It’s Fire Cider Season
I just got over a serious case of the flu which got me thinking about fire cider and how to start taking better care of my immune health. When I was sick I was struggling with my appetite. The thought of consuming most herbal remedies made me feel ill. But I remember thinking that I wish I had some fire cider. My body was giving me a sign, telling me that it needed some serious nourishment to recover. So I decided I needed to listen. And I think that is something we are all collectively experiencing right now so here is a remedy to get us through the damp, darkness of winter.
Late summer and early fall is probably the best time to prepare a fire cider elixir because of the over abundance of produce that is available during harvest season. The fresh, seasonal produce helps boost the potency and flavor. But you can make it any time of year. The winter time is also a great time to make it because citrus is in season. So I decided to take advantage of that in my fire cider recipe.
The History of Fire Cider
Fire cider is known in the herbal world as an oxymel. Which is part herbal infused apple cider vinegar and honey. Oxymel’s were first made in ancient Greece. The word translates to acid and honey. In 400 BCE Hippocrates wrote, “You will find the drink, called oxymel, often very useful…for it promotes expectoration and freedom of breathing.” In recent history it has become a popular folk remedy that the herbal community is obsessed with. Made popular by one of the grandmothers of herbalism, Rosemary Gladstar. Who has been learning, teaching, and writing a bout herbalism for over 40 years and is the author of 11 books.
Fire cider is considered a folk remedy because you really don’t need a recipe. It is easy to throw some herbs and veggies in vinegar and add honey. And it is easy to make it your own by using what you have on hand based on what is easily accessible and in season. We can all easily make this medicine from scratch at home. Which is really empowering to take hold of your health without the influence of big business and pharmaceutical companies.
This vinegar infusion is a powerhouse full of health benefits. It helps stimulate digestion, raise your body temp during the cold season, stimulate respiratory and lymphatic congestion and gives you a boost of energy. Instead of a flask of whiskey to keep you warm you might want to try keeping a flask of fire cider handy
Take a spoonful everyday to help keep the colds and flus away. Or keep the concoction close by in your kitchen to add to recipes. You can use the vinegar as a salad dressing base. Or add it to kick up the flavor in soup, juice, or bloody Mary’s. The great thing about fire cider is you don’t have to be an herbalist to make it. The perfect example that our food is medicine and it should be treated that way.
Fire Cider Recipe With A Vitamin C Boost
2 oz of elderberries
1oz of rose hips
1 oz of hibiscus
half a red onion
5 or more whole garlic cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 navel orange
2 jalapenos or 1 cayanne peper
3 in of horseradish root
1/4 cup of fresh ginger
1/3 of fresh turmeric
1 qt apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
Add the herbs you have chosen to the bottom of the jar. then add the roots, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon, horseradish, jalapeño, onion, garlic and citrus. Top with vinegar and let sit for 1 month. Cover with lid (add parchment paper if using an alluminum lid. Burp and shake daily. Add honey after you strain the contents. Keep for up to 2 years in fridge.
Medicinal Properties and Immune System Benefits of Fire Cider Ingredients:
If you suffer from severe sinus problems then you will want to start consuming horseradish. It is one of the best remedies for congestion, sinusitis and infections. It dissolves and drains accumulated mucus, clears the sinus passage, and warms the body. Excess mucous is a breeding ground for cold and flu viruses so it is best to keep it under control with a little dose of horse radish in your fire cider.
In Ayurvedic medicine ginger is considered “universal medicine”. Ginger helps warm the body especially when you are feeling chills from a cold or flu virus. It is especially helpful when experiencing any kind of stomach irritation from congestion which causes nausea or lack of appetite. The heating and drying qualities make ginger best for cold and damp symptoms. It powerfully works against pain and inflammation.
Helps relieve pain and helps prevent a cold from setting in, promotes heart health, and healthy weight loss. When the digestive system is cool and stagnant it can cause lack of energy because your body is struggling to transform food to proper nutrients. But cayenne can help stimulate proper digestion by warming the digestion to get things moving properly. Cayenne also promotes mucous secretion and helps drain a runny nose.
By now I’m sure everyone knows how turmeric can help modulate inflammation especially when caused by chronic illnesses. But you may not know that it is a much safer and effective alternative to NSAIDS by allowing acute inflammation to properly function so the body can heal itself properly. This is done by increasing glutathione production (important for detoxification), decreases free-radical damage, and blocks specific inflammatory enzymes. 6 We often forget that our bodies are designed to fight off whatever is thrown at it and it is important to know that there are plants out there that can often times replace harmful over the counter cold and flu medicine. Because plants were our original medicine.
Onions and garlic are alliums that are high in flavonoids. They help stimulate digestion. They are both carminative herbs that relieve bloating, painful stuck gas, heavy food that is hard to digest, and constipation. The inulin in garlic and onions is an important prebiotic the feeds your healthy gut flora in the large intestine. This can help relieve conditions such as auto immune issues, hormonal imbalances, inflammation and weight gain.
Garlic and onions also inhibits many types of bacteria, viruses, and amoebas. Taking garlic helps your body produce natural killer cells in the immune system. The heating and pungent properties breaks up lung congestion and can even help with ear infections. Which makes garlic one of the best things to take during cold and flu season.
Cinnamon supports metabolic function which works great when implementing a better exercise and diet regimen. It also helps combat spikes of stress. The energetics of cinnamon are sweet and astringent which helps nourish and tone while it is also spicy which helps stimulate digestion. When feeling cold and feverish cinnamon helps thin the blood and increases circulation to the hands and feet. At the same time it helps with wheezing severe sweating, weak and cold lower extremities, and diarrhea. It warms the outer body, stops excessive sweating, and tones the intestines.
This magical forest medicine prevent and addresses upper respiratory illnesses and will shorten the duration of the flu. A modern antiviral medicine without the risk of adverse effects. The berries are rich with flavonoids that help modulate inflammation and decrease stress. Typically when taking elder berries you can see symptoms decrease within two days. They are effective against most strains of flu and block a virus from entering host cells.
The flowers can also be effective in treating upper respiratory conditions. Our immediate response to reduce fevers with acetaminophen has been researched and has been found to cause more harm than good. It essentially chops the legs off of our immune system because we are shutting off our bodies natural way of fighting off pathogens. Elder flowers can be a safe way to support the fever process. Letting the heat out of the body by dilating the capillaries close to the skin. Bringing relief to a feverous situation.
Rose is our ally for both emotional and physical pain. It heals wounds and systematic inflammation. Rose hips specifically help with pain and helps overall well being. Also they are high in vitamin C.
Hibiscus is a vitamin C elixir that is also antibacterial. Which helps your immune system put up a defense wall against pathogens. The energetics of hibiscus is cooling and moistening. Acting as a natural source for cellular hydration especially useful in its native tropical climates.
Rosemary is high in antioxidants and helps cerebral functions and cognition. It benefits the heart, digestion, liver, and mood. The antioxidants help eliminate and reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. It can also ease slow or cold digestion that is causing gas, nausea, cramping, or bloating. And helps the liver digest fats. When you have a sore throat rosemary and honey can helps soothe the pain. And can relieve stagnant congestion in the lungs and sinuses.
The powerful vitamin c boost that mother earth gives us when we need it most in the dead of winter.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider is great for sore throats, digestion, congestion, colds, flus. Controls blood sugar levels, improves weight loss, lowers cholesterol, improves skin and hair, diminishes blood pressure and acid reflux, alleviates sun burns, wards off allergies, detoxes your body and so much more. Apple cider vinegar is high in acetic acid. Raw unfiltered honey is similar to kombucha and is loaded with proteins, enzymes, and helpful bacteria.
Honey is soothing, antibacterial and anti-fungal. It helps protect the structural integrity of cells and neutralizes free radicals that damage the immune system,. Helps suppress coughs and helps you sleep.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and the information I provide is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment.
For more immune boosting herbal remedies check out this post: 5 Powerful Herbal Remedies to Boost the Immune System