Fire Cider - Super Tonic

Sunday, March 1, 2020
Image credit - GrowUpDeep

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) recipes have been around for centuries! A simple internet search for recipes and verification of benefits will return with more hits than you can possibly take time for. Apple cider vinegar is apple cider that's undergone fermentation and like many ferments this results in health promoting enzymes and pro-biotics. To spare you the journey of research (unless that's your thing!) I'll just note a few of the long known proven benefits of ACV as noted by Organic Facts.

  • Prevents acid reflux
  • Assists in weight loss
  • Reduces fasting blood sugar levels
  • Reduces cholesterol and improves heart health.
  • Helps to maintain healthy skin
  • Helps to cleanse entire digestive system
  • Relieves pain in joints and curbs progress of arthritis

Furthermore, Rosemary Gladstar mentions in her excellent Fire Cider book that it's also traditionally been used for leg cramps, stuffy noses, sore throats, fever, exhaustion, sunburn, fungal infections, heartburn and hair rinses! 

So you can see that apple cider vinegar can easily stand on its own as a fantastic friend to keep on hand in the pantry. But when you take it to the next level by adding some common kitchen ingredients that enhance the flavor and pack additional healthy qualities... well then you have what Rosemary Gladstar first called Fire Cider! 

"Although I may have used the name Fire Cider first, the formula wasn't fully original; it was based on several other formulas of the time. No Herbal formula is truly original or unique" - Rosemary Gladstar. 

One of the great things about Fire Cider is that you can take the base ingredients and tweak it to your own liking or purpose. Some add dried elderberries, pomegranates, hibiscus flowers, cranberries or black currents! There are many other options and that's what is so fun and rewarding about making your own.

The Basic Ingredients

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Ginger
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne peppers
  • Horseradish


Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a spicy and warming herb with a fiery nature - stimulating circulation and energy, it enhances the "fire" in the body that supports digestion, heart health, immunity and balance. Ginger is anti-emetic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory.

Onion (Allium cepa) is pungent, sweet, salty, warm, moist and stimulating. It has drawing properties and is often used topically to draw out poisons, mucus and pus. Onions warm the chest, liquefy mucus and stimulate the cough reflex (especially if roasted and literally spread on a person's chest!). Raw onions, increase the flow of urine and are used for edema, to increase perspiration and quicken circulation.

Garlic (Allium sativum) is spicy, sweet, salty, heating, moistening (when fresh), oily (when fresh) and drying (when dry). It's antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antispasmodic, antiviral, diaphoretic, an expectorant and an immune stimulant. The volatile oils in garlic are excreted through the lungs and the antimicrobial nature of these oils makes it particulary helpful in cases of respiratory infections like bronchitis, catarrh, colds, flue and whooping cough.

Cayenne (Capsicum annuum, C. baccatum, C. chinensis, C. fastigiatum, C. frutescens, C. pubescens) is hot, pungent, biting, heating and moving. It's actions are analgesic, antiseptic, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic and digestive. 

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is widely appreciated as a condiment but is now widely grown, eaten, and used as medicine throughout the world. In small doses, taken internally, horseradish is a powerful stimulant, aperient and antiseptic for the stomach. It is traditionally taken with oily, rich meat or food, by itself or steeped in vinegar! Specific indications are for sluggish, torpid conditions, viscid, and tenacious mucus.

Directions

First of all you want to decide what other ingredients to add. The very first bottle I made was following a recipe I got in my herbal courses and I still use it today. In addition to the base it includes a lemon, an orange, some fresh rosemary, turmeric and honey. Choose your extras (if you want to) for taste and purpose. The following is what I used for my current batch and how I went about making it:

1/2 cup fresh grated ginger root
1/2 cup fresh grated horseradish (I couldn't find any fresh this time of year so had to order on-line)
1 medium onion, chopped
10 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
2 cayenne peppers (or 1 tsp powder)
1 lemon, chopped
1 orange, chopped
Fresh rosemary - several sprigs (or 2 tbsp dried)
2 tbsp chopped fresh turmeric (or 1 tbs powder)
1/4 cup raw local honey to taste (I use this one if I can't get local)
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp astragalus
Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (I use this one)

Prepare all the ingredients and place them in a glass jar - quart or larger. Pour in the apple cider vinegar until all the ingredients are well submerged. Cover with a tight fitting lid. If using a metal lid make sure to cover the jar opening with parchment or wax paper first so that the vinegar doesn't touch the metal. Shake daily. After 3-4 weeks strain the solids out of the cider using a cheesecloth. Now add the honey and stir to mix well. Taste the cider and add more honey until desired sweetness is achieved. Don't forget to label it with at least the name and date!

Tips: I do not refrigerate my fire cider, I just keep it tightly capped in a cool place in the kitchen pantry. I have noticed that some folks do prefer to keep their fire cider in the fridge and you can too if you like. I think fire cider is best consumed within 24 months but I can't imagine it lasting that long! And finally, although I love the taste of fire cider straight, I usually mix my dose (1-2 tsps) in a small amount of water and drink it down in a shot. Take as needed.

We usually take a bit of fire cider when we feel that familiar funky I-may-be-getting-sick feeling. Everyone is different and your intuition will guide you on how often to take it. Fire cider is a potent blend of vinegar, honey, healthy fruits, veggies and roots - it's a food but nevertheless, you know my motto... low and slow at first 😊

Other Ways To Enjoy: Experiment! Fire cider is tasty added to salad dressings, splashed onto sauteed greens, or used as marinades for meat. I absolutely adore Rosemary's book Fire Cider which has lots of fun recipes to explore.

Cautions: Don't use if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. Consult your doctor if you are taking medications and have a concern about contraindications.



References: 

12 Proven Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar by Meenaksi Nagdeve - February 28, 2020 - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS,RD). Retrieved from: https://www.organicfacts.net/apple-cider-vinegar.html

The Earthwise Herbal Volume I - A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants by Matthew Wood. Allium cepa. Onion. p. 69

Herbal Academy. (n.d.) Garlic monograph, retrieved from https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/3049

Herbal Academy. (n.d.) Cayenne monograph, retrieved from https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/5144

The Earthwise Herbal Volume I - A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants by Matthew Wood. Armoracia rusticana p.107-109



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