Herbal medicine is the people's medicine. It started with individuals, then communities, traveled into your kitchen and has now made it's way (albeit with some resistance) into mainstream medicine. The whole point of herbal medicine is to harness our relationship with the plants around us to develop healing allies that are accessible, affordable, and available for everyone to use. No patents. No astronomical costs. No ownership of the plants or their medicines. I hope that it always stays this way. I hope that no one ever is allowed to take ownership of a plant, or patent an herb, or restrict the availability (or affordability) of a traditional herbal medicine. This just goes against everything herbal medicine is about. And this is why you'll likely never find an herbalist who is "in it for the money". 

I'm also all about herbalists being able to make a living and support themselves sharing their formulas and gifts of knowledge with the people. Throughout all of history, in every community, there have been herbalists / medicine people who make it their life's work to utilize plants in the healing of people, and even today this hold true. Maintaining a thriving business as an herbalist today requires a considerable amount of craftiness and flexibility - and I can tell you there are still a million hoops to jump through and endless compliance procedures to stay on top of. However, one thing herbalists rarely had to take much notice of was naming their products. This is usually the fun part about making new formulas - birthing them into creation with their own special name. Or, as many herbalists have done - naming generational medicines after their predecessors of very similar formulas. One such example is Rosemary's Gladstar's tried and true (hugely famous) formula of an apple cider vinegar based concoction she called Fire Cider which was introduced by her into the world some 40 years ago. It's become an herbalists kitchen staple for immune support, digestive aide and even as an addition to everything from salad dressings to soups and stews. Everyone makes it a little differently with their own tweaks and variations, and the name has always passed along with each generation of formulas. 

Recently, the name has been taken away from traditional herbalists and trademarked - assigned to one company and one company alone. Other herbalists who continued to sell their products with this name were being sued for infringement (which is kind of an herbalists worst nightmare). In the herb world, the trademarking of this name by a single company (who didn't actually come up with this name or this formula themselves) was not super well received. The herb world is small. Grievances travel quickly and stick around for a while. Not surprisingly, stuff like this happens all the time in a product based society. Using a trademarked name is a no-no if you want keep your product on the market. Obviously. In the herb world though - this just doesn't happen. And people freaked out. Herbalists have enough to worry about people coming after them for all kinds of contrived reasons, but having herbalists come after herbalists is really disheartening. 

My personal opinion about the whole situation is not really relevant. Let's bring this around to the present, and why I've added this gorgeous, delicious and exciting new product to the shop. My local health food store approached me about 6 months ago after they had gotten a whirlwind of complaints from consumers, local herbalists and people who were "in the know" about what was happening with this formula. The product they were currently carrying (now trademarked) was just sitting on the shelf with a healthy customer population not wanting to support a company going after small herbalists. They asked if I would be interested in coming up with a similar formula, with my own twist, and naming it anything I liked. After some initial hesitation (and lots of encouragement from my own community), I decided, what the hell. Go for it. 

So, here she is. My apple cider vinegar based Flaming Elixir, infused with the most potent and stimulating immune and digestive supporting herbs your tummy will likely experience this season. Robust and flavorful schisandra, immune supporting garlic, onion and thyme, liver loving, anti-inflammatory turmeric and spicy potent cayenne flavor this amazingly strong traditional kitchen remedy.  There's 2 sizes: one for home, and one for travel. I like taking about 1 teaspoon or up to a tablespoon (mixed in just a bit of water) before meals to stimulate digestion, and I also use this as a base for homemade salad dressings and take shots of if if Ive got a cold coming on (or lingering). I love the taste of vinegar, and the intense punch of the herbs really makes it powerful. (Side note - contraindicated if you already have heat related imbalances in your gut, like ulcers, GERD or inflamed digestive tissue).

My take away from all of this is not to take business away from any herbal company, or to pass judgement on any companies decision to basically help them find their niche and make a living as a small, herbal business. In the herb world I'm trying to contribute to - we all support each other and I sincerely hope that every herbalist succeeds and thrives in a modern world that often pushes them down. Flexibility and adaptability is necessary for any industry to move forward, and names don't really matter as long as the relationship with plants and people continue to be mutually beneficial. 

Joyous early fall wishes, friends. I hope you love our new Flaming Elixir :)

And feel free to use the name. 

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