Fire Cider: A Magical Elixir

Fire Cider: A Magical Elixir

Fire_Cider_FlickrIf you've never tasted Fire Cider, it's hard to describe it. It's ... an experience ... which grows on you :)It is in my Top 3 Folk Remedies. It's strong, simple medicine that is both a great tonic and treats many specific conditions. Fire Cider has been on my mind a lot over the last couple of weeks for two reasons.

  1. It's great for treating lung and sinus congestion or even infections. I'm seeing lots of this late winter lung congestion coming up in the people around me.
  2. Fire Cider has been Trademarked. Herbalists all over are working to keep the folk knowledge alive and public.

Let's start with my recipe first, then I'll share a bit more about this controversy.

Garliq's Fire Cider

diy fire ciderIngredients...

  • equal parts : garlic, ginger, horseradish
  • 1-10 hot peppers (whatever you like)
  • or use some cayenne powder (somewhere between a pinch and a 1/2 tsp/litre)
  • apple cider vinegar (ACV)


  1. Chop up garlic, ginger and horseradish.
    • I mince everything, but if it slows you down too much to chop it all really finely then just cut bigger pieces
  2. Put it all in a jar with pinch of cayenne according to your taste
  3. Pour in ACV to cover the herbs and cap the jar
  4. Shake it every day or so for 2-4 weeks
  5. Strain through a couple layers of cheesecloth or some muslin
  6. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the plant mush (the "marc")
  7. Store in the dark

Oh, and 8. Take Regularly! Fire breathingSurfing the Experience...This recipe may seem intimidating to some people. Rosemary Gladstar named it well, it has flare! But sometimes people hear the name and read the ingredients and they think "hey, this is a good medicine to force sickness out of my body" (somewhat like the current use of oregano oil).Heroic medicine is the name I use to refer to this approach. It tends to be driven by panic or impatience and creates one strong burst to try to push the body toward wellness.I mention this because I this recipe was created from a far more nourishing tradition of herbalism, more of a grandmother's herbalism. This approach focuses on nourishing the body.So, dilute your Fire Cider if it's too strong for you, or take smaller doses. Maybe try it in your food so it's easier on your stomach. I've even seen recipes that add honey.Please don't force yourself to take some burning hot elixir of life that leaves you reeling. That's not the way of nourishment. Ok, onto the trademark story...First, let me say that it was just in the US that it was trademarked. I don't think it applies to Canadian law.Quick history...Rosemary Gladstar coined the name in the 1970's. She's published it in her books and on her website. And she has a video on youtube.Shire City Fire Cider labelThen, just recently Shire City Herbals was able to trademark it by arguing that their brand is so popular that we're all thinking of their product and label when we think "fire cider." They claim they've created a "secondary meaning."But it gets worse. They're actively preventing other people, including Ms Gladstar, from selling or even sharing recipes. This has had a significant impact online with websites like Facebook and Etsy. Facebook actually took down pages for the World Fire Cider Making Day. And Etsy has refused to allow anyone else to sell anything called Fire Cider.The thing that kind of surprises me is that I expect this sort of thing from Monsanto. They're trying to patent the garlic and ginger that goes into your Fire Cider, but from a small scale herbal business I'm just stunned.United-statesians can sign a petition --> hereOr read more with these links...

And if you'd like to share your story with Fire Cider or thoughts on this controversy, please add your comment here.

Reminder : the Herbal Integration CourseYou can learn to make your own Fire Cider variations in the Experimental Lab component of the Herbal Integration Course this year. This is a new addition to the course designed to review class work and to experiment with things that we won’t get to in the Core Program.  Things such as, but not limited to… ginger beer & herbal sodas, complex syrups, blended salves, medicated creams... and Fire Cider.Only 2 spots left in class!Apply here --> Herbal Integration Coursestrength & wisdom.garliq