Fire Cider 101
Fire ciders have been infusing in kitchen cupboards for decades with likely hundreds to thousands of variations depending on what’s available and the preference of the family herbalist. However, all will contain the “5 tastes”, according to Chinese herbal theory: pungent, salty, sour, sweet, and bitter.
The result will be a medicinal liquid that is nutrient dense warming, nourishing, and stimulating. Taking a daily shot of fire cider during cold and flu season can be an effective preventative, fire cider can also be used on the first onset of symptoms to lessen the duration and severity of illness, like Roots and Leaves elderberry and honey tonic.
With the recent launch of Roots and Leaves Fire Cider Tonic, we wanted to make sure you knew where this popular recipe came from and exactly how it can benefit your body.
What is Fire Cider?
Fire cider is a vinegar-based infusion of spicy aromatic herbs and spices + pungent fresh produce such as garlic, peppers, and onions. You may be wondering why such a fiery-sounding concoction exists!
Fire cider, first created by folk herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in late 1970, is a remedy that has been used for decades to support the immune system naturally. It is referred to as a cider because apple cider vinegar is the main infusing liquid.
However, honey is added also, so in technical herbal terms it could also be considered an “oxymel”, this term comes from the Greek word oxymeli, meaning “acid and honey”.
So, what are the Ingredients in Fire Cider?
I love that fire cider is so customizable! Ingredients can be added or subtracted due to allergies, taste preferences, or by what’s available at your fingertips. Have a left-over red onion instead of a white one? Use it! Have a fresh harvest of basil? Put it in! Just don’t forget the garlic!
I decided when creating the exact recipe for Roots and Leaves Fire Cider to cold infuse our lucky number of 12 roots, herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
Our fire cider includes astragalus, ginger, turmeric, black peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, horseradish, chili pepper, oranges, lemons, onions and garlic. Along with the extracting ingredients of apple cider vinegar and honey!
Fire Cider Benefits
Wow! What is fire cider not good for? It is most often thought of as an immune-boosting remedy but, fire cider has multiple benefits.
Fire Cider benefits include:
- Better Gut Health
- Bronchial Support
- Blood Sugar Support
- Blood Pressure Support
- Cardiovascular Health
- Increased Immunity
- Decreased Inflammation
Let’s take a look at the ingredients in fire cider one by one to learn more about the benefits of fire cider.
Apple cider vinegar has proven antibacterial and antioxidant properties and it may bring down blood sugar levels and combat high cholesterol. To learn more about the benefits of apple cider vinegar I recommend this book.
In traditional Chinese medicine astragalus, is used to support the immune system. Studies show that astragalus helps the body produce more white blood cells and antibodies, strengthening the body’s antiviral immunity.
The ginger, turmeric, and black pepper work synergistically to quell inflammation, decrease pain & nausea, and support optimum gut health.
Citrus fruits are a source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids are plant compounds, found commonly in all plants such as chocolate, tea, and fruits. They have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine benefits.
Onions and garlic are in the vegetable family called “alliums”; this group contains the mineral sulfur. Sulfur is necessary for the body to perform essential functions when it comes to healthy cellular health.
Sulfur is also essential for recycling the amino acid glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and prevents cell degradation.
Rosemary and thyme are herbs in the evergreen family that contain a variety of terpenes such as thymol and carvacrol. According to the University of Michigan Health System, one of the main uses of thymol is for the treatment of bronchitis.
Carvacrol, also found in oregano oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Fire cider is known for opening your nasal cavities like no other! That potent effect comes from the addition of chili peppers and horseradish. These two together increase circulation and clear mucus.
We also add a dash of sea salt to Roots and Leaves Fire Cider for mineral support!
Fire Cider and Gut Health
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), there is a theory called the “5 Flavor Theory”, which teaches that each flavor connects to and is beneficial for a combination of organs.
The five flavors include sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty. The flavors in Fire Cider are predominantly pungent and sour, two of the flavors most often missing in our modern diets.
The flavor of sour connects to our liver and gall bladder which work in tandem to digest and assimilate fats and fatty acids. The pungency of fire cider supports the lungs and large intestine, this connects to the release of wind (gas) and waste.
While the other three flavors aren’t as present, they still exist in the fire cider remedy, sweet from the citrus fruits and honey, bitter from the citrus rinds, and salty from the salt.
Preventing the Flu with Better Gut Health
Did you know 80% of your immune system is in your gut? This is primarily due to your microbiome. The microbiome is the community of microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes, that naturally live in and on our bodies.
The microbiome’s role is to communicate with the immune system advising it which invaders are beneficial or harmful. It also signals the gut to increase antibodies by stimulating the tissue around the gut.
Antibodies bind with antigens and inactivate them so that other bodily processes can take over, destroy, and remove foreign substances from the body.
Fire Cider FAQs
So now you have a rather good idea of how fire cider can benefit you during the winter months!
The following are some frequent questions we get asked about the new Roots and Leaves Fire Cider.
How much fire cider should I take daily?
Adults typically take 1-2 tbsp a day and children under 12 typically take 1-2 tsp a day but remember this is a food so you can't take "too much". We have been known to take 1 tbsp every few hours when we need to for extra support.
What does Roots and Leaves Fire Cider taste like?
Our fire cider tastes mostly like raw apple cider vinegar, with a hint of spicy sweetness. If you are unsure about the flavor, then we suggest trying the 2 oz bottle to start with!
Why is sea salt added to Roots and Leaves Fire Cider?
In addition to following the TCM theory of 5 flavors sea salt is added due to its high mineral content. Minimally processed sea salt contains potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium.
Where can I purchase Roots and Leaves Fire Cider?
We are still delivering brand-new batches of fire cider to our retailers! Use our store locator to find the closest retailer to you, however, call ahead to ensure they have the NEW Fire Cider product in stock.