Make your own immune-supporting fire cider tonic with this easy recipe! Fire cider is full of health benefits from medicinal plants and herbs that are infused into raw apple cider vinegar and sweetened with raw honey. Just a couple of spoonfuls a day will help support your immune system and overall health throughout the year but especially during cold and flu season.
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, apologies. October came and went, fast but slow. We’ve been in the thick of renovating our (only) bathroom (yay, the perks of tiny house living) for the past month, and the urgency of getting everything set up before the freezing temps emerge has taken top priority in our lives. I’ll be sharing more about that later and you can follow along on our DIY adventures in my Instagram story highlights. All that to say I started this batch of my immune-supporting homemade fire cider recipe at the end of September to keep our health in check through cold/flu season.
A Traditional Herbal Remedy
I started making fire cider years ago, inspired by renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, founder of the california school of herbal studies, and her original recipe. Fire cider (sometimes called fire tonic) is a traditional folk remedy of raw apple cider vinegar that is infused with any number of immune-supporting herbs and plants. The “fire” comes from the addition of hot chile peppers like habanero or cayenne, which have been shown to increase circulation, boost metabolism, and support the immune system. Not to mention that just a pinch of hot chile will clear your sinuses instantly. I like this spicy tonic to be extra hot, but you can adjust the heat level by adding less or more chile peppers to the recipe.
Fire cider was one of the first products I sold through the Fare Isle brand from about 8 years ago up until the spring of 2019. During that time some controversy sprang up over the use of the term “fire cider” because one company had wrongfully trademarked the name, which had been used in the herbalist community for years before that company ever existed. I was one of many small brands that were forced to change their product name and I rebranded my fire cider as “rocket cider”. Thankfully the court sided with the herbalists who were sued by said company and the name fire cider is once again free in the public domain, as it should be. Learn more about what happened at freefirecider.com.
Start with Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
You can add any immune-supporting ingredients to fire cider and the recipe I’m sharing below is just one of many out there. Get creative and change it up to your tastes. Fire cider starts with a base of unpasteurized or raw apple cider vinegar which aids in digestion, fights infection, and clears the sinuses, among other health benefits.
Ingredients and Their Benefits
Aside from unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and chili peppers, fire cider ingredients are completely flexible! The following list of ingredients is what I used when I photographed the images for this post and is what I most often use when making this herbal tonic, but the beauty of fire cider is that you can add whatever medicinal plants you like or have access to. If you can’t find some of these ingredients, like fresh horseradish root for example, then just leave them out or replace them with something else. Dried herbs and ingredients are fine to use as well.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: aids in digestion, fights infection, clears the sinuses
Hot Peppers: such as cayenne pepper, habanero increase circulation, boost metabolism, immune system support
Onion and Garlic: antibacterial and antifungal properties, high in antioxidants, detoxifying
Ginger Root: antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, relieves indigestion
Turmeric: antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
Horseradish: antibacterial and antifungal properties, fights infection
Rosehips: high in vitamin C, aids digestion
Thyme: expectorant and antibacterial properties, supports the respiratory system
Citrus: high in vitamin C, reduces inflammation, aids digestion
Other Common Ingredients:
Medicinal Herbs: Rosemary, Sage, Oregano, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Tulsi, Savory, Catnip, etc. I like to use whatever herbs are growing in my garden at the time.
Cranberries: powerful antioxidant properties, contain high levels of manganese and potassium and Vitamins C and A
Nettles: anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic properties, supports adrenals and helps protect bones
Uva Usri Leaves (aka bearberry): anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and cleansing properties
Elderberries: antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, contain high levels of potassium, folate, calcium and iron, and Vitamins C and A
Please share other ideas in the comments!
To Sweeten or Not to Sweeten
When I make fire cider at home I usually do not sweeten it and will take a tablespoon straight up or diluted in a small amount of water. It is strong and you will feel it heat you up right away starting from your throat then your abdomen and working out to your outer limbs. It might make your nose run as it clears your sinuses so I like to have a tissue ready to blow my nose right after.
Raw honey is usually used to sweeten fire cider and cut the edge of the heat and spiciness. I would sweeten the fire cider I sold with maple syrup to keep it vegan friendly. The maple didn’t add any medicinal value but it tasted amazing. If you choose to add sweetener to your fire cider then wait until after you’ve strained it once the mixture has infused fully.
How to Make Your Own Fire Cider
Step 1: Once you have all of your ingredients ready, the process of making fire cider is very easy. Fill a clean jar with the prepared ingredients, aside from a sweetener if using, and pour apple cider vinegar into the jar to fully submerge the ingredients.
Step 2: Seal the jar with plastic lid and let it sit at room temperature but away from the sun for anywhere from 2-4 weeks. During this time all of the ingredients will infuse into the apple cider vinegar along with all of their health benefits. After this time strain the vinegar through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.
Step 3: At this point, you can sweeten the fire cider to taste or leave it unsweetened. Transfer the final product to a glass bottle or jar for storage.
How to Store Fire Cider
Store fire cider in a cool dark place away from sunlight. Herbal vinegars like this should last for up to 1 year stored at room temperature.
Fire Cider Dosage
Take a shot of fire cider or 1-2 tablespoons daily for a potent punch of immune system support and increase that dosage to 3 times a day to use it as a natural remedy to help fight off common cold symptoms. As always remember to please use caution, do your own research, and consult your medical professional before treating yourself or others.
Fire cider is one of the best herbal remedies to help support the immune system and fight off symptoms of common colds during. Read through the ingredient list as their individual benefits above.
Use fresh herbs when you can but dried herbs and ingredients like dried ginger, turmeric and horseradish work fine.
Like all herbal vinegars, fire cider should last for up to one year when stored properly as detailed in this post.
Love This Recipe?
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- 4 cups unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh turmeric
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup coarsely grated fresh horseradish
- 1/2 cup chopped garlic
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup halved fresh rosehips
- 1 whole lemon chopped
- 1 whole lime chopped
- 1 whole orange chopped, or 2 mandarins
- 2 whole fresh habanero peppers chopped
- Layer prepared ingredients into a clean 1/2 gallon glass jar then cover them with the apple cider vinegar.
- Cover the jar with a lid and let sit at room temperature out of the sun for 2 weeks.
- Strain liquid into a bowl, pressing the ingredients with the back of a spoon to release as much liquid as possible, and discard everything else.
- Pour the strained liquid into a clean quart jar.
- Optionally sweeten the fire cider to taste with raw honey or maple syrup for a vegan-friendly version.
- Cover the jar with a lid and store at room temperature out of the sun for up to 6 months.
- If you can’t source ingredients you can leave them out or use dried/powdered versions of items.
- Feel free to add other ingredients like other medicinal quality herbs (rosemary, sage, oregano, etc.), different chile peppers, or any other immune-supporting ingredients that you are familiar with.
- Use caution when foraging wild plants and be sure to identify plants/mushrooms correctly before ingesting them.
- These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Disclaimer: I, Kaity Farrell, am not a medical professional and the content on my blog, this website, my Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok pages, and any follow-up comments, is intended for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult with your qualified health care professional before treating yourself or anyone else. Neither I nor Fare Isle can be held liable for the choices and actions you as the reader make and/or the outcome of those choices and actions.