Best Health - - NUTRITION NATURALLY - Pho­tog­ra­phy by DONNA GRIF­FITH | food styling by ASH­LEY DEN­TON

iKNOW I AL­WAYS FEA­TURE A sin­gle in­gre­di­ent in this col­umn, but it’s hol­i­day time and some­times rules are made to be bro­ken. Fire cider isn’t a one-in­gre­di­ent won­der – in­stead it's a po­tent con­coc­tion of in­gre­di­ents that will un­doubt­edly of­fer you health in­sur­ance as you make your way through the fes­tive sea­son.

While your friends are throw­ing back shots of booze, you can show them who’s the cool (and very wise) kid in town by shar­ing your home­made fire cider brew, made of onions, gar­lic, gin­ger, cayenne pep­per, horse­rad­ish and ap­ple cider vine­gar. They will stand back, ei­ther in awe or be­cause of the smell em­a­nat­ing from you.

Not only is this combo un­pleas­ant to the nose but some might also con­sider it painful to con­sume – hence the name “fire cider” or “uni­corn love po­tion.” We mean busi­ness here.


You’re likely to find vari­a­tions on this tra­di­tional folk rem­edy avail­able on web­sites or at lo­cal farm­ers’ mar­kets. It’s sim­ple to make: Com­bine the afore­men­tioned in­gre­di­ents and let the mix in­fuse for two or three weeks. To­gether, these in­gre­di­ents cre­ate a su­per­tonic for the im­mune sys­tem and, though it may not be the most de­li­cious con­coc­tion, it works. I have to say, the first time I drank it, I kind of hated the per­son who poured it for me. Over time, though, I’ve de­vel­oped a taste for it – and even grown to love it. You will, too – maybe.


On their own, onions, gar­lic, gin­ger, cayenne pep­per, horse­rad­ish and ap­ple cider vine­gar boast an­tivi­ral, an­tibac­te­rial, an­ti­fun­gal and im­mune-boost­ing prop­er­ties. When we com­bine them in this tonic, the power be­comes greater than the sum of its parts.

Gar­lic and onions have long been stud­ied for their ben­e­fi­cial ef­fects on the im­mune sys­tem. Both have also been shown to have anti-di­a­betic prop­er­ties, im­prove the health of your heart and ar­ter­ies and help pre­vent cancer. Cayenne pep­per helps pro­mote cir­cu­la­tion in the body and has been shown to have strong an­ti­fun­gal ben­e­fits. Horse­rad­ish can also help pro­mote cir­cu­la­tion, pre­vent uri­nary tract in­fec­tions, pro­tect your DNA and – es­pe­cially rel­e­vant dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son – shorten the du­ra­tion of flu. Gin­ger can also help to rem­edy stom­ach up­set, pro­mote di­ges­tion and re­duce nau­sea. All of these in­gre­di­ents in­fuse their medic­i­nal ben­e­fits into ap­ple cider vine­gar – a tonic that has anti-tu­mour prop­er­ties, pro­tects against free rad­i­cal dam­age to the kid­neys and liver (two im­por­tant detox or­gans) and an­ti­fun­gal ben­e­fits.

Though a spoon­ful of sugar may help the medicine go down, there is no sugar in­vited to this folk rem­edy party. The po­tency of these roots and herbs gets the job done! If you’ve ever done a shot of al­co­hol in your life, you’ve got this cov­ered.


Brew up your own right away – I’m talk­ing to­day. It takes a few weeks for it to in­fuse fully, so the sooner you have some ready to go, the bet­ter.

Con­sis­tency is key with any nat­u­ral rem­edy, and it’s typ­i­cally rec­om­mended that you have a shot of this tonic once a day on an empty stom­ach for pre­ven­tion or up to three times a day to kick that cold (or hang­over) to the curb.

Though you may be tempted to di­lute this tonic wa­ter, don’t do it. The power is in the po­tency. If you’re suf­fer­ing from stom­ach ul­cers or gut in­flam­ma­tion, con­sult with your health­care prac­ti­tioner. If you’re preg­nant, it’s best to avoid this tonic al­to­gether.


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