Confession…I love plants (not news, I know!) I whisper to them and they whisper back. I feel completely connected and grounded when my hands and feet are in the dirt and I’m praying to these wise ones. Plant allies provide nurturing and care through their existence. They remind me that I am of this earth and not just a stranger visiting this place.
Plants are supportive in ways that I don’t necessarily recognize at first. Sometimes the best support they offer is not in the form of a tea or a tincture, but in communion. Through many seasons of depression and anxiety I found that getting my hands in the dirt while gardening was so incredibly healing. The greatest healing came from the forest but at a time when I could barely get myself outside my home my humble garden was able to provide healing through proximity and harmony.
My journey with plants is continual. I am constantly learning new things and finding new ways to engage with these remarkable ones. The sheer volume of herbal knowledge available can seem daunting at first, so I began with herbs I was already familiar with. Kitchen herbs in fairly familiar forms, I used them in cooking and soap and I started learning the constituents of these common friends. I began to understand their individual energetics, which herbs were moistening which were astringent. I recognized the gut soothing abilities of carminitives early on. My favorites had already been ginger, mint, rosemary and fennel but I was gaining insight into why I loved these plants so much. Soxhlets, percolations and spagyrics would come later.
One of the first herbal potions I ever made was fire cider. It was simple, incredibly useful and I was familiar with the ingredients. I drink it, my partner drinks it, my kids drink it (although not as enthusiastically as elderberry syrup.)
Fire cider remains one of my most used concoctions. I change the ingredients every season depending on my inclinations and plant availability. With fall upon us, root harvesting is at the front of my mind. With root harvesting comes mineral rich vinegars and fire cider for the winter season.
Fire cider is a staple in many herbalist’s homes and there are as many versions of it as there are people that create it. I love incorporating whatever herbs I feel drawn to at the time. Changing up the recipe keeps my Aries temperament interested.
There are no hard rules for making fire cider but most recipes will include:
- Hot peppers
Additional ingredients can be as unique and varied as you like:
- Rose hips
- Star anise
- Yellow dock
Really whatever inclinations you have!
Just finely chop all your ingredients and cover them with raw apple cider vinegar. Let it infuse for at least 30 days. You can add honey to the final strained product if you want a tangy sweet oxymel type potion, or you can just use the spicy vinegar in salad dressings and dips etc. I like to use a shot of fire cider at the first sign of illness as an immune booster.
Have fun, be creative and enjoy good health!!