Fire Cider is a vinegar and honey-based remedy that’s gaining popularity among those who have an interest in natural remedies. Rosemary Gladstar, a celebrated author and herbalist, came up with the original fire cider vinegar recipe back in the 1970s. It included bitter and spicy herbs like horseradish root, garlic, onion, ginger, and hot peppers. Today I’ll share with you my mom’s fire cider recipe that she has been making for decades to boost our family’s health.
Fire Cider History
Whilst Rosemary Gladstar’s fire cider recipe may be the first to incorporate the pungent mixture of roots and spices on record, the practice of mixing apple cider vinegar, honey, and medicinal herbs has been going on for millennia. Hippocrates, for example, was known to prescribe oxymels, an infusion of honey and vinegar, to treat minor illnesses, clear the respiratory tract, and restore balance to the body over 2500 years ago. Legend also states that four thieves used a maceration of vinegar, honey, and special herbs to avoid the bubonic plague in the 15th century. This mixture is known as “four thieves’ vinegar.”
The idea behind using vinegar to extract the therapeutic properties of herbs isn’t new. Using apple cider vinegar for extraction is more beneficial because of the vinegar’s own therapeutic properties, like being anti-inflammatory and helping with digestion. In general, herbal vinegars are a great way to supply your body with a source of healing nutrients.
Fire Cider Ingredients: How They Work
My mom’s Fire Cider recipe is made with ingredients ideal for addressing winter health concerns, which include pine needles, citrus, and cranberry. It’s rich in immune-boosting vitamins like C and A, which are needed especially during the winter months. This fire cider tonic can be used when you are feeling under the weather or need an immune boost to prevent illness, and it’s a bit more pleasant tasting than most “fire ciders.” I’ve listed each herb and its medicinal contribution to this recipe below.
Pine Needles – Edible pine is richer in Vitamin C than oranges and was used to prevent scurvy before supplements were readily available. Commonly found pines like white pine, spruce, and fir are chock full of vitamin A as well, special acids, and resveratrol. These substances are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects. Pine also guards against chronic illnesses and is a powerful medicinal plant that does well at soothing the respiratory system and clearing phlegm.
Avoid harvesting Yew, Ponderosa, Yellow pine, Blackjack, or Bull pine trees, as these species can be harmful! Choose wisely and ensure that you are harvesting genuine pine trees and not other varieties of evergreens that could potentially be toxic. Here is a complete & easy guide to edible pines, plants, mushrooms, berries and their poisonous lookalikes.
Cranberries – Cranberries are packed with essential vitamins and antioxidants. Not only are they rich in vitamins, but they also aid in relieving respiratory symptoms. They’re antimicrobial, too. Cranberries are known for their ability to treat urinary infections and also for their beneficial role in combating viral issues and stomach bugs.
Mandarin Oranges – Mandarins are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. They contain carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin. These naturally occurring chemicals boost your immune system and help the body in the repair process. They also contain Synephrine, a natural decongestant that effectively alleviates cold and allergy symptoms. Just ten ounces of mandarin juice has the same synephrine punch as an over-the-counter (OTC) decongestant pill.
Lemons – Lemons are also high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. They are great for detoxification and helping cleanse the body at a cellular level. They can help clear the body of harmful pathogens and built-up debris while supporting the immune system and helping to regulate stress responses. Lemons can also help soothe coughs, colds, and gastric issues.
Black Pepper – One of the things black pepper is best known for is its ability to reduce inflammation and its high antioxidant count. It’s also really great at subduing persistent coughs and quelling respiratory issues. Black pepper has natural vitamins like potassium and B vitamins, and it can even help eliminate toxins from your body.
Cinnamon Sticks – Cinnamon contains natural antimicrobial, antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties. It’s also really high in antioxidants compared to other health-giving spices. It relieves inflammation and helps to stabilize blood sugar when food isn’t sitting well.
Ginger – Ginger is a potent natural anti-nausea agent. In fact, it’s soothing to the entire intestinal tract and can be used to help relieve gas and bloating as well. When taken with other herbs, ginger helps them get into the bloodstream and where they need to be in the body. And it helps with pain and inflammation, too.
Fire Cider Recipe
You will need:
- 1 handful of Pine needles (I used fir because of the citrusy flavor)
- 12 ounce bag of organic cranberries washed
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 4 organic mandarin oranges, washed and sliced
- 1 – 2 lemons, washed and sliced
- 1 whole ginger root, washed and sliced into discs
- 2 teaspoons of course ground black pepper
- ½ cup raw honey
- Apple cider vinegar (enough to fill the jar)
You will also need:
- ½ gallon-glass jar (or two-quart jars)
- Cheesecloth and jar ring, or rubber band
- Arrange the pine needles in the jar so that they bunch in the middle.
- Then add in half of the cranberries and shake them down a bit.
- Place the cinnamon stick around the edges of the jar.
- Continue by layering slices of lemon and oranges into the jar.
- Now add the sliced ginger.
- Add black pepper followed by the rest of the cranberries.
- Pour the honey over the top.
- Fill the jar with apple vinegar and give it a good shake to mix everything together.
Put in a cool dark place for a generous month to six weeks. Remember to shake it daily. Once it’s done you can strain it into a clean jar if you want. We just take it right from the original jar and add new vinegar half way through. But it can also be strained and mashed through the cheesecloth for a more potent cider.
How to Use
There are no hard rules for fire cider dosage as all ingredients are mild food ingredients. For adults, I recommend 1-2 tablespoons a day. And for the little ones, ½ to 1 teaspoon a day, or as needed. Enjoy!