As the cold weather approaches, we begin to focus on herbal tinctures and tonics that will support our health during the long New England winter that lies ahead.  Fire Cider is a traditional folk recipe that is sure to warm your bones and kick-start your immune and digestive systems.

fire-cider2I am sure many of you have stories of a grandmother, or other family member, that swore by the health benefits of a daily dose of apple cider vinegar.  In my house, it was my dad who advocated this blessed vinegar.  History has brought us a variety of apple cider vinegar- based health tonics.  However, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, first concocted and popularized Fire Cider in the kitchen of the California School of Herbal Studies.  There are many versions of this recipe to be found on the internet and with a little research you will quickly learn that Fire Cider is a hot topic right now – no pun intended.  Recently, there has been a legal battle over whether Shire City Herbals (Pittsfield, MA) had the right to trademark the name Fire Cider.  To learn more about this and to help keep traditional herbal recipes free, visit and consider signing the petition at

Our version of Fire Cider is based on Rosemary’s classic recipe and it is in her spirit and attitude, “to transform America, and our healthcare system, one kitchen at a time” that we bring this recipe to you.  The core of its ingredients includes apple cider vinegar, horseradish, garlic, ginger, onion, hot peppers, turmeric, lemon and honey.  Additional herbs can be added depending on what your garden has in abundance – parsley, rosemary, or thyme are all good choices.

This potent tonic helps ward off colds, flus, bronchial congestion and infection.  A daily dose of 1Tbsp. is a good place to start.  When I feel a cold coming on, I like to drink my daily dose as a tea (Add 1-3Tbsp. of Fire Cider into a cup of hot water).  Relax and enjoy the medicinal effects of this soothing tonic .

We encourage folks to explore and have fun with your Fire Cider creations.  I am planning to add dried organic rose hips to some of our batches this winter for an extra boost of Vitamin C.


1/2 cup fresh organic ginger root, grated or chopped

1/2 cup fresh organic horseradish root, grated or chopped

1 medium organic onion, chopped

10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped

2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped

Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon

Several sprigs of fresh parsley or 2 Tbsp. of dried parsley (or any herbal substitutions you prefer)

1 Tbsp. organic turmeric powder (or grated, chopped fresh organic turmeric if you have access to some)

1/4 tsp organic cayenne powder

Cover above ingredients with organic apple cider vinegar

Raw local honey to taste

post by Liz Wiley