Wildfire TonicHerbal remedies are time-honored traditions that have recently made a comeback, and I for one, am taking advantage of creating my own herbal medicine cabinet for conditions that do not warrant a doctor’s visit, enter wildfire tonic.

One such remedy is fire cider, which is a spicy hot deliciously sweet vinegar tonic, revived by Rosemary Gladstar and first concocted in the kitchen at the California School of Herbal Studies in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, a company decided to mass produce the remedy to turn a profit and trademarked the name Fire CiderTM…so I’ll refer to it here as Wildfire Tonic instead.

Wildfire Tonic is a warming drink that can be taken to prevent and alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu. It’s a combination of apple cider vinegar, horseradish, ginger, garlic, onion, honey and a touch of cayenne pepper. Why does it work so well? Because each ingredient offers potent properties that help support and strengthen the body’s ability to heal itself.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar is a fermented product made from crushed and aged apples. It is used in many home remedies because of its versatility and high mineral content.
  • Horseradish strongly stimulates digestion and is a good diuretic that promotes perspiration, making it useful in fevers, colds and flu. Horseradish also is antibacterial and is an expectorant, which can be used for both respiratory and urinary tract infections.
  • Ginger is a popular stomach soother and helps to ease vomiting and nausea, and fight off colds, chills and coughs.
  • Garlic supports the immune system and has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which make it useful for treating bladder and kidney infections, yeast infections, ear infections and the common cold.
  • Cayenne is typically used to spice up recipes, but it also has medicinal purposes like increasing circulation and helps ease inflammation.

The recipe below is a variation on the original by Rosemary Gladstar.

Wildfire Tonic


  • ½ cup fresh horseradish root, grated
  • ½ cup onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh ginger, grated
  • 11/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (use more or less based on your preference)
  • Apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”)
  • Raw honey


  1. Place the horseradish, onion, garlic and ginger in a herbs in a half-gallon jar.
  2. Fill jar with apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs.
  3. Cover tightly with a tight fitting lid and put jar in a warm place for three to four weeks. Shake jar daily to help in the maceration process.
  4. Strain and discard (or compost) the herbs.
  5. Add raw honey and cayenne pepper to taste.
  6. Wildfire Tonic will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry, but it’s best to store it in the refrigerator.
  7. Take shot glass full daily for prevention or take 1 teaspoon as needed if you feel a cold coming on.

Do you have your own version of Wildfire Tonic? Tell us about it in the comments!