Fire Cider & Its Many Benefits

by Suzan Ferreira

Fire cider, made using the traditional fire cider recipe generously shared by Rosemary Gladstar, may be the best fermented food you will ever take. This immune-boosting master tonic will have you energized & healthy throughout the seasons.

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Fire cider, also known as a master tonic, is a vinegar-based health tonic. Made with a healthy dose of herbs, vegetables, & fruits, fire cider is a spicy, tangy, & pungent oxymel (vinegar & honey-based) concoction used prominently in this house to keep all its inhabitants healthy throughout the year.

Fire cider is a warming, invigorating tonic that is a must-have for any home apothecary. This fermented brew is filled with naturally occurring probiotics. Healthy gut anyone? Fire cider contains many organically sourced vitamins & nutrients (when made organically making it chemical & preservative free as well), & gluten-free to boot.


If you are anything like this house, finding ways to reduce chemical exposure both externally as well as internally, is of the utmost importance. That includes over the counter medications that contain processed & often synthetic ingredients. Why do we choose fire cider over conventional products?

  • Anytime a natural remedy made with FRESH organic ingredients is available & works we grasp it.
  • Easily made with organic ingredients that consist of all nature’s healing nutrients.
  • Versatile in that you can adjust making this spicy tonic to suit you & your family’s tastes.
  • Long-term storage will not affect its efficacy.
  • Full of gut-healing probiotics.
Fire Cider & It's Many Benefits image of bottle of fire cider elixir from It's My Sustainable Life
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So what are the benefits of taking fire cider? Plenty. Here are a few that we know of. It’s all in the ingredients…literally.

  • Antibacterial/Natural Antibiotic – Garlic, horseradish, & ginger all have strong antibacterial properties making this tonic a wonderful remedy for strep throat, chest infections, coughs, and congestion brought on by the common cold & flu.
  • Improves Immune System – The alliin, a compound found within garlic, turns to allicin when crushed or chewed is known to provide multiple health benefits. This compound has been found to kill fungus & bacteria. In addition, once allicin is stimulated, it turns quickly into “sulphur-containing compounds thought to give garlic its medicinal properties”. These sulphur compounds also known as thiosulfinates, “play an important role in the antimicrobial activity of garlic” according to Oregon State University. In addition, horseradish contains glucosinolates, isothiocyanates & sinigrin, which stimulate the body’s defenses. All this adds up to the body’s immune defenses go on high alert for any incoming viruses.
  • Antifungal – Fire Cider’s ingredients, garlic, onion, & ginger, all possess strong antifungal properties. The active ingredient in ginger, (gingerols & shoagols) also assists the liver in halting the overgrowth of Candida in the body.
  • Antiviral – The allium family consisting of garlic & onions have been found to be “a useful compound in the treatment of arthritis, toothache, chronic cough, constipation, parasitic infestation, snake and insect bites, gynecologic diseases, as well as in infectious diseases (as an antibiotic)” according to this study.
  • Improve Heart Health – The sulphur rich antifungal properties of garlic & onion assist in lowering high blood pressure, removes plaque from arteries, raises the HDL levels (positive cholesterol), and lowers the bad (LDL). Horseradish and hot peppers are known to improve the circulatory system & energize the body.
  • Antioxidant – Fire cider is jam-packed with allyl cysteine, alliin, allyl disulfide, glucosinolate, Polyphenols, Vitamin C, Flavonoids, tannins, and curcumins, all known to possess antioxidant properties.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Why are anti-inflammatories so useful? As stated in our article, “Golden Paste! Why You & Your Pets Will Benefit”, “Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, infection, disease, and exposure to chemicals.  Chronic inflammation is when the body’s response hangs around long after the ailment itself is resolved”. Horseradish and turmeric are among the best anti-inflammatory agents Mother Nature has to offer.
  • Pain Reduction –   Turmerics Curcumin, a bioactive compound, is a natural pain reducer. Curcumin can reduce pain much the same as Ibuprofen/Tylenol and acts like anti-inflammatory drugs called cox-2 inhibitors.
  • Digestive Aid – Horseradish strongly stimulates the digestive juices, ginger eases stomach upset & nausea, and cayenne is a digestive aid to stimulate gastric juices.
Fire Cider & It's Many Benefits close up of fire cider elixir label and it's beneficial ingredients


Fire cider may be the easiest of all natural remedies to make as the majority of ingredients are simply put into your food processor and pulsed to a pulp-like consistency. It is highly recommended that only the freshest organic ingredients are used when possible for making this remedy. With a few ingredients and time to ferment properly, this healing tonic will be available in your home apothecary when needed.


  1. 1 Medium to Large Onion (peeled & quartered)
  2. 1/2 Cup Horseradish (fresh)
  3. 1/2 Cup Ginger (fresh/grated)
  4. 10 Cloves Garlic (peeled)
  5. 2 Jalapenos (fresh)
  6. 1 lemon (juice & zest)
  7. 1 Tbl Turmeric powder or 2 Tbl fresh root
  8. 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  9. 2 Tbl Rosemary (dried) or 2 Fresh Sprigs
  10. Apple Cider Vinegar (with mother)
  11. 1/4 Cup Organic Raw Honey (or more to taste)


Should you have access to a food processor, grate the fresh horseradish, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric root and place in a quart jar. If doubling the recipe, place in 1/2 Gallon size jar such as these. Change your blade in the processor to a chopping blade and roughly chop the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Add all to your jar. Add to the jar your lemon juice and zest (can add the remaining peels if you like) as well as the cayenne pepper. Cover the pulp by several inches with ACV.

You can certainly obtain the same results without a food processor. Just follow the ingredient list options for each item. Once you have all your ingredients (except the honey) added to your jar, cover. Plastic covers like these or the ones found below are recommended as the vinegar will rust traditional metal covers.

Should you not have access or want to purchase plastic ones, be sure to line the top of your jar with a piece of overhanging parchment paper or wax paper to discourage rusting.

Store the jar in a dark cupboard for a minimum of 4 weeks (8 weeks is preferred here) being sure to shake the contents of the jar every day or two. As stated, this is a fermented food. For further information on fermenting, be sure to take a look at The Craft Of Fermenting Food In A Mason Jar.

Strain the pulp through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth, being sure to squeeze as much juice from the pulp as possible. Add honey, 1/4 cup to begin with and mix well. Taste the tonic and add additional honey if desired. It should taste hot, spicy, and sweet.

The fire cider is ready to use. Continue to store in a dark cupboard, no need to refrigerate.


Have your cider completed but don’t want to just discard all that fermented pulp? Save it and use as you would any other ferment. Add to a stirfry or spring roll, top your salad with a tablespoon or add a bit to a salad dressing, add it to a veggie juice, or simply compost it! It can even be enjoyed in a Bloody Mary! The possibilities are endless for what to do with fire cider pulp.


There are no hard and set rules for taking this healing tonic. Some take a shot daily first thing in the morning in lieu of coffee or other caffeinated beverage. Others take only when the first sign of illness hits. Either way, you can be sure you will be on the receiving end of healthy nutrients.

Here on the hill, we take fire cider at the first signs of colds & flu, 1 Tbl every 3 hours. If taking as a daily dose immune builder & energizer, take 1/2 to 1 Tbl.


There are no hard and fast rules when making your own fire cider. As the founder of this wonderful remedy, Rosemary Gladstar, states, “It’s a very fluid formula, so adjust it until it tastes right to you. You can add turmeric if you want another anti-inflammatory element, echinacea if you have a cold, more horseradish if you a sinus infection, or more honey if you don’t like sourness.”

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Play with your recipe. Find what works for you and your family. There is no right or wrong way of making it.

Fire Cider Precautions

As with any potent home remedy, there are very few precautions for taking fire cider. It is always encouraged that prior to beginning any home remedy due diligence in your research be completed prior to taking.

  • Pregnancy – This fire cider recipe utilizes raw apple cider vinegar. The jury is still out whether raw is safe for pregnant women. Err on the side of caution, and consult with your medical professional prior to taking fire cider.
  • Sensitive Stomachs – As this is an acidic concoction, those with sensitive stomachs may want to take only with meals.
  • ACV Medication Precautions – Apple cider vinegar has been found to possibly interact with certain medications. If you are on medications for hypertension, diabetes, or taking insulin, or on any blood-thinning medication, it is recommended that you consult with your medical professional prior to taking.

With a little time & effort as well as a few ingredients, fire cider can be made and ready to use in your home. Don’t have the time or the desire to make your own? Fire cider can be purchased here through IMSL in our Etsy Shop. We are always happy to share 🙂 .

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Join the conversation below with any and all your experiences making fire cider. As always, be sure to subscribe and follow IMSL on all social media to stay up to date with the “happenings on the hill”. Stay healthy, y’all!

Love, Light, & Laughter ~

Signature of Suzan from It's My Sustainable Life

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Jennifer Dynys October 20, 2020 - 9:08 pm

We use something similar that we call super tonic. So funny, when I was here the other day looking at your elderberry recipe, I actually searched your site for a super tonic recipe! So glad you posted this! Thank you also for sharing at Embracing Home and Family! I will be featuring it this Friday!

Suzan Ferreira October 21, 2020 - 11:43 am

So many names but one big benefit! Thank you for the feature!

Rachael October 14, 2020 - 2:57 pm

I’ve heard of fire cider for years, but still have never made nor tried it! I think now’s a good time to start a batch. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

Greta April 3, 2020 - 4:54 am

Hi Suzan!

Thanks for this!!! I am in the midst of the process (2 weeks in!) – I topped up the vinegar with some water from the get-go, to cover the ingredients. I am now wondering if that was an okay move – it seems pure vinegar would kill any unwanted bacteria – I wonder if I compromised my recipe by adding a bit of water (perhaps it is 80% ACV and 20% water.) What do you recommend? Many thanks! Blessings!

Suzan Ferreira April 3, 2020 - 11:01 am

Hi Greta~
Thank you for your inquiry! It should have been topped off completely with ACV. At this point, I would just keep an eye on it and hope it doesn’t mold. Be sure to shake it during the ferment. Let me know how it turns out!

Vanezz February 19, 2020 - 12:02 am

This post is more than a recipe post. There was some serious education going on. This cider sounds like a powerful concoction.

Suzan Ferreira February 19, 2020 - 12:24 pm

It’s very powerful and very efficacious! Thanks so much for the read!

Ann @ Live The Old Way October 29, 2019 - 11:46 pm

This is one of our favorites! Thanks for sharing it on the Homestead Blog Hop!

Suzan Ferreira October 30, 2019 - 2:39 pm

Thank you. Ann! So glad you liked it 🙂

Lisa Lombardo October 28, 2019 - 9:35 pm

What a great way to ward off illness! Thanks for sharing on Farm Fresh Tuesdays, Suzan!

Marilyn Lesniak October 25, 2019 - 4:42 pm

Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too!

Christina Furnival October 24, 2019 - 3:34 am

Woah!! It sounds bizarre but fabulous! I’ve never heard of it before. At first when reading the ingredients list, I thought man that’s going to be spicy, and then I reflected on the name fire cider and realized, well duh! I think my husband would be stoked for this. Thanks so much!

Suzan Ferreira October 28, 2019 - 10:01 am

LOL! The name does say it all 🙂

Cindy October 24, 2019 - 2:02 am

I want to make this! Thanks for the recipe and detailed instructions.

Suzan Ferreira October 28, 2019 - 10:01 am

Hope you can give it a try, Cindy!

Heather October 23, 2019 - 1:23 am

I have not heard of this before. As I age, I am more about finding alternative health remedies. How does this taste? Is it hot? I can’t have a lot of spicy things because of my acid reflux.

Suzan Ferreira October 23, 2019 - 5:33 pm

It is spicy & hot, sweet, and tart all at the same time. It is made with ACV which is obviously acidic. For anyone with sensitive stomachs, I recommend trying a little with food. Hope this helps!

Emily January 18, 2021 - 6:12 am

I made a mistake and I wonder if I ruined my double batch recipe 😭 I didn’t read the instructions all the way through until the end to find out that the honey goes in LAST as in AFTER it ferments! Did I just make a hard fire Cider?? Do I need to cut my losses and make some kind of a giant stir fry out of this? 🤣 Thanks!

Suzan Ferreira January 18, 2021 - 12:49 pm

Hi Emily ~

You may be on to something, LOL! I personally would leave it and allow it to set for the appropriate amount of time and see what happens. Let us know here, I will be curious as to what difference it makes in the final product. Regardless, it will still be useful in some manner 😉

Katherine Wolfe October 22, 2019 - 3:24 pm

What does it taste like? It sounds like it could be so beneficial but what does it taste like?

Suzan Ferreira October 23, 2019 - 5:35 pm

Spicy, sweet, and tart. I rather like it. Other’s prefer to take it with more of a sweetener added. It’s pretty versatile & can easily be changed to suit taste. Good luck!

Lisa October 22, 2019 - 2:17 pm

Great idea!!! I have always recommended Tumeric for my patients as a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory!

April J Harris October 22, 2019 - 12:09 pm

I had never heard of fire cider before, Suzan, and I was really interested to learn about it. Probiotics and fermented foods are so important to our diets, and I always prefer to try a natural remedy before using medication. Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party. I hope your week is going well!

Tiffany October 22, 2019 - 6:33 am

So fascinating! I haven’t ever heard of this before, but it sounds like it could be amazing!

Matt Epley October 22, 2019 - 5:16 am

I’ll have to give this a try soon…in preparation for cold and flu season. Sounds like a great way to spice up a salad with the pulp too!

Jane October 22, 2019 - 2:50 am

I just heard about it from a friend and I’m glad that you’re posting this as I want to learn more about the product. This is perfect for cold and flu season which is now 🙂 I’ll keep this in mind Suzan.

Suzan Ferreira October 22, 2019 - 11:29 am

Thanks, Jane! So glad you found it helpful.

Jen October 22, 2019 - 2:46 am

I am so intrigued by the many benefits of this tonic. You have provided wonderful detailed instructions regarding how and why to make it – I will need to give it a try!

Maria October 22, 2019 - 2:27 am

I think this is so interesting and have shared your post with a couple of people! I’m tempted to make it, but I know myself, it will never happen. Thanks for sharing.

Suzan Ferreira October 22, 2019 - 11:29 am

Hahaha…love the honesty, Maria! Hope you can give it a try tho!

Jennifer Morrison October 22, 2019 - 12:40 am

I have never heard of Fire Cider before. It sounds like it has amazing qualities for building overall health.

Suzan Ferreira October 22, 2019 - 11:30 am

It is that, Jennifer. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time read.

jen October 21, 2019 - 7:24 pm

awesome! I wonder if it could help with my sebboreah… worth a go anyhow.

Suzan Ferreira October 22, 2019 - 11:31 am

I would love to hear if it did. Makes sense as this tonic assists in building the immune system!

Malia October 21, 2019 - 6:52 pm

Never heard of this before! Good to know about the vinegar rusting traditional metal lids. I’ll have to go pick up some plastic ones. I’m all set to keep my family healthy this year!

Suzan Ferreira October 21, 2019 - 7:20 pm

Thank you for reading, Malia! If you can’t find them locally, I’ve provided a link where you can find them for your convenience!

Jean | Delightful Repast October 21, 2019 - 6:33 pm

Suzan, I don’t doubt that this is good for you. And I always buy organic food. Unfortunately, I am allergic to garlic, so such tonics are a no-no for me. Perhaps I’ll make some to try out on a friend! Tis the season, I know!

Suzan Ferreira October 21, 2019 - 7:22 pm

Hi Jean! Thank you for reading. Any one of the ingredients may be left out and it will remain a wonderfully healthy master tonic. Hope you can give it a try.

Lee Anne October 21, 2019 - 6:14 pm

Great resource. I pinned this to try out later. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Suzan Ferreira October 21, 2019 - 7:22 pm

Thanks so much for stopping by and pinning, Lee Anne!

Michelle October 21, 2019 - 4:26 pm

Fabulous stuff, and so easy to make. Thanks for sharing!

Pauline October 21, 2019 - 3:57 pm

Fire cider is awesome! I also use the same ingredients for my medicinal chicken soup minus the vinegar.

Suzan Ferreira October 21, 2019 - 5:49 pm

Great idea!

Lisa Shivel October 21, 2019 - 3:36 pm

This would be great for our fall camping trips. Thank you for sharing!

Amy Irvin October 21, 2019 - 3:31 pm

I am wondering which would be better for myself and my family: The fire cider or elderberry syrup?

Suzan Ferreira October 21, 2019 - 5:50 pm

I utilize both, especially when feeling run down. Thanks for stopping by Amy!

Angela October 21, 2019 - 3:15 pm

Another something new I learned from you blog today! love it, keep it up!

Lisa October 21, 2019 - 2:54 pm

I like that is is easy to make and you reference this for sure!

Sonia October 21, 2019 - 2:25 pm

I’ve never heard of this! It sounds really interesting although I’m probably the only one in the house to actually try it. I’ll keep it in mind heading into cold and flu season!

Rachel October 21, 2019 - 1:52 pm

This something I had never heard of before, thanks for the information! Always looking for ways to combat this season with the kids in school.

Linda October 21, 2019 - 1:29 pm

Very interesting Suzan, thanks for sharing at “Love Your Creativity.” This sounds wonderful. Those of us who suffer from low immunity actually need something like this. I will check with the doctor, because I am diabetic and take meds for hypertension.
My immune system is shot due to suffering from multiple cancers. Have a wonderful week.

Suzan Ferreira October 21, 2019 - 1:55 pm

Glad to hear you will be checking with your practitioner prior to taking. Hope this is something that is viable for you to use Linda!

Magan October 21, 2019 - 12:49 pm

Oh, perfect timing! I am a home visitor to families with young children, and so many of them are dealing with sicknesses right now! I’ll try anything! Lol

Kate Hall October 21, 2019 - 12:41 pm

I was so happy to see that they just WON the right to use FIRE CIDER as a generic term! 5 years in court! Sheesh. This was a lovely and informative piece of writing. Thanks.

Suzan Ferreira October 21, 2019 - 1:57 pm

I agree, Kate. We can thank the “Fire Cider 3” and their representation for their tireless efforts in keeping this term available to all! Thanks for reading, Kate!

Ellen Mika Zelasko October 21, 2019 - 12:36 pm

Never heard of it before, but I think this is something that will help me! Pinned for later!

Suzan Ferreira October 21, 2019 - 1:59 pm

Thanks for stopping by and pinning Ellen!

Karren Haller October 18, 2019 - 8:49 pm

Suzan, you share this just at the right time of year, to ward of all types of illness. Thank you for sharing on #omhgff this week.
Also, a pleasure to meet you, glad that you found my party to join us this week, hope to see you again soon!

Suzan Ferreira October 19, 2019 - 9:52 am

Thank you, Karren! Hope you can add this master tonic to your arsenal of home remedies.

Linda S October 18, 2019 - 4:33 am

this sounds amazing! I will be taking some time to absorb the information and give it a try myself.
Thanks for joining us this week at our Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop!

Suzan Ferreira October 18, 2019 - 11:25 am

Thank you for reading, Linda! Let me know if you give it a try 🙂

Michaela October 18, 2019 - 4:08 am

I’m always so worried about making fermented food just in case it spoils, do you know how to check this? I want to add more fermented food into my diet. Thanks!

Suzan Ferreira October 18, 2019 - 11:30 am

I have not had issue with spoilage in my ferments. I would go by both visual, smell, and taste (slimy product, off scent etc). Check out our article “The Craft Of Fermenting Food” for further information on how to. Hope this helps, and please let me know if you have further questions!

Julia October 17, 2019 - 8:25 pm

Oh my goodness! We’ve been buying “master tonic” from a good friend of ours for a few years now. We tell everyone about it because it seriously kicks illness! I’d always wondered how it was made. Doesn’t look too complicated! Thanks for sharing. I didn’t know it was also called Fire Cider.

Suzan Ferreira October 18, 2019 - 11:33 am

Fire Cider is the original term coined by Rosemary Gladstar, the creator of this master tonic. Glad you are able to use it and hopefully can now make your own!

Beth October 17, 2019 - 7:22 pm

This looks like just the recipe I should be making. I caught a cold from my grandson and it’s hanging on forever. Of course, I may not have it when the month is up that this takes. When you say it could be a larger jar for this quantity of ferment, how much larger? I have lots of quart jars, but would you divide the ingredients among two jars? Thanks.

Suzan Ferreira October 18, 2019 - 11:38 am

I would recommend a quart size jar for this recipe. You want the intensity of the total ingredients to ferment witht the ACV. If you are doubling the recipe add to a larger jar (such as a 1/2 gallon jar as shown in my picture).

Thank you for inquiring and I will be sure to clarify further in the post for others!

Blake October 17, 2019 - 6:50 pm

Way too many benefits for me to not give it a try! Thanks for sharing

Jayne October 17, 2019 - 5:14 pm

I feel healthier just reading about fire cider and I’m looking forward to getting the ingredients and making it! Thanks so much for sharing. I subscribed too!

Suzan Ferreira October 18, 2019 - 11:39 am

Thank you, Jayne! Be sure to let me know when you make it!

Marie October 17, 2019 - 3:22 pm

Very interesting, I’ve never heard of fire cider. Pinned as a reminder to make this winter.

Suzan Ferreira October 18, 2019 - 11:39 am

Thank you for pinning, Marie. I hope you give it a try!

Dani October 17, 2019 - 10:40 am

Wow. i had never heard of Fire Cider. Sounds perfect. But what does it taste like?

Suzan Ferreira October 17, 2019 - 11:14 am

It’s tangy, spicy, and sweet all at the same time. Some find it hard to take at first (I love it) but it can be sweetened further to meet your tastes. It does work though!!

Chas Greener October 16, 2019 - 8:34 pm

Great article and well written, I’ll have to give it a try. Thank you so much for sharing.

Suzan Ferreira October 17, 2019 - 11:14 am

Thank you for reading, Chas, so glad you enjoyed it!

Kippi October 16, 2019 - 12:00 pm

Great health recipe is just what I need for this winter.
Happy fall,

Suzan Ferreira October 16, 2019 - 12:34 pm

Thank you, Kippi! Hope you enjoy it 🙂


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