It's been a long time since I was presented with a bottle of snake oil for Christmas. But I was sure that's what Matt have given me as a present. The vaguely medicinal-looking bottle featured an old timey charicature of a eye-patched Snidely Whiplash breathing fire, and promised a "health tonic" and the honest-to-goodness words "cure-all." Clearly, my brother in law was looking to poison me, or help me cure up a case of consumption. It was then that I actually realized what was in the bottle.
My mom, who can identify most of the wild plants growing along the roadside, gives several lectures on traditional herbal medicine, along with a range of other horticultural topics focusing on native plants before the pioneers. She was the first one to tell me about the old New England tonic of taking a spoonful of raw honey and a spoonful of raw cider vinegar daily as a ward against colds and flu. I've written previously on the health effects of vinegar being tied to balancing the body's pH, but never come across Fire Cider.
It's actually a very clever product - they blend a base of raw cider vinegar and honey, then spice it with horseradish, ginger, garlic, citrus, chilies etc. The blend makes for a zesty, feisty-tasting product that really opens up your sinuses and whole head when taken as a shot or in a pint of water. What I find especially interesting is that they really advocate making this tonic a part of your daily life. Sure it makes sense from a business stand point, but they also show how this can be used in everything from vinaigrette to seasoning a bloody Mary (which may impact the health-benefits a bit...)
Ultimately, I'm excited to see products like this on the market. It's interesting to see a new generation take up their parents or grandparents traditions and folkways and put a new and personal twist on it. Although I'm still going to need to find something to help with my ague ailment.