The term “fire cider” might conjure up images of witches brewing a magical elixir of exotic spices and, like, the tears of a dragon (or something). It might call to mind boozy apple juice. It might just leave you confused. But this intriguing term refers to a remarkable health tonic, full of herbs, roots, fruits and spices steeped in apple cider vinegar, sweetened with honey and sipped by those daring few seeking immorality an illness free existence. Or something like it.
This fire cider term is also marred by controversy and legal battles – because even those in the holistic health and wellness product field are litigious, apparently. Fire cider is a traditional folk remedy passed through many, many generations, re-popularized by the pioneering herbalist Rosemary Gladstar several decades ago. Until recently, the term fire cider described this bright, fiery tonic of which’s recipe may vary from maker to maker to include their favorite and most revered immune boosting ingredients. That is until Shire City Herbals decided to trademark the term “Fire Cider” for their exclusive use, then issue cease and desist orders to other small commercial producers of traditional fire cider under the “Fire Cider” name. This is kind of the equivalent of Campbell’s trademarking the term “chicken noodle soup”. Not cool guys, not cool. Furthermore, three small producers of commercially available fire cider are now being sued for $100k. Seriously, NOT COOL. Thus the “free fire cider, tradition not trademark” movement was born. I add this tidbit in the interest of health and creative freedom. I do not feel appropriating a traditional folk medicine term for exclusive commercial use serves the community in any way. For more on the movement please visit http://freefirecider.com/ and show your support.
Controversy aside, fire cider is easy to make yourself. And so long as you’re not bottling for commercial sale and branding it with the name “Fire Cider” you should be relatively free of litigation.
This will be my first time making a proper fire cider for my family and I am excited to share my thoughts on ingredients and their benefits. Fire cider can be taken daily (teaspoon for the “littles” to a tablespoon for adults), straight, or mixed with juice or water. Should the creeping crud creep through your defense, frequent small doses, every few hours are advisable (like a tablespoon every 3-4 hours for adults). My family and I will be alternating elderberry tincture (see my recipe here) and fire cider to shelter and support our immune systems during the coming cold and flu season. Remember, all the remarkable health tonics in the world will not save you if you are not practicing good health habits. Eat right, drink lots of water, get fresh air and exercise, maintain hygiene and for the love of all things good – don’t smoke. That said, here is the lowdown on the ingredients selected for my Nitty Gritty Fire Cider based off of the recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs. Feel free to use what you like and what is available to you. There is a world of immune boosting goodness to choose from!
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: Full of probiotics, raw apple cider vinegar is a beneficial bacteria powerhouse, a fantastic preservative and the perfect menstruum (infusing liquid) for fire cider.
Ginger: Stimulating, warming and antibacterial, ginger boosts tremendous health benefits. Ginger is also an excellent expectorant, balanced by anti spasmodic and anti spasmodic – helping to produce an effective, eliminative cough, without painful coughing fits. Ginger is also reputed to relive pain and quell nausea.
Horseradish: The sinus opening benefit of horseradish is undisputed, but this pungent root also in a powerful immune stimulant and, due to its high vitamin C content, is remarkable antioxidant.
Garlic: Known as a “blood cleanser”, garlic boasts antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. A “cure-all” no matter how you look at it. And it repels vampires, which is a good thing.
Onion: Loaded with sulfur, quercetin and a variety of vitamins and minerals, onion is a stellar immune booster encouraging peak performance of the body’s natural defenses.
Orange: Vitamin C. Lots of it. (drops mic; leaves stage)
Jalapeno Pepper: These peppers bring more of that sinus searing heat, along with a ton of vitamins and capsaicin to stimulate the immune system, relieve pain and speed cell recovery.
Turmeric: Bright yellow and a chief inflammation reliever, turmeric also is an excellent detoxifier.
Astragalus Root: This adaptognic herb motivates to immune system of recognize and fight foreign microbes.
Echinacea Root: This well known immune system heavyweight is associated with a 50 percent decrease in contraction of cold and flu, while decreasing the severity and longevity for the unfortunate sufferers.
Rosemary: An extraordinary antioxidant, rosemary can offer cell protection and offer expectorant action to boot.
Thyme: A bang up good herb, thyme is antibacterial, antiseptic, diaphoretic (encourages perspiration; reduces severity of fevers) expectorant, and stimulating.
Honey: Antimicrobial and preservative. And sweet. Very sweet. Which we will need – because this fire cider is going to be SPICEY!
Oh, and don’t throw away the spent pulp after infusing. Freeze it in ice cube trays and add as a flavor base for soups, stew and sautés. Cheers to health, freedom and Fire Cider!!!
Herbal Studies I. Dorene Petersen, ACHS. 2015
Mountain Rose Herbs http://mountainroseblog.com/fire-cider/
Organic Facts https://www.organicfacts.net/
- ½ cup grated ginger root
- ½ cup grated horseradish root
- 1 head garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
- 1 orange, slightly pureed in food processer, or thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons turmeric
- ½ oz astragulus root
- ½ oz echinacea root
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 1 tablespoon dried)
- raw apple cider vinegar to cover
- raw honey, to taste
- Prepare all ingredients and place in jar and pour vinegar over ingredients to cover.
- If using a metal lid, use a square of wax or parchment paper between lid and jar. Tightly lid the jar and allow to infuse in a dark, cool place, shaking daily for 4-6 weeks.
- After infusion is complete, strain off solids (save this and freeze in ice cube trays to use as a flavor base). Add honey to taste. Bottle and store in a cool dark place.
- Dosage: Adults – 1 tablespoon daily, straight or in juice or water as a tonic or 1 tablespoon every 3-4 hours for acute cold/flu symptoms. Children 2-12 – 1 teaspoon daily as tonic in juice or water, or ½ teaspoon every 3-4 hours for acute symptoms.