3 Herb Mamas

“Fire Cider” by Any Other Name

on February 13, 2014

With the recent uproar over an herbal business trademarking the name “Fire Cider” for their exclusive use there has been a surge of interest in this traditional home remedy. To be honest, I have no idea who originated the idea or the recipe for this wonderful formula but I am certainly glad they did. I know I have been making it for at least 20 years and I learned to make mine from a little self-published booklet by Rosemary Gladstar. There are probably nearly as many recipes, methods and names as there are herbalists making it. I’ve heard it called Master Tonic, Tonic Cider, Fire Tonic, Dragon Tonic and other names. The reason I call mine “Fire Cider” is because that is the name Rosemary gave to it and by now it is just habit. Although I am not a stickler for measurements, this is approximately how I make mine.

Basic ingredients for making your own 'Fire Cider' at home.

Basic ingredients for making your own ‘Fire Cider’ at home.

For each quart I plan to make I place:

1 bulb (NOT 1 clove) of Garlic, minced

1 Onion, chopped

1/4 cup grated Horseradish, chopped

a 1″-2″ piece of Ginger root, chopped or grated

several dried Cayenne peppers, crumbled up

I admit that I often take the easy shortcut and just toss everything in the food processor and chop it all at once. If you are in a hurry for your Fire Cider then mince it fine. If you are in less of a rush, roughly chopped will do. Place everything in a glass jar and cover with apple cider vinegar. I have a particular fondness for Bragg’s and I believe there are added nutritional benefits from using a raw (“with the mother”) vinegar over a pasteurized vinegar, although I have used the latter in a pinch. Cover, and if your lid is metal you might want to line the top of the jar with plastic to prevent corrosion from the vinegar. I like to allow mine to sit at room temperature for about 4 weeks. When it is ready I strain out the plant material by pouring it through a cheesecloth (I actually use old, clean pieces of jersey t-shirts.) lined strainer, pressing out as much liquid as possible. For every quart of herbal vinegar I add about 1/2 a cup of local, raw honey, stirring to dissolve. Now it is ready to bottle, cap and label.

"Fire Cider"...a wonderful folk remedy that works!

“Fire Cider”…a wonderful folk remedy that works!

Personally, I love Fire Cider as a daily tonic. It improves digestion and is warming. I love the “kick” it provides. It is also wonderful in place of regular vinegar or lemon juice as a spicy salad dressing or marinade. At the first sign of a cold or flu (that tickle in the back of your throat, or a warm, dry nose, or itchy, full ears) I take a tablespoon or two in a little water (Bottoms up!), along with some Echinacea tincture, vitamin C, a hot shower with Eucalyptus or a hot Ginger bath, and go to bed early for some extra rest. That is often enough to knock out the virus before it gets a toe-hold. For an active cold, I take a shot of Fire Cider hourly.

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