November 26, 2014

Who Makes Your Medicine? - Photo by Alice Carrier/Flickr (HobbyFarms.com)

The week before last, I headed down to Georgia for the American Herbalists Guild’s annual symposium. Our farm had a booth in the marketplace, and as usual, I came home with quite a few new goodies, some great ideas for things I wanted to make and a lot of things to write about.

Our booth wound up next to the owner of Herbal Revolution. I had seen her products earlier this summer at the New England Womens Herbal Conference but hadn’t had a chance to taste her wares. This time, I had all the time in the world and found myself so inspired! Katheryn Langelier has taken some of the most popular herbal formulations going and turned them into a signature line of delicious products. On her beautiful, rough-cut shelves I found elderberry syrups, mushroom elixirs and teas. They sound simple, but from someone who handcrafts her medicine with loving intention, it’s a whole new ball game.

One of the products that Langelier makes is a medicine that is about as old as medicine itself: fire cider. Renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar coined the term all herbalists use when she formalized this folk medicine recipe, which combines plants from the allium family (onions and garlic), honey, horseradish, hot peppers and apple cider vinegar. Langelier calls her version “Fire Tonic No. 9,” and it’s sweet, spicy and complex—just like its maker.

Who Makes Your Medicine? Photo courtesy Herbal Revolution (HobbyFarms.com) 

If you go to any store and purchase a bottle of name-brand pain reliever, it will be the same regardless of where in the country you are. The intention of the maker of those pills doesn’t matter. However, handcrafted health supplements are a very different story. When Langelier makes Gladstar’s recipe, she starts with wildcrafted or garden-grown ingredients she harvests by hand. She wanted to highlight the apples from Maine’s oldest-operating organic apple orchard, located near where she lives, so she uses them for the recipe’s apple cider vinegar. There’s a loving intention and a spirit of community behind each bottle she sells.

I encourage my readers to use the same intention when making their own home healthcare products. You will almost always make a superior medicine for your family, whether it is a tincture or simple chicken soup, because it is your personal loving intention that goes into each remedy.

If you can’t always grow and make your own medicine, it’s important to buy from someone makes it with love and healing intention. We need to preserve the old medicine ways for everyone and fight those who wish to keep them only to themselves. These old recipes belong to everyone. You should know your medicine-makers, just as you know your farmer at the farmers’ market. If you buy healthcare products from someone who is not well-intentioned, the medicine available to you will not be up to the potential you’d expect by reading the ingredient list.

If you would like the recipe to make your own “free” fire cider, check out the recipe on the Mountain Rose blog. It’s easy and everyone should!

Get recipes for more herbal remedies on HobbyFarms.com:

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