Sumac Fire Cider


Sumac Fire Cider is a new twist on a traditional herbal formula. It is an excellent cold and flu remedy and can help stimulate digestion and immune function. It is also useful for the entire respiratory system, from the sinuses, all the way down to the lungs. This blend encourages good circulation and supports cardiovascular health. The addition of sumac and rose hips makes Sumac Fire Cider high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. The star anise gives it a slightly sweet edge. For those who wish to avoid plants in the nightshade family, or to make the recipe less “hot”, leave out the cayenne pepper. Sumac Fire Cider can be added as an ingredient to other herbal remedies such as cough syrups, cough drops, tinctures, teas and herbal pills.


  • ½ cup Sumac (1.5 ounces)
  • ¼ -1/2 cup Rose Hips (1.5 ounces)
  • ¼ cup whole Star Anise
  • ¼ cup Ginger
  • ¼ cup Horseradish
  • ¼ cup Onion
  • ¼ cup Garlic (about 1 medium bulb)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Cayenne (optional)
  • 1 Lemon with peel, organic
  • 2 cups Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 -1 cup Raw Honey

You Will Need:

  • Large sharp knife
  • Quart canning jar
  • Measuring cups
  • Strainer
  • Glass jars for storage (Use plastic lids or parchment or waxed paper under the lid to prevent corrosion.)



  • Chop all ingredients. Beware that noses and eyes may run! Chopping in a well-ventilated area helps.
  • Mix the herbs together in a quart canning jar and pour the apple cider vinegar over the top. Make sure you cover the herbs completely.
  • Infuse the herbs in the apple cider vinegar for 2-4 weeks.
  • Strain through a strainer. I don’t mind some sediment, but you can also strain it through an unbleached coffee filter or muslin cloth if you prefer.
  • Add honey to the vinegar, to taste, and mix well. If the honey is crystallized, you can gently heat the vinegar first for easier mixing. Due to risk of botulism, children under one year old should avoid honey.
  • Pour the Sumac Fire Cider into glass jars and label.
  • Shake before serving.

How to Use Sumac Fire Cider:

You can use the Sumac Fire Cider by simply measuring out a spoonful and taking it by mouth.

  • Tonic Dosage: As a daily support when you feel well, use 1 teaspoon for adults or 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon for kids over 1 year old, 1-3 times a day.
  • Dosage for Cold and Flu: When feeling under the weather, take 1 tablespoon for adults or 1 teaspoon for kids over 1 year old, several times a day.

There are many other fun ways to use the Sumac Fire Cider. Here are just a few:

  • Add it to your tea.
  • Mix it with water, soda water, seltzer or mineral water.
  • Add it to homemade lemonade.
  • Add it to stock or soup.
  • Use it as an ingredient to make homemade mustard or mayonnaise.
  • Add extra virgin olive oil and use it as a salad dressing.
  • Add it to juice or tea and make cold and flu popsicles.
  • Add it to your favorite spirit to make a seasonal cocktail.
  • Drizzle it on steamed vegetables or sautéed greens.
  • Use it as a marinade.

I’d love to hear your ideas about using Sumac Fire Cider as well! Please leave your comments below.

© Elaine Sheff, Clinical Herbalist 2016

ElaineAbout the Author:
The author of several books on herbal medicine and healing, clinical herbalist Elaine Sheff has been passionate about sharing herbal knowledge for over 25 years. Her latest book is Naked: Botanical Recipes for Vibrant Skin and Healthy Hair. Elaine is the Co-Director of Green Path Herb School, located in Missoula, MT, where she strives to inspire and empower students and clients to remember their connection to the earth, the plants and their own healing process. As a certified Instructor of the Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness Methods, Elaine has helped many couples to avoid or achieve pregnancy naturally. An artist and writer, Elaine has written numerous articles about her family’s journey with epilepsy and a special needs child. You can often find her bent over an herb in her garden or marveling at small flowers in mountain meadows with her husband and sons.

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2 Comments on “Sumac Fire Cider

  1. Can you comment on the Sumac? Are you using the native Rhus glabra berries? Have you tried using any purchased berries? Thanks!

    • Hi Dawn,
      Yes, I’m using Rhus glabra. You could absolutely buy the berries and use those as well.
      Have fun with the recipe!

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