A fire cider is a traditional immune-supporting remedy with deep roots in folk medicine. It is most popularly championed by my teacher, herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. It is a zesty infused vinegar, packed with powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and circulatory herbs. The addition of hot peppers and a little local honey makes it both spicy and sweet, hence the name.
For tips on how to prepare for the flu season, read our other article.
1 large red onion, chopped
3 heads garlic, chopped
1 organic lemon with peel, diced
½ cup fresh ginger root, grated
½ cup fresh turmeric root, grated
¼ cup fresh horseradish root, grated
¼ cup fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
A few fresh cayenne or jalapeño peppers (Note: depending on how spicy you want your fire cider, you might use more peppers, or omit them altogether - it’s better to err on the side of caution because you can always make it spicier later)
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
Honey to taste
Place all the ingredients except honey in a half-gallon jar, cover with raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Be sure to cover the herbs by at least a few inches, then cut a square of parchment or wax paper and cover the jar before tightly capping it.
Store in a warm place (I like the top of the fridge) for a few weeks, shaking the jar daily.
After three weeks, your fire cider will pack a punch, but you can keep infusing for much longer if you like—I know herbalists that let their fire cider sit for months before straining it!
At this point, you can strain out the herbs from the liquid, but another option is to blend the whole batch in a blender or Vitamix and let it sit for an additional week (without shaking for the last few days to let the ingredients settle) before pouring off the liquid.
Either way, once you’ve finished infusing the herbs, add warmed raw honey to taste (I usually add about 1/3 cup), mix thoroughly, and bottle. This doesn’t have to be refrigerated, but it can’t hurt.
Remember—you can be really flexible in how you make the fire cider. These ingredients are a start, but you can add others. Some other great options are dried elderberries, cinnamon sticks, echinacea, astragalus root, even lavender flowers.
Usage varies based on body constitution - if you already have excessive heat (inflammation, hot hands and feet, constipation, dry mouth, dry eyes, coughing with yellow/green phlegm, cloudy and dark yellow urine, insomnia), dilute the cider with water. 1:1.
Try it out, and let us know what you think!
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