Note from Rosemary about Young Living’s trademark on “Thieves Oil”


Thank you for your comments and feedback and sharing our recent post about the trademarking of 4 Thieves/ Thieves Oil by Young Living Oils (YLO).

I wanted to write to you all to give you more information.

Our notice yesterday on the Sage Mountain Facebook page was to inform others that another very popular, and in this case ‘ancient’ herbal name has been trademarked. Unfortunately, this is exactly what we’ve been concerned would happen. Once a popular herbal product name is trademarked, concerns are raised that many of our most popular herbal products could be trademarked by companies and corporations. We can do something about this; it just takes effort and dedication and your willingness to stand up for our herbal traditions. If we allow the trademarking of 4 Thieves/ Thieves Oil and Fire Cider, every other commonly used herbal product will be up for grabs. The vital thriving small herbal business community that has grown up in the last 4 decades will not be the same; popular herbal products that we’ve sold freely, will no longer be available for us to sell.

We had heard that YLO’s had been granted the trademark on Thieves Oil, but had not heard of them enforcing their trademark on small herbal companies. Our posting came after we received information about a small herbal company being contacted about trademark infringement. Ruthie Hayes, an herbalist who sells 4 Thieves Vinegar on Etsy had received a notice of trademark infringement from Young Living Essential Oils, LC alleging that “certain material on Etsy is not authorized.” Etsy, in accordance with their Intellectual Property Policy deactivated the 4 Thieves listing specified as infringing. Yes, its true that YLO’s product is an essential oil, and Ruthie’s herbal product is a vinegar, but YLO’s now owns the name which means that they are the only company allowed to sell 4 Thieves/ Thieves Oil.

What makes this situation particularly disturbing is that YLO trademarked the name, apparently without anyone in the herbal world aware of it, and now own the rights to a name that is several centuries old. This is the very same thing that happened with Fire Cider. No one was notified until after the public opposition period (that allows people to object) so no one had the opportunity to voice opposition to the trademark. Unfortunately for Ruthie this is the second notification she’s received; the first was from Shire City for selling her wonderful product called ‘Fuego Cider’, which Shire City objected to (never mind that she was selling her product first)! Ruthie comments, “This is the second time that a big company has picked on me about my products. The first being Shire City, for using the tag “fire cider” in my ‘FUEGO CIDER’ product listing. I am so saddened and discouraged because it so blatantly goes against the true spirit of herbalism that we strive to uphold.” Ironically enough, Ruthie is our 2015 ‘Fire Cider Fairy Queen’; she won the award for the best Fire Cider at the International Herb Symposium in 2015!

What we can do:
1) Voice your opposition. Continue to contact Shire City and Young Living Oils letting them know you object to the trademarking of traditional herbal names.
2) Continue to talk to the stores asking them to support the traditional herbal community that has brought the voice of herbalism to the American people. Our objection isn’t about the companies that produce these products or the products themselves, but to the trademarking of names and recipes that have been long considered commonly owned, shared freely, and passed down through the ages. These are our legacy herbal products and need to be maintained for everyone to be able to make and sell as they please. As always, please be polite and courteous!
3) Boycott! Many people in the herbal community feel boycotting is too strong a stance, but refusing to place your money where your values aren’t met is one of the best ways of making your intentions real. Boycott the stores and boycott the product; and let the store owners and buyers know why. The company may be a good company run by wonderful people, but nonetheless, they are trademarking products that don’t belong to them, regardless of the amount of money they paid for them. They belong to all of us!

With love,

Young Living Oil about 4 Thieves: Dana Barger (
Shire City Herbals about Fire Cider:

Herb Farmers Sued by Shire City Herbals!

Trademark Battle Heats Up!

Check out the short video about the issue on the Indiegogo page!

Three small business owners who are part of a national grassroots movement to try to cancel the trademark on the term ‘fire cider’ are being sued for $100,000 in damages by the holder of the trademark, Massachusetts-based herbal company Shire City Herbals.

The new lawsuit is Shire City Herbal’s latest response to a petition filed in June of 2014 with the US Trademark Office to cancel the trademark on the term “Fire Cider, a common product made by many small herbs farms and herbalists. The trademark petition is based on extensive documentation that the term ‘fire cider’ is generic and was in widespread use in commerce for several decades before the trademark was issued.

The civil lawsuit filed federal court in Springfield, MA in April against Nicole Telkes of Austin, TX, Mary Blue of Providence, RI and Katheryn Langelier of Union, ME seeks damages of $100,000 for lost business due to the defendants alleged activities. In February of 2014, two months before the lawsuit was filed, Amy Huebner, owner of Shire City Herbal’s publicly stated that the boycott “effectively doubled their business”.

Telkes, Blue and Langelier are represented by attorneys from the law firm Verrill Dana in both the trademark petition and the new civil lawsuit.

“Words that are the name of a product itself (like “Fire Cider” or “Bloody Mary”) are not trademarks, so others are free to use them to describe or identify their goods. There are mechanisms in place for the public to help the US Patent and Trademark Office correct an error like this when it allows a generic term to be registered. It’s unfortunate that the registrants took the more aggressive step of suing Mary, Nicole and Kathi in federal court just because they are standing up for everyone else. We are honored to work with them to free “Fire Cider” so farmers and others can continue to use it as they always have.” said the defendants lawyer, Rita Heimes.

Telkes, Blue and Langelier have more than 40 years of combined experience as herbalists, farmers and educators. In fact, Telkes and Blue originally met volunteering in a post hurricane Katrina health clinic, offering disaster relief support in New Orleans in 2006.

Defendant Nicole Telkes explained her reaction to the civil lawsuit as well as her concerns about the Shire City Herbals trademark. “At first I was very shocked and overwhelmed to be sued for $100,000. It’s definitely not something I ever imagined happening to a health practitioner. But, the trademark petition needs to move forward. My biggest concern is that if Shire City Herbals is allowed to ‘own’ the name of a product that they neither created nor named, it sets a dangerous precedent. Certainly, there is a direct threat to the traditions of herbalists, which is why a grassroots movement has sprung up fight for this product. But, what about other the names of other legacy products and the broader implications? Could a chef petition to trademark a popular food product like ‘chicken noodle soup’ or ‘BBQ chicken pizza’ or an architect trademark the ‘hip roof’ and then try to halt commercial sales of long standing, existing products?

Mary Blue echoed Telkes’ resolve, “We knew when we chose to represent the herbal community in the cancellation proceedings that this would be a possibility. However, the importance of protecting generic traditional terms outweighed the threat of a lawsuit from Shire City Herbals. We have gotten the evidence we need from the Free Fire Cider movement to win this, and we will continue to move forward in the cancelation efforts.”

Katheryn Langelier of Herbal Revolution Farm and Apothecary, also surprised by the suit, changed the name of her herbal tonic Fire Cider no. 9 to Fire Tonic No. 9 in spring of 2014 after being contacted by a representative of Shire City Herbals. “I changed my product name but I have stood behind the petition to revoke the Fire Cider trademark. I’ve been making Fire Cider since the 1990s, but now myself and many other small business owners are no longer able to use the term or sell our version. This trademark has had a direct and negative impact on small herbal businesses who are trying to make a living doing what they love, which is to work with plants.”


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.

SHARE this story

  •  Facebook – Almost 5,000 likes!
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  • Share it on your blog (and then drop us a line and let us know!)
  • Contact your media connections and share the story. The more press coverage we can get, the better!
  • Tell your friends to sign the petition – there are almost 10,000 signatures at !

JOIN the logo campaign
Stand with over 120 herbal businesses on the Traditions not Trademark website against this trademark. View our list of supporters and find out how you can join them!

CONTACT Shire City Herbals and tell them your thoughts on the issue:
Use your own words and stick to the facts. Check out the free fire cider 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.

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!! Find out more about the boycott on our site.

SUPPORT small local herbal companies!
Buy Fire Cider from a local producer. If it has a pirate on the label, it is trademarked!!

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 we may add you to the site. You can reach us using our contact form or directly via email.


Nicole Telkes is a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild. After a decade of botanical studies and community organizing, she founded The Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine in Austin Texas. Since 2003, the school has provided on site learning in both in and around Austin focusing on bioregionalism and community herbalism. The Wildflower School is one of the most established, and in depth holistic herbal training programs in Texas and the Deep South, serving over 300 students a year. They are part of the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary Network, participating in permaculture and sustainable herb projects with students, and clients. Nicole has been a Practicing Herbalist for 17 years. Nicole is a founding member of Traditions not Trademarks.

Mary Blue founded Farmacy Herbs in 2006, which is located in Providence, Rhode Island. Mary has been a practicing herbalist and farmer for 15 years. She was awarded The Northeast Herbal Association Community Herbalist Award in 2008 for her dedication and commitment to the herbal community (, and numerous other local awards for community work. She has been featured in Bust magazine, the Providence Journal, Providence Business News, on local TV shows and in numerous other local publications. Mary offers free herbal/ nutritional and hospice support for cancer patients, and offers free herbs, classes and consultations to the homeless and recovery community in Providence, RI. She represented American herbalists when she spoke at the United Nations Council on Women in 2012 and at the USDA Women in Agriculture conference in 2013. She is a founding member of the following community groups: Herbal Aide, The Northeast Community Herbalist Convergence, Providence Recycle a Bike and Traditions not Trademarks.

Katheryn Langelier founded Herbal Revolution Farm and Apothecary in 2009 and is located in Union, Maine. Her commercial products include a variety of herbal tonics, elixirs and tea blends. Her workspace features gardens and fields where she organically grows medicinal plants and wild gathers from around the beautiful state of Maine. Katheryn has been learning about plant medicine for more than 20 years, gaining much of her early knowledge from farmer’s she apprenticed for. She has worked with kids and adults in wilderness and farm settings, sharing knowledge about wild edibles, medicinals and sustainable gardening. Herbal Revolution has received multiple awards including: “Best Overall Herbal Product and Product Line” from the American Herbalist Guild and three different awards for the Elderberry Plus Maine Mushroom and Roots Elixir.

Donate to Free Fire Cider

passifloraThe Free Fire Cider Campaign is now accepting donations!

If you’d like to help support our efforts to free the Fire Cider name and cover our legal, website and other costs, you can now go to our Donations page and contribute in any amount.

The fight to free Fire Cider isn’t free!

Donate today!

Logo Campaign!

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 2.07.50 PMCheck out the new section of our website!

Over 100 businesses have sent their logos to us to show their support of the Free Fire Cider Campaign.



Email us your logo to appear on this page and in our newsletter and other promotional material






Spring Newsletter 2015. Call for evidence!!

Latest News!




Please send us your evidence!
It is our turn overwhelm the trademark office with proof that the term Fire Cider is generic.
We cannot win this without your evidence!!!!!
Send us any proof that the term Fire Cider existed before 2012.  If it is time stamped, that works better, but not necessary.

You can send as evidence:
*Sales receipts/ end of year sales totals
*Standard Operating Procedure
*Lot# logs
*Blog posts
*Picture of your market stand/ store display
*Picture of your labels
*Class notes

Please mail evidence directly to our lawyers:


General Update
Happy Spring!
Hopefully most of you are awakening from the winter hibernation period!

We are in the midst of our legal battle, and are looking towards that light at the end of the tunnel.

We are still receiving reports that folks are getting letters from Shire City Herbals, and one herbalist received an official “Cease and Desist” letter from SCH lawyers.

Until the cancellation proceedings are finished, herbalists don’t have many options if they receive a letter from SCH.
Some herbalists are successfully ignoring SCH letters, and some herbalists have changed their labels.

It has been brought to our attention that owner of Shire City Herbals, Amy Huebner, has been making claims on Facebook about the Free Fire Cider campaign, accusing the organizers of spreading lies and creating a smear campaign against her business.

Check out our FAQ page:  and Rosemary’s article in Spirit  of Change: spirit of change article for our full side of the story.

If you choose to engage with with any of the owners of Shire City Herbals, please send us a screen shot of the conversation @


Fire Cider Artwork
Check out this beautiful Fire Cider print from an artist in Madison, Wisconsin.
Lesely Numbers of Patchwork Printshop is selling these beautiful prints online.



Shire City Herbals: A profile with pictures
Alot of people have been asking, ” What type of business is Shire City Herbals?”.
After one of our blog posts referring to them as a “national company”,  SCH has recently claimed,  “We run the business out of our apartment.  How on earth does that make us a national company? ”
We referred to them as a national company because they sell a product nationally.

You be the judge!
Take a look at the pictures that are posted on the SHC website and see what you think..

Which is it? Do they have a warehouse and specialized industrial equipment? Or do they run their business out of their apartment?
Why would they need to hold onto a trademark (especially after a national campaign was launched against them) if they are just working out of their apartment? Why are their no pics of the “apartment” on the website?

Below are pictures from the
(Shire City Herbals website).

SCH owner in a warehouse
SCH owners in an industrial kitchen with specialized equipment.
Screen shot from their website of all the stores they sell to.

Check out their blog post: “Field trip to the Fire Cider kitchen”.

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Bright Morning Greetings from Rosemary

“In the midst of the madness of our world, hearts are breaking open, people are blossoming, and the golden soul of humanity is rising up. Never doubt it for an instant. Seek it out and nurture it.” ~ Rivera Sun Winter


This morning’s sunrise was so bright and colorful on the eastern horizon, that it lit a fire in my own heart , warming my core with its molten beauty. It is in the deepening of winter and the cold that has settled solidly around us, that we first begin to notice the earliest stirrings of new life, of days inching towards the light, and the growth that this new year promises. It is such a hopeful time, as a new year begins and we turn once more on the great medicine wheel of time. Like the plants stretching just a little in their frozen winter garments, I, too, feel my spirit stretching, reaching up for the northern lights.
Though we’ve not been as outwardly active in our Free Fire Cider campaign, only because we’ve all been so busy catching up on our other projects, we’re as committed as ever. We’ve been working closely with our trademark lawyer and have begun the long process of the cancellation proceedings. We will continue to keep you updated as news develops.

We are coming on the 1 year anniversary of our free fire cider movement!
Your ongoing support and help is deeply appreciated. The best way to help is to continue to make our own fire cider and to continue to try to get your local stores to not sell the trademarked brand name, but to sell locally made Fire Cider.

We have printed up some beautiful post cards and brochures (artwork donated by Heather Bruntil) that you can either have mailed to you from our office ( or print your own off our website,

I’ve been busy in my herbal pantry and have come up with a couple of fabulous new Fire Cider recipes I’m excited to share with you. I was decanting my latest batch of Fire Cider, which was sitting for exactly 4 weeks time. A little shorter than I like to let the herbs and vinegar macerate, but I needed this Fire Cider because there was a rash of flu going around Vermont. It’s not unusual for me to let the herbs sit overly long in the apple cider vinegar and when I do finally strain it, the herbs are quiet ‘spent’ as I offer then to the ‘compost goddess’. But this batch of herbs ~ all that beautiful garlic, horseradish, ginger, onions, cayenne, etc. ~ were beautiful and still so tasty and I couldn’t bring myself to toss them. So instead… I got creative!

I invite you to try both of these dee-licious Fire Cider Recipes for a spicy winter treat!

Fire Cider Chutney
There are many recipes for making fire cider, but my favorite blend of herbs is:
*garlic approximate 8 – 10 cloves
*finely chopped Horseradish root
*approx. 1⁄2 cup grated or finely chopped Onions
*approximate 1 medium sized onion
*finely chopped Ginger approximate
*1⁄2 cup grated
*1 – 2 cayenne peppers, to taste, crushed or chopped,
Options: add a lemon with peel and/or turmeric to the above recipe.
The batch I used to make my first Fire Cider chutney from had lemon w/peel in it, and it added a nice lemony flavor that enhanced the finished product.  I’ve made it without the lemon and it was equally as good. So be creative!

Step 1: Steep all ingredients raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar for 4-6 weeks.
Step 2: Strain and add honey and cayenne to taste…..Taste should be hot, spicy and pungent
Step 3: Strain the herbs after 4 -5 weeks.They should still be firm and flavorful.
Step 4: Add the herbs to a Cuisinart or blender, and grind coarsely (don’t blend into a smooth past, but only until coarse and crunchy). If too dry, add a little of the Fire Cider Vinegar to the mix. You might wish to add a little more honey and cayenne to taste.

Honey Onion Syrup w/ Fire Cider Chutney
My husband got the ‘grunge’ this winter while I was away with my mother on a little holiday to Mexico! My Mother’s 90 and still loves to travel. When I arrived home, Robert had a pretty bad cough, sore throat and a flu that had lodged in his lungs. I have a number of favorite recipes I knew would do the trick, but one that I always fall back on for sore throats is Onion Honey Syrup.

Step 1: Slice yellow onions into thin half moons and place in a pot. Cover with honey, and with the lid slightly ajar (just enough to let a little of the steam out) slowly heat the onions and syrup. The heat should be low enough so that honey is warm, but not simmering or boiling. Cook for about 30-40 minutes over low heat, until the onions are very soft and the honey is deeply infused with onion juice. This make s a very tasty syrup that is very effective for deep bronchial coughs.
Step 2: You can further enhance by adding garlic with the onion for even stronger syrup. When my son was still little, I use to make this syrup every winter and leave it on the back of the old wood cook stove to keep it warm. It was a favorite medicine of Jason’s, and he was often found with his spoon in that pot licking up the sweet For an Added Punch, add Fire Cider Chutney: The syrup was a little too sweet for Robert.

Since I had just finished straining the Fire Cider and making my first batch of Fire Cider Chutney, I decided to try adding some of it to the onion syrup. To make a nicer syrup consistency, I blended the Chutney into a finer paste, and then added the paste to the onion syrup. It was divine!!! Sweet and soothing, with just enough fire and spark to make it elegantly delicious and healing. Do try both these new recipes!

Fire Cider isn’t for everyone so be sure to adjust flavors For those who prefer a little less fire and spice in their lives! ….And if I may put in a little political plug for Fire Cider…. Please continue to support Tradition not Trademark and continue advocating for Freeing Fire Cider from its unscrupulous trademark.

Love, Rosemary
“Watching gardeners label their plants I vow with all beings to practice the old horticulture and let plants identify me.” ~ Robert Aitken

World Fire Cider Making Day!

World Fire Cider Making Day is back!!

Saturday December 6, 2014

Join us on this special full moon to celebrate our beloved traditional remedy… Fire Cider!
On this day of action, please join together and make the remedy with thousands of anti-trademark Fire Cider supporters.
You can go the recipes on our website and find a recipe:
Please post pics on social media!
Check out the Pinterest pages dedicated to all things Fire Cider!  (Thanks Pat!)
Last February, we had 5000 people join together!  Lets see if we can beat that. Promote this event and lets get 10000 people to celebrate together!
Invite on Facebook:  World Fire Cider event

Fall 2014 Newsletter


Legal Update
A group of herbalists have filed for the cancellation of the Fire Cider trademark. Since filing, our cases have been consolidated by the United Stated Trademark and Patent Office (USTMPO).
They are gathering evidence and advising us how to move forward.
This process could take up to 1.5 years to complete! So bear with us, we probably won’t have any legal updates for a long time!

From Rosemary Gladstar
Your continued support to help free Fire Cider from its trademark is hugely appreciated. All together, we are making a difference! Please continue to support the Free Fire Cider movement by making your own Fire Cider, and by supporting the national boycott.
If there are stores in your area selling the Shire City brand of Fire Cider, please let them know about the boycott (there is material available on this website that explains the issue).
If you’d like Free Fire Cider brochures and postcards, contact Sage Mountain and we’ll mail them to you:
Or please print the  flyer from this website and post in your area.
Thank you for joining us in this grass roots movement to protect our traditional herbal legacy products from trademarking.

Fire Cider in the Press
Check out the local press Fire Cider is getting!
*Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism: My Champlain Valley website. A great video and interview with Larken Bunce:
*Spirit of Change: An editorial with both sides of the story, with Rosemary’s writing representing the herbalists perspective:
*Austin Chronicle: An interview with herbalist, Jen Easter:
*Plant Healers Magazine. Download this free edition at
*Essential Herbal also included a supportive article as well in their latest issue:
* Online resource:

Etsy Update
If you are an herbalist selling Fire Cider on Etsy, please get in touch with Etsy legal and let them know the trademark is in litigation.
Herbalists selling Fire Cider on Etsy are still being contacted by Etsy legal and SCH. Please let us know if you have been contacted!

The picture below was posted in the Spirit of Change editorial.
Rosemary Gladstar on the left/ Shire City Herbals on the Right.

rosemary:shc pic