Skip to main content

Boost Your Immune System with Winter Fire Cider

Dec 30, 2019 07:56AM ● By Kathleen Gould and Madalyn Johnson

Madalyn Johnson (left) and Kathleen Gould (right)

Do you want to boost your immune system and rev up your metabolism, improve digestion, quickly break up congestion, clear sinuses and keep winter bacteria at bay and away, combat heartburn, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and perhaps even lose a few pounds?

These are just a few of the amazing benefits of this time-honored “brew” called fire cider.

Many folks call fire cider an herbal antibiotic, and once you understand more about the ingredients used, you may become a believer too—so, let’s have a look.


Garlic/onion: rich in antioxidants, wonderful decongestant (warms up the lungs to help thin out mucus), warms the circulatory system, soothes upset tummies, and calms nausea.


Horseradish: boosts the immune system, warms the circulatory system (may help reduce blood pressure), may help prevent cancer, improves digestion, helps with weight loss (increases metabolism), antimicrobial, clears sinuses, and thins mucus in the respiratory system.


Jalapeno: rich in nutrients, improves heart health, improves digestion, helps fight infection, natural pain reliever, and may help prevent cancer.


Turmeric root: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, helps with weight loss (increases metabolism), and may help lower cholesterol.

All of this before we even address the incredible healing benefits of ginger, raw honey, and apple cider vinegar with the mother that we infuse the herbs in. This healing combination can help relieve heartburn, decrease inflammation, assist in weight loss, reduce cholesterol, improve heart health, help lower blood pressure, reduce blood glucose levels, boost energy, improve skin health, and the list goes on.

Put all this together and you may just have yourself a healing miracle!

The first step is slicing everything up to fit into a quart jar. Depending on your needs, use the appropriate amount of each ingredient. Some might want eight cloves of garlic, some might want four. Same for turmeric; if you have some inflammation in your body (and who doesn’t), use eight to 10 pieces of fresh turmeric sliced. But be careful with the horseradish, especially when you are preparing your ingredients. It will clean your sinuses, just cutting it up! So maybe a recipe would look like this:

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half

1 large onion, sliced

8 pieces of fresh turmeric, sliced

1 fist-size piece of horseradish, cut in 1” pieces

1 jalapeno, sliced (with or without seeds, depending on how hot you want it)

1 lemon, sliced (just something about lemons, turmeric and ginger)

1 thumb-size piece of ginger, cleaned not peeled and sliced

And now this is when it gets fun. What else would you like to add? How about some herbs to help boost your immunity so that it is working at peak performance for the winter months? In addition to herbs—like astragalus, ashwagandha, rosemary, and cayenne pepper or peppercorns—reishi (or any mushroom really) is a great additive.


Reishi mushroom, the king of all mushrooms, is always at the top of the additions due to its ability to increase the activity of a certain type of white blood cell called natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells fight infection and maybe cancer in the body. Reishi has been used to increase good cholesterol and decrease triglycerides.


Astragalus root is a staple in the herbal world when working with the immune system. It is a stimulant and an antioxidant that inhibits free radical production, which damages cells and may cause several health problems associated with aging. This is why we like to take a little astragalus every day.


Ashwagandha root is an adaptogen, an herb that helps your body adapt to stress. The list of helpful properties of this plant goes on and on; it balances blood sugar, boosts brain function, may reduce cortisol levels, reduces symptoms of depression, and may even help boost testosterone in men.


Rosemary is for remembrance, many herbalists say. That’s because rosemary, even just the hint of its scent, can increase brain production and cognitivity. It is also linked with stimulating hair growth, relieving pain, increasing circulation, and lifting one’s mood.


Cayenne pepper or peppercorns have a plethora of uses. Cayenne can aid in digestive disorders, decrease appetite, lower blood pressure, boost metabolism, and is a great pain reliever due to the ingredient capsaicin.

These additions sure will boost your Winter Fire Cider up a notch, and isn’t that what we are looking for? Add a few pieces of reishi, a few slices of astragalus root, a handful of ashwagandha root, a fresh sprig of rosemary from your garden, and just a touch of cayenne pepper. Don’t forget you are also putting in a jalapeno!

Put all these sliced and diced pieces in a quart jar and cover completely with organic apple cider vinegar. Let sit on your kitchen counter for four weeks. Then strain out the goodies, compost those (or use it as a base of a delicious soup!), and add 1 or 2 cups of raw honey to your liking. That’s it. One tablespoon every morning, easy peasy! If this is hard to swallow (literally), use this as a complement to olive oil for a delicious salad dressing. But one way or another, enjoy a little bit every day!

Kathleen Gould, registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb Shop and Gathering Place. Gould has been an herbalist for 30-plus years and has extensive experience in herbal medicine. For more information, call 480-694-9931 or visit or