Natural Remedies

Boost Your Immune System with Fire Cider Master Tonic

Boost Your Immune System with Fire Cider Master Tonic

Fire cider (also sometimes called Master Tonic) is a traditional folk remedy infused with powerful anti-microbial, decongestant, and circulatory herbs and spices. Adding a tablespoon of this to your diet every day can help boost your immune system, stimulate digestion, and warm you up on cold days. How perfect to make for a mid-winter pick-me-up!

Because this is a folk remedy, the ingredients can change from season to season depending on what’s growing around you at the time you make it. The base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, and hot peppers, which are mighty by themselves, but there are plenty of other herbs that can be added for extra strength, depending on what’s available to you.

Once you’ve made the fire cider recipe, this powerful brew needs to steep in a dark cupboard for a month to extract all the goodness from the ingredients. Some people even bury their jar of this master tonic in the ground for a month while it extracts—which I wouldn’t advise if you live where the ground freezes.

Using Your Fire Cider Master Tonic

Once fully brewed and strained, fire cider can be taken straight by the spoonful, added to vegetable juice, splashed in rice dishes, or drizzled on salad with olive oil.

You can also sautée some of the strained pulp with shredded carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and fresh herbs to make delicious stir-fries and spring rolls.

For daily immune support, gargle and swallow one tablespoon of fire cider every day after breakfast. If you are fighting a cold or infection, take 1 Tablespoon of the tonic 5-6 times a day. Do not dilute the tonic in water as it will reduce the effect.

Be careful: The tonic is very strong and hot, especially if you did not add honey! Do not use on an empty stomach, and start with a teaspoon for the first few times. The tonic can cause nausea on an empty stomach if you are not used to it.

Fire cider is safe for pregnant women and children (use small doses!) because the ingredients are all-natural and contain no toxins.

Fire Cider Master Tonic
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  1. fire-cider-ingredients
  2. 24 oz. organic, raw apple cider vinegar
  3. ¼ cup organic garlic, minced
  4. ¼ cup organic onion, minced
  5. 1/2 cup organic ginger, peeled and grated
  6. 1/2 cup horseradish, peeled and grated
  7. 2 pieces of turmeric root, peeled and grated, OR 2 tbsp turmeric powder
  8. 1/4 tsp. organic cayenne powder
  9. 2 organic hot peppers (jalepeño, habanero, etc.), minced
  10. Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
  11. Raw, local honey, to taste (OPTIONAL)
Seasonal Additions
  1. Several sprigs of fresh, organic rosemary, thyme or oregano
  2. Rosehips
  3. Star Anise
  4. Schisandra Berries
  5. Astragalus
  6. Parsley
  7. Burdock
  8. Peppercorns
  9. Fresh orange, grapefruit, or lime juice and peels
  1. fire-cider-grated-ingredientsPeel and grate all the roots. Note: Turmeric stains everything and horseradish root is strong enough to clear not just your sinuses, but the whole room. You may want to wear gloves to keep your hands clean and cool.
  2. Mince the garlic, onions and hot peppers, then zest and squeeze the lemon. (Gloves will be handy for handling the peppers.)
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the vinegar, and mix well.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a one quart Mason jar. Hold your face away from the jar as you fill it.
  5. Pour in apple cider vinegar until you fill it to the top.
  6. Use a piece of parchment paper under the jar lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal, or better yet, use a BPA-free plastic lid made for Mason jars (like this one).
  7. fire-cider-recipe-aboveShake well!
  8. Store in a dark, cool place for one month and shake daily.
  9. After one month, use cheesecloth or a nut milk bag (like this one) to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid as you can from the pulp.
  10. You can use the tonic straight or, if you prefer, add 1/4 cup of honey and stir until incorporated to make cider. Taste your cider and add another 1/4 cup of honey until you reach the desired sweetness.
  11. Use the rest of the dry mixture as seasoning when cooking.
  1. Grater or food processor with grating attachment
  2. Vegetable peeler
  3. One-quart Mason jar with metal or BPA-free plastic lid
  4. Latex or vinyl gloves (for handling horseradish, turmeric and hot peppers)
  5. Zester or microplaner
  6. Garlic press (OPTIONAL)
  7. Nut milk bag (OPTIONAL) (where to find online)
Small Footprint Family
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About the author

Dawn Gifford

Dawn is the creator of Small Footprint Family, and the author of the critically acclaimed Sustainability Starts at Home - How to Save Money While Saving the Planet. After a 20-year career in green building and environmental sustainability, chronic illness forced her to shift her expertise and passion from the public sphere to home and hearth. Get the whole story behind SFF here.


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  • This blend looks like kimchi’s evil brother. I’ve only started dabbling in home fermenting with kefir, kombucha, and some kimchi.

    I have no doubt this will be an immune booster, but I wish I found this a couple months ago. I will build up the courage and make some fire cider for myself. How long can you store fire cider?

  • Hello I love your website!!! I’m wondering, if I can’t find fresh horseradish are there any alternatives I could use instead?


    • Thank you and welcome! You could try leaving it out and adding more ginger, but there is really no substitute for the qualities that horseradish adds to the recipe. 🙂

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