Sunday, April 13, 2014

Neutralizing Cordial

Neutralizing Cordial is a traditional remedy in North America used for all sorts of digestive upsets from gas to diarrhea.
 It is another truly traditional remedy, in that, as I do research, I find references to the remedy as early as 1833, but am still working on verifying and confirming the origins of this remedy.  As the Director of the Wildflower School, I have made it a focus of our community program to begin to include classes on traditional remedies and not only learn their uses, but their history in an attempt to celebrate and protect our herbal heritage.  I hope you enjoy some of the research I have done for a class we are doing making the remedy.
HerbalEd has a brief description of the remedy here and cites that it was developed in the mid 1850s, though I have found reference to it as early as 1830

 Ellingwood's Therapeutists from 1917 on page 439 Credits the concoction to Edward Beach, though I am still researching as to whether he created the formula...Here is text from the book
The compound syrup of rhubarb and potassium is one of the most effective weapons in the armamentarium of the eclectic physician in aiding Nature in the readjustment of perverted functions, and in the re-establishment of the metabolic processes upon which health depends. In neutralizing cordial is to be found the sightly appearance, and agreeable odor, the pleasant taste, and above all, the very satisfactory effect of its administra tion. This mixture is of eclectic origin and is yet chiefly used by our own school.

 It was originally prepared by Dr. Wooster Beach in this manner: Pulverized rhubarb. Pulv. salaratus. Pulv. peppermint plant; equal parts. To a large teaspoonful of this mixture add one-half pint boiling water; when cool, strain, sweeten with loaf sugar and add a teaspoonful of brandy. Dose. — One to two tablespoonfuls every one-fourth to two hours, according to indications.

Some fun examples of the formula in use
Recipe that was written out by a pharmacy in 1907
This is a great resource of a handwritten book from 1846
There is an article on the exploration of the remedy being amended to be sugarless

Journal of Therapeutics and Dietetics, Volume 2

 edited by Pitts Edwin Howes page 


Eclectic Medical Journal, Volume 66 

— ECLECTIC MATERIA MEDICA AND THERAPEUTICS. BY HARVEY WICKES FELTER, M. D. NEUTRALIZING CORDIAL. — " See that your patients have a bottle of neutralizing cordial to take to the country with them." — Eclectic Med. Review, July, 1906). Brief and to the point, the foregoing suggestion is pregnant with foresight, and will save many a life and add to the pre- scriber's reputation. We have many times declared that if we could have but one medicine for the stomach and bowel complaints of the summer season, it would be the neutralizing cordial, or compound syrup of rhubarb and potash. We have never gone on a trip to parts any distance from home, or attended a doctors' convention, with its banquet of luxuries and a change of water, without taking with us a liberal quantity of the cordial. The bottle is generally emptied by those who have failed, like the foolish virgins, to go prepared for the very emer gencies for which neutralizing cordial is the very best corrective yet devised — disorders of stomach and bowels, caused by overfeeding or change of water. In general, neutralizing cordial is so well known that but mere reference to its properties are necessary. It has three especial qualities that we must note. Rhubarb, through its specific adaptability to irritation of mucous surface, makes
the cordial the ideal gastric sedative, for in such cases there is marked irritation, as shown by the red dened and pointed tongue. With most of these cases there is a fermentative state, with sourish and burning eructations, and often the bowel discharges contain sour and fermented material. For this condition there is no more pleasing antacid and corrective than potassium bicar bonate, though should the tongue show more pallor than redness, sodium bicarbonate may answer a better purpose. The aromatic qualities of the cordial derived from the peppermint oil and herb make it grateful as a carminative, and render it especially pleasant for children. Now, the cordial to which I have been referring is that devised by Prof. Frederick J. Locke, of the Eclectic Medical Institute, and based on the original prepared by Dr. Wooster Beach. We often hear Eclectic phy sicians speak freely of neutralizing cordial, and we sometimes wonder whether they are aware of various preparations that have passed, and still pass, under that name.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yes, Facebook took our "Pages" Down

Free Fire Cider and Fire Cider Pages and even our "World Fire Cider Making Day Event" have been taken down by Facebook.  Facebook has cited that an Amy Huebner (who just happens to own Shire City Herbals)said that these pages violated their intellectual property and was an infringement.  I have been warned that if I start another page I may be blocked from using facebook entirely.  That doesnt stop anyone else from starting "pages" and citing the "Fire Cider" page as an infringement on our intellectual property.
Do what thou wilt and we will continue to boycott, we don't need facebook to do it!
What facebook said Letter regarding removal of Free Fire Cider Page.

We’ve removed or disabled access to the following content that you posted on Facebook because a third party reported that the content infringes or otherwise violates their rights:

Page: Fire Cider

Facebook is not in a position to adjudicate disputes between third parties. If you believe that this content should not have been removed from Facebook, you can contact the complaining party directly to resolve your issue:

Notice #: 263156903851500

Contact Information
Name: Amy Huebner

If an agreement is reached to restore the reported content, please have the complaining party email us with their consent and include the original reference number. We will not be able to restore this content to Facebook unless we receive explicit notice of consent from the complaining party. Please note that the complaining party is not required to respond to your request.

We strongly encourage you to review the content you have posted to Facebook to make sure that you have not posted any other infringing content, as it is our policy to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers when appropriate.

For more information about intellectual property, please visit our Help Center at

The Facebook Team

Monday, February 17, 2014

Letter From Rosemary Gladstar Feb 14, 2014

Dear Friends, 

The saga of Fire Cider continues…. 

I wish to thank you all for your ongoing support. It’s been amazing to see how many people have mobilized over this issue and who are willing to support free ownership of Fire Cider. To me this issue is larger than just fire cider. However, in this moment it is most important that the name and product “Fire Cider” be returned to its rightful owners, the herbal community, many who have been making, using, and selling Fire Cider longer than Shire City Herbals has been in existence. When I first made Fire Cider, named it such, and taught hundreds of other people how to make it through my books, videos, classes, and conferences, I never imagined for a moment that anyone would think they could claim it as their own, or worse, deny others the right to sell it.

I believe in trademark laws, and I believe in supporting the success of small and large ~ yes, large ~ businesses as well but only if they demonstrate the ethics and integrity that have been part of the herbal community and movement since it was seeded in the early 1970’s. But, this is clearly a case where a company claimed ownership of something it neither created nor named. In fact, we have written documentation, including copyrights that Fire Cider was in existence in the 1980’s.

I read Shire City Herbals' recent response to why they feel they have the right to keep the name they trademarked. Though I thought their letter was well written and very tactful, I also found it very interesting how they have rewritten the story in their best interest. In ‘their story’ they become the victims and the herbal community becomes the bullies who are trying to destroy ‘the small business that puts food on their table’. Though, yes, sadly there have been accusations and less than positive messages hurled from both sides, Shire City Herbals fails to mention the thousands of thoughtful well written emails/letters supporting their business but requesting they drop the trademark and suggesting viable win/win solutions.

They have also failed to mention that when they sent out the cease and desist letters, that it meant that other small companies who counted on the sales of Fire Cider to put ‘food on their tables’ no longer could do so. And further, they failed to mention that there are companies who have been selling Fire Cider at farmers markets, local food stores, online, and through their catalogues far longer than Shire City Herbals has been in business. What happens to these companies when they get their cease and desist orders?

It was interesting to read in an earlier email from the Shire folks that Dana had learned to make Fire Cider from his grandmother, who he claims fed it to him as a small child. He asserts that he had no other knowledge of fire cider outside of this experience within his family. However, there are many different versions circulating online of how Dana learned to make Fire Cider, including the possibility that he learned about it during his time at the Southwest Institute for Healing Arts. If he did learn about it in his studies than they knowingly trademarked something that wasn’t truly their own.

Finally, in ‘their story’ they claim they are the protectors of the name Fire Cider and trademarked it so that other larger companies wouldn’t grab it. This seems to be one of their main arguments for holding onto the name. I appreciate that Shire City Herbals feels protective of ‘their’ name and wants to protect big companies from grabbing the trademark but we propose that there is a wiser, fairer and better option, one that benefits everyone, not just their company. From their lenses, they become the crusaders for herbal medicine bringing the knowledge of fire cider and its benefits to the masses, ignoring the hundreds of people that have been doing this quite successfully before them. No one denies their success, but they are following in the footsteps of a huge movement started long before they sent out the first announcement of their company or trademarked their first product.

Perhaps this whole discussion is tied into the intellectual property rights of the herbal community, much like the property rights of indigenous people? Who has a right to ‘own’ these formulas and claim title to names that have been used by thousands of people? What’s the future of popular products/names like Zoom Balls, Kava Chai, Healing Salve, Kloss’s Liniment, or even Elderberry Syrup? Will they too get claimed and tied up in private ownership? It’s an interesting and challenging process. Let’s do what we can to get Fire Cider back so that other companies can sell it in their local farmers markets, local stores, online and in catalogues. Shire City Herbal folks can of course continue as well, but should do so under a trademark of their own unique name like Shire Fire Cider or whatever they choose.

In addition to addressing the issues with Fire Cider, let’s do something bigger. Let’s do what we can to create a legal safe haven, or an ‘Herbally Owned’ trademark (thanks to Sara Katz for this one), where we can safeguard Fire Cider and other popular ‘public’ formulas so this doesn’t occur again. All of this time and energy is well spent, I feel, if we can intentionally create a way to ensure that all herbalists will have equal access to our herbal traditions now and in the generations to come.

This is a great wake up call! I have appointed a core team that I entrust to lead us through this, we continue to need your support however you are able to give it. Let's go for it, together!

With you in herbal ways,
Rosemary Gladstar

> Contact your local stores to inform them of your thoughts on this issue. We are asking people to continue to communicate their concerns in a direct and respectful manner.
> Submit any information you might have through the centralized submission form
> Continue to share the petition
> Volunteer your time and expertise
> Watch this page for the most up to date official information

> Public information available regarding any new developments in legal action.
> Information on details regarding a potential fundraising campaign.
> Printable materials to provide to your local stores, including recipe cards, fliers and takeaways.

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Help Out and Keep Fire Cider Free from Trademark Restriction

> Sign the Petition:
> Volunteer Your Time:
> Read the Blog:

Recent News Article on Fire Cider

Hu Everyone!
Please make sure to add comments to the end of this article showing how you feels about their coverage

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How to make a Label and Sell/Consign Something

Hi Everyone!

If you are someone who makes herbal remedies, you may have figured out that its a lot easier to make something than sell it.  Here is a really basic guide to how you may be able to label and put something on the shelf somewhere. This does not take into account being GMP compliant.  It a hypothetical guide.

 Part of the Trademark controversy is that if someone owns a trademark and does not send cease and desist letters, they can lose there trademark.  One strategy may be to flood the market with herb products if someone buys a name and tried to prevent others.  It sure seems like it would be hard to police if there were 100s of people selling the product, eh?

So.  First thing.  You need a label to identify your product.  You can usually get free sticker material from behind printing companies in their dumpsters if you cant afford to purchase any.  These days its rather cheap and easy to construct professional looking labels for very little, or keep it creative and draw and glue on your own beautiful art and creations.  Some important parts of a label:
Name of Your Remedy, say something like "Fire Cider", or "My Fire Cider", or whatever.
You may want to name your product line--or not
All ingredients, including latin binomials are generally a good idea.  I like to let folks know if something I gathered is wild, or organically grown, or fresh.  Make sure and list everything used in the product, including the solvent--like Organic Apple Cider Vinegar for example.
Write Directions, or Suggested Uses.  You may want to add in how much and how often to take the remedy, and how the remedy has been used in the past.  You may also want to add anything folks should be careful of--contraindications and the like if known
Let folks know how much of the extract is in the container, say 4oz
Let folks know how to reach you-an email or website and where it was made--like a zipcode etc.
You may also want to add a sell by date

So, once you have constructed your beautiful piece of art or very professional looking label or both, you have to get your product on a shelf!  What I have found is that local businesses, usually ones you have direct connections with--maybe one of your friends is the manager, will often put something on the table or counter, especially if you do it by consignment, or donation, and they usually dont care as much about compliancy, especially if they get a free bottle!  I know I know, this may or may not be the way a profitable business would run it, nor am I suggesting anyone should do this, its simply ideas to help you think of your own ways to spread the word.  Maybe the name of your product is Free Fire Cider and there is a link to this blog or something.  There are all sorts of ways to think of creative solutions to Trademarking Controversies, I hope this sparks your own.

So, if your product is something like, say "fire cider".  It will probably be a hit.  I have been teaching folks to make it for a decade and we have several herbalists that make it here in Austin.  I hope you are wildly successful and it inspires you to get more herbal medicine out to the people.  Obviously there is a lot more to it than this, but again this is just to ignite the anti-trademark forward

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Old References to Fire Cider as a Remedy: Mrs M Grieves

Mrs. Beeton (in an old edition of her Household Management, 1866) gives the following recipe for making 'Bengal MangoChutney,' which she states was given by a native to an English lady who had long been a resident in India, and who since her return to England had become quite celebrated amongst her friends for the excellence of this Eastern relish.
Ingredients. 1 1/2 lb. moist sugar, 3/4 lb. salt, 1/4 lb. Garlic, 1/4 lb. onions, 3/4 lb. powdered ginger, 1/4 lb. dried chillies, 3/4 lb. dried mustard-seed, 3/4 lb. stoned raisins, 2 bottles of best vinegar, 30 large, unripe, sour apples.
Mode. The sugar must be made into syrup; the Garlic, onions and ginger be finely pounded in a mortar; the mustard-seed be washed in cold vinegar and dried in the sun; the apples be peeled, cored and sliced, and boiled in a bottle and a half of the vinegar. When all this is done, and the apples are quite cold, put them into a large pan and gradually mix the whole of the rest of the ingredients, including the remaining half-bottle of vinegar. It must be well stirred until the whole is thoroughly blended, and then put into bottles for use. Tie a piece of wet bladder over the mouths of the bottles, after which they are well corked. This chutney is very superior to any which can be bought, and one trial will prove it to be delicious.

Rosemary Gladstar's Response

Update: (from Rosemary) We wait a few weeks to see if we get a response from the trademark fire cider folks. They have been contacted and given opportunity to change. If they do not, we will proceed legally with the support of the herbal community. This is greater than this one battle. This represents traditional herbal practices being accessible to all! Meanwhile keep passing around this petition and putting pressure on them through their distributors! Please keep the letters and comments cordial, even though this issue fires a lot of us up! Keep the momentum up!

Unifying Points of the Anti-Trademark Fire Cider Movement

* The term "Fire Cider" was coined by Rosemary Gladstar.  In other words its her intellectual property.. She has published copyrighted books from the 90's. This is not about Shire Cider people as individuals or their business, this is about defending a generic herbal term and keeping it in public use. Shire Fire Cider folks first responses to the issue were not accepted by this community, and we reacted with an organized response. (They have since responded that they will work with us on this issue.)
*We have a petition going to revoke this, with over 3000 signatures in 48 hours. This is the beginning of showing that this term is generic and should not be trademarked.
* There is an active boycott, with herbalists/ supporters contacting retailers of Shire City Fire Cider, and returning their product to the stores. This boycott will end when a resolution is reached.
* This type of tunnel vision capitalism will just open the door to trademarking of traditional medicines for profit.
The biggest reason that this is dangerous is because herbs and herbalism have always been widely available to everyone. Corporatizing it will change it into something that looks more like what the pharmaceutical industry looks like right now.
* This is not cyber bullying, this is a unified, grassroots response to an important issue to the herbal community.
Mary Blue

Monday, January 27, 2014

Letter to Shire City Herbals: Fire Cider Trademark

Dear Shire City Herbals(Brian, Dana and Amy)

This is an exceptionally painful letter to write to you all.  I love seeing small herb companies get successful.  I love seeing herbal remedies spread around to various shelves.  I love Fire Cider.  I love your labels.  I love that you all seem to be conscious enough to want to market such a great kitchen remedy.  I would normally wish you the greatest of successes.  Unfortunately, you have chosen to do something, (maybe from getting bad advice or maybe just ignorance on the issue) that is bad for the herbal community, and could create a negative effect on future popular remedies and placing "ownership" legally over something that is thought of as part of our herbal "commons" so to say.  It may be that you had no idea there really was a lot of people making Fire Cider for generations and selling it.  You seem to be a rather new company and sometimes growing pains can be big.  I want to start by saying I think that you could still be very successful and be supported even more right now if you all take the path that maybe your lawyers would have advised against.  I ask you to dig deep and really think about this not as business people, but as herbalists, and caring individuals-- as people who love Fire Cider.  
Herbal Medicine's tradition is one of being by the people and for the people.  Herbalists such as Nicholas Culpepper, and more recently Rosemary Gladstar, have led a long battle to keep herbs in the hands of the general populace, not an elite group, or medical group.  Fire Cider is an exciting and popular remedy that many of my students and friends have wanted me to either mass market or they themselves have been pushed in this direction. I have taught 100s of people to make it.  Many now sell it in their own neighborhoods and communities. Its delicious.  I first learned about it in Eugene, Oregon in the late 90s and have been making it ever since.  I read about your German grandmother making a similiar concoction.  Yes, my Hungarian grandmother  in Budapest does as well.  It is common.  The name is as well in this country.
We all know it takes very hard work, as your responses have defended, to get products marketed well.  Most herbalists never do it very well, choosing more of a craft than a product.  You obviously have done the time and put energy in, which can be done to popularize just about any remedy.  Its the same way some brands of Echinacea became stars, or products like Dr Singhas Mustard Bath that got into big retail establishments. Now, you may have never heard of one of these items or known that they were popular, or who else knows about them, but that means nothing.  They are.  I do not think whomever did the research when deciding on the Trademark with Fire Cider did it with due diligence.  I really think consulting with an established and knowledgeable herbalist right now would be of help to you.  
I really hope you all consider your decision in this matter carefully and with a full heart.  Most people are expressing their distaste for your actions, not your company, so please know that if you decide to do what is ethically right, and courageous to protect Traditional, popular herbalism, I will personally support your decision, as a Practicing Herbalist, Director of a Herb School, Activist--oh and human.
I know you probably have some canned responses to this type of letter, and nothing is more distasteful to me right now.  I have already read your form letter responses.  I ask for a human response.  If you need to talk this out, I believe Rosemary Gladstar(who has already tried communicating about this and gotten what I saw as a generic and thoughtless response), is most likely available to you.  I know it may be really hard to get yourselves out of where you are at right now, but I think we can figure this out.  I really dont want to see you completely lose all of your business after all of the hard work you have done.
Currently, 2500 people have petitioned against you in 24 hours.
People are now contacting retail establishments and returning your product and asking to have your product pulled.
I personally just spoke to the buyer of our local coop and am beginning the process of boycotting if you are unable to change your position.
I would much rather be spending time on companies like Monsanto and other monsters, but with the direction you are taking this you are acting in the same thoughtless way they are, and putting money and the idea that you need to "protect your business" before people's health.  I love seeing multiple brands of herbals on the shelf.  I love that several of my students have their own versions of Fire Cider, and I hope you can begin to reevaluate whether you can come to this situation from a place being part of a larger, and long tradtiion and community that operates with passion and respect.  I want to respect you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you figure out your next step.  Wouldnt it be great if we started a campaign and promoted it helping you to change the name?  I really like the idea of Shire Cider that one person put forth.  Just remember that whatever your decision, it will echo, and many people are watching(including my new class of 35 herbalists)


--Nicole Telkes

Boycott Shire City Herbals Fire CIder

Greetings! Thank you for supporting this effort!
Shire City Herbals has been approached and will not remove the trademark from Fire Cider. So, we have to take the next step to protect traditional herbalism. Boycott! 
Here is a form letter to give to retailers that sell their brand. a complete list is on their website: Please send as many as you can and share!

Dear Retailer, I am writing to talk to you about one of the brands you carry, Shire City Herbals, Fire Cider. Fire Cider is a term invented by Rosemary Gladstar over 35 years ago, and has been shared by her freely since then to tens of thousands of people. She has it in her published books from the 90‘s and pamphlets from the 1970’s. This term is as common as pizza or tea in the herb world. The manufacturers have trademarked this term, and have started taking legal action against herbal companies that sell Fire Cider. People who have been selling this product for over 30 years. They have taken this term, and claimed that they invented it. Why should you care about this? This type of tunnel vision capitalism will just open the door to trademarking of traditional medicines for profit. The biggest reason that this is dangerous is because herbs and herbalism have always been widely available to everyone. Corporatizing it will change it into something that looks more like what the pharmaceutical industry looks like right now. This company has been approached, been asked to remove the trademark by Rosemary Gladstar and thousands of herbalists, and they will not do this. I would like you to consider supporting our boycott and remove Fire Cider made by Shire City Herbals from your shelves until they revoke the trademark. Please consider contacting the company and encourage them to remove the trademark. If keeping herbalism free and for the people is important to you, then this is a great way to show it! There is an active group of over 2000 herbalists that are petitioning the United States Patent and Trademark Office to remove of trademark. (2000 signatures in 1 day to remove this trademark, with plenty more to come!). Thank you for your time, Your Name

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Am Open Letter From Nicole Telkes to Shire City Herbals

Buying the name of a a well known Traditional Herbal Preparation? You should be ashamed of yourself. As a practitioner, educator and herbal medicine maker who has taught and made Fire Cider for over 15 years it turns my stomach to see this. It is against everything I stand for as a person, and herbalist. I saw your response to an inquiry in which you dismissively said that 99.9% of people have no idea what Fire Cider is shows just how little you know about your own herbal history. Herbalism to me is about putting therapeutic agents into the hands of people so they can get well. What you are attempting to do only takes this away from people, so you can gain a few extra dollars(since as you say in a response to an inquiry about this only.01% of people even care). Are you planning to sell your company off next to some pharmaceutical giant so they can then synthesize some active component Fire Cider into a drug? Yuck! I am very disappointed with your company. I have so much hope for the future and herbalism and see so many companies that try to do amazing positive things for the world. It truly saddens me to see such a young company turn in such a direction of greed and capitalizing off of others gifting of knowledge. We can all make and sell fire cider and label it as such and we can all make a living doing it. It is very narrow and upsetting to think that you must "protect" your company from other herbalists and use ridiculous laws to do so.

Fire Cider

Fire Cider Trade Marked???? 
Please write this man and Etsy and let them know this is a product/name that has been around for decades and is not his to 'own'
Warm greetings, Mary, thanks so much for letting me know that the word 'has gotten out' about this situation. I was so disappointed when I heard about this. I received a note just a few days ago informing me that a man has trademarked this product. I found this rather unbelievable ~ and extremely disappointing ~ since I first made and named this recipe over 35 years and have taught thousands of people to make it. It was a recipe based on many old formulas and has been popular for years (long before my time, I'm sure). So many people make and sell it, as it was given freely to everyone, to be used, to keep healthy with, and to sell. But the audacity of someone to lay claim to the name and then trademark so others can't use it, is hugely disappointing to me. One of these days I'm going to find out someone has trademarked my 'famous face cream'! again, its the same situation; everyone can make it, reformulate, rename it, and sell it as they please. But to trade mark it and not allows others to make and sell is purely wrong.
I had written to the gentleman who has claimed this as his formula and his name, in hopes that he'd rescind on the trademark. And really didn't want to make it public until he had the opportunity to see that he had made a mistake, but his response back to me was simply that it was his formula and he had a right to the trademark. He actually said when he went on line he or the trademark lawyers didn't find any other references to Fire Cider or companies making it!! Well, he must be using a different search engine than google, because when I googled Fire Cider there were many companies, recipes and references to it.
Anyway, I think its time we let people know so they can write to him and let him know this is not his name or recipe to own. Its old, has been used extensively, not only by me but by thousands of others, and is not for anyone to 'own' or lay claim to. I think people need to let Etsy know, too, what's happening, because, if I understand correctly, people who were selling Fire Cider on Etsy were asked to discontinue selling it. Again, horribly disappointing!!!
I will draft a more extensive reply and send it out, but in the meantime, perhaps, you wouldn't mind posting this so people are aware of what's happening. Also, I will make a list of all the references in my correspondence course (published since the early 1980's), my books, and class notes that refer to Fire Cider and include that information.

with you in healing ways, Rosemary