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Fire Cider – an old folk remedy and health tonic

Fire Cider – an old folk remedy and health tonic

An incredibly powerful botanical and the master of the master tonics.

The healing power of horseradish, turmeric and ginger roots, onion, garlic, lemon, orange, cayenne pepper infused for 8 weeks in raw apple cider vinegar – and I add herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano)   The herbs are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasite and digestives.   Local cinnamon bark and anise seed for the healing properties for the heart and the zingy additional taste!

Fire Cider is a shrub or an oxymel… Wait, let me digress so you’ll understand the terms…

Oxymel – the oldest of the drinks found in Medieval Persia is a syrup of honey, vinegar and herbs.   Speaking of oxymels, as Stephen Harrod Buhner states in his book, Herbal Antibiotics, they “have been used for thousands of years. The basic form is 40 ounces of honey to which is added 5 fluid ounces of water and 5 fluid ounces of vinegar.”    Herbs and foods were added for their healing properties.

Shrub – derived from the Arabic word sharab, means drink, is a zingy mixture of fruit, sugar and vinegar.

Switchel – swizzle or haymakers punch, was commonly served to farm hands during the harvesting of hay. Molasses, ginger and vinegar were the usual combinations.

I love making these healing  medicinal brews and I am blessed (or be-mored) to be able to grow most things in my garden (on my land)

So, what is it good for?   Basically for EVERYTHING…. now, let me count the ways:

Fresh horseradish Root (from my garden in Ecuador).  it has taken me 7 years to get this plant to grow here.  It is a northern plant and likes the winter coldness.  I babied, loved and encouraged her and she finally caught on to the Ecuador climate and thrives here…perhaps even growing better than what I remember in the north.   Horseradish root is known to be effective against the flu and common cold, tonsilitis, respiratory disorders, urinary tract infections, and pathenogenic fungus.   (I make an awesome sauce from her too)

Ginger is used to treat arthritis, muscle pain, upset stomach (motion and morning sickness and general nausea), gas, upper respiratory tract infections, and cough.   She grows well in our semi tropical climate and is such a beautiful plant.

Onions are used to boost cardiovascular health, bone and connective tissue benefits, and as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Garlic is used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack, atherosclerosis, asthma, building the immune system, help level blood sugar, and is used topically to treat fungal infections.  It is important garlic remains raw (not cooked) to preserve the allicin.  The enzyme alliinase converts alliin into allicin, which is responsible for the aroma of fresh garlic.   It is difficult to grow garlic here in Ecuador because, once again, it is a northern plant.   I have found an elephant garlic variety that I can grow that flowers and seeds.  The seeds have regenerate a second generation now and I suspect one or two more cycles and I will have a happy, bold and allicin full crop.

Cayenne peppers boost your metabolism, gets the heart beating and offers headache, sinus, and arthritis relief as well as releasing endorphins.

Skin and fruit of Oranges are great for heart health, as part of a best-case-scenario-anti-cancer-diet, fighting cholesterol, to help in weight loss, and to break up or prevent kidney stones.   This particular variety is also know for its’ analgesic compounds and helps calm inflammations and pain.   It grows on our property and is one of my favourites of the citrus trees.  The flowers in bloom saturate the air with a sweet scent of jasmine and rose.

Lemons/Limes (skin and fruit) are known to aid in digestion, alleviate Meniere’s Disease, kidney stones, and ringing of the ears, cure scurvy (chronic lack of Vitamin C), treat colds and flu, improve the function of blood vessels, and reduce inflammation and retention of water.   Our land is home to many varieties of lemon and limes…I never knew there was so many types.   My favourite is the sour limes.   The locals love the sweet lemons..and report they are good for the heart.  They really have no flavour but they are bold and beautiful in appearance.

Turmeric is pretty much the be-all and end-all of health foods. It’s known to delay liver damage, reduce carcinogenic compounds in other foods, make cancer cells more vulnerable to chemo and radiation, inhibit the growth of malignant melanoma and breast cancer, alleviate arthritis symptoms and skin conditions.   The anti-inflammatory properties are crazy high.   Heck, maybe I should let the experts describe what the main compound in turmeric -cucurmin- does. Advanced Experimental Medical Biology in 2007 states:

“Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses.”

This is such a pretty plant too and the flowers are bold and beautiful.   It grows well here in my gardens.   Raw, fresh turmeric is NOTHING like powdered.   But, you skin will be stained yellow for while.

Raw apple cider vinegar (not plain old cider vinegar!) is known to be a good source of acetic and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), mineral salts, amino acids, and other key components of good nutrition, but it is also a well-loved folk remedy thought to ease digestion, fight obesity and diabetes, wash toxins from the body, kill lice, and reverse aging.   We have a number of apple trees on our property and most of the apples are used in my cider as they are more like a sweet crab apple.

Does it do all of that? I dunno. But it surely tastes good and its’ nutritional value is undisputed.

All these ingredients are chopped finely and placed in a large glass jar.    Then I pour the apple cider vinegar and cover/saturate.    (advise: do not use a metal lid or place plastic under the lid).    This sits for 6-8 weeks.    The juice then is filtered and added to honey (approximately 1/4 honey to the elixir juice)  Yes, we have hives and I am using our own honey too full of the nutrition form the flowers of our land.

Raw honey is a fantastic, all-natural fighter of seasonal allergies. Because bees collect pollen from flowers in your area and then convert it to honey to feed their hives, eating raw, local honey is like a tasty allergy shot.  It’s also full of vitamins and minerals, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and makes a great, non-narcotic cough suppressant and throat soother.

I don’t know throw out the filtered plant matter…I dehydrate it and use it as a spice blend.

The beauty of this, beyond its all-star cast of healthy ingredients, is that it just plain tastes wonderful. I drink a tablespoon (or more!) every morning to maintain health.  A slightly larger dose of Fire Cider will help boost your immune system.

Here are some other  suggestions

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons at the first sign of a cold, and then repeating every 3 to 4 hours until symptoms subside. Some people also take fire cider as a preventative during cold and flu season.
  • Mix with lemonade or orange juice ie hot water and extra honey to make a tea
  • Use in place of vinegar in salad dressings and condiments
  • Drizzle on steamed vegetables or sautéed greens
  • Use in marinades for meat, tofu, and tempeh
  • Add to soups and chilis
  • Try a couple of dashes in a cocktail, such as a Bloody Mary

Cheers!  Here’s to your health!

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