Making fire cider is a simple home herbalism project. Originally popularized by herbalist and author Rosemary Gladstar, fire cider is a traditional way of preparing immune supportive foods and herbs like garlic, onions, and ginger.

Fire cider is much loved in the herbal community. There’s even an entire recipe book devoted to fire cider (affiliate link). However, it’s easy to make changes to your fire cider based on what you like and what’s available. Mine’s rarely the same two years in a row! The main thing is to focus on warming, immune supportive spices and add some fruit that’s rich in vitamin C. Turning up the heat with cayenne and horseradish is also part of the equation.

The process for making fire cider is very simple. All ingredients are steeped in apple cider vinegar for one to two weeks and then strained. Honey is added, and after that, a teaspoon can be added to a glass of water as part of your morning or evening wellness routines.

This year, I decided to go with a Thai inspiration for my fire cider when I found Thai basil at my local grocery store. Common basil works fine as well, and if you have access to fresh tulsi that would also be great! Tulsi is especially lauded for it’s ability to support the immune system as an adaptogen, but it might surprise you to know common basil was once just as highly revered by medieval herbalists.

Thai Fire Cider

Here’s my recipe for this year’s batch of fire cider! The blood oranges turned it a lovely shade of pink.

  • 3 cups unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 cup of orange segments, pith removed (I used half blood oranges and half cara cara oranges)
  • 2 Tbsp roughly chopped Thai basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp freshly minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 4 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest

Optional: 1 Tbsp finely sliced lemongrass and/or 2 tsp astragalus powder.

I also used 2 tsp astragalus powder in this fire cider. Astragalus is an adaptogen that may support overall wellbeing, and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as part of immune support formulas like Jade Screen.

For a spicier version, add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder. If available, you could also use bird’s eye chili or another Thai pepper to taste.

How to Make It

  1. Place oranges, basil, ginger, garlic, and orange zest in a quart glass jar.
  2. Add astragalus powder, if using.
  3. Pour the apple cider vinegar in and make sure all ingredients are covered.
  4. Add lime juice.
  5. Cover the jar with a clean lid and allow the ingredients to marinate for one to two weeks.
  6. Strain out the herbs and oranges and place the infused apple cider vinegar in a clean jar. Add the honey and stir or shake well to combine.

How to Use It

Use one or two teaspoons in 8 oz of water as part of your morning or evening herbal routines. I like mine over ice. You can also enjoy your fire cider throughout the day as a pick me up.

If you don’t enjoy the taste as much, you can place a teaspoon in an ounce of water as a wellness shot!

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Herbalist and Writer | Related Articles

A freelance writer and herbalist since 2011, Agatha is dedicated to creating an online reader and listener supported platform supporting her work as an herbalist. Her focus in herbalism includes sustainable agriculture, community wellness and accessibility, and botanical conservation.