VTCNA Health Tips: Boost Your Immune System With Elderberry Fire-Cider Cannabis Shots

Debra McCulloch Hopkins 28 Jan 2019

Yes, it has descended upon us in all its ugly fury. No, I’m not talking about the state of our current political system. I’m talking about cold and flu season.

Whether you get a flu shot or not, if you touch the wrong doorknob, or keypad at the grocery store, and mindlessly rub your eye or touch your face, you might be transplanting someone else’s rapidly dividing viral cellular detritus into your own bio-matrix. Despite all your precautions and handwashing, if that virus senses a hint of immune system fragility, it will find you a suitable host, and well…the next couple of weeks might not be much fun.

Besides upping your Vitamin C, getting out in nature, and getting a good night’s sleep, what other steps can you take to boost your immune system? I suggest combining elderberry elixir with fire-cider and cannabis. Perhaps even consider making your own home brew.

Both elderberry and fire-cider have gained much mainstream popularity as an immune booster. An elderberry concoction is abundantly sticky and sweet, and a shot of fire-cider is said to grow hair on your chest. Each one alone might not be the most palatable, but together, the stimulating essence of the tangy-yet-tart sweetness can be life-affirming, as it also delivers a full body warming sensation letting you know that your backup support system has arrived!

Traditional fire-cider recipes have been handed down from generation to generation.

Elderberry has many promising benefits, but it’s best known for being an antioxidant. Human studies are few, but in animals, elderberry polyphenols were found to support immune defense by increasing the number of white blood cells.

Fire-cider is a well-known, timeless herbal remedy made by combining fermented apple cider with other strong herbs and popular antioxidant-producing plants such as ginger, jalapeno, onion, lemon, oranges, turmeric/curcumin, and garlic.

By infusing such loveliness together, they create an undeniably powerful immune-strengthening potion. Traditional fire-cider recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, with the name recently trademarked and now available for purchase throughout the country.

Elderberry is also available for purchase as a product brand named Sambicol. Purchasing fire-cider, elderberry, and cannabis oil separately can be a bit pricey, so why not try to make your own? It’s fairly easy and requires mostly patience, and what we call a tincture of time.


To make an elderberry concoction, use dried organic elderberries, or, if you have access to picking fresh berries, dry your own in a dark and well ventilated space.

  • Place the dry (firm and shriveled) berries in a glass jar, fully covering them with food grade glycerin or a 1⁄2 and 1⁄2 mixture of glycerin and food grade alcohol.
  • Cap the mixture using a screw top lid and place in a dark cabinet for at least 6-8 weeks.

Make your own fire-cider:


  • 1 large bottle of organic fermented apple cider. Bragg’s is great, but whatever you have access to is fine.
  • 1-2 medium onions, chopped into large chunks
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1- 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced into large pieces
  • 1 fist-sized piece of ginger, grated.
  • 1 orange, cut into quarters
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 1-2 tablespoons of turmeric or curcumin.

Put all the solid material into a large 1.5 liter Ball Jar, and then fill the jar with the fermented apple cider. Cover this mix using another screw top lid and stash it next to your elderberry brew, also for 6-8 weeks.

Both concoctions will be ready to strain and use at the same time. Once strained, you can compost the fruits and vegetables, and add some local honey to your fire-cider to sweeten the mix.  

Place the elderberry sauce and fire-cider in separate jars for daily use.

Health Benefits Of The Ingredients

Fermented apple cider vinegar can kill or weaken several strains of bacteria. It is commonly used to make pickled vegetables, natural cleaning and health care products. There is also some evidence that it can help lower cholesterol.

Ginger is a popular spice, high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is very well known for its’ anti-nausea and anti-emetic benefits.

Photo by Philip Veater on Unsplash

Jalapeno is also very high in antioxidants and may have pain relieving and cancer fighting properties.

Citrus contains high levels of Vitamin C, which contains antioxidants to boost the immune system. Antioxidants do so by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. When free radicals accumulate, they can promote a state known as oxidative stress, which has been linked to many chronic diseases, including cancer.

Garlic and onion are both members of the allium family and have high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. One larger, 12-week study, found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared to a placebo.

Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

Turmeric/Curcumin have both demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

Adding Cannabis To The Mix

To make these two awesome brews even better, let’s look at adding cannabis to the mix.  

Cannabis and hemp help to replenish our bio-endocannabinoid system and all of our 12 other biological systems. It is theorized that endocannabinoid deficiency contributes to inflammation and a weakened immune system.

The two most widely known cannabinoid receptors in our bodies are CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are largely located in our central and nervous system. CB2 receptors are located throughout the rest of our body’s organs but are especially prominent in our immune system.

As you are crafting your elderberry syrup and fire-cider, you can add dried hemp or cannabis flowers and leaves to both the elderberry infusion and the cider concoction, decarboxylating beforehand if you wish.  

Another easy addition can be using store-purchased or premade cannabis-infused honey as the sweetener to your fire-cider. Or, you can add a store purchased CBD, or cannabidiol oil to your final product – the elderberry fire-cider cannabis shot.

Taking The Shot

I do a daily morning shot of the elderberry/fire-cider/cannabis combo. I use a 30 ml shot glass, half full with the elderberry preparation, the other half with homemade fire-cider.

To tickle my CB2 immune receptors I add a few drops of a prepared CBD oil.

Chug it down daily and stay healthy!

Debra McCulloch Hopkins is an RN, Cannabis Nurse, and Green Nightingale.  

Pass this post:

Related Posts