FIRE CIDER: Traditional, Decades-Old Recipe Now Under FIRE!



by Rebecca Roentsch Montrone, Nutritionist & Certified Holistic Health Practitioner

Some “Fire Cider” History

Back in the early 80’s, renowned American herbalist Rosemary Gladstar brainstormed a “spicy hot, deliciously sweet vinegar tonic” in the kitchen of her California School of Herbal Studies.  Anyone in the US who practices herbalism or is simply interested in herbal medicine knows of Rosemary Gladstone.  Rosemary was part of every single herbal medicine conference I ever attended, and in most cases was one of the ringleaders.  A prolific author, her Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal is still one of my favorites.  While my professional bookshelves boast an impressive holistic health library, this book is one of the few that sits proudly on the coffee table in my office.

In her own words, Rosemary “taught hundreds of people how to make it” through her school of herbal studies “…and as I traveled about the country teaching about medicinal plants in conferences, schools, and various events.”


Taking the “Fire Cider” idea way back, Hippocrates recommended the “Oxymel” – a combination of vinegar and honey.  Later, Dr. D. C. Jarvis authored a bestselling book in 1958 called Vermont Country Folk Medicine in which he touted honey and apple cider vinegar as a panacea or cure-all.  (This book, by the way, also sits proudly on the coffee table in my office!)  He used this ancient Oxymel preparation to treat arthritis, gout, high cholesterol, as a metabolic stimulant to promote weight loss, and for longevity and life extension.

But what exactly IS “Fire Cider?”

Although there are many variations depending on the personal preferences of the formulator, these are the ingredients in Gladstar’s basic formula:

  • Raw horseradish root (powerfully antibacterial and stimulates lungs to cough stuff out)
  • Raw onion (contain allicin which slows down and kills a variety of viruses and bacteria)
  • Raw garlic (historically known as a food that fights infections from bacteria and viruses)
  • Raw ginger (research indicates can prevent and help heal flu infections)
  • Raw turmeric (shown repeatedly to be a big boost to the immune system)
  • Raw or dried cayenne pepper (defends against viruses and bacteria)
  • Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (antiviral, lymphatic system, intestinal health)
  • Raw, unprocessed honey (antioxidant, antibacterial, supports digestion)

How do I DO it?

Chop up all the solid ingredients, cover with the apple cider vinegar, add ¼ cup or so of honey.  Let sit for 3-6 weeks at room temperature, shaking daily.  Strain and store at room temp for several months or even longer in the fridge.

How do I USE it?

I like to say, “A shot a day keeps the doctor away!”  Rosemary says, “A small shot glass daily serves as an excellent tonic OR take teaspoons if you feel a cold coming on.”

BUT…“Fire Cider” trouble is brewing…  

Long story short, in 2012, a company called Shire City Herbals, based right here in New England, trademarked the product name “Fire Cider.”  While they stated no one opposed their application during the comment period, Gladstar says “The first notice to stop selling ‘Fire Cider’ was sent to Etsy business after the public opposition was over.” Almost humorous, if you go to their website and look at the staff pictures, my guess is that none of them were even living when Rosemary Gladstar first formulated Fire Cider.

Bottom Line?

You can’t trademark “hot chocolate.”

You can’t trademark “iced tea”

You can’t trademark “hot fudge Sundae”

You can’t trademark “bone broth”

Back off, Shire City Herbals.  As Gladstar suggests, you can certainly trademark “Shire City Fire Cider.”  Consider it, because the rest of us aren’t taking this lying down!

For our readers

If you are interested in learning more and/or supporting efforts to oppose the “Fire Cider” trademark by Shire City Herbals, visit:




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