I have a favorite immune support concoction that I love to start my morning with when I have it on hand, especially during the winter. I always seem to have a hard time setting aside time to actually making it, though, which is a shame. It’s a recipe called “Fire Cider.” The well-known Herbalist and Author Rosemary Gladstar came up with it in the 70s (though recipes like it may have been around before that) and she has been perfecting it ever since. There is an interesting legal battle concerning the name “Fire Cider” that’s been waging for a few years now. I urge you to look into it, as it highlights some interesting quirks of herbal work and copyright, but it’s not the focus of my post today. Instead, I want to talk about the product itself, how to make it, and where it plays a part in magic.
The recipe for Fire Cider calls for an apple cider vinegar, preferably unpasteurized. The herbal ingredients are:
½ cup of chopped horseradish root
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped garlic cloves
¼ cup grated ginger
Chopped fresh or powdered cayenne pepper to taste
Chopped fresh or powdered turmeric (an addition of mine that usually matches the amount of cayenne I put in, if it’s powdered. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on fresh turmeric, maybe an ⅛ of a cup?)
You may notice that these herbs are all food. That being said, the amounts of this recipe can be tweaked to taste or availability. Take these herbs, mix them together in a mason jar, cover them with the apple cider vinegar, gently warmed, but not hot. Put the cover on, and shake it once a day. Usually it’s suggested to do this for a month, but if you’re feeling like working a little extra magic into it, you can do it for a moon cycle.
When you’re ready, strain out the fire cider with a cheesecloth, add honey to taste (or not, if you don’t want or need the sweetness). Take a shot a day, or more if you’re worried about getting sick. This recipe leaves a lot of room to change things around. Some people add orange peel for the taste (and maybe some Vitamin C), or Cinnamon for its taste and medicinal properties. The important parts are the apple cider vinegar, onions, garlic, horseradish, and ginger. The cayenne is highly advisable, but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker.
The herbs in this concoction are generally warming, and are great at taking out a lot of different sicknesses before they settle in. If you take it before your coffee, its zing and heat will wake you right up. It’s also great for your circulation, and you’ll have the immune system of a champ with it.
While looking at the jar of Fire Cider sitting on our kitchen counter recently, I began to wonder what the magical properties of the herbs I’m extracting via vinegar are. That has to have some effect on the imbibing individual, doesn’t it?
These herbs actually have a lot in common in the more esoteric senses. As garlic and onion are related, this makes sense. They both have connections to Mars, and are used as protection against hostile magic and malevolent spirits. I think that magic and physical response are two sides of the same coin, and this makes sense. As these herbs dispel illness, they also dispel bad vibes. They are protectors that also have a connection to martial matters and male sexuality. With their history as ways to support heart and circulatory health, it would make sense that they are also connected to these things.
Ginger also has connections to Mars (a Mars in Aries astrology, just like garlic). It is used in magic concerning protection and sexuality. Could this be another connection to its use as an herb of the circulatory system?
Horseradish is also connected to Mars, and used for purification and protection. It’s medicinal uses are many. When grinding it, sometimes I have to use goggles it makes my eyes burn. It is well deserving of its fiery reputation.
I actually couldn’t find anything on the esoteric uses of cayenne, but I’m sure they’re out there. It’s certainly a fiery herb, and great medicinally for getting things moving, circulation, and kicking out illnesses. It also has a good amount of Vitamin C.
Turmeric has a history in magic as an herb of protection. Medicinally, it has some great anti-inflammatory actions that are a fine addition to the Fire Cider. I also like the taste, it fights blood clots (like a lot of the other herbs in this recipe), and there is interesting research on it helping the body fight cancer.
Vinegar itself has often been used in magical practice. I have a few herbal vinegar extracts that are waiting to be finished and mixed together to make a home cleansing vinegar wash. Vinegar itself has protective and cleansing qualities. It’s used in exorcism and banishment. I’ve even read that some people put out a bowl of vinegar in energetic troubled areas to make it difficult for negative energies to take shape. It is also classified under something that has a fiery energy.
Fire Cider has more fire in it than just in taste. All of these ingredients seem to have some use in protection and banishment, which is essentially what an herbalist is trying to do to winter illnesses with this concoction. Not only will it keep you physically healthy, it might also do the same thing for you energetically. Now, if you don’t mind, I think I’m going to strain out the batch in my kitchen and take a shot. Yeah, it’s early afternoon, but it’s sounding like a good idea to me to get a shot in.
-The Green Mountain Mage