There is nothing worse than getting sick during the winter months. Walking around in cold, damp weather can take its toll on your body. I use a simple, home remedy of fire tonic (fire cider) to boost my immune system and fight the crud all season long.

Fire tonic has been around for ages and is still commonly used for many home remedies. Taking one shot of fire tonic twice a day, at the first sign of an oncoming cold, can help your body fight the crud. Fire tonic can be used for many other ailments including, but not limited to, stimulating metabolism, reducing muscle cramps, killing harmful gut bacteria, reducing blood sugars, and to regulate the body’s pH.

This powerful concoction can be found in some health food stores, but it can be expensive: I have seen an 8 oz. bottle sell for over $10. Making fire tonic at home allows you to save a little bit of money, and you have the option to change the desired flavor.

Fire Tonic:


  • 1-2 orange
  • ½ to 1 lemon
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Small handful of holy basil (regular would suffice)
  • ½ cup peeled and diced horseradish
  • ¼ cup peeled and diced ginger
  • ¼ cup peeled and diced turmeric
  • ½ cup peeled and diced onion
  • 1 habanero chili, split into quarters
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • ¼ cup raw honey (optional: added later as sweetener)
  • 1 gallon of raw and unfiltered (with mother) apple cider vinegar*
  • 1 gallon glass jar with lid

* Don’t substitute distilled white vinegar in this recipe; it doesn’t have the same properties. Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can usually be found in the health food section of any grocery store. Make sure it contains “the mother”, a kind of sediment at the bottom of the jar. The brand in our area is Bragg’s.


Wash all ingredients, including oranges and lemons since they will be sliced and placed into the jar with rinds attached. It is important to place the ingredients into the jar in a specific order. This will ensure that they remain submerged during the rest period.

In your clean gallon glass jar put peppercorns in first, then herbs, chopped onion, and the quartered (and seeded if you wish) habanero chili. You can roughly chop the herbs or place them in whole; it’s a matter personal preference.

For the root items, an easy way to peel them is to scrape the edge of a spoon in the opposite direction of the papery skin. It sure beats using a vegetable peeler. Once peeled and diced, place them into the jar.

Thinly slice the lemon and orange. Layer sliced lemons on top of all ingredients and around the edges to cover. Next, layer the orange slices around the the edge, tucking just a little around the lemons to ensure everything stays submerged. The original recipe called for 1 orange and ½ lemon, but I wanted to sweeten it up a little more, so I added two oranges and a full lemon. Plus, I needed some extra orange slices to cover the top since I got too excited and put my orange in too early.

Pour the unfiltered apple cider vinegar slowly over the ingredients and fill to about 1” below the lip of the jar. Cap the jar and place it in a dark cupboard for at least four weeks, gently agitating daily to mix up the ingredients. If the dark cupboard happens to be in a cooler area of your home, like a basement, you’ll need to leave it for six weeks. HINT: Set a calendar reminder so you know when the fire tonic is done!

4-6 Weeks Later

Once the mixture has steeped, strain the tonic through cheese-cloth into a clean jar , and squeeze out as much liquid from the pulp as possible. Add the raw honey now, if you’d like. Transfer to smaller bottles for gifts, or mason jars for easy access.


Drink one ounce of tonic twice daily at the first sign of a cold. Or take a dose here and there throughout the “cold season” to boost the body’s immune system and help prevent sickness! Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. This will not “cure” the common cold and will not take place of doctor recommended medications. Use at your own risk, but know that this is safe and non-toxic for all ages.