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It's finally here!! It is the season of all things fire cider. Fire Cider,in the form of Four Thieves and Queen of Hungary Water ,has been around for centuries. In the 1970's, a beautiful soul and herbalist by the name of Rosemary Gladstar created the Fire Cider that we drink today.

Rosemary Gladstar was teaching a class for her students at the California School of Herbal Studies entitled "Herbs for Winter". She was looking to create something that could be taken as a daily tonic to warm and energize the body, raise immunity and aid circulation. While there were already a few tonics available on the market, Rosemary wanted something unique. Something people could use to heal themselves. She set out to create traditional medicine for the people.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

After the creation of the internet, a single commercial entity took ownership of a name and tradition that had been rooted in American herbalism for centuries. Many of these recipes were rooted in Native and Indigenous people's healing traditions, arts, artifacts and herbal formulas. Fire Cider has been owned and shared by the community for over 500 years. Trademark laws definitely have a place in our society to protect individuals and companies. However, herbal products and formulas that are traditional, common and shared should not be trademarked. Liken it to strangers trying to trademark your grandmother's family recipe and call it their own. Grandma would be upset.

The goal of the herbalism community was to have the trademark removed. Why? So that it remains free for anyone to use. And more importantly, to preserve our shared community ownership of herbal traditions. On September 30, 2019, a judge declared “fire cider” a generic term and therefore could not be trademarked.

The "Fire Cider Three" and Rosemary Gladstar prepare for a day of testimony. From left to right: Nicole Telkes, Mary Blue, Rosemary Gladstar, and Kathi Langelier. Photo courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs

The benefits of fire cider are that it restores and invigorates your system, it boosts energy, wards off colds and flus, eases sinus congestion, lowers blood sugars, curb cravings and aids digestion.

The ingredients are all beneficial to healthy our bodies. They are horseradish, onions, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper and honey. Their benefits are as follows:

Horseradish root is naturally rich in antioxidants, glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which may protect against cancer, fight bacterial and fungal infections, and improve breathing issues. Onions are an excellent source of Vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids and phytochemicals. Garlic may help to lower the risk of both lung and brain cancer and the levels of osteoarthritis. It is a powerful probiotic. It contains diallyl trisulfide, a component of garlic oil, helps to protect the heart during cardiac surgery and after a heart attack.

Apple Cider Vinegar (with the Mother). has various healthful properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. What’s more, evidence suggests it may offer health benefits, such as aiding weight loss, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving the symptoms of diabetes. Cayenne may provide pain relief, help reduce hunger, lowers blood pressure, aid in digestive health, improve Psoriasis and reduce cancer risk. And finally, honey is a good source of antioxidants. It is both antibacterial and antifungal. Honey is a Phytonutrient powerhouse.

Fire Cider may not be the cure-all that it’s touted to be, but for my family, it’s a pleasurable way to stay healthy.

Our gate is always open,


Rosemary’s Recipe

½ cup grated fresh horseradish root

½ cup or more of onions

¼ cup or more of garlic

Cayenne pepper, fresh (chopped) or dried (flakes or ground), to taste

Apple cider vinegar (preferably raw and organic)

Honey to taste

Place herbs in a half gallon mason jar and add enough vinegar to cover them by 3 to four inches. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid. Place jar in a warm spot and let sit for 3-4 weeks. Shake the jar every day to help the maceration process.

After 3-4 weeks, strain the herbs, reserving the liquid. Warm the honey (so that it will mix well) and add it to the vinegar, to taste. “To taste” means your fire cider should be hot, spicy and sweet. The honey helps to cool the heat, moistens and balances the fiery ingredients.

Bottle, label and enjoy. Fire cider will keep several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry. But it’s better stored I the refrigerator if you have room.

You can drink a ½ to 1 tablespoon in a shot glass with a chaser of water to help not erode the enamel of your teeth. Take as a daily tonic or throughout the day if you feel a cold coming on.

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