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Have you heard of fire cider? Until I began delving more into herbalism, I had not! When I first read about fire cider, it was while reading through Rosemary Gladstar's book, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. I was fascinated, to say the least, but I was absolutely terrified of making it at first. It sounded like something that would most definitely put hair on my chest. It turns out, Fire Cider is super delicious AND super good for you! Made with highly antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral herbs, this hair-raising beverage has been used through the ages by many different cultures, to help prevent colds, clear sinuses, boost immunities, and much more.
The stuff of folklore, faerie tales, and fantasy
Can you imagine your favorite fantasy or lore? In mine, herbalism runs deep. I have always had a deep-rooted love for fantasy. I can just imagine the faeries dancing among the flowers underneath the stars on the new moon. Whilst the herbalist mother prepares her medicinal potions, handed down from her greatest grandmother, down the family line. On this night, she is preparing one of her family's oldest medicinal tonics, Fire Cider. This recipe was handed down for as long as anyone could remember, from her grandmother to her mother, to her. Her grandmother once told her of a dragon deep in the woods that held a fire within his belly, hotter than any fire that man could make. She said, that her ancestors sought the fire and with it, created a remedy that was capable of curing all ailments. During times of great illness, people from far and wide would seek her out just to drink of the all-healing Fire Cider.
This Fire Cider is sorta like my own fictitious depiction above. Its history is ambiguous with different names and different stories but it is always based upon the same type of ingredients, depending on what is available in the region. Some people call this recipe Master Tonic, others have called it cyclone cider, no matter the name, this fiery immune boosting concoction has been revered for generations as a simple and effective remedy to help relieve sinus congestion, ward off colds and the flu, aid in digestion, and increase circulation.
Herbal additions to create your own fire cider
Though fire cider has its requisite fire and spice ingredients, there are a ton of other herbs that would be great additions to your own fire cider! You can customize your fire cider to your own tastes and add make many different variations for all of your friends and family.
- Astragalus root
- Beet root powder
- Burdock root
- Calendula flowers
- Chili peppers (any of the ones you desire)
- Chili powder
- Coriander seed
- Grapefruit juice and peel
- Lemon peel and juice
- Lime peel and juice
- Orange peel and juice
- Sage leaf
- Thyme leaf
- Schizandra Berries
- Star Anise
I doubled this recipe and used a half gallon mason jar rather than a quart sized jar. Honestly, this recipe is so varied from person to person, that you do not need to actually measure anything out. Add in the extra ingredients that you are wanting to add to this recipe to make it your own! I added onto this basic recipe some peppercorns, fresh oregano, fresh rosemary, and turmeric powder (my grocery store was out of fresh turmeric, boo). I first found this recipe in Rosemary Gladstar's book, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, and further adapted my recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs, Mommypotamus, and Heal Thy Self.
- 1/2 cup fresh horseradish, peeled and chopped or grated
- 10 cloves fresh garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 fresh medium white onion, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 fresh jalapenos (and/or other hot peppers), sliced
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced (really I was going for ease and just sliced them with the peel on and put the slices in the jar)
- a few sprigs of fresh rosemary or 2 Tbsp. dried rosemary leaves
- 1 Tbsp. Turmeric powder ( or 2 Tbsp. fresh)
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- raw unfiltered honey to taste
- Organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- Prepare all of your ingredients, including peeling and chopping, and put them into your glass jar. If using a metal lid, be sure to line the jar with parchment paper so that the apple cider vinegar doesn't corrode the lid. I prefer to use a plastic lid!
- Let your fire cider sit on a shelf in a cool dark location and shake every day for one month. Using a cheesecloth, strain your fire cider, taking care to squeeze out all the liquid awesomeness from the pulp.
- Add honey 1/4 cup at a time, stirring and tasting, until you reach your desired sweetness!
Awesome uses for Fire Cider
This remedy is made just like a medicinal tincture is, but with apple cider vinegar instead of alcohol so that this can be used in foods too! As Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said, “let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.” I like to take this straight up, but it is super yummy in salad dressings too!
- Take 1-2 Tbsp. straight up, 3-4 times a day, at the onset of a cold or the flu. (I told you in the title that it might just put hair on your chest!)
- Add 2-3 Tbsp. to 8 oz. hot tea or hot water. Breathe in the vapors and sip your fire cider tea
- For the little ones, you can add a dash of it to a citrus juice such as orange, pineapple, or lemonade
- Use in place of vinegar in your cooking recipes such as a vinaigrette or marinade
Rosemary's Fire Cider
The term Fire Cider was once given to this revered spicy beverage, by one of