DIY Cold-Busting Tonic (aka Fire Cider)

Written by Heather Burkart

I'm passionate about helping women unlock their greatest potential to experience the energy, focus, and mood that they deserve.

This is a quick and easy tonic to make and take when you start to feel a cold coming on. You can also dilute it with water or juice to take as a preventative during the cold/flu season. You probably already have most of these ingredients!

This makes a small batch that you can keep in a jelly jar. Just give it a good shake before you use it. I’ve made this when there’s a cold in the house so it gets used up in a day or two. Store the rest in the fridge – but this tonic is most effective when it’s fresh. It’s actually pretty tasty.

Dilute it a bit with water if it tastes really strong – but that’s the point. The sharpness helps to penetrate tissues and helps to send these cold-busting herbs where they’re most needed. Black pepper is essential to support the lungs.

For kids, try 1-2 teaspoons diluted in ¼ c. water or juice or add a spoonful to applesauce. Not recommended for infants under 1 because of the honey content.

Warning: this is a super warming tonic. Use caution if you have acid reflux, heartburn, or ulcers. You might dilute 50/50 with water the first time you use it to see how it makes you feel.

There are claims that ACV in small doses and diluted in water may actually help in these cases. Best to consult with your doc if you’re concerned.


  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar – antimicrobial, digestive aid
  • ¼ cup honey – antimicrobial in the unprocessed form
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric – cold-busting immune booster and anti-inflammatory
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger root – same
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove – antimicrobial, antiviral
  • 1-2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice – antimicrobial
  • 1-2 small garlic cloves – antimicrobial, antiviral

Dashes salt

Dashes freshly ground black pepper

  1. Measure the lemon juice in a small jelly jar.
  2. Peel and crush the garlic cloves in a garlic press and add it to the lemon juice. Let this sit for a few minutes to mellow the raw garlic flavor while you get the rest of the ingredients ready – or longer.
  3. Add the honey to the jar, stir.
  4. Add the ground spices, stir.
  5. Add vinegar a little at a time and combine well.

Adjust flavor if you’d like by adding more honey.

Take 1-2 Tablespoons every hour or so when you’re feeling symptoms coming on. There are lots of uses for this tonic: add a splash to salads, cooked veggies or greens, or even use in a Bloody Mary.

If you have the time, try Mountain Rose’s recipe for Flame Cider (image above) that sits for a month or longer. I can’t wait to try it. For another immune boosting anti-viral tonic, try their Elderberry Syrup. I get lots of my bulk herbs from Mountain Rose.

Good luck! Contact me with any questions.


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