Recipe: Kickin' Fire Cider

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This fire cider recipe is based on a traditional herbal remedy that was popularized by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in the 1980s. Made with a variety of warming, pungent herbs that have antiviral, antibacterial, and diaphoretic properties, fire cider is a wonderful herbal tonic that’s been traditionally used for cold & flu prevention, relieving sinus congestion, or even breaking a fever.

Health benefits of fire cider

Because of its warming and circulation boosting properties, fire cider serves as a wonderful immune tonic especially during cold & flu season. Depending on which herbs you choose to use, it may also help to ease sinus congestion. 

In addition to its immune boosting benefits, fire cider also stimulants circulation and boosts metabolism, making it a great digestive aid. 

The foods / herbs I'll be using include horseradish, onion, turmeric garlic, ginger, rosemary, thyme, and oregano - which are helpful for cold & prevention and aiding digestion. 

I’ve also included a jalepeno pepper just to give the fire cider a bit of an extra kick!

A brief history of fire cider

As mentioned, Rosemary Gladstar popularized fire cider; in fact she went on to include this recipe in several of her books, including the beginner friendly Rosemary’s Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs, which also includes practical tips for growing herbs and recipes for simple herbal remedies. This was actually my very first herb book and to this day, I still find myself referring back to it.

So fire cider,  just like grandma’s chicken soup or chili, has a base recipe that allows for many of us to interpret and determine other ingredients we might like to include. 

Now in 2012, things began to get a bit, for lack of a better term, interesting. A Massachusetts-based company named Shire City Herbals decided to trademark the term “fire cider” so it could be its sole distributor and manufacturer. 

As you can probably imagine, this sparked an outrage in the herbalist community and many herbalists went to the US patent and trade office (USPTO) to try to appeal Shire City Herbals’ trademark.

This appeal was unsuccessful...until October 2019, when, after a 90-day trial, a judge ruled that fire cider is in fact a generic term that applies to the general public and herbal communities.

This was a highly precedent case because what’s not to say that other generic herbal remedies won’t be trademarked by corporations in the future? 

A group of herbalists led by Rosemary Gladstar began preparing a list of other generic herbal terms so that to ensure that, as a community, a similar incident does not happen ever again.

Because what stands at the heart of herbalism is that fire cider and other traditional herbal remedies belong to people (i.e. us) and communities!

fire cider key ingredients

A look at the key ingredients:

Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Raw or unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (ACV) retains its live, active enzymes.  ACV is a natural solvent that extracts medicinal constituents of many herbs and foods. Not to mention, it’s a wonderful digestive aid when taken on its own. 


  • Helps alleviate sinus congestion and headaches. Even chopping or grating horseradish has this effect. If you try this recipe, you’ll see!


  • Boosts blood flow and circulation, helps with digestion, infections and nausea, diaphoretic


  • Nature’s secret weapon with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties; supports lung health, especially when eaten raw. Get my recipe for delicious pickled garlic here.


  • Has similar properties to garlic but is also great for preventing (or recovering from!) colds and the flu.


  • Boost blood flow and circulation, warming agent, antibacterial, antifungal, reduces inflammation


  • High in vitamin C with antibacterial and antiviral properties. High in potassium which promote kidney function, filtering out toxins and wastes from the blood. Although acidic in taste, lemon provides an alkaline environment in the blood and urine

Jalapeno pepper

  • Contains capsaicin, an anti-inflammatory chemical that gives chilies their bite, acts as a decongestant, expectorant and pain reliever all at once. 

Raw Honey

  • Soothes inflamed tissues and organs. Using local honey may also help with allergies.

Download my free Kickin’ Fire Cider recipe here.

The best part is that just like mom’s chicken soup or chili, it can be adjusted to your personal tastes and preferences! Free free to add the optional ingredients or swap out those for others that are more to your liking!

If you’d like to get more delicious recipes for Fire Cider, check out Rosemary Gladstar’s book: Fire Cider!: 101 Zesty Recipes for Health-Boosting Remedies Made with Apple Cider Vinegar.

Want more holistic health, beauty, and wellness tips? 

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