Week Two Information: Friday, September 23

Fire Cider Day & learning about Oregon Grape root! Whoohoo!

Fire Cider: Making and using fire cider in the fall  is a time honored herbalist tradition! FOre Cider is an excellent and tasty concoction used to strengthen  the immune system & preventing or shortening the duration or severity of illness!

Fire Cider is a tried and true remedy for alleviating symptoms of viral illness. Which is why it’s still around!  You will make your own custom fire cider as you learn about each ingredient and how it supports immunity! We will talk about how and when to take it, too! Take a look at the photos. Only one is picture of a really effective fire cider. Can you guess why?

Oregon Grape: If you have ever taken a class with me, most likely you have heard me mention my love for Oregon Grape, Mahonia nervosa also know as Berberis nervosa. Oregon grape is an important and treasured local plant to know and become friends with!  Oregon grape supports immune responses and overall health both inside and out! Inside it works primarily through our digestive system as a bitter, and it has a special affinity for the liver. On the outside and inside it also works  as an antiseptic or antimicrobial for infections. But it can’t be used for systemic infections, it is not that kind of antibiotic. You will learn how to work with Oregon grape root in a way that is effective!

What to Expect

A LOT! We will begin with an Oregon grape plant sit and meditation before diving into learning all about this ah-mazing plant ally.  We will cover  the role of bitters for digestive health and I will give a harvesting demonstration but we will save medicine making with this plant for a different day/location. Both bitters and Oregon grape are pretty extensive topics! Next we will prepare batches of Fire Cider and learn about each ingredient in detail. There is something magical about sitting around and preparing this traditional remedy together in community. I truly believe it makes the best medicine! Last, we will go on a relaxing and sensorial plant walk around the lake. Be flexible though, there is always a chance we may make a change, depending on conditions, what is available and time.

Please read up on Oregon grape in your Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore and about the differences in species that grow in the PNW and where they can be found in your Pojar & McKinnon book if you have it.  I will bring some samples of Oregon grape root tincture, a couple different bitters and some milky oats tincture for you to sample, as well as some oat seeds to share with you!

* See side note at the end of the page regarding the nearby artisan spring

What to bring (it is a long list!)

  • Small cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Scissors
  • Cheese grater
  • 1 quart jar with lid
  • parchment paper or wax paper (about a 3×3 inch square)
  • Masking tape or labels and a Sharpie marker
  • 16 oz bottle apple cider vinegar
  • Fire Cider ingredients:
    • One organic lemon or tangerine
    • 2-3 inches of fresh ginger root
    • 1 organic onion
    • 1 whole head of garlic
    • 1-2 jalapenos or hot peppers of choice – like mine fiery!
    • 2 – 3 inches of fresh horseradish – can usually be found at PCC, Central Market, Whole Foods, etc.
    • optional: fresh turmeric root
  • Gloves (latex or kitchen) for cutting hot peppers
  • Lunch, water, snacks
  • Notebook / pen
  • Camera/artists tools/journal for your meditation
  • Umbrella and/or hat
  • Camp chair or something to sit on
  • Fillable water bottles if stopping at the springs (see note below)
  • It is good practice as a wildcrafter to always keep a few extra jars, clippers, and menstrua  in your car just in case we come across an unexpected opportunity to make plant medicine. 151 proof is a good choice, and I also keep honey and vinegar in  my car.


Where to Meet

Nolte State Park 

  • Remember to bring your DISCOVER PASS!
  • The address is 36921 Veazie Cumberland Rd SE, Enumclaw, WA 98022 (map is below). Just drive down the lane to the farthest end of the parking lot where I will be waiting 🙂
  • Please be there by about 9:15 so you can find parking, get situated and use the restroom before we get started at 9:30 am!

*Side note: if you are interested in filling up your water bottles with fresh artisan spring water we will be close to the Green River Gorge Springs near Franklin, less than 10 minutes or 4 miles away. And for most of you it could be on your way home, I think.