With the fall season approaching, we herbalists find this is the perfect time of year to make our traditional brew, Fire Cider, a folk remedy passed down by generations of herbalists. The deliciously spicy and sweet elixir contains ginger, garlic, onion, horseradish root and jalapeño in an apple cider vinegar and honey base.
The idea for the Fire Cider concoction goes back to Hippocrates’ famous motto, “Make food your medicine and medicine your food.” This wellness tonic contains many immune-boosting qualities to help ward off potential illness during the onslaught of the cold and flu season. From easing a sore throat and congestion to general cold season irritations, Fire Cider will warm you back up to health. My fellow herbalists and I have been known to throw Fire Cider parties to make large batches of this stellar concoction.
Here’s a recipe from well-known herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, who first published the Fire Cider recipe in one of her herbal guides:
½ cup grated fresh horseradish root
½ cup or more fresh chopped onions
¼ cup or more chopped garlic
¼ cup or more grated ginger
Chopped fresh or dried cayenne pepper, to taste. Can be whole or powdered. “To taste” means hot, but not so hot you can’t tolerate it. It’s better to make it a little more on the mild side, as you can always add more pepper later if necessary.
Optional ingredients: turmeric, echinacea, cinnamon, etc.
Place herbs in a half-gallon canning jar and cover with enough raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs by at least three to four inches. Cover with a tight fitting lid.
Place jar in a warm place and let sit for three to four weeks. Best to shake every day to help in the maceration process.
After three to four weeks, strain out the herbs and reserve the liquid.
Add honey, to taste. Warm the honey first so it mixes in well. “Your Fire Cider should taste hot, spicy and sweet. Re-bottle and enjoy! Fire Cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry. But it’s better to store in the refrigerator if you have room.”
A few more tasty and medicinal additions to this brew are:
*Lemon or orange slices
*Lime or grapefruit peel zest
Read more about Rosemary Gladstar here: http://freefirecider.com/rosemarys-story/
If you’re looking for a pre-made option, Peoples Rx carries Texas Fire Cider tonic made by Austin-based herbalist Nicole Telkes.
Texas Fire Cider can be taken either as a daily tonic to keep your immune system humming along or as a fiery digestive support.
It can even be added to salad dressing for a little kick. Learn more about Telkes and the Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine here:
To your health!
Meghan Dwyer – Herbalist, YTT, Massage Therapy Student, Ayurvedic Counselor