Autumn Immune Tonic - Fire Cider

As we transition to autumn, start boosting your immunity with this fiery mix of herbs, honey and vinegar. With anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and circulatory herbs, it will stand you in great stead as the months get colder. It takes a month to infuse so now is the perfect time to get making. This sweet/sour tonic is known traditionally as an oxymel and I’m a huge fan of this combo of flavours.

Championed by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, this is a great folk remedy to make around the kitchen table with friends. You can all help each other chop and and prep the herbs, and go home with a warming remedy for autumn. I like to take 1 tbsp of this each day through the winter. I have pretty poor circulation and find it warms me up a treat. It can also aid digestion, especially with the ‘live’ apple cider vinegar. Bonus.

Just beware this is a potent kick to your taste buds - go steady at first either diluting with water, adding to dressings and pickles or sipping slowly. You can also add to more honey to make a cough syrup.

I have read that horseradish may interact with an underactive thyroid (which I have, and would love to know from a herbalist if this is true) so I tend to leave it out but makes a great addition if you like a real punch.

Fire cider making

Fire cider making



Autumn Immune Tonic - Fire Cider


½ cup chopped onion (44g)

 ½ cup chopped garlic (44g)

 ¼ cup fresh grated ginger (33g)

 ¼ cup grated horseradish (fresh) (19g)

 ¼ cup grated fresh turmeric root or 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp ground dried turmeric (17g)

 Cayenne pepper – ¼ tsp ground/dried or ½ medium fresh.

 Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

  ¼ cup fresh chopped rosemary, sage and thyme (can also just use one herb)

 Organic Lemon with peel - diced.

 2-4 tbsp raw honey


You can be loose with these quantities and ingredients and add in different herbs depending on the season. I’ve made a Ruby Fire Cider with hibiscus and spices like cinnamon, star anise and cardamom.

Place all ingredients in a kilner jar and cover with the raw apple cider vinegar. Cover opening with parchment paper before screwing on lid as otherwise the vinegar will rust the lid. Label. Leave to infuse for a month in a warm place. I put in the bottom of my kitchen dresser. But top of the fridge could work too. You can leave longer than a month for an even more fiery kick, but 3-4 weeks works for me.

Strain off herbs. Add raw honey to liquid to taste. Bottle. I keep mine in the fridge.

DOSE: I know people who drink a hearty shot a day but start small. 1tbsp – once daily in the morning. 6 tsp per day when you have a cold.