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Herbal Ally :: Fire Cider

Fire Cider :: When in doubt, sweat it out!

When I saw our Fire Cider class scheduled during my herbalism school my first thought was:

COOL, lets get the camp fire flaming and get the cauldron out.

I was under the impression that it was an herbal remedy that was made over an open flame. It turns out fire cider is actually one that heats up the internal FIRE!


Fire Cider is like our ancestral roots coming back to fan our flames. A tradition that dates back into the early 1900 if not before, but the name was officially coined by legendary herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. In the 1980s she taught her students how simple kitchen staples could become some of their greatest allys. However, in 2012 Rosemary as well as several other herbalist went to court to protect Fire Cider’s grassroots heritage from being trademarked and swept away from small herbalists forever. In 2019 storey.com wrote:


After a five year battle, “fire cider” is free from trademark restrictions and is officially considered a generic term, which means no one can own it — it belongs to all of us, and all are free to make and sell fire cider as they chose. What’s even more exciting is that this landmark victory sets a precedent and means that other herbal products and terms with a history of being commonly shared and community owned will be far less likely to be trademarked in the future.


This modern milestone means that small herbalists won’t be starved out of our rights to produce products that ALL of ancestors used at one time, as larger corporations and pharmaceutical companies continue to jump on the waves of plant medicine.



“Tradition not trademark”



But WHAT IS Fire Cider?


My teacher Elaine Sheff from Greenpath Herbal School describes it as a remedy that “stimulates our mucus membranes aka ‘ingredients that make you cry’”. In other words it helps warm, move and boost your immune system, lymphatic system, and sluggish digestion.


Fire Cider is formally considered an “Oxymel” a herbal remedy that combines vinegar and honey. Vinegar works as an extractor to draw out medicinal qualities in plants. The honey, as well as the vinegar in Oxymels help preserve these preparations.


Uses:

  • Protection :: help boost the immune system from cold + flus

  • Digestion :: known to stoke the digestive fire… perfect as an aid for sluggish winter/holiday digestion

  • Mover :: it helps with lymphatic drainage and is condors to support season allergies


It should be noted that making Fire Cider at home is a two part labor of love.

  • Chopping the ingredients can take some effort as well as time.

  • In addition traditional Fire Ciders can take a month to brew to be considered steeped to perfection.


You can find hundreds of Fire Cider recipes online ranging from traditional western remedies to Thai spinoffs, Hotty Toddys, Seasonal Ingredient Recipes, and even popsicle recipes that will sweeten the deal for kiddos. My favorite recipe draws inspiration from several more traditional recipes. Enjoy and let me know what you think.


Camp Fire :: Fire Cider

1 Onion chopped

1/2 Cup of Horseradish

10 Cloves of Garlic chopped

2 Jalapeños chopped

1 Lemon juice + zest

1/2 cup of Ginger

1 Tbsp Turmeric

1/4 tsp Cayenne

2 tsp Black Peppercorns

1/4 cup of Local Honey

ACV

1/2 Gallon Mason Jar or Glass Container with seal tight lid


*Optional Ingredients I’ve Used: Astragalus Root, Rosemary, Thyme,

Combine fresh ingredients in your glass container. Top off with Apple Cider Vinegar and seal tight. Please note that if you’re using a metal lid it’s always recommended to have a layer of parchment paper under the lid to keep the lid from corroding during processing.

Place jar in a place you’ll see it every day. Shake daily for 3-4 weeks. After maceration period strain herbs with a cheese cloth or herb press. Reserve the liquid in a seal tight jar.

Fire Cider will keep for several months on the counter, but suggested to keep refrigerated for best preservation.


Take daily or as needed up to 1-3x a day.

Adults: 1 tsp

Kids: 1/2 tsp (never serve honey to children under 1 year of age)


Get creative and add Fire Cider to teas, salad dressings, make popsicles, add to soups, or blend with your favorite marinades.


**Please use caution when introducing new herbs/herbal remedies. Never blindly take herbal remedies without learning more about their constitutions and contraindications. It’s important to consult with your medical professionals to ensure that herbal allys you’re curious about will best support your overall well-being.



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