The Enchanting Benefits of Fire Cider:
A Tonic of Health and Connection
The intertwining of nature and health is an age-old dialogue that speaks to our intrinsic connection with the Earth and its abundant gifts. This bond is palpably evident in the making and consumption of Fire Cider—a robust tonic that encapsulates the potency of various herbs and foods. As colder seasons beckon, this elixir emerges as an emblem of nature's pharmacy, prized for its numerous health benefits.
The Roots of Fire Cider
Fire Cider's origin traces back to the ancient herbal tradition. Rosemary Gladstar, an iconic herbalist of our times, popularized the recipe in the 1970s. It's a dynamic concoction, with each ingredient bearing significant health properties. Fire cider is a potent herbal concoction celebrated for its ability to boost immunity, invigorate digestion, and warm the body, making it an invaluable ally during the colder months and times of heightened susceptibility to ailments. Its harmonious blend of ingredients offers a symphony of health benefits, from anti-inflammatory properties to antibacterial defenses.
Key Ingredients and Their Benefits
Apple Cider Vinegar: This is the base of Fire Cider. Apple cider vinegar is celebrated for its digestive benefits and its ability to support a balanced gut biome (Johnston & Gaas, 2006).
Garlic: A powerful immune booster, garlic contains allicin, which has been linked to numerous health benefits, including antibacterial and antiviral properties (Ankri & Mirelman, 1999).
Onions: Beyond flavor, onions contain quercetin, an antioxidant that can act as an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory agent (Li et al., 2016).
Ginger: Ginger is not only warming but also promotes healthy digestion, alleviates nausea, and has anti-inflammatory properties (Grzanna, Lindmark, & Frondoza, 2005).
Horseradish: This pungent root contains glucosinolates, shown to support respiratory health and reduce inflammation (Herz et al., 2007)
Turmeric: This golden root contains curcumin, popularly studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits (Menon & Sudheer, 2007).
Hot Peppers: Capsaicin, the active component in hot peppers, is lauded for its ability to boost metabolism and promote circulation (Whiting, Derbyshire, & Tiwari, 2012).
Honey: A sweet elixir in its own right, honey has antibacterial properties and acts as a soothing agent for the throat (Mandal & Mandal, 2011).
Embracing the Natural Connection
The Earth offers a symbiotic relationship, one that invites us to understand, appreciate, and utilize its bounties. The making of Fire Cider is a testament to this bond. The act of crafting this tonic—selecting each herb, grinding and blending, and then allowing the ingredients to synergize—is a gentle reminder of our relationship with the natural world.
Each ingredient has its own story, its own journey from soil to bottle. Recognizing this narrative and the intrinsic energy of the Earth captured within the tonic can elevate our appreciation and experience of Fire Cider. You can create your own signature fire cider by adding oranges, apples, cinnamon, cloves, or star anise. The combinations are limitless.
Fire Cider Recipe (drafted from Rosemary Gladstar's Fire Cider):
1/2 cup freshly grated ginger root
1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish root
1 medium onion, chopped
10 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
Zest and juice from 1 lemon (may use slices if room allows)
Zest and juice from 1 orange (may use slices if room allows)
Several sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme
1 tbsp turmeric powder or 2 tbsp freshly grated turmeric root
Raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup raw honey (or to taste)
Combine all the herbs, spices, and vegetables in a quart-sized jar.
Pour the apple cider vinegar over the ingredients until they are fully covered.
Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid. If using a metal lid, place a piece of parchment paper between the jar and the lid to prevent corrosion from the vinegar.
Shake well. Store in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks, shaking daily.
After 4-6 weeks, strain out the solids, squeezing as much liquid as possible. Mix in the honey, stirring until incorporated.
Store in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator. It will last up to a year when stored properly.
Fire Cider, with its intricate blend of herbs and foods, stands as an ode to the power of the Earth's bounty. As we navigate the colder months and the challenges they bring, this tonic offers not just physiological nourishment but also a touchstone to our enduring, compassionate relationship with nature, providing warmth and health.
If you are interested in learning more about how herb
s can benefit your health, book your free one-on-one discovery session now for one of my herbal and nutritional coaching packages. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to stay up-to-date on more health and wellness tidbits!
With warmth and healthy blessings,
Dr. Stephanie Lanham, DCN, CNS, NBC-HWC
Ankri, S., & Mirelman, D. (1999). Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic. Microbes and infection, 1(2), 125-129. Grzanna, R., Lindmark, L., & Frondoza, C. G. (2005). Ginger—an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. Journal of medicinal food, 8(2), 125-132.
Herz, C. Tran, H.T., Marton, M.R., Maul, R., Bladermann, S., Schreuner, M., & Lamy, E. (2007) Evaluation of an aqueous extract from horseradish root (Armoracia rusticana radix) against lipopolysaccharide-induced cellular inflammation reaction. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2007. Johnston, C. S., & Gaas, C. A. (2006). Vinegar: Medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect. Medscape General Medicine, 8(2), 61. Li, Y., Yao, J., Han, C., Yang, J., Chaudhry, M. T., Wang, S., ... & Yin, Y. (2016). Quercetin, inflammation and immunity. Nutrients, 8(3), 167. Mandal, M. D., & Mandal, S. (2011). Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 1(2), 154-160. Menon, V. P., & Sudheer, A. R. (2007). Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. The molecular targets and therapeutic uses of curcumin in health and disease, 595, 105-125. Whiting, S., Derbyshire, E. J., & Tiwari, B. (2012). Could capsaicinoids help to support weight management? A systematic review and meta-analysis of energy intake data. Appetite, 59(1), 25-31.