Making Fire Cider – A Traditional Remedy With Many Health Benefits

Apple cider vinegar is one of the most widely used health products globally. It’s affordable, easy to store, and highly versatile, earning it the nickname “liquid gold.” From every corner of the world where apples are cultivated, you’ll find a variety of cider vinegar recipes and remedies that have been passed down through generations.

Despite its long history and numerous anecdotal endorsements, the scientific community has largely overlooked simple home remedies like apple cider vinegar. However, this trend is beginning to shift as an increasing number of reputable studies highlight the potential health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Notably, its effects on diabetes management, infection treatment, and weight loss appear particularly promising.

Backed up by science

Research has shown that apple cider vinegar can help regulate blood sugar levels. In one study, individuals with Type 2 diabetes who did not take insulin experienced lower blood glucose levels the morning after consuming 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime. Another study demonstrated that people with insulin resistance who drank a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water before a high-carbohydrate meal had lower blood sugar levels afterward compared to those who did not consume the vinegar mixture.

Carol Johnston, a professor in the nutrition program at Arizona State University, has been researching the effects of acetic acid, a key component of vinegar, on blood glucose levels since 2004. Her findings suggest that vinegar can lower blood sugar levels in individuals with Type 2 diabetes, those who are prediabetic, and even in healthy individuals.

The American Diabetes Association published findings in its journal, Diabetes Care, indicating that vinegar can significantly improve post-meal insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant individuals. The journal suggested that more research is needed to evaluate vinegar’s potential as a treatment for diabetes.

Additionally, recent studies have confirmed apple cider vinegar’s ability to combat infections. One study highlighted its antimicrobial properties against E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans. Published in Scientific Reports, the study emphasized the importance of alternative antimicrobials in the face of increasing antibiotic resistance. The researchers found that various dilutions of apple cider vinegar showed promising antimicrobial effects with potential clinical applications.

Apple cider vinegar has also been shown to aid in weight loss. Acetic acid, the main component of cider vinegar, can promote a feeling of fullness. In one study involving 175 obese participants, daily consumption of 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar resulted in reduced belly fat and an average weight loss of 2 to 3 pounds over three months.

Another study, reported in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, found that overweight individuals who consumed beverages with either 15 milliliters or 30 milliliters of vinegar daily experienced significant reductions in body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels compared to a placebo group. While apple cider vinegar is not a miracle solution for weight loss, it can be a helpful addition to a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

It all started in the 80s

In the early 1980s, my students and I at the California School of Herbal Studies created a winter health formula using apple cider vinegar. This concoction, known as “fire cider,” has since gained popularity worldwide as I shared it through my travels and teachings.

Over time, the original recipe has evolved with each new batch, as people tweaked the herbs and increased the honey content. Some have added fresh grated turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties, echinacea for immune support, or fresh lemon slices for a boost of vitamin C. Today, many variations of fire cider are widely used. Here, you’ll find the original recipe along with two other popular versions favored by homesteaders.

A word of advice

a word of advice for fire cider

When making your own fire cider, opt for the highest quality apple cider vinegar you can find. Commercially available cider vinegars are typically filtered and pasteurized, processes that remove or deactivate many of the beneficial components such as probiotics, enzymes, and various nutrients. Instead, choose raw (unpasteurized) and unfiltered cider vinegar.

For even better quality, select an organic variety to avoid chemical contaminants. Though raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar may be more expensive than the standard grocery store options, the extra cost is justified by its superior health benefits. You can find it at farmers markets, natural food stores, and even some conventional grocery stores.

Original Fire Cider Recipe

This is one of my favorite and most well-known recipes. The ingredients are affordable and commonly found in most kitchens, and the recipe itself is simple and enjoyable to make. When made with the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, sour, and pungent flavors, homemade fire cider tastes absolutely delicious. You can take a small shot glass daily as a tonic or take teaspoonfuls throughout the day if you feel a cold coming on.

cabbage banner 250Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup grated fresh horseradish root

– 1/2 cup chopped onion

– 1/4 cup chopped garlic

– 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger

Cayenne pepper, dried or fresh chopped, to taste

– Raw apple cider vinegar, to cover

– Honey, to taste


  1. In a half-gallon mason jar, add the horseradish, onion, garlic, ginger, and pepper.
  2. Pour in enough vinegar to cover the other ingredients by 3 to 4 inches.
  3. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting glass or plastic lid, and set it aside in a warm place.
  4. Shake the jar every day to aid in maceration.
  5. After 3 to 4 weeks, strain out the herbs and reserve the liquid.
  6. Warm the honey so it mixes well, then add it to the vinegar to taste, balancing the fiery ingredients.
  7. Bottle, label, and enjoy!

Fire cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry, but it’s best kept in the fridge.

Garden Fire Cider Recipe

As summer transitions into fall, I head out to the garden to harvest everything I can before the first hard frost arrives. These final days of abundance are steeped in tradition as I fill my pantry with herbal remedies like elderberry syrup, rose hip honey, and, of course, fire cider. The recipe below is inspired by what I can gather from my garden or easily find at the farmers market, resulting in a locally sourced blend of spicy goodness. Use this recipe as a starting point to create your own version of fire cider with locally available ingredients. Ensure the apple cider vinegar you use has at least 5 percent acidity.


– 1/2 cup grated fresh horseradish root

– 1 cup minced onion

– 1/2 cup minced garlic (about 15 cloves)

– 1/2 cup fresh elderberries

– 1/4-inch piece fresh cayenne pepper, or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes, to taste

– 3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

– 3 tablespoons minced fresh oregano

– 9 fresh nasturtium flowers

– 1/4 cup raw honey, or to taste

– Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to cover (about 2 cups)


  1. In a 1-quart jar, combine the horseradish, onion, garlic, elderberries, pepper, and herbs.
  2. Add the honey.
  3. Fill the jar with enough vinegar to cover all the ingredients. Stir well to remove any air bubbles.
  4. Cover the jar with a glass or plastic lid. If using a metal lid, place parchment or waxed paper between the lid and the jar to prevent corrosion from the vinegar.
  5. Set the jar aside for 2 to 3 weeks. For the first few days, shake the jar well once per day.
  6. Strain the vinegar into a clean jar.
  7. Refrigerate and use within a year.

Spiced Citrus Fire Cider Recipe

spiced citrus fire cider recipe

Here is another recipe I’ve learned from my sister-in-law.


– 1/2 cup grated fresh horseradish root

– 1/2 cup chopped onion

– 1/4 cup chopped garlic

– 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger

– 1/4 cup grated fresh turmeric root

– 2 fresh jalapeño peppers, chopped

– Zest and juice of 1 lemon

– Zest and juice of 1 orange

– 2 cinnamon sticks

– 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

– 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

– Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to cover (about 2 cups)

– 1/4 cup raw honey, or to taste

non addictive frontier morphine recipe and more v2Directions:

  1. In a 1-quart jar, combine the horseradish, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, jalapeños, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, and rosemary.
  2. Pour in enough apple cider vinegar to cover the ingredients by about 2 inches.
  3. Stir well to remove any air bubbles, and seal the jar with a plastic or glass lid. If using a metal lid, place parchment or wax paper between the lid and the jar to prevent corrosion.
  4. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking daily to help with maceration.
  5. After 3 to 4 weeks, strain out the solids and transfer the liquid to a clean jar.
  6. Warm the honey slightly to make it easier to mix, then add it to the vinegar mixture and stir until well combined.
  7. Store the finished fire cider in the refrigerator and use it within a year.

Enjoy these homemade fire cider recipes as a daily tonic or whenever you need an extra health boost!


Fire cider is a versatile and potent herbal remedy that has stood the test of time, evolving with each new generation and adaptation. Its blend of spicy, sweet, and pungent flavors not only makes it a delicious addition to your wellness routine but also offers numerous health benefits, from boosting immunity to aiding digestion and combating infections.

By using high-quality, raw, and organic apple cider vinegar and incorporating fresh, locally sourced ingredients, you can create your own personalized version of fire cider that reflects the bounty of your garden or farmer’s market.

As you experiment with different recipes and ingredients, you’ll not only be preserving a valuable tradition but also enriching your health with nature’s gifts. Whether you take it daily as a tonic or reach for it at the first sign of a cold, fire cider is a powerful and natural ally in your journey to wellness.

Useful resources to check out:

How To Build The Invisible Root Cellar

The basics of making fruit wine – Step by step guide

The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us

Smart ways to preserve and enjoy and your apple harvest

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