Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Herbal Concoction: Fire Cider

Fire cider is great to have on hand when you have sinus colds and congestion, but it certainly isn't for the faint of heart. The herbs used in the recipe are warming and stimulate the immune system. You can take a tablespoon straight, add to herbal tea, or even use it in soups and other cooking creations.

There are many different variations to the recipe attributed to many herbalists, but many people seem to associate the original recipe with Rosemary Gladstar. Since most of the herbs used are antibacterial and stimulate the circulatory system, some people use it as a tonic and drink small amounts daily in the fall and winter. Others use it at the first sign of a cold. Some folks let it steep for two weeks, others two to three months. This is the first time I'm making it, so I'm going to try steeping it for two months (seems like a good average) and see how it goes. I used traditional ingredients including: ginger, horseradish, garlic, onion and cayenne in a base of apple cider vinegar.

Basic Recipe
1/4-1/2 cup horseradish root, grated
1/8-1/4 cup garlic, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup ginger, grated
1/2-1 whole fresh cayenne pepper OR 1 tsp dried cayenne powder
apple cider vinegar, preferably organic
honey, to taste

Place herbs in jar. Pour vinegar and cover herbs by one to two inches. Seal jar tightly and let steep desired amount of time (as I mentioned, I'm trying two months). Strain herbs and pour the filtered vinegar into a glass jar. Add honey to taste, if you'd like to sweeten it. Fire Cider may be kept unrefrigerated since vinegar is a natural preservative.

To Use
If you'd like to use it as a tonic, 1-2 tablespoons per day would work. Take 1-2 tablespoons at the first sign of a cold or upper respiratory infection and continue throughout the day (every 2 to 3 hours) until the symptoms subside. Drink it straight or dilute it in a bit or water or even tomato juice.

It can also be used as a base for salad dressings, a seasoning in soups, or even to flavor steamed veggies.

Externally, rub it directly on the skin or use as a compress for sore muscles or to aid in peripheral (hands and feet) circulation. You can also soak a clean cloth in it to be placed on a congested chest.

Some Beneficial Properties of the Herbs
Ginger aids in stomach issues including nausea and vomiting and sluggish digestion. It also stimulates circulation. Ginger is useful for all types of congestion in the body.

Horseradish has antibacterial properties and is of benefit in respiratory tract and urinary tract infections. It is also often used as a digestive agent. Horseradish is a good diuretic that promotes perspiration. It is also an expectorant and mildly antibiotic.

Garlic is an amazing antimicrobial and antibacterial making it useful in treating bladder and kidney infections, yeast infections, strep throats, and ear infections. It supports healthy immune function and opens the pores of the skin to lower a fever. It also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and has an overall beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.

Cayenne is an intense circulatory stimulant, promotes the movement of mucous from the body, and is an anti-inflammatory.

In addition to just being tasty, onions are also antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and high in anti-oxidents.

**Please consult with an herbalist or your doctor before using Fire Cider if you are taking any medication with blood thinning properties.**


mermaiden said...

that sounds like it would kick any cold's ass!
your herbal pantry is a delight :D

Athena's Armoury said...

Thanks, Julie! It's still on the counter brewing with the herbs working their magic, but it's usable in the event of an emergency. Just not as potent as it will be in another month.

Carapace said...

Heh, we've always just used the herbs, sans onion and garlic, and made tea. Uh. With jalapenos, when possible. And then ate some garlic, straight and raw.
If it don't fix the problem, well, at least we don't care anymore, either.:P
Your way is probably a lot more tolerable.

Athena's Armoury said...

That sounds like a strong tea, Cara! Once when I was sick, I added some of my garlic honey to a tea for the cold fighting benefits of the garlic... I nearly gagged. I guess I just can't drink teas like that! The Fire Cider is intensely potent stuff. I've found that putting it into some tomato juice or V8 makes it much easier going down.