Fire cider is a delicious homemade herbal concoction that uses apple cider vinegar to extract the medicinal constituents from herbs. This herbal tonic is consumed during winter months to ward off cold and flu. It is also a very effective digestive tonic if taken before meals, as the apple cider vinegar and herbs stimulate the secretion of gastric juices that help break down foods. You’ll want to allow the herbs to steep in the apple cider vinegar for a minimum of 4 weeks to get the medicinal benefits but longer can be more beneficial, so make sure you make your cider in late fall. The best part of making fire cider is that you can choose which herbs you want to add and make a few different varieties. Here are some of the commonly used ingredients and their benefits:
Ginger is a tuberous rhizome, or a root that sends out multiple shoots from its nodes, used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It can be very helpful when used for upper respiratory tract infections, respiratory distress and bronchitis.
Garlic is an herb commonly used for its powerful anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It can help prevent the common cold and can be useful when fighting the flu and helps ease fever, cough, sinus congestion, bronchitis and asthma.
Onion naturally contains the plant polyphenol quercetin which is helpful for reducing allergies and relaxing the muscles in the respiratory airways associated with asthma. Like garlic, onion is also helpful for fever, cold, cough and bronchitis.
Horseradish is a root vegetable in the brassicaceae family related to mustard and broccoli. It is very helpful in the treatment of sinusitis as well as cough, colic, bronchitis and sore throat.
Cayenne is the “fire” in my cider recipe and provides a lot of heat which improves blood flow and acts a diaphoretic, meaning it will make you sweat. In the winter it is important to eat spices and herbs that warm you and improve circulation.
Black pepper will add a bit of bite similar to cayenne but it also brings additional benefits that help with arthritis, asthma, upset stomach, bronchitis, sinusitis and rhinitis. Additionally, black pepper can increase the absorption of turmeric when taken together.
Raw apple cider vinegar has so many health benefits, that chances are you’ve heard about them by now. It is a great source of vitamin C and has often been used to increase digestion, reduce symptoms of allergies, balance blood sugar and aid in weight loss. Raw apple cider vinegar by Bragg’s is best because it contains naturally occurring enzymes and probiotics.
Lauren Sanchez, ND received her Naturopathic Doctorate at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ. Her natural approach to medicine facilitates healing by respecting the mind, body and spirit connection. She also specializes in helping individuals reach optimal wellness through a plant-based regimen.