One of the things that draws me to plant based medicine is that the majority of herbalists I know are studying and practicing it for the right reasons. They acknowledge that for the vast majority of humanity’s time on Earth, plant based solutions were by and large the only option for ailments. Studies of ancient people and archeological finds show that at least 50,000 years ago the Neanderthals used plants like chamomile and yarrow for their healing properties. The first written “prescriptions” have been found on clay tables from Sumer (now Iraq) in 2400 BCE.

When I began my knowledge quest some 25 years ago, I decided that I wanted to study with a variety teachers, mentors and elders. One such person is Rosemary Gladstar. This diminutive, soft spoken woman has quite possibly done more to bring herbal medicine to the forefront as not only a viable option for fostering health, but to the consciousness of world due to its gentler, yet profoundly effective attributes. Although some plants can have negative effects, by and large in the hands of a trained herbalist, plants can provide opportunities for wellness that have few side effects, are affordable and accessible.

So as the brilliantly sunny days of the Arizona summer draw to a close, I am always excited to get my Winter Wellness collection together. This always starts with Fire Cider as it needs to steep for 4 – 6 weeks and I want to have it ready by the time the winter chill hits home.

Although I now make many varieties, I still always make Rosemary’s Original. Rosemary shares her recipe freely. And if you ever want to read a David and Goliath type story, just search for the Traditions not Trademark story on the internet. It is a testament about what I mentioned earlier. Herbalists are not idiots. And they can pull together even against corporate America.

So here it is, Rosemary’s Original. Give it a whirl. And then better yet, do a little research, get out your creativity and make your signature tonic.

Rosemary’s Recipe

  • ¼ cup grated fresh horseradish root
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup chopped ginger
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic

Cayenne pepper, fresh, chopped, or dried/flaked cayenne, to taste

Place all in a clean half gallon mason jar. Pour enough organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother) over the herb. Cover them by 4” and put on a plastic or glass lid (if using metal, put a piece of wax paper between the contents and the lid.)

Set in a cool spot out of direct sunlight for 4 weeks. Give it a little shake daily.

When ready, strain off the liquid. Add a little local, raw honey. Shake to mix. It should be hot, sweet and spicy and is ready to either take by the shot as a daily tonic, in a glass in a little warm water, mixed into a salad dressing or stir fry.

Bottle your masterpiece and date and label it. It stores for several months in cool, dry pantry, or store in your refrigerator.