There’s a reason many herbalists rave about Fire Cider come the fall and winter months. This folk remedy has a reputation for being able to stop a cold or flu in its tracks, if not prevent it entirely. This tonic is packed full of immune-boosting goodness, boasting anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties while acting as a decongestant and digestion stimulant.
The recipe for Fire Cider changes depending on the crafter, but it’s all relatively similar. I first learned about it from studying Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs book. It’s best to prepare this in the fall so it’s ready for the cold and flu season. However, this year I made it a day late and a cold short, but it’s still good to have around.
To make your own Fire Cider, you will need:
½ cup chopped ginger root
½ cup chopped horseradish root
½ cup turmeric root
5 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1 medium white onion chopped
1 jalapeno pepper
Juice of ½ a lemon, or can squeeze and put rest of lemon in as well
2 Tbl rosemary
1½ Tbl thyme
Organic, raw apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’
Cayenne pepper to taste
Coarsely chop all roots and place in quart sized jar. Be careful chopping turmeric because the roots often stain your hands and whatever else they touch a yellow-orange color! Chop the garlic (it’s best to leave rest for at least 10 minutes after chopping to allow release of its active compounds), onion, and the pepper, placing on top in the jar. Juice ½ the lemon, or the whole thing if you want, choosing to either discard the rind or place it in the jar as well. Then add the rosemary and thyme before filling the rest of the jar with the apple cider vinegar. Leave a little room at the top since the roots usually swell a bit. Cover firmly and place in warm corner somewhere.
Now here’s the hard part: LEAVE IT ALONE FOR A WHOLE MONTH. Just kidding, you actually have to shake it daily, but you should let it infuse for at least 2 weeks to a whole month to allow the beneficial components to make their way into the vinegar.
Once ready to consume, strain the vinegar out, add the cayenne to your liking, and drink up! Aim to consume 1-2 tablespoons daily, or 1 tablespoon every 3 hours during illness. If drinking it straight is too strong for you, you can add it to a Bloody Mary, use it as salad dressing, or just add it to anything you think it will taste yummy in. As for me, I’m a big baby when it comes to all things with a kick, so I either down it as a shot or mix it with my dad’s canned tomato juice. After all, tomato seems to mask all flavors. 🙂
**Don’t discard those roots and spices! If you’re like me and don’t want to waste them, you can mix them into a soup, stir-fry, or use them as a marinade!
What makes Fire Cider such a potent medicine? It’s ingredients of course!
Ginger: Ginger is a well-known anti-inflammatory that can help anyone suffering from Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) to Arthritis. It is also useful to have around in times of digestive distress or nauseousness.
Turmeric: Another potent anti-inflammatory that is a useful treatment for IBD and other ailments. It contains curcumin, an antioxidant that protects your body from free radical damage.
Horseradish: Horseradish root is an expectorant that can be useful for relieving sinus discomfort. It contains nearly 10 times more glucosinolates, a cancer fighting compound, than most cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and brussel sprouts. It has antibiotic properties in it as well that can help treat urinary tract infections.
Onions: Onions are high in flavonoids and polyphenols, a type of micronutrient.
Garlic: High in the sulfur compound allicin, that becomes most active when chopped and allowed to rest for 10-15 minutes before cooking. Garlic is also a good source of selenium.
Jalapeno: Jalapeno peppers contain capsaicin, the compound that gives these peppers a kick! As an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, it can give your sinuses some good relief. It’s also known to inhibit brain-pain transmitters, helping relieve migraine tension and headaches. Eaten regularly, it can stimulate the body’s fat burning abilities.
These are just a few of the wonderful compounds these foods contain. What do you add to your Fire Cider to add that extra health punch?
Happy Fire Cider-ing!
Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2012. Print.
“Health Benefits of Horseradish.” Organic Facts. 2013. Web. 26 Jan. 2016. <https://www.organicfacts.net/>.