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November 11, 2014

Enhance your Wellness through Winter with Fire Cider. {Recipe}

Stephanie/Flickr

The vast world of herbal healing can be daunting to the curious beginner.

It’s often left for the experts to navigate, but you do not need to be able to identify obscure plants and roots or use their Latin names in order to begin to explore and take advantage of herbal remedies.

There are many powerful healing foods that we use everyday when preparing meals or drinking tea.

To make this Fire Cider, we will tap into the healing power of foods that we use in the kitchen. I love this recipe because it offers so much versatility in its use and in its ingredients.

Fire Cider has been around for many many moons. It is a traditional remedy that is still used today to stimulate digestion, prevent and treat cold and flu symptoms and warm the body on cold days.

Fire Cider is apple cider vinegar (ACV) infused with delicious things from the garden (or your favorite organic market) like garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, lemons and honey. Traditionally, horseradish root is also used (and works wonders on congestion) but can sometimes be difficult to find in your local market.

The magic of making your own Fire Cider is deciding what to put in it! There are endless medicinal combinations.

Fill a quart size mason jar 3/4 of the way full with:

Crushed cloves of garlic
Chopped white onion
Fresh grated ginger root
Fresh grated turmeric
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (start with a 1/4 tsp.)
Zest and juice from a lemon

Fill the jar with ACV. Cover the jar with wax or parchment paper (to keep the acv from touching the metal lid) before screwing on the lid. Store in a dark place where you will not forget about it. Let the goodness infuse into the vinegar for four to six weeks, giving it a good shake it every few days.

At the end of the four to six weeks, strain the vinegar, add your desired amount of organic local honey (try 2 tablespoons then give it a taste) and store it in a clean jar.

Take a shot each morning (or multiple times per day if you are feeling sick) to ward of potential illness and to warm your body on these cold winter mornings. It can also be added to your favorite vegetable juice or salad dressing!

A brief health highlight of each ingredient:

ACV: Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains proteins, enzymes, beneficial bacteria, antioxidants and amino acids. The main substance in vinegar, acetic acid, can help kill pathogens including bacteria. There are numerous benefits to incorporating ACV into your daily health routine.

Garlic (allium sativum): Raw garlic contains vitamin C, B6, selenium and manganese. It is an anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-aging. Garlic improves immune function by activating our germ eating cells called macrophages, and it increases the number of antioxidants that fight free radicals in your blood. Raw garlic contains allin, which, when crushed, becomes allicin, a potent antibiotic that has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. I also successfully treats bacterial and fungal infections and digestive problems.

White Onion (allium capa): Raw white onion contains biotin, manganese, B6, copper, fiber, phosphorus, potassium and folate. Like garlic, white onion is an allium vegetable. It is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial. It offers a unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients that are powerful detox elements. Quercetin, an antioxidant flavonoid in white onion, has been used to lower cholesterol and fight asthma, bronchitis, hay fever and diabetes.

Ginger (zingiber officinale): Fresh ginger root, a natural anti-viral, has been proven to treat stomach problems like motion sickness, gas, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. The spicy component of ginger stimulates saliva flow and boots the metabolism. It also offers pain relief from arthritis, muscle soreness and menstrual cramps and can help suppress upper respiratory infections, coughs and bronchitis. Ginger also promotes circulation, which can help to induce the body’s natural defense against cold, flu and a fever.

Turmeric (curcuma longa): The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is anti-inflammatory and powerful antioxidant. It has long been used to treat arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain, diaherra, gas, loss of appetite, headaches, bronchitic, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia and fever. Turmeric is also an adaptogen, meaning that it helps your body, on a cellular level, to fight stress and increase immune function.

Cayenne Pepper (capsicum annuum): Cayenne pepper contains vitamins A and C, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. Capsaicin, the component that gives cayenne its heat, signals the brain to secret endorphins that help to block pain and induce a sense of well-being. Cayenne pepper can be used to perk the appetite, improve digestion, relieve gas and treat nausea. It is also an expectorant; it thins phlegm and eases its passage from the lungs.

Lemon: Lemons contain vitamins C and B6, copper, calcium, fiber and iron. Lemons can be used to treat throat infection, indigestion and constipation, fever, internal bleeding, respiratory disorders and high blood pressure. Lemon has long been known to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach and purify your blood. It also contains flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants.

Honey: The quantity of vitamins and minerals that honey contains depends on type of flowers used by the bees but it commonly contains vitamin C, calcium and iron. It has been long used as a natural antiseptic because if its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can be placed directly on an open wound to disinfect and speed healing. Honey contains nutraceuticals, which are antioxidants that remove free radicals from the body. This helps to improve the performance of our immune system.

Enjoy your new favorite homemade remedy!

 

References: 

Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch
Woman’s Book of Healing Herbs by Sari Harrar & Sara Altshul O’Donnell
Organicfacts.net
Authoritynutrition.com

 

 

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Author: Alyson MacLatchy

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Stephanie/Flickr

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Alyson MacLatchy