Fire Cider is a traditional herbal remedy that has been shared freely and made by herbalists across the country for decades. Usually, it is made with fresh garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, chile pepper, vinegar, and honey. The remedy is warming to the body, especially during flu season, and is also a powerful anti-microbial. Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar originally coined the term “Fire Cider” in the 1970s, though she has always freely shared this term.

Recently, a large company trademarked the term “Fire Cider,” and is forcing small businesses to change their product names, even though many of these companies and herbalists have made and sold this remedy for years longer than the company that trademarked it.

The Alchemist’s Kitchen has offered their support to the Free Fire Cider movement, which is working towards “keeping traditional herbal terms in the hands of small businesses, teachers, and the general public.” Through legal measures, a boycott, and a petition, the movement hopes to protect herbalists from being penalized for using terms that have always been in public use.

In Rosemary Gladstar’s words, “Those of us who are advocating to free Fire Cider are busy with our own vibrant lives; we have students, classes, events, and our own small businesses to run. Who has the time to fight this thankless battle? However, if Shire City Herbals is allowed to “own” a product that they neither created nor named, it sets a precedent in the herbal community. What happens to all our other popular legacy herbal recipes? Zoom Balls, Kava Chai, Chaga Chai, Pesto, Nesto (nettle pesto), Kloss’s Liniment, Miracle Grains, or even Elderberry Syrup. What will prevent other “Shire City Herbal’s” from trademarking these popular herbal products, which prevents others from using the traditional terms in commerce?


You can sign the petition here, or donate here!


Raisa Tolchinsky

Raisa Tolchinsky hails from Chicago, received a B.A. from Bowdoin College, and is currently a candidate for an M.F.A in poetry at the University of Virginia. A 2019 Brooklyn Poets Fellow, she has read and edited for Tin House Books and Tricycle Magazine, and is founding editor of SIREN. Her poems, essays, stories, and interviews have appeared in Muzzle Magazine, Tricycle, Blood Orange Review, and KR Online. When she’s not writing, she’s boxing or dancing like a weirdo on her roof. Learn more about Raisa and her work on Instagram @raisatolchinsky and on Twitter at @raisaimogen.

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