teaspoons organic lemon or lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tiny pinch of cayenne, or to taste (chipotle powder also works well)
- Pour water into a large drinking glass.
- Add vinegar and lemon/lime juice.
- Whisk in spices. (if you have one, a frother or immersion blender works well for this)
Steep for at least 2 weeks, and up to several months
I have chosen this mix to share with you for its tastiness, and because these ingredients are usually readily available and easy to use, making it a good starting place. But don’t hesitate to get creative and change it up!
- 1-2 whole bulbs of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (I like to use red onion for the extra quercetin and anthocyanins!)
- 2-3″ of fresh turmeric root, chopped (leave peel on), or 1 Tablespoon turmeric powder
- 2-3″ of fresh ginger root, chopped (leave peel on), or 2 Tablespoons ginger powder
- 1 jalapeno, habanero, or other hot pepper, coarsely chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or chipotle powder, or to taste
- 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 organic lemon or lime, sliced (leave peel on)
- 1 quart of raw organic apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg’s
- Add all ingredients except apple cider vinegar to a clean quart (32 oz) glass jar.
- Pour in apple cider vinegar until jar is full, leaving only ½-1″ of room at top.
- Store in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks (and up to several months), shaking daily for the first 2 weeks.
- At 6 weeks, if desired, you can pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a clean jar, filtering out the solids (these are a great addition to a compost pile!)
- Continue to store it in a cool dark place, ongoing.
Take 1 Tablespoon (or more) daily, straight, or diluted in water to taste, and add to soups, stews, salad dressings, and sauces for some extra zing!
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