SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

May 26, 2015

Rosemary Gladstar’s “Fire Cider”

This email today is from John @ Learning Herbs, from whom I just signed up for a Free CD from Rosemary Gladstar (everybody’s favorite in the Herbal Kingdom).  I do hope you are all in touch with John as he has been one of my greatest sources of learning about natural stuff  (herbs and remedies,. . how-to’s on cosmetics, etc. ) LOVE HIM!  This had been one fabulous “free” seminar with Rosemary.  .  . and what a joy.  

But this email is serious business and frankly, I’m stunned that such tacky people even exist in this world. . . . there oughta be a law, . . well there is, but who let things develop like this?  But, let John tell it . . .


Dear Jan,

It’s pretty unusual for me to send an email like this after someone orders something from us.

Actually, I am not even sure I have EVER sent an email like this before…period.

It’s a bummer that I even have to.

So, last year the herbal world was rocked pretty hard when Shire City Herbals trademarked Fire Cider, a traditional herbal recipe made famous in Rosemary Gladstar’s books. Rosemary gave it the name Fire Cider and her improved recipe is the one made by Shire City.

By the time Shire City trademarked Fire Cider, there were dozens of small herbal companies brewing and selling it. Some of them for two decades.

Almost immediately, Shire City sent letters to these companies asking them to stop selling a product they were selling even before Shire City was a company.

One of the herbalists Shire City is suing is herbalist Nicole Telkes.

Nicole told me, “This is like someone trying to trademark chicken soup. This is a recipe that has been handed down for generations.”

It’s true. Shire City successfully getting a trademark for Fire Cider is just like Campbell’s getting a trademark for “Chicken Soup,” and then suing Progresso for selling chicken soup.

Rosemary, nor the people who are getting sued are against the concept of trademarks.  

However, Fire Cider is not something that was created or owned by Shire City. It’s also a traditional recipe. Herbalists need to be able to make their traditional tonics. Just like Progresso needs to be able to make their chicken soup.

You know what’s funny?

The label for Shire City’s Fire Cider actually has a PIRATE on the label. I’m serious.


Why I am sending this email?

The reason why I am sending you this email is because…well… we ALL create herbal remedies in our kitchens. If you’re new to this, it’s only a matter of time before you come up with something as amazing as fire cider or kava chai.

Then, you share your recipe on your blog. Now, what if some company comes in, takes your recipe, trademarks it, and then prevents you from ever being able to sell it?

What if you have an herbal company that makes Elderberry Syrup, and then a company trademarks it and claims they invented it?

Where does it end?

I will now pass this email on to the Fire Cider 3…


1) What is happening…

Three herbalists have been sued by Shire City Herbals!

Mary Blue of Farmacy Herbs, Nicole Telkes of Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine, and Kathi Langelier of Herbal Revolution are being sued for $100,000 in damages by Shire City Herbals.

Luckily, with representation from a law firm well experienced in Trademark Law, the defendants are moving forward with confidence, to show extensive evidence that proves this term is generic.

The Fire Cider 3 were surprised to hear that they were being sued for damaging Shire City Herbal’s business. In February of 2014, two months before the lawsuit was filed, Amy Huebner, an owner of Shire City Herbals publicly stated, “instead of withering under a boycott, they effectively doubled their business”!! Check out her comments on this blog post: Old Ways Herbal Blog

Kathi, Mary and Nicole were also surprised that the lawsuit against them demand that they shut down websites related to the free fire cider movement that are not owned by them.

The real shocker came for the Fire Cider 3 when Kathi Langelier of Herbal Revolution was named in the lawsuit. Due to on going pressure from Shire City Herbals, she had changed the name of her Fire Cider product to “Fire Tonic” in spring of 2014. She has been a great supporter of the boycott, but she already changed her product name a year ago, and they are still suing her?

The Traditions not Trademark movement knows this to be true: the trademark has a direct and negative impact on small herbal businesses and individuals like you who are trying to make a living doing what they love, protecting our plants and maintain herbal traditions. It is part of our rights as citizens to boycott and to come together and speak up as herbalists in defense of our traditions, our culture, and the language of our herbal commons.


2) What you can do…

***SHARE this story with others and send them to the website

***DONATE to the Fire Cider 3 Legal Defense Fund

Freeing fire cider is no longer going to be free. There are multiple costs associated with this effort, including legal fees, website hosting, travel and consultant fees. This lawsuit pushes the Fire Cider 3 legal fees up to $30-$50,000. These herbalists have their businesses at risk to protect our herbal traditions, and they working overtime on their defense, collecting evidence to prove that Fire Cider is generic, all while trying to run small herbal companies!! They need our support. Please consider donating to the Fire Cider 3 legal defense fund.

Go here to donate to the Fire Cider herbalists


***JOIN their logo campaign

Stand with over 120 herbal businesses on the Traditions not Trademark website against this trademark.

Check out the logo campaign


***CONTACT Shire City Herbals and tell them your thoughts on the issue

Use your own words and stick to the facts. Check out the FAQ page to be fully informed of Trademark not Traditions stance, then form your own opinion and contact them if you feel that this is an important matter. Traditions not Trademarks is demanding that Shire City Herbals drop the lawsuit on the Fire Cider 3, and revoke the Fire Cider trademark.

If you want to contact Shire City, then start on this page


***SUPPORT the Boycott

Contact your local stores that carry Shire City Herbals Fire Cider. Their label has a pirate on it, which is very fitting. They are pirating herbal traditions.

Learn about the Boycott



Do you have a story about how you first learned about Fire Cider and how you began making it?  Did your experience help others?  Do you sell it?  Send it in a written or video form and FreeFireCider may add you to the site.
From Free Fire Cider!
May 26, 2015



This was probably the longest email I’ve ever sent!

It might also be the most important.

Earlier today, you ordered a Rosemary Gladstar DVD. Hopefully you’ll learn to make fire cider and and start to create your own unique herbal recipes.

If you think this is in your future, then this Fire Cider issue is extremely important.

I know I’ll be doing my best to support the Fire Cider 3 in their legal fees, and in the other ways they mentioned.

I really appreciate you and the time you took to read this email.

We’ll get your DVD out to you asap.

Thanks again!

Warm regards,

John Gallagher



If you want to know more about it all, contact, lend your support or voice, etc… please visit their site.

Please do not contact LearningHerbs or Mountain Rose Herbs directly about this, as we are supporters of the Fire Cider 3, just like you.





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