Combat Sickness: Fire Cider

Welcome to November! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been sick more than usual this fall. Either it’s just one of those years or my immune system is no match for the preschool germs my son brings home. For the second time in a month, I was wiped out by the flu yesterday. I work for myself, so I don’t get paid to be sick. Not to mention, I’ve got a high energy two year old to look after. I can’t afford to spend a day on the couch in a fog of aches and chills. Usually a little extra sleep and some tea does the trick for me, but not with this flu. Time for something with a kick. I shy away from pharmaceuticals, preferring a traditional, food-as-medicine approach. In this case, I remembered that I had a powerful home remedy in my herbal cabinet - a bottle of my friend’s fire cider.  

Many people swear by this stuff, but I’d remained skeptical. Honestly, I tasted a teaspoon when my friend gave it to me last year and couldn’t stand it. I mean, garlic and horseradish? I never needed it last winter, so it sat in the back of my cupboard until yesterday. A quick google search told me that a spoonful of honey might help the medicine go down. Sure enough, in a mug of hot water and a big glob of honey mixed in, fire cider goes down pretty easy. This morning I woke up feeling 99% better. I’m hooked!

I suggest adding 1-2 tbsps of fire cider to hot water and then stir in honey to taste (don’t be shy!). For a down and dirty approach, as my friend’s husband prefers, try a shot of fire cider followed by a shot of whiskey. Repeat twice.   

Fire Cider

Adapted from 


  • 1 large horseradish root scrubbed very well, about 7 inches long
  • 1 large ginger root about 7 inches long (or more!)
  • 1 large onion root and stem end removed and peeled
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 16 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 2-4 habanero peppers stems removed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • raw honey


  1. Grate the horseradish and ginger roots. Roughly chop the onions, orange, lemon, garlic and habanero peppers. Stuff them into a half-gallon glass jar with a tight fitting lid or divide evenly between two quart sized canning jars. Add a cinnamon stick. Sprinkle the turmeric in on top. Pour the raw apple cider vinegar in over the contents, allowing it to settle in through the crevices and adding more so that the contents are submerged. Lay a piece of parchment paper over the rim of the jar, then screw the lid tightly in place. Let the mixture sit in a dark, cool place, allowing it to marry and infuse for 4 weeks, shaking once daily.
  2. After 4 weeks, pour the contents into a muslin or cheesecloth lined colander positioned over a stable pot. Let it drain for 30 minutes, then gather the corners of the cloth, twisting and squeezing until you cannot release any more liquid. When it's fully strained, add honey to the liquid to taste and pour into a sterilized wine bottle or canning jar. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year, shaking well before using.


Rebekah is a writer, yoga teacher and Riveter member. Connect with her at and on Instagram @rebekahpape.