Fire Cider: Inner Warmth for the Chilly Season


As I feel the changing of seasons, paired with the threat of a scratchy throat and a stuffy nose, I’m swiftly reminded that now is the time to create one of the best and most delicious seasonal remedies and preventatives to boot. Spicy and sweet, Fire Cider was brought to the autumn witch by way of Rosemary Gladstar, who championed the mixture and made it a common name around the fireplace. It is in gratitude to Rosemary for her humble contribution to herbalists, wise women and healers everywhere, as well as the plants that make such work possible.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients and see why they are so beneficial:

HORSERADISH: The antibacterial properties of Horseradish have been used to fight bacteria. Horseradish strongly stimulates the digestion, increasing gastric secretions and appetite. It's also a good diuretic that promotes perspiration, making it useful in fevers, colds, and flu. Horseradish is also an expectorant and mildly antibiotic, and can be of use in both respiratory and urinary tract infections. 

GINGER: Valued for its ability to warm the stomach, to ease vomiting & nausea and to fight off colds, chills and coughs. Ginger is useful for all types of congestion in the body. 

GARLIC: Supports the immune function and opens the pores of the skin to lower a fever. This herb's antibacterial and antimicrobial properties make it useful in treating bladder and kidney infections , yeast infections , strep throats and ear infections  

JALAPENO: Useful for increasing circulation and to get mucous flowing. Anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. It is used as a digestive aid to stimulates gastric juices.

The words below and recipe have been shared by Portland Oregon illustrator Madison Safer. I adore her work, and her voice just as pleasant. Do enjoy!

Fire Cider is an increasingly poplar herbal folk remedy that is a pleasant (if you like particularly hot foods) and easy way to boost natural health processes, stimulate digestion, warmed up on the on cold days. During the cold months, I take some most mornings as a way to steer away colds. I’ve often put some in hot water with lemon and honey, used it in a salad dressings, used in stir fry, etc. Because it is a folk preparation, I find the ingredients shift from year to year, adding and omitting specific herbs and ingredients. However, it always includes apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, and hot peppers, and honey. It typically is taken by the spoonful but can be adapted for taste and preference.*


2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 to 1 cup honey
1/2 cup horseradish
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 onion
1/2 cup ginger
1/2 cup fresh turmeric OR 1 tbsp dried turmeric
1 sliced jalapeño
1/2 lemon
1/2 orange
1 tsp peppercorns
2 whole cinnamon sticks
2 rosemary sprigs
4 thyme sprigs

Prepare ingredients and place them in a sterilized quart-sized glass jar.
Pour the apple cider vinegar and honey in the jar until all of the ingredients are covered and the vinegar reaches the jar's top. I put a fermentation weight on mine, but that is just a preference.
Use a piece of cheese cloth under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal. Shake well.
Store in a dark, cool place for a month, shaking daily.
Once down, strain, bottle, and label.

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Madison Safer is an illustrator who is happiest in a forest full of mushrooms. Her work is often centered around themes of nostalgia, home, and the whimsy of quiet woods of New England. She is inspired by Russian folk art, quilt patterns, and the warmth of a fire after a very cold day. After receiving her BFA in illustration studies from Montserrat College of Art, she currently resides in the sleepy hills of New Hampshire. When she is not napping or drawing, Madison is best found drinking tea, day dreaming, or stealing flowers.

Visit her instagram here and website here.