Fire Cider Recipe: Holistic Immune Booster

fire cider recipe

If there’s one thing no one likes, it’s being sick. Colds and flus suck, but what if I told you an herbal tonic could help prevent them? Introducing fire cider: A powerful holistic immune booster. With autumn here, and winter right around the corner, it’s so important to stay on top of your health. This tonic will help you do exactly that: It’s designed to produce natural antibiotic, anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory activity in the body. It also increases blood circulation and lymph flow in all parts of the body, and contains natural antioxidants. How amazing is that? But what exactly is fire cider? Essentially, it’s the perfect blend of hot, spicy, pungent, and sweet flavors steeped in apple cider vinegar. There are many variations to this tonic, but the original (created by Rosemary Gladstar, a master herbalist, in the early 1980s), calls for garlic, onions, horseradish, ginger root, hot peppers, sometimes turmeric, and often echinacea. 

          The beauty of this powerful tonic is that it can be adjusted and reconfigured over and over again. My variation may not be the same as someone else’s, and this is perfectly okay. As long as you use ingredients known to boost the immune system, you can’t go wrong. I will show you exactly which ingredients I used to make my fire cider batch, and how I did it. I’ll also explain why I used the ingredients I chose and show you how great they are for your health. In doing this, I hope you will come to realize it’s better to prevent a cold or a flu than to treat it. That said, this powerful tonic can definitely help reduce cold and flu symptoms, provided you get sick at all. If taken during the colder months, just a tablespoon a day, it will help keep your immune system healthy enough to ward off any nasty infections. 


Health Benefits of Fire Cider Ingredients

These are the ingredients I chose to use in my fire cider. I got a large majority of them from my local farmers market, the rest from a supermarket. It all depends on what’s seasonal to your area. That said, try to buy organic ingredients whenever possible.

Garlic – It has strong antibiotic properties. Best of all, unlike chemical antibiotics that kill friendly bacteria, garlic only kills harmful bacteria. It also reduces disease-causing microorganisms. 

Onion – This is garlic’s closest relative and has a similar but milder effect.

Horseradish – Great for the sinuses and lungs. It opens the sinus channels and increases circulation.

Turmeric – This helps to reduce inflammation and is useful for those who struggle with joint pain (I don’t, but my parents do, so I’m sure they’ll appreciate that benefit).

Ginger – Has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is a strong circulation stimulant.  

Jalapeno peppers – Contains vitamins A and C, which are great at supporting immune health. The capsaicin in these peppers (which also give them their heat) has been linked to natural pain-relieving properties as well.

Apple cider vinegar – It’s full of vitamins and minerals, plus it provides vital nutrients that the body may be missing. Raw apple cider vinegar also contains anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties that work as amazing immune protectors.

Honey – While this ingredient is optional, it’s great for sweetening the tonic once it’s ready for consumption. It’s definitely an immune system builder, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties.

How to Take Your Fire Cider

There are several ways you can use fire cider. Here are a few I recommend trying out. However you choose to take it, make sure you start off with a small dosage to let your body adjust!

  • Take 1 or 2 tablespoons a day to give your immune system a boost.
  • Drink it as a wellness shot – just pour it into a shot glass and down it once a day.
  • If you start feeling sick, take 1 to 2 tablespoons of it several times a day to help reduce and shorten duration of symptoms.
  • You can mix it with a bit of hot water to dilute the flavor a little and drink it like a tea.
  • Some people like mixing it into salad dressing – or using it straight up as a salad dressing.
  • Add to soups and chilis.
  • Mix it into (organic) juice – this is a good way to get kids to drink some.
  • Be sure to eat a little something before you take it and start off slowly: Your body will need time to adjust to the hot-spicy-sweet brew.

Fire Cider Recipe

Ready to make some fire cider? Here’s how I made my batch!

fire cider recipe


  • 32 ounces raw apple cider vinegar (depends how big the jar you use to store it is)
  • 10 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup grated horseradish
  • 1/2 cup of grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder (or 1/4 cup grated turmeric root)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup (or more) of honey (optional)


  1. Place all ingredients in a large mason jar, pack down slightly, and pour apple cider vinegar over it. The amount of apple cider you add may be different from mine, depending on the size of mason jar you use. Either way, just make sure it covers all the ingredients, but leaves some breathing room at the top. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Place the jar in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks, preferably a month. I’m leaving mine in my cabinet for a month. I made it October 22nd, so that means it will be ready by November 22nd. Leaving it longer makes it more potent, thus making it more effective at boosting your immune system.
  3. Shake several times a day, or at least once a day.
  4. After the month is up (or two weeks, depending on what you prefer), strain the liquid through cheesecloth. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid as you can from the pulp when straining so that you get every last drop.
  5. Now, add honey to taste, and then store in a clean jar in the refrigerator. Honey is optional though, so if you’re vegan, feel free to leave it out (prepare for it to be more spicy than sweet without the honey though).
  6. If you’re wondering what to do with the pulp, consider stir-frying it, mixing it with olive oil and using it as a salad dressing, or simply composting it.

Fire Cider Variations

Like knowing all your options? That’s fine: Here are few ways to variate your fire cider, if the recipe I gave doesn’t fit your style. Remember to get creative, try new things, and above all: Stay healthy!

  • Replace 10 cloves of garlic with 2 heads of garlic (this is definitely more than I care to include, but it’s totally up to you).
  • Use cayenne pepper instead of jalapenos.
  • Try adding lemon and/or orange slices.
  • 2 tablespoons of thyme (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup of grated turmeric instead of 1 tablespoon
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated horseradish instead of 1/2 cup
  • Try adding 2 tablespoons of rosemary
  • Replace something with 1/4 ounce of echinacea root
  • Add 12 pieces of burdock root 
  • Experiment with 1/2 cup of parsley (chopped)

These are just a few ways to create your own version of fire cider. I hope this recipe inspired you to try it for yourself! It all depends on what’s available to you and what you’d like it to taste like. Either way, enjoy (and make sure to stay healthy)!

Have you ever made fire cider before? Share your tips in the comments!

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.


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