If there is one remedy that can prevent and aid healing of any symptoms of colds and even flu, it is fire cider. Also known as fire vinegar, this folk medicine has a long history of use in the world of herbal healing. While there can be some variations to the recipe, the most common ingredients are: apple cider vinegar; roots of ginger, turmeric, and horseradish, onion and garlic, jalapeno peppers, lemon, and cayenne powder.
This combination of ingredients works by decongesting, firing up the circulatory system, and warming up the body. Many of the ingredients also have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties that have been recognized in scientific studies. (Scroll down for the recipe).
Here are the main ingredients along with their research-backed benefits:
Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has a high content of acetic acid, which is a strong antimicrobial — it is able to kill bacteria. But its main reason for being included in the fire cider is actually its anti-histamine properties — it also works as a natural decongestant.
Many naturopathic doctors recommend to take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water at the first signs of a cold and sinus or other infections, or as a preventative during cold and flu seasons. Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar by Bragg is one of the most popular brands, and the one I personally use.
Ginger: Ginger has been studied for thousands of years in Asian cultures and used to fight infections. Recently it is becoming more popular in the western diet, often taken in the form of tea for its antibacterial effect. A 2010 study compared strong extract of ginger leaves and roots and to antibiotics chloramphenicol, ampicillin and tetracycline. The ginger showed greater antimicrobial activity against strep throat. The study concluded that ginger can be successfully used to fight infections.
A 2002 study also found ginger to have therapeutic value against respiratory tract symptoms, runny noses and coughs.
Turmeric: Curcumin, the main active component of turmeric, has been studied and used for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties for over 4,000 years. Turmeric’s antiviral properties have shown great potential in fighting colds and flu. Researchers have been looking for effective natural alternatives to fight the influenza. A 2009 article found curcumin to have the ability to reduce viral replication of 90% of cell or more that have been infected by the virus. Being a powerful antioxidant, curcumin, is also able to fight free radicals, which are extremely damaging to the immune system. Keeping the immune system working properly is the best way to ward off disease, therefore taking turmeric before any cold or flu symptoms appear works as a preventative.