Original Fire Cider Recipe and Controversy


| 12/15/2015 9:18:00 AM


Ancient Traditions

For many generations, herbal medicinal recipes have been prepared by herbalists and families as a way to fight the common cold and other illnesses. As with all early herbal traditions, recipes were passed down from one generation to the next; from healer to community, from parent or grandparent to child. This mentoring was done in the garden and in the kitchen, personally and hands-on.

The exact recipes varied depending on which roots, herbs, and garden varieties were available; also depending on individual needs, tastes and preferences. These effective creations of “food as medicine” continue today.

Fire Cider’s Roots

Since the early 1980s, Rosemary Gladstar, an herbalist who many consider to be the godmother of American herbalism, has been teaching one such recipe to her many students and has been sharing it freely throughout the herbal community and beyond.  From its inception, she called it Fire Cider and describes it as a “spicy, hot, deliciously sweet, vinegar tonic.”

This creation was copyrighted in her herbal course materials and featured in several of the books she authored. Since then, it has been shared, enjoyed, modified, and even sold by an untold number of herbalists and health enthusiasts. With Rosemary Gladstar’s blessing, I am sharing this recipe with you today. Truth be known, I did ask for permission but it was unnecessary because Rosemary generously considers Fire Cider to be everyone’s recipe — part of our herbal legacy.

Name Under Fire

But alas, there is more to this story. In recent years, a company named Shire City Herbals trademarked the name and is attempting to stop all other businesses from using it. Many of these small herbal companies have been creating and selling their version of Fire Cider for many more years than Shire City Herbals has been in existence, potentially for more years than the founders of Shire City have been alive!



Litigation has been ongoing but the case will hopefully end soon with the freeing of Fire Cider.  If you would like to learn more or get involved, please go to Free Fire Cider.



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