Boost Your Immune System with Fire Cider
Fire cider is a time-honored herbal remedy that has its roots in ancient and folk medicine.
Although it has seen many variations over the years, the basic recipe calls for apple cider
vinegar, garlic, onion, horseradish, ginger, turmeric, lemon, honey, hot pepper, and aromatic
herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage. The result of this combination of powerful botanicals is a
warming and stimulating tonic that promotes vigor and overall well-being. It aids digestion,
increases energy, raises body temperature, and – most importantly – boosts immunity.
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients to better understand the immune-boosting benefits of Fire Cider!
Fire Cider Ingredients:
1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is high in minerals, especially potassium, which makes it a good
regulator of acid/alkaline balance in the body. In general, it is harder for disease to exist
when the body is in an alkaline state, so promoting alkalinity has direct benefits for the
immune system. Its main constituent, acetic acid, is primarily excreted by the lungs,
kidneys, and skin, so apple cider vinegar will also act as a mild expectorant, diuretic, and
diaphoretic. Lastly, apple cider vinegar is antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory
(it decreases the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-6, the same molecules released
during the “cytokine storm” of SARS-CoV2 infection!). 1
2. Garlic and Onion
Garlic and onion have similar medicinal properties since both are in the Allium family of
vegetables. The medicinal properties are largely attributed to the sulfur-containing
compound allicin, a powerful antimicrobial effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and
parasites. Allicin has an affinity for the lungs and digestive tract so it is useful in the
prevention and treatment of respiratory infections like colds, flus, sinusitis, and bronchitis
and digestive infections that involve unwanted microorganisms. Garlic and, to a lesser
extent, onion also reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, so they can be
effective for preventing some of the cardiometabolic diseases that predispose individuals to
more severe or more frequent infections (including more severe SARS-CoV2 infection).
Horseradish is a powerful antimicrobial plant that also stimulates expectoration and thins
phlegm and sticky mucus. It has a high affinity for the upper respiratory tract and is very
effective at preventing or treating sinusitis and other upper respiratory conditions
characterized by stagnation and congestion. Lastly, it stimulates circulation and promotes
sweating, which augments the immune system and helps the body cope with fevers.
Ginger is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial. Although it is typically associated with the digestive system, its heating quality and ability to stimulate blood flow to tissues make it good at dispelling diseases associated with cold, like upper and lower respiratory tract congestion and inflammation.
Turmeric is by far one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant botanicals
there is. With its additional antimicrobial action, turmeric is a go-to for quenching the
inflammation associated with acute and chronic infections and injuries to tissues like the
muscle, joints, brain, liver, intestines, kidney, heart, and blood vessels. Turmeric can also
lower cholesterol and prevent the oxidation of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol involved in plaque
formation), making it effective at preventing some of the cardiometabolic diseases that
predispose individuals to poor immune function.
Lemon pulp and juice are high in vitamin C, an immune-boosting rockstar. Vitamin C
contributes to immune defenses by supporting mucosal barrier function against pathogens
in our digestive, respiratory, and genitourinary tracts; aiding in microbial killing; and
exerting high antioxidant activity. Lemon, like apple cider vinegar, promotes alkalinity, thus
warding off disease. It’s very useful in treating fevers, sore throats, colds, flus, bronchitis
and any other respiratory condition characterized by excessive phlegm.
Honey is more than just a tasty treat! It has medicinal properties that add to the healing
power of any herbal preparation. It is antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, anti-allergenic,
anti-inflammatory, and soothing. Honey is also highly nutritious. It contains proteins and
carbohydrates, minerals like iron and manganese, and vitamins like vitamin B2 and B6. Raw
honey confers an additional advantage because it contains vital enzymes, nutrients, and
traces of pollen that are destroyed in the pasteurization process, making it far more
nutrient rich. All these factors make it a great immune system support.
8. Hot pepper – cayenne
Cayenne’s medicinal properties are largely attributed to the compound capsaicin. Capsaicin
is antimicrobial and antioxidant. As a circulatory stimulant and diaphoretic, it enhances
blood flow and increases body temperature to aid in expelling infections and cleansing the
body. Enhanced blood flow means immune cells can be better distributed to peripheral
tissues to do their important jobs of surveillance and defense!
9. Aromatic herbs – rosemary, thyme, sage
Rosemary, thyme, and sage all contain volatile oils that have antimicrobial, anti-
inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Commonly used in steam inhalations to thin and
expel mucus from the upper and lower respiratory tracts, these aromatic herbs are staples
for combatting respiratory infections and inflammation.
Although it’s sold in stores, the great thing about Fire Cider – besides all its health benefits, of
course – is that it can easily be made at home from common kitchen ingredients. So go ahead
and make a big batch from scratch to carry you through COVID-19 season and beyond! (You can
find a recipe, inspired by master herbalist Rosemary Gladstar https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/fire-cider,).
Take Fire Cider by the spoonful or add it to salad dressings, marinades, stir-fries, juices, or teas
and cheers to your health!
Interested in learning more? Contact our clinic today to schedule your free 10 min consult with Dr. Christoforou: https://naturopathic-doctors.com/contact/
Our support staff is available to schedule an appointment or answer questions from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. They are also available on Wednesdays from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Our Doctors are still seeing patients via telehealth during our normal business hours. We look forward to serving you.
1 Yagnik D, Serafin V, J Shah A. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus
aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):1732.
Published 2018 Jan 29. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18618-x