Archive for November, 2010
Posted by|24 November 2010
We’ve received tons of requests for herbal gift ideas as the holidays approach and decided it would be fun to create a Holiday Gift Guide, including a list of our favorite organic products, gift sets, and recipes. We hope these will help inspire herbal cheer among your friends and family!
Samplers are a great way to gift a variety of your favorite herbal goodies. These sets are beautifully packaged and offer the perfect opportunity for experimentation.
• Loose Leaf Tea Sampler - Organic Ceylon, Organic Green Sencha and Organic Red Rooibos
• Massage Oil Sampler - Moon Massage Oil, Arnica & St. John’s Oil, and Goddess Dreams Massage Oil
• Herbal Salve Sampler - Injur-Heal Balm, Powerful Skin Compound, and Comfrey-St. Johns Wort Compound
• Herbal Oil Sampler - St John’s Wort Oil, Calendula Oil, and Injur-Heal Oil
• Herbal Facial Kit - Herbal Steam, Cleansing Grains, Green Clay Mask, Facial Oil Blend, and
• Essential Oil Samplers: Classic, Chakra, Rose, Lovers, and Favorites
Making a customized gift set is a really fun way to create a uniquely thoughtful present for each person on your list based on their specific needs and interests. Look for wooden baskets at your local thrift store as an inexpensive and impressive presentation option. Here are a few themed gift ideas to help you brainstorm…
• Macadamia Nut Oil
• Himalayan Pink Salt
• Smoked Sea Salt
• Rainbow Peppercorns
• Vanilla Beans
• Thai Curry
• Lemon Pepper
• Herbs de Provence
Baker’s Delight Basket
• Vanilla Beans
• Cacao Nibs
• Cacao Powder
• Coconut Flakes
• Almond Oil
• Cinnamon Sticks
• Pumpkin Pie Spice
• Cocoa Butter Wafers
• Hazelnut Extract
• Orange Extract
• Vanilla Extract
• Cast Iron Tea Pot or Tea Set
• Mango Ceylon Black Tea – 4oz
• Vanilla Rooibos Tea – 4oz
• Dao Ren Green Tea – 4oz
• Firefly Chai Tea – 3oz
• Evening Repose – 3oz
• Tea Pot Warmer
• Botanical Coasters
Herbal Pampering Basket
• Orange Chamomile Skin Cream
• Wild Rose Facial Toner
• Rose Face Wash
• French Green Clay
• Restorative Skin Oil
• Woodland Bath Salts
• Facial Steam Herbs – 3oz
• Amber Aroma Oil
Herbal Wellness Basket
• Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech
• Make Tea Not War Mug
• Celestial Tea Strainer
• 5th Chakra Herbal Tea
• Happy Tummy Tea
• Elder Berry Syrup
• Herbal Liniment
- Echinacea – Mullein – Goldenseal
– Milk Thistle – Red Root – Dandelion
- Skullcap – Oats – White Willow
• Wildcraft Board Game
• Kidzherbs Gift Seed Pack
• A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra
• Fairytale Tea
• Quiet Child Tea
• Baby’s Balm
• Herbal Knowledge Cards
• Herbs for the People Poster
DIY ~ Homemade Gift Sets
Finally, for all of the crafty folks out there, our newsletter archive is a treasure trove of herbal recipes for everything from medicine making, to lip balms, spicy colognes, herbal lotions, tasty treats, and health boosting tonics. Be sure to browse through them when making your list of supplies!
Here are a few of our favorites…
All of the ingredients and products listed above can be found on our website at www.mountainroseherbs.com.
Posted by|23 November 2010
Elder is one of our favorite wintertime herbs! Found growing in moist areas along rivers, roads, and in forests, this immune boosting botanical is native to Europe, Northern Africa, and Western and Central Asia. Its flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine. Native Americans have also used the flowers, berries, and bark of Elder trees to treat fevers and joint pain for hundreds of years.
Recently, Elder berry has gained fame as a cure for the flu. Researchers have clinically proven that the berries are effective against eight strains of influenza, prevent infection, and shorten recovery times. Not only is it believed that Elder may be superior to vaccines in preventing the flu, but it does not cause the same side affects. For more information, read our informational profile for Elder Berry.
Elder berries may be easily incorporated into teas or tinctures, but here are some other fun ways to make medicine with them:
Elder Berry Syrup
Elder berry syrup is a proven remedy for preventing and recovering from the flu, colds, excessive mucus, sore throats, and contains large amounts of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C. Take a tablespoon daily to ward off illness and a teaspoon every 2-3 hours while sick. For children under 2, add the syrup to hot water to kill any microbes in the honey. You can even drizzle the delicious syrup over pancakes, yogurt, or ice cream!
- 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried organic Elder berries (harvest blue or black, avoid poisonous reds)
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup raw local honey
- 1 organic Cinnamon stick, 3 organic Cloves, and a pinch of dried organic Ginger root (optional)
Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture. Allow liquid to cool and stir in honey. Will last for 2-3 months stored in the fridge.
Or, watch our YouTube Video on making Elder berry syrup! The spice quantities in the video are a little different than in the recipe above, but that is because there are many ways to make the syrup. Feel free to adapt either of the recipes to create your own!
Elder Berry-Plum Sauce
This delightful recipe comes from our friends at Herb Companion. The spicy sauce can be served hot or cold. Use it as you would applesauce – it’s a delicious topping for poultry, winter squash, ice cream, or puddings. The recipe calls for fresh Elder berries, but you can substitute dried berries – just reduce the quantity by half.
- 1 pound Elder berries, rinsed and cleaned
- 1 pound Damson plums, rinsed and pitted
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 ounce honey
- 1 stick organic Cinnamon
- 2 organic Cloves
- 1/2 ounce butter, browned
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or Arrowroot powder) mixed with 2 tablespoons water
Put fruits in a medium-size pan, along with water, honey, cinnamon and cloves. Bring gently to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until fruit is soft. Melt butter in a saucepan and gently brown at a low temperature. Put fruit through a food mill to remove most of the Elder berry seeds. (Some seeds will remain.) Return pureed fruit to pan, add butter and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then cook at a low temperature for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve or bottle and store in refrigerator. Makes 3 to 4 cups.
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Herb Companion magazine, a division of Ogden publications. Recipe written by Margie Gibson. Margie Gibson writes about food, culture, history and natural history. Previously, she worked at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, where she wrote about wildlife.
Click here for the original article: Elderberries: Grow, Cook, Heal with Elder
Elder Berry Vinegar
In this recipe, MaryJane Butters shows how to turn ordinary vinegar into an indulgent treat! Try this gorgeous purple concoction paired with a mild oil and drizzled over some tender greens and edible flowers, like nasturtiums. The recipe calls for fresh Elder berries, but you can substitute dried berries – just reduce the quantity by half.
- 2-1/4 cups Elder berries
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups red wine vinegar
Use a fork to lightly mash the berries (omit this step if using dried berries). Place all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed, nonreactive saucepot over low heat. Once the mixture has started to simmer, cook it for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the fruit from burning. Pour the mixture into a glass jar with a screw-on lid and store in a cool, dark place for three weeks. Using a fine mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter, separate out the berries. Use a wooden spoon to push on them and extract as much juice as possible. Pour into pretty bottles and garnish with a few whole berries, if you like.
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Salt Lake Tribune. Recipe written by MaryJane Butters. A wilderness ranger, carpenter, environmental activist, and modern-day organic farmer, MaryJane Butters is the author of three Random House books and publishes her own magazine, MaryJanesFarm. In addition to running her farm and the “Farmgirl Sisterhood”, she cultivates future organic farmers in her Pay Dirt Farm School and writes a syndicated newspaper column for United Media.
Click here for the original article: Add Vim to Vinegar with Fresh Herbs and Fruits
Links from Mountain Rose Herbs:
Posted by|19 November 2010
We’re excited to announce our new herbal tincture line!
We have been handcrafting each extract using traditional methods according to the distinct character of each plant. So far, we’ve made 95 different single herb tinctures, from Angelica and Kava Kava to Red Clover and Yarrow, with certified organic grain alcohol and organically grown or ethically wild-harvested plants.
The holidays and flu season are upon us, so I’ve been bundling a nice collection of these extracts to make herbal medicine kits for my friends. Here’s a list of the herbal tinctures I’ll be including in their gift packages this year:
Herbal Medicine Kit
Echinacea – to help boost immunity
Milk Thistle – to help support healthy liver functioning
Elder Berry – to help strengthen the immune system
Oregon Grape – to stimulate digestion, anti-bacterial, alterative for colds and flu
Skullcap – to help calm the nerves
Valerian – to help bring restful sleep
Mullein – helpful for coughs and other respiratory issues
Red Root – helpful to the lymph system, sore throats, or as a mouthwash
Oats – a nutritive nervous system tonic
You can browse a complete listing of our herbal extracts and read more about each one on our website: Herbal Extracts Page
Watch this video to learn how to make your own herbal extracts at home!
Posted by|16 November 2010
Into the herbalists’ cauldron we find nearly 600 women of all ages. Students, teachers, shaman, elders, a fire circle, the hot August sun, the beauty of New Hampshire, storytelling, a Red Tent, family tradition, herbal lineage, plant walks, recipes, medicines, drumming, singing, half moon pond, a cordial contest, story telling…add a little Mountain Rose Herbs spice in the mix. When you have Rosemary Gladstar stirring up this brew you get the New England Women’s Herbal Conference. An epic event of teaching, earth healing, and just good old fashioned magic!
“From a spectrum of deeply spiritual tribal vibes, to that of cutting edge science in naturopathic medicine revealed”
I was fortunate enough to attend the New England Women’s Herbal Conference again this year on behalf of Mountain Rose. I was amazed by the organization of this growing event. World class herbalists came together to share their knowledge. Authors debuted their new books or those to come. It was a wonderful place where students and teachers collaborated together and created connections. From a spectrum of deeply spiritual tribal vibes, to that of cutting edge science in naturopathic medicine, all was revealed and whirled together into a three day event which must have taken a year of planning and 23 years of ripening.
Although this was a mature conference, I had a strong feeling that in a way, it was just the beginning…
Posted by|15 November 2010
We are back from San Francisco after an amazing time at the Green Festival!
It was incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by 34,000 passionate people dedicated to living and working in harmony with the planet. I discovered so many exciting non-profits, community projects, publications, and green companies out there striving to change the course of this country and beyond.
If you couldn’t be there this year, you can read about the participating organizations on the Green Festival’s website. It was truly awesome to witness the powerful momentum growing toward the innovation of conscience-driven, sustainable practices in all aspects of our complicated modern lives.
We’ve posted some photos from the festival on our Facebook page too, so be sure to take a look!
Posted by|10 November 2010
For me, spices are the perfect complement to chilly autumn and winter months. The tantalizing aromas are reminiscent of holiday favorites like apple and pumpkin pie, mulled apple cider, eggnog, clove-studded oranges, and hot toddies. Plus, the scents are uplifting to the spirits, comforting, energizing, and good for overcoming mental fatigue and stress. Topically, they are warming and excellent for increasing circulation making them useful for sore muscles and arthritis.
Winter Spice Aroma Spray
Mist this intoxicating scent around your home for a nostalgic holiday aroma, or just because it smells so good!
Add all ingredients to a 4 oz bottle and cap with a mister top. Shake before each use as the contents will naturally separate.
Clove and Sweet Orange Lip Balm
A warming lip balm with a delightful scent reminiscent of Orange and Clove Pomander Balls.
Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Place beeswax, butter, and oils in a small pot or glass Pyrex measuring cup and gently heat in the top of a double boiler until the beeswax and butters have melted. Once melted, remove from the stovetop and add essential oils. Immediately pour the mixture into lip balm containers. You can purchase lip balm tubes and jars, or you can reuse glass or plastic containers. Allow to cool completely before placing caps onto the lip balm containers. Your lip balm is finished! You can now add labels, ribbons, twine, or any other decorative elements. Makes 10 lip balm tubes.
Oatmeal & Spice Bath
Oatmeal soothes while spices warm, assist circulation, and aid sore muscles.
Mix the oatmeal and spices together. If using right away, place in a muslin bag or in cheesecloth and wrap under the faucet, allowing the warm water to flow through the bag. Once the bathtub is full, untie and oatmeal-spice bag and use it like a washcloth to soften and sooth your skin. If giving as a gift, package the mixture in a pretty glass jar or tin, and attach a muslin bag and include instructions for usage.
Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Body Scrub
This simple recipe smells delicious, increases circulation, and will make your skin feel silky smooth.
Combine sugar and powdered Cinnamon. Add oil, honey, and essential oil. Mix well. Package in jars, and enjoy!
Make a pot of this enchanting tea to enjoy while whipping up all of these body care products! This is my favorite spiced tea recipe. I love to share it with friends and family during the fall and winter months. Many families in India create their own version of this tea, so feel free to play with the recipe.
- 4 slices fresh organic Ginger root
- 2 organic Cinnamon sticks
- 8-10 whole organic Cloves
- 8-10 whole organic Cardamom pods
- ¼ tsp. organic whole Black or White Peppercorns
- Dash of homemade or organic Vanilla Extract
- 2 TBSP Black Tea (organic English Breakfast, Ceylon, or Assam) or, make a decaffeinated version by substituting Red or Honeybush Tea
- Organic Honey to taste
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups organic milk or a milk substitute
Lightly crush Cinnamon sticks and Cardamom Pods. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, and add all spices. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally. Add milk and allow it to heat up, then remove from the stove and add vanilla and honey. Strain and enjoy!
Here are some other fun ways to use spices during the holidays:
Spice Candle – dip a cheap paintbrush into melted wax and dab a bit of wax onto a candle. Press Cinnamon sticks or Star Anise pods onto the melted wax. Allow the candle to cool thoroughly and then holding it carefully by the wick, dip the entire candle into the hot wax briefly. Once cool, tie a decorative ribbon around the base.
Herbal Tree Decorations – fill clear glass ball ornaments with colorful spices. Try Cloves, black, green, white or pink Peppercorns, Cardamom Pods, or any herb or spice that looks pretty or smells fragrant.
Spice Garland – string Cinnamon Sticks, Chili Peppers, and Star Anise Pods on twine for a lovely fall inspired decoration.
Fragrant Sachet Ornaments – cut fabric or lace into fun shapes and fill with fill with Cinnamon, Cloves, Star Anise, and sew closed to make fun and fragrant ornaments.
Breakfast Treats – Grind Cardamom or Cacao Nibs with your coffee beans and brew, use Cinnamon sticks in coffee or black tea drinks as a stir stick, mix Pumpkin Pie Spice into cream cheese for a delicious toast or bagel spread.
Posted by|02 November 2010
Fall is finally here! Our cozy little city is aflame with autumnal beauty as crispy leaves flutter to the ground in orange and red swirls. I’ve been finding pointy maples hiding in my hair and coat every day this week after walks around the neighborhood.
I adore this time of year, when we can keep our homes warm with wood stoves, slow cooked meals, and friendly gatherings. You know its potluck season when cool weather tiptoes in! These recipes were created by our dear friend Beverly Lynn Bennett of The Vegan Chef , and are perfectly spicy crowd pleasers for any party. Need options for gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, or vegetarian friends? These treats will surely be welcomed by all. Enjoy!
Bourbon, Pumpkin, and Spiced Pecan Tart
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, divided
2 T. water
2 T. unbleached cane sugar
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 t. cinnamon, divided
1/8 t. salt
1/3 cup safflower oil
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk
1/4 cup arrowroot
1 – 16 oz. can pumpkin puree
2 T. bourbon, rum, or apple juice
1 T. organic Vanilla Extract
1 T. ginger, minced
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
Lightly oil (or spray with oil) a 9-inch tart pan and set aside. In a small bowl, place the pecan halves, drizzle the water over them, and toss lightly to evenly moisten them. In another small bowl, stir together the sugar and 1/4 t. cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the moistened pecans and toss lightly to evenly coat them with the mixture. Place the pecans on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Pick out 16 perfect pecan halves, place them on a plate, and set aside to be used later as garnish for the tart.
Allow the remaining pecans to cool, and then transfer them to a food processor. Add the whole wheat pastry flour, oats, 1/2 t. cinnamon, and salt, and pulse a few times until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle in the oil and 1/4 cups maple syrup, and pulse a few times just until mixture comes together. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tart pan. Using your fingers, press the mixture to cover the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet and bake it at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, wipe out the food processor so that it can be reused to prepare the filling. In the food processor, place the soy milk and arrowroot, and blend for 1 minute to fully dissolve the arrowroot. Add the remaining cinnamon, remaining maple syrup, and all of the remaining ingredients to the food processor, and blend for 1-2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, return the cookie sheet to the oven, and bake an additional 35-40 minutes or until set.
While the tart is still warm, decorate the top with the 16 reserved pecan halves. Allow the tart to cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then chill it for several hours before serving. Cut the tart into 8 pieces with a warmed knife. Excellent served with a frozen non-dairy ice cream or sorbet on the side.
Yield: One 9-inch tart or 8 pieces
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups arrowroot, plus extra for rolling out cookies
1 1/2 cups amaranth flour
2 T. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 1/2 cups Sucanat (or brown sugar from sugar beets)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup safflower oil
1/3 cup molasses
2 T. organic Vanilla Extract
safflower oil, for oiling cookie sheets
Decorations: hemp seeds, dried currants, dried cranberries, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, and sunflower seeds.
In a small bowl, stir together the brown rice flour, arrowroot, amaranth flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves, and set aside. In a medium bowl, place the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover the bowl, place it in the refrigerator, and chill the dough for 1 hour or more. Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or mist with oil) two non-stick cookie sheets and set aside. Sprinkle a little arrowroot over a work surface. Divide the chilled dough into quarters, work with only one quarter of the dough at a time, and keep the remaining dough covered and chilled until needed. Working in batches, roll out the quarter of dough to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Carefully transfer the cut cookies to the prepared cookie sheet. Bake them at 350 degrees for 6 minutes (the cookies will feel slightly soft to the touch). Allow them to cool on the cookie sheets for 3 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat the rolling and cutting-out procedure for the remaining cookie dough. Store the cookies in an airtight container.
To make Gingerbread People: Cut the dough using a person-shaped cookie cutter. Carefully transfer the cut cookies to the prepared cookie sheets. To decorate them: use two dried currants for eyes, pressing them slightly into the dough; squeeze one dried cranberry with your fingers to form it into a mouth, pressing it slightly into the dough; and then use 8 sunflower seeds to make the outline of a vest, or 10 sunflower seeds to make the outline of a dress, pressing them slightly into the dough. Bake as directed above. The dried currants, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds can also be used to decorate other cut shapes of cookies.
To make Glazed Gingerbread Cookies: Cut cookies as desired and bake as directed above. Prepare frosting and use it to decorate the completely cooled cookies, as desired. Allow the frosting to set completely before transferring the cookies to an airtight container.
Yield: 3 – 4 Dozen
Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts
2 cups whole almonds
2 cups pecans
2 cups walnut pieces
1 1/2 t. onion powder
1 1/2 t. chili powder
1 1/4 t. garlic powder
1 1/4 t. salt
3/4 t. ground coriander
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. freshly ground peppercorns
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup unbleached cane sugar (or white sugar from sugar beets)
In a large bowl, place the almonds, pecans, and walnuts, and toss to combine. In a small bowl, place all of the spices, stir well to combine, and set aside. In a small saucepan, place the water and sugar, and bring the mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar and form a simple syrup. Continue to boil the simple syrup to the soft ball stage (240 degrees, use a candy thermometer). Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the spice mixture. Pour the spiced simple syrup over the mixed nuts and toss well to thoroughly coat the nuts with the mixture. Transfer the mixed nuts to a non-stick cookie sheet and spread them out to form a single layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and set nuts aside to cool. Break the nuts into small pieces and store in an airtight container.
Serve as a snack, or garnish for salads, grains, or rice dishes.
Yield: 6 Cups
Zesty Garlic Chili Marinated Olives
3/4 cup black olives of choice, pitted
3/4 cup green olives of choice, pitted
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 T. garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried rosemary, crushed a bit with your fingers
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground peppercorns
In a glass jar, place all of the ingredients and a few grindings of black pepper. Cover the jar with the lid and shake a few times to evenly distribute the olive oil over the olives. Marinate the olives in the refrigerator for at least one day, shaking the jar occasionally to help combine flavors. Bring olives to room temperature before serving. Olives will keep for several weeks.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Sweet Apple Cider Almond Horchata
In a blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients,
and blend for 2 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps.
Serve as a beverage or use as a non-dairy milk substitute in your favorite recipes. Stores in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.