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Garden of Healing: An Aries Herbalist’s Guide to Fire Cider

Garden of Healing: An Aries Herbalist’s Guide to Fire Cider

I must confess, my heart belongs to the leafy and the green. I share whispers with them, and in their silent, rustling language, they whisper back. There's an undeniable bond when I'm hands-deep in the earth, sharing silent prayers with these wise plants. They are the nurturers, the healers—reminding me with every rustle that I am a child of the earth, not just a passerby.

You see, plants have this subtle way of supporting us. Their companionship is often understated, yet profound—not always as a brewed tea or a crafted tincture, but in simply being there. During the darker seasons of my life, when depression and anxiety cast long shadows, the simple act of gardening was a beacon of healing. And when the forests, those great healers, felt too far a reach, my humble garden offered solace, a sanctuary of growth and balance right at my doorstep.

This journey with plants is ever-evolving. I’m a perpetual student in their green-leafed classroom, always uncovering something new, always finding fresh ways to commune with these wonders of nature. Herbal knowledge is an ocean, and diving in can be intimidating. So I began at the shoreline, with the familiar: herbs from my kitchen, dancing in pots and folded into soaps, their fragrances and energies becoming known to me. Learning their properties, the way some are demulcent and some are astringent, came in time. I quickly took to the comforting powers of carminatives, finding kindred spirits in ginger, mint, rosemary, and fennel, understanding intuitively why they were my chosen few. More complex practices—Soxhlets, percolations, spagyrics—would wait their turn on my path.

Take fire cider, my inaugural potion—it was simple yet potent, and its ingredients were old friends. It became a staple, shared eagerly with my partner and less eagerly with my children, who prefer the sweetness of elderberry syrup.

But fire cider has endured as one of my essentials, a brew I adapt with the turning of each season. With autumn's whisper, thoughts turn to the harvest of roots, to the crafting of vinegars teeming with minerals, and to the preparation of fire cider that will warm the winter months.
Such a potion is a mainstay in the homes of herbal enthusiasts, and its variations are as plentiful as the individuals concocting them. My Aries spirit delights in the freedom to blend the herbs that call to me, ensuring my creations are never quite the same.

In the making of fire cider, there are no rigid rules, but a chorus of fiery and pungent staples often find their way into the mix:

  • Hot peppers
  • Horseradish
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Onion
  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Peppercorns
Then comes the personal touch—add what you will:

  • Burdock
  • Astragalus
  • Beets
  • Hibiscus
  • Rose hips
  • Star anise
  • Shatavari
  • Dandelion
  • Yellow dock

Truly, your imagination is the limit - whatever whispers to you!

Chop them finely, let them bathe in tart and tangy raw apple cider vinegar for a month's time. After straining, you might wish for sweetness, and honey shall oblige, creating an oxymel that dances on the tongue. Or, embrace the kick of spicy vinegar as a bold addition to salads and snacks. At the slightest hint of illness, a shot of this concoction is my shield, an herbal warrior boosting the body's defenses.

Embrace the process, unleash your creativity, and may your health flourish!

Nov 06, 2023

I love the way you write so skillfully and deeply, sharing your gift with us. I use a version of this fire cider that was easier for me to sip, but it kept me healthy during cold and flu seasons even as immunocompromised as I have been. You are such an inspiration, in ways you may never know.

Jana Dieter

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