Fire cider: a traditional herbal remedy

December 2019 – At our makers workshop last month we learned to brew our own fire cider, a traditional tonic of apple cider vinegar, honey, roots and spices including garlic, ginger, and pepper! Fire cider is used to boost immunity, and fight colds and inflammation. Herbalist Danya Mosgofian discussed the history of fire cider, including a recent trademark case, and ways to use it in your daily routine.


About the trial: In 2012, a company called Shire City trademarked ‘fire cider’, taking the name for themselves, and ultimately sued three New England herbalists for using the name to sell their tonics. The herbalists fought back, making the legal case that fire cider is a popular herbal folk remedy. After a five year legal battle, the herbalists prevailed and ‘fire cider’ is again considered generic. Balance and justice won!


Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar coined the term ‘fire cider’ in the 1970’s and shared it freely as a folk recipe. Here is Rosemary’s recipe:


½ cup grated fresh horseradish root

½ cup or more fresh chopped onions

¼ cup or more chopped garlic

¼ cup or more grated ginger

Chopped fresh or dried cayenne pepper ‘to taste’. Can be whole or powdered. ‘ To Taste’ means should be hot, but not so hot you can’t tolerate it. Better to make it a little milder than too hot; you can always add more pepper later if necessary.

Optional ingredients; Turmeric, Echinacea, cinnamon, etc.


1. Place herbs in a half-gallon canning jar and cover with enough raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs by at least three to four inches. Cover tightly with a tight fitting lid.

2. Place jar in a warm place and let for three to four weeks. Best to shake every day to help in the maceration process.

3. After three to four weeks, strain out the herbs, and reserve the liquid.

4. Add honey ‘to taste’. Warm the honey first so it mixes in well. “To Taste’ means your fire cider should taste hot, spicy, and sweet. “A little bit of honey helps the medicine go down……”

5. Rebottle and enjoy! Fire cider will keep for several months stored in a cool pantry. But it’s better to store in the refrigerator if you have the room.

A small shot glass daily serves as an excellent tonic Or take teaspoons if you feel a cold coming on.