How to Make Fire Cider: A Step by Step Guide

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According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the average American adult comes down with a cold two or three times every year. And unless you have a bacterial infection along with your cold, there’s nothing your medical doctor can do to ease your symptoms. 

Over-the-counter cold remedies often come with unwanted side effects and can cause serious damage if abused. Thankfully, there’s a natural remedy that you can easily make from ingredients commonly found at home. 

It’s called fire cider and not only does it taste great, but it also comes with many health benefits. Keep reading to learn what fire cider is, how to make it, and why it should be your new favorite drink. 

What is Fire Cider

For those purists out there, Fire Cider is an oxymel which is an herbal remedy that includes both honey and vinegar. It was developed by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in the early 1980s. 

It was in the kitchen at the California School of Herbal Studies where she acted as both the director and a teacher at the facility. Her idea was to bring medicinal herbalism back into the kitchen where food could be celebrated and enjoyed as well as have medicinal purposes.

While there were some apple cider vinegar recipes and even something known as Cyclone cider which contained hot spicy herbs, honey, and apple cider vinegar. 

The Traditional Fire Cider Recipe

The original Fire Cider recipe included the following ingredients:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Horseradish root
  • Ginger root
  • Hot peppers

Turmeric was sometimes added and often so was echinacea. Gladstar and her students found a tablespoon of Fire Cider during the winter months helped keep their immune systems working properly. 

How to Make Fire Cider

The best part about making Fire Cider is that you can add or subtract ingredients as you wish. Here is a basic recipe along with instructions:

You’ll need a quart of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It should be 5% acetic acid and still contain the “mother”. 

To ensure your recipe stays as healthy as possible, try to only use organically grown fruits, herbs, and roots. 

Instructions for Making Fire Cider

  • Pour the entire bottle into a clean, quart-sized canning jar with a wide-mouth
  • Add 1/3 cup of both grated horseradish and ginger root
  • Add six cloves of minced garlic
  • Add a small onion, chopped
  • Add two dried and seeded hot peppers (or substitute cayenne pepper)

You can also add these optional ingredients:

  • One large lemon including the sliced rind
  • A small handful of rosemary, sage, oregano, and parsley
  • Allspice berries, several whole cloves, a cinnamon stick

Make sure the apple cider vinegar covers the herbs by at least one or two inches. Then seal the cap on tightly. 

Let it Soak for a Few Weeks

You can use parchment paper or a small plastic bag to keep any metal lids from corroding due to the vinegar. 

Let your recipe soak for a few weeks to a month. However, give the bottle a shake every day to make sure everything mixes together. 

When it’s ready, strain away all plant materials from the vinegar. Stir in honey to taste as it will also help to blend all the flavors together. 

Ways to Enjoy Fire Cider

There are several ways you can enjoy cider vinegar such as:

  • Enjoy a spoonful every day throughout winter
  • Add a spoonful to your favorite beverage
  • Gargle with it if you have a scratchy throat
  • Mix half a teaspoon with honey to use as a cough remedy
  • Use as a salad dressing or to pour over vegetables
  • Use in a Bloody Mary
  • Use as a marinade

The ways you can enjoy Fire Cider are seemingly endless due to its incredible health benefits. 

The Health Benefits of Fire Cider

Let’s go over the ingredients to Fire Cider one by one. While most of the ingredients contain phytochemicals with strong antiviral, antiseptic, and digestive properties, they each have their own set of health benefits such as:

How to Make Fire Cider: A Step by Step Guide | Naturopathic Dr


Horseradish helps your body fight off the following:

  • Pathogenic fungi
  • Flu
  • Colds
  • Tonsilitis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory disorders

Horseradish is also good at clearing sinuses.

How to Make Fire Cider: A Step by Step Guide | Naturopathic Dr


Ginger helps your body in the following ways:

  • Ease colds
  • Help with upper respiratory tract infections
  • Arthritis
  • Upset stomachs
  • Coughs

Ginger is also good for gut health and has both antiviral and antimicrobial properties. 

How to Make Fire Cider: A Step by Step Guide | Naturopathic Dr


Onions help boost the following:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Bone and connective tissue benefits

Onions are also rich in quercetin, a strong anti-inflammatory and are an old folk remedy for colds and the flu

How to Make Fire Cider: A Step by Step Guide | Naturopathic Dr


Garlic helps treat the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Aid in balancing blood sugar
  • Building the immune system
  • Heart attacks
  • Atherosclerosis

Garlic has both antiviral and antimicrobial properties. It’s traditionally used to ease colds, upper respiratory tract infections and warding off vampires.

How to Make Fire Cider: A Step by Step Guide | Naturopathic Dr

Hot Peppers

Hot peppers like habanero peppers help boost your metabolism and support your metabolism. These spicy peppers can also help provide pain relief from headaches and relieve painful sinus and arthritis issues. 

Hot peppers also release endorphins which can help boost your mood. 

Habanero peppers boost your metabolism, and offer headache, sinus, and arthritis relief as well as releasing endorphins.

How to Make Fire Cider: A Step by Step Guide | Naturopathic Dr


Turmeric is an amazing spice. Here are a few things Turmeric is known to help with:

  • Delay liver damage
  • Increase cancer cell’s vulnerability to chemo and radiation treatments
  • Inhibit the growth of breast cancer and malignant melanoma’s
  • Alleviate skin conditions
  • Alleviate arthritis symptoms

Turmeric can even help reduce carcinogenic compounds in other foods. 

How to Make Fire Cider: A Step by Step Guide | Naturopathic Dr


Lemons help reduce inflammation and water retention. Lemons also aid in digestion, treat colds and the flu, and improve the function of blood vessels.

Lemons are a good source of Vitamin C so you can ward off scurvy. 

Get Creative

If you’re looking to resolve a specific health issue, it’s a good idea to do some research to find out which herb or spice can help the most. Enjoy warm, drinks, check out our 8 Health-Boosting Teas guide.

Find Out What You’re Missing

While making Fire Cider is sure to help you feel better sooner, you may need additional help. It’s important when focusing on your health to make sure you’re working on your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. 

That’s not always easy and you may not know what parts you’re missing to help you heal completely. That’s where I come in. Schedule an appointment and we’ll work together to create a healing protocol just for your needs. 

About The Author:

Picture of Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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