How to Create Fire Cider/Master Tonic

Master Tonic. Or as many herbalists more affectionately call it, Fire Cider. 

There are many ways to make this, and many variations. I'll show you the most basic version, and in my opinion, the one that's most effective. 

This stuff is magic. It really is. I've been making it for the past 3 years, and I keep making it because it works. It doesn't taste very good (although some claim to enjoy it), but it totally works. 

Some suggest taking a spoonful a day as prevention. You can certainly do that; I haven't, mostly just because I'm a pretty fiery person as it is and I don't need to add to that. :)

What I do most of the time, when I'm feeling a bit run-down or like I might be getting sick, is take a shot of it right before I go to bed. I do not suggest doing this on an empty stomach. If it's too burny, eat something cold right after - for me, a piece of frozen fruit takes the burn away completely. I wouldn't say it's spicy, even with so many spicy ingredients. It just burns. If I do that, when I wake up, I always feel totally fine again. 

However, there are times where I've run out of it, or I feel too lazy to go take some, or I just don't bother, and the sickness gets a little worse - my throat hurts, or I'm starting to feel stuffy. If you start getting symptoms, I'd take a shot (or at least a big spoonful) every couple hours. And I'd continue it for a day after the symptoms go away. Even if you don't stop the sickness in time, for me this always seems to at least shorten the duration and severity of it. 

The point is: try to catch it early if you can. This stuff will kill it right away.

Also, I am a little more energetic with my medicine, and I think that the tonic is more powerful when it is created on a new moon and strained on the full moon. I usually do this during one moon cycle, so it ferments about two weeks. You could leave it for 6 weeks, though, which I haven't done yet. It would probably make it more intense medicinally, but I have heard the vegetables might start to disintegrate. Anyway, I've had really good results just from the two weeks. The new moon is a perfect time to create; seeds start in darkness, things grow from the dark. The tonic grows in strength as the moon grows. And just when the moon is at its greatest power, the tonic is strained. This has always felt right to me.

But if you're just in it for the "scientific" benefits, feel free to make it whenever you want. :)


Ok, so:


Equal parts of



Horseradish root


A variety of peppers (as colorful and as spicy as possible!)

Apple cider vinegar* 

Chop up all ingredients as small as possible. After making this a variety of different ways, I think what works best is if they're just peeled and diced pretty small. Since you won't be eating the vegetables, technically if they're organic you don't need to peel them, just chop them up, but I still like to. I used a food processor once, and while it's faster and easier, I didn't like the results as much. I think there's something to be said for the effort it takes to create it, and what goes into the medicine because of that. 

Fill a jar with all the chopped vegetables, and then cover to the top with ACV. Put in a dark spot and leave it, shaking every so often if you remember (it's good to do, but isn't essential.) On the full moon (or however long you've decided), strain and keep the liquid. You can keep in the fridge if you want, but it'll keep indefinitely at room temp too. Compost the leftover vegetables (we don't have a compost pile, but I like to throw them in the woods to return them to the earth. Sometimes people like to reuse them in soup, but, eh…)

*Note on ACV: It's best to use raw, in my opinion. It has added medicinal benefits that way, and it feels more alive to me. That said, it will work if you use pasteurized, and pasteurized is soooo much cheaper than raw. By a lot. So don't feel bad if you need to do that. Also, if you add any additional herbs, you're going to want to use pasteurized. Adding herbs to raw vinegar is kind of like asking for a weird bacterial experiment to occur. Not that it will necessarily harm you, but it might smell kind of funky.. Just use the pasteurized one. 

Additional herbs: I've added turmeric, cayenne, rosemary, sage, oregano, and thyme. Don't use raw acv for that. All of those things have additional benefits, but in this case, I've found that less is more. For me the basic recipe works more effectively than trying to put a million beneficial things into one tonic.