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How to Make Fire Cider for an Immune Boost

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Made with ingredients you probably have stocked in your pantry, fire cider is an excellent folk remedy to get you started with utilizing food as medicine.

Fire cider in a jar on a counter with fresh horseradish root and lemon.

While this traditional folk remedy has likely been used for hundreds of years, it was named by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in the 1970s due to the pungent plants it contains. While there are many variations, the base of traditional fire cider contains horseradish, ginger, garlic, and hot peppers all fermented in apple cider vinegar… pretty spicy.

This is an oxymel and the natural remedy can boost your immune system, warm you up, and help stimulate digestion. It’s spicy and vinegary, and will definitely open up your nasal passages!

We’ve been getting more and more into herbal remedies but fire cider is a must-have for us. We do our best to make sure we have fire cider made and ready for the winter months to help ward off any nasties during cold season. We take it daily all winter long during cold and flu season and a bit extra if we feel anything coming on.

What’s in Fire Cider

Fresh ingredients ready to make fire cider.

Being a folk remedy, you can absolutely switch up what’s in fire cider based on what you have available. The goal here is to make it spicy and use plants that have plenty of medicinal properties.

Horseradish root – while you can omit it, I recommend keeping it in the recipe if you can because it has a lot of beneficial properties including antibacterial and respiratory health benefits.

Ginger root – also an incredibly beneficial root, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can help you ward off illness.

Lemonfull of antioxidants and vitamin C, lemons are excellent and mellow out the apple cider vinegar a bit.

Onions – also have several health benefits including being loaded with antioxidants.

Garlic – proven to have antibiotic properties, this little alum is great to add to your fire cider.

Turmeric – if you have fresh turmeric root, great, but even ground turmeric helps fight inflammation and illness.

Cayenne pepper – to add a bit of spice… cayenne pepper can help reduce inflammation and clear congestion. Powdered, fresh, or dried is fine.

Ingredients to make fire cider laying on a counter.

Peppers – in general… the hottest you can stand for much the same reason you add the cayenne pepper. We use jalapeño peppers because they always grow well in our garden.

Medicinal Herbs of your choice – fresh herbs are best, but you can use dried ones. We had a lot of rosemary this year and oregano, both of which hold their own health benefits. Other choices could be mullien, mallow, echinacea, thyme, and peppermint among tons of others. Just whatever you have growing and readily available.

Raw Apple cider vinegar – this pulls all those benefits out of the herbs and into the finished fire cider. It can also help kill potential pathogens.

Local Honey – this helps make this concoction a little easier on the taste buds (especially useful for kiddos) but honey contains its own benefits as well.

How to Make Fire Cider

Freshly brewing fire cider.

Homemade fire cider is a simple recipe that is super easy to make, but it does take some time for it to be ready, so plan accordingly!

Grate ginger, fresh horseradish, and turmeric if you have it. Slice up jalapenos, onion, garlic, and lemon, and leave the seeds. Grab the herbs you want to use and a quart jar.

Place the horseradish, turmeric, ginger, peppers, onion, garlic, lemon, and herbs in a clean jar.

Pour apple cider vinegar on top of the herbs, making sure everything is adequately covered. Put a plastic lid on top if you have one. If not, put a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between the metal lid and the jar because of the vinegar. Shake to incorporate everything.

Place the jar in a cool dark place for a minimum of four weeks and up to six weeks. Shake jar daily to keep everything well-mixed.

After four weeks, strain out the solids using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Squeeze out all the liquid you can and reserve the solids to make a chutney or mix into a stir fry.

Add a bit of honey to the liquid to taste. You want it to be spicy, but tolerable. Stir it to incorporate.

Store the final product in a cool place… room temperature is fine as the vinegar and honey will keep it good for a long time, as long as it doesn’t get too warm. If it gets warm in your house, for the best shelf-life it’s best to store it in the refrigerator, but optional.

How to Use Fire Cider

For adults, take one tablespoon daily to boost immunity. Children can take one teaspoon.

At the first sign of illness, you can increase it to two tablespoons for adults, two teaspoons for children.

But, you can also mix this in a bloody mary (virgin or alcoholic) for a bit of spice. Use it as a meat marinade. Mix it with water or apple cider to make it easier to stomach, add it into soups or venison chili, or even use it as a cure for a hangover.

Fire cider in a jar on a counter with fresh horseradish root and lemon.
Yield: 1 Quart

Homemade Fire Cider

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Brew Time: 28 days
Total Time: 28 days 15 minutes

An immune-boosting oxymel this simple fire cider recipe is great to use during cold and flu season.


  • 1/3 Cup Ginger Root (freshly grated)
  • 1/3 Cup Horseradish Root (freshly grated)
  • 1 Medium Onion (sliced)
  • 10 Cloves Garlic (sliced or crushed)
  • 1 Jalapeño Pepper (sliced)
  • 1 Lemon (sliced)
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (or a couple fresh cayenne peppers)
  • 1 Tbsp Turmeric Powder (or freshly grated turmeric root)
  • 4 Tbsp Fresh or Dried Herbs of Choice
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Honey


  1. Grate and slice vegetables and herbs. Place them in a clean quart jar, filling to the top.
  2. Pour apple cider vinegar over the mixture, being sure to cover everything so it won't spoil. Cover with a plastic lid or place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper under the metal lid so it doesn't come in contact with the vinegar.
  3. Shake the mixture well and place it in a cool dark place for four to six weeks, shaking daily to redistribute the contents.
  4. Strain the mixture through a piece of cheesecloth, and reserve the solids for another use.
  5. Add honey to taste, and store in a cool place or in the refrigerator.
  6. Take one tablespoon daily for adults, and one teaspoon for children. Increase to two tablespoons for adults or two teaspoons for children if needed.


The herbs and amounts in this recipe can be varied to meet your individual needs and availability.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to reconnect with your food, nature, and the heritage way of life, you’ve come to the right place.

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