Of Fire Cider, Folk Medicine, and Trademarks

File under, “This Ain’t Right.”


Every autumn, fire cider begins making its annual appearance at farmer’s markets throughout New England.   The popular cold and flu season tonic is made from garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and cayenne infused in honey and apple cider vinegar.

Fire cider was created and named by Rosemary Gladstar, one of the major figures in North America’s herbal renaissance, who taught it to to the recipe to thousands through books and through classes at the two herb schools she founded.  The people who learned about fire cider from Rosemary taught others, and it caught on quickly.  The folk process took hold, and within a decade, people who had never heard of fire cider were making their own varieties and telling people it was an old, traditional remedy.

In a sense, fire cider really is an old, traditional remedy, it just happens to be a variant  named and created by a particular…

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