Make Your Own Fire Cider for Cold and Flu!

Posted by Emily Davis on

Fire cider is an herbal vinegar and honey tonic, also called an oxymel, made popular by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. Although Gladstar coined the name and began popularizing this herbal preparation in the 1970s, vinegar infusions have been used as medicine since ancient Egypt. An oxymel is any honey and vinegar infusion.

Fire cider is an amazing support during cold and flu season to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. Some take it as a preventative tonic, while other take it acutely during times of illness.  It has also been known to improve digestion, and prevent more serious illnesses! This traditional folk medicine has a long history of improving overall vitality.

Vinegar is an excellent solvent to extract the chemical properties of a plant, especially mineral content. Additionally, studies on diabetic patients show that vinegar can reduce blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal (1). Animals studies show that apple cider vinegar can reduce high cholesterol (2).

Honey has a wide variety of benefits, not least of which is the sweet taste which helps to accompany other not as desirable herbs or foods to make them more palatable. Honey is demulcent, meaning that it is moistening to the internal tissue. This moistening property can help balance out the drying nature of vinegar. Honey is highly antioxidant, helping to counter oxidative stress we encounter daily in the urban and suburban environments where most of us dwell.

I love fire cider so much because it is an herbal preparation that is widely accessible. After all, one can find everything needed in the grocery store. No trips to the local apothecary are necessary but are undoubtedly optional if you want to zhuzh it up! Please note that because we are making medicine it is always best to purchase organic or use home grown organic produce when possible.


1 medium onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, smashed

2 medium sized ginger root, chopped

4 TBSP of fresh horseradish, chopped

4 jalapeños, sliced

3 turmeric root, chopped

5 sprigs of fresh (or dried) rosemary 

1 small hand-full of fresh (or dry) oregano

1 small hand-full of fresh (or dry) thyme 

1/2 medium lemon, sliced

1 TBSP of peppercorns

Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 C raw honey (local is best), more can be added to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste



  1. Coarsely chop ingredients
  2. Place ingredients in a quart sized jar. 
  3. Cover with organic apple cider vinegar. 
  4. Cap with a food-grade stainless steel lid to avoid rusting.
  5. Shake every 1-2 days for 6 weeks to allow for a complete infusion. 
  6. Strain and pour into a blander, add honey and cayenne. Mix together on low so as not to heat the honey.
  7. Pour into a bottle using a funnel if needed.  

You can consume a little bit every day as a shot or you can add it to soups or salads.


The now pickled herbs and vegetables can even be blended and added to a sauce or a dressing!  

Other Optional Ingredients (fresh or dried depending on season or your access to them):

  • Rosehips
  • Elderberries
  • Goji Berries
  • Hawthorne Berries
  • Orange Peel or Sliced Oranges
  • Limes
  • Grapefruit
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Whole Cloves
  • Any hot pepper you love and have access to


Get creative and research herbs and foods that call to you or can help you with a specific imbalance you may be working with.  There are no hard and fast rules with fire cider, take this template and then feel free to color outside of the lines!  Share with me in the comments what you like to add to your fire cider!



Studies Cited

1. F;, S. F. M. A. S. (n.d.). Vinegar consumption can attenuate postprandial glucose and insulin responses; a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Diabetes research and clinical practice. Retrieved October 30, 2021, from

2. Fushimi T;Suruga K;Oshima Y;Fukiharu M;Tsukamoto Y;Goda T; (n.d.). Dietary acetic acid reduces serum cholesterol and triacylglycerols in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet. The British journal of nutrition. Retrieved October 30, 2021, from

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