There are lots of home remedies that can be used to help relieve colds and flu. For me, the most effective is fire cider.
What is Fire Cider
Fire cider is an amazing hot, spicy and sweet tonic made of raw apple cider vinegar and potent herbs like horseradish, ginger, garlic, onions, and hot peppers. It was first created by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar and has been modified over the years.
There is no strict rule when making fire cider and other ingredients can be added as well. I like to add calendula, elderberry, cinnamon, and citrus fruit. After infusing, honey is added to make the pungent concoction a bit easier to take.
Fire Cider Benefits
Fire cider is an effective, warming remedy which can reduce inflammation, fight infection, and support the immune system. Below are the ingredients in my fire cider, and why I use each to fight colds and flu.
Horseradish – a great remedy for reducing sinus congestions and head colds. It is rich in vitamins, including vitamin C.
Ginger – besides its well-known use for nausea and as a digestive aid, ginger can reduce inflammation, relieve congestion and sore throats and is warming to the body.
Onion – a good source of vitamin C and are anti-inflammatory; it helps break up mucus and clear sinuses.
Garlic – supports the immune system by stimulating the the production of white blood cells. It is antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. It is also a warming herb.
Jalapeno – because of the heat-producing capsaicin that hot peppers contain, hot peppers help to boost immunity, fight colds, and clear airways.
Lemons and Oranges – rich in vitamin C which can strengthen the immune system.
Elderberry – elderberries are a popular anti-viral and support the immune system, and also contain vitamin C. They are also used to make elderberry syrup which helps fight off colds and flu.
Cinnamon – another warming herb, cinnamon has analgesic properties and is thought to help fight infection.
Calendula – this lovely flower is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory and can help to fight infection. Used as a tea, it can help to moderate fever. Because it clenses the lymphatic system it is good for treating swollen glands.
Raw apple cider vinegar – acts as a solvent to release each herbs constituents. It also acts as an expectorant to break up mucus and relieve coughs.
Raw honey – Fire cider without honey can be quite harsh. The honey helps to sweeten it making it more palatable. Honey also helps to relieve sore throats and coughs.
Don’t worry if you don’t have access to one or two of the ingredients in my recipe. Making fire cider is as much a folk art as it is medicine. Just be sure to include several warming herbs and the raw apple cider vinegar.
Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide
by Rosemary Gladstar
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Elderberry and Calendula Fire Cider
- 1/2 cup fresh horseradish grated
- 1/2 cup fresh ginger grated
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 16 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 2 – 3 jalapenos chopped (include seeds for more heat)
- 1 large orange chop but do not peel
- 1 lemon chop but do not peel
- 1/4 cup dried elderberry or 1/2 cup fresh
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 handful fresh calendula flowers or dried
- 1 quart raw apple cider vinegar
- raw honey to taste
- In a 1/2 gallon glass jar, or 2 quart jars, layer horseradish, ginger, onion, garlic, orange, lemon, peppers, and elderberries.
- Top with calendula flowers.
- Slowly pour raw apple cider vinegar over the ingredients. Be sure that all the ingredients are submerged.
- Add a plastic lid, or place a piece of parchment paper on the jar before adding a metal lid (the ACV will corrode the metal lid).
- Place in a dark cool cupboard for 4 – 6 weeks, shaking every few days. Add more apple cider vinegar if any of the ingredients are not covered.
- After 4 – 6 weeks, line a colander with muslin and strain, allowing to drain for 30 minutes.
- Add raw honey to taste and store in a clean jar. I keep mine in the refrigerator but it can be kept in a cool dark place for a year.
- To use, take 1 – 2 tablespoons at the first sign of a cold, and repeat every 3 – 4 hours.
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