Making Fire Cider With Joy

by heather in community integrity at February 2, 2014


Herbalists have been using fire cider traditionally for decades to help prevent colds and flus. This incredible winter tonic is a (slightly spicy and really yummy) health treat. Fire Cider is a gift from Rosemary Gladstar, who named and made the formulation popular in the 1970s. She shared it with everyone. Her students each learned to make it from her, one on one in classes. She also published many books with her Fire Cider recipe included within the pages of many other recipes.

This mixture of garlic, onion, horseradish and cayenne covered with apple cider vinegar and blended with honey has seen many variations throughout the years. Used for the prevention and treatment of colds and flus and its many other health enhancing benefits, it is very adaptable.

In honor of World Fire Cider Day, and in support of the petition to revoke the trademark of the term “fire cider” (more on this here) my children and I made a new batch. (I’ve been including my children in the making of herbal preparations as long as I’ve been making them. Children have a natural interest in picking plants, pouring liquids, etc. Bonus, they are generally more compliant when its time to take it!) A post in Herbal Roots Zine Kids reminded me to include my two in the making of fire cider both because it is fun and to make it a teaching moment about activism.

I generally have made it in the late summer, when the farms are full of hot peppers, so I found myself adapting significantly from my last recipe to accommodate what ingredients were available to us in our local market. It gave me a refreshing opportunity to study the actions of each ingredient and make a new formula.

So, with no further delay, below is the recipe and some pictures of the step-by-step process.

1/2 Gallon Mason Jar
1 Cup Dried Burdock Root
1 Orange, chopped, rinds intact
1 Lemon, chopped, rinds intact
2 Onions
5-10 Cloves of Garlic
1 Large Horseradish Root, Shredded
1 Ginger Root, Shredded
1/4 Cup of Previously Fermented Jalapeno/Cayenne Mixture (I would use fresh or dried peppers, if available)
1/2 Gallon of Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Slices of Apple, According to my 7 year old the apples are the secret ingredient to the recipe

Chop the Lemon, Orange and Onions:


Shred the Horseradish and Ginger Root: (We used a food processor. Hand grating, while rewarding, might not be possible with children helping. Don’t forget the goggles!


Pause…make a drawing that illustrates just how potent the air is when you shred Horseradish (complete with tears):


Smash the garlic and take the papery layers off:


Now is the fun part. Add the ingredients into the jar:


Pour unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar until it reaches just above the solid plant matter:


Pat yourself on the back for a job well done:


Wait! Don’t forget to label the fire cider. And cover it with a plastic lid or put waxed paper between the jar and the metal lid. Make sure to put the date on it, too. Let it sit for 4-6 weeks.


Once it is ready, you will strain the solid plant matter from the cider and add local raw honey to taste. Honestly, though, I like a spicy heat and sometimes drink it without the honey.

You can take 1 tsp per day as a health tonic. You can mix it with water or juice if you like. Enjoy the numerous health benefits.

You can find hundreds of different recipe variations at this Pinterest link.


Heather Bruntil is an herbalist living in the greater Boston area. Heather is committed to empowering others to take their health into their own hands. In her own healing from chronic Lyme Disease, she learned how simple and accessible tools such as herbs, food, and lifestyle changes cultivate wellness and vitality from within. Heather is committed to helping others find their way along their own path to live their most vital and empowered life. Heather is also the founder of PlantSoak, a line of handcrafted herbal wellness bath and shower soaks. ____________ The information published on is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Some links listed within this site may be affiliate links, which support me to continue blogging. All products linked are those I would personally use.

Comments (2)
  1. Виктор     | Reply

    I’m a firm believer in those famed words of Margaret Meade that clearly proclaim, that, as committed citizens we can make a difference and change the world and, indeed, we often are the only thing that ever has. We are asking people who believe in our collective herbal heritage and knowledge and who wish to help preserve our herbal traditions, to make a difference by helping to lift the trademark from Fire Cider.

  2.     | Reply

    It takes just 20 to 30 minutes to make a batch of fire cider, but then you need to leave it to brew for a few weeks before it’s ready to use—all the more reason to start a batch now, so when those achy, stuffy feelings suddenly arise, you can nip them in the bud.

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