Archive for January, 2011

Photo Thursday!

Posted by Erin|27 January 2011

Welcome to our first installment of Photo Thursday!

We thought it would be fun to post a picture from around Mountain Rose Herbs every week to give ya’ll a little inside look at what goes on in our bustling offices, warehouse, laboratory, the neighboring wetlands, our travels, and more. So, this week’s photo is an awesome shot of our Pesticide-Free Area sign that I took at our old facility in Pleasant Hill last summer. It reminds me that blue skies and green fields are just around the corner and I can’t wait to hang one in my new garden this year as the spring warmth brings us new beauty!  

Love Inspired Body Care Recipes

Posted by Irene|24 January 2011

Valentine’s Day is just a few short weeks away. What better way to celebrate than by pampering yourself or a loved one with handmade body care products?  Even if you’re not too wild about the holiday itself, you can still craft these recipes to spoil yourself and those you love. Simple to make, these love inspired items can help create an unforgettable experience!

Fragrant Rose & Geranium Bath Bombs Adorned with Frosted Rose Buds.

Rose & Geranium Bath Bombs

Enjoy taking a bath with these fun and fizzy aromatic bath bombs.

Ingredients:

- 1 cup Baking Soda
- 1/2 cup Citric Acid
- 1/2 cup Epsom Salt
- 1 TBSP organic Rose Hydrosol or water
- 1 tsp organic Olive oil
- Dried organic Rose petals
- 20 drops organic Geranium essential oil

Instructions:

Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Slowly drizzle in Olive Oil and essential oil while stirring to prevent fizzing. Slowly spritz with hydrosol while stirring constantly until the mixture begins to clump together. The blend should be just moist enough to hold when pressed together with your hands, be careful not to add too much moisture. Add rose petals, press into molds, and allow to dry 2-3 hours before unmolding. Let bath bombs cure for one week before using them, then store in an airtight container. You can shape your bath bombs by using a melon baller, ice, candy or soap molds, clear plastic two-sided Christmas ornaments, egg cartons, or anything else you have on hand.

Brown Sugar and Vanilla? Yum!

Brown Sugar & Vanilla Body Scrub

A sweet smelling body scrub which will leave your skin feeling silky smooth.

Ingredients:

- 1 cup organic brown sugar
- 1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup + 3 TBSP organic Sunflower oil
- 1/4 tsp organic Vanilla flavoring extract

Instructions:

Blend sugars together in a bowl, add oil and vanilla extract, and mix well. Package in jars, and enjoy! Note: the oil in this recipe will make your tub slippery, so use with caution.

Gorgeous Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) Flowers.

Lover’s Delight Massage Oil

A floral, earthen, exotic, and sweet blend which will appeal to women and men alike.

Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup organic Jojoba oil
- 20 drops organic Lavender essential oil
- 15 drops organic Cedarwood essential oil
- 2 drop organic Ylang Ylang essential oil

Instructions:

Drop all essential oils into a glass bottle, add Jojoba oil, and roll bottle between palms to blend oils. Decorate with a ribbon and pretty label if desired. Shake well before each use.

Lavender Smells Divine and is Oh-So-Good for Relaxing the Body and Mind.

Sweet Lavender Bath Salts

Floral and relaxing, these salts are a perfect addition to any bath.

Ingredients:

- 1 cup Salt (Epsom, Sea Salt, Dead Sea Salt, or a mixture)
- 1/4 cup Baking Soda
- 20 drops organic Lavender essential oil
- 1 TBSP organic Lavender flowers

Instructions:

Mix salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. Add essential oil and Lavender flowers, blend well. Package in a jar, or use right away.

Happy pampering!

~ irene

Wild Foods ~ The Dandelion

Posted by Erin|17 January 2011

Have you tried a dandelion burrito? Yum! 

This is a really fun recipe to make after a day weeding in the garden. What’s your favorite way to use dandelions and other beneficial weeds?

 

 

Craft Your Own Lip Balm

Posted by Irene|12 January 2011

Homemade Lip Balm Alongside Dried Helichrysum Flowers and Rose Buds.

Lip balm is truly one of the easiest and most inexpensive products to create. Not only is crafting your own surprisingly simple, you’ll have full control over all of the ingredients and the satisfaction of knowing that you’re putting pure, natural, and organic elements on your lips!

Three recipes are listed below, but feel free to experiment and create your own! See our guide at the end for tips on making your own recipes.

Whole nutmeg kernels

Gorgeous Organic Nutmeg (Myristica fragans) from Sri Lanka.

Mandarin Nutmeg Lip Balm

This sweet, citrusy, and warming lip balm has just a hint of spice.  Made with Mandarin and Nutmeg essential oils, Mango Butter, Sunflower oil, and other botanical ingredients.

1 Tablespoon Mango Butter
2 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Beeswax
15 drops Mandarin Essential Oil
5 drops Nutmeg Essential Oil
A few drops of Vitamin E Oil (optional, but recommended)

Lip balm preparation: 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 and Vitamin E Oil. 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 approximately 1.5 oz of lip balm, enough to fill 10 lip balm tubes, 6 of our 1/4 oz plastic jars, or 3 1/2 oz tins or plastic jars.

Pure Essential Oils Steam Distilled from Freshly Harvested Botanicals.

Peppermint Cocoa Lip Balm

A refreshing, cooling, and nourishing lip balm with Cocoa Butter and Peppermint for that quintessential fusion of chocolate and mint.

1 Tablespoon Cocoa Butter
2 Tablespoons Sweet Almond Oil
1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Beeswax
12-15 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
A few drops of Vitamin E Oil (optional, but recommended)

Lip balm preparation: 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 and Vitamin E Oil. 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 approximately 1.5 oz of lip balm, enough to fill 10 lip balm tubes, 6 of our 1/4 oz plastic jars, or 3 1/2 oz tins or plastic jars.

Chunks of Certified Organic and Fair Trade Virgin Coconut Oil. Yum!

Lime Coconut Lip Balm

Reminiscent of tropical places, this blend is perfect for warmer weather or for those who prefer a lightweight and glossy lip balm.

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Beeswax
15 drops Lime Peel Essential Oil
A few drops of Vitamin E Oil (optional, but recommended)

Lip balm preparation: Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Place beeswax and oils in a small pot or glass Pyrex measuring cup and gently heat in the top of a double boiler until the beeswax has melted. Once melted, remove from the stovetop and add essential oils and Vitamin E Oil. 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 approximately 1.5 oz of lip balm, enough to fill 10 lip balm tubes, 6 of our 1/4 oz plastic jars, or 3 1/2 oz tins or plastic jars.

Experimenting with Lip Balm

It’s fun to concoct lip balm recipes using your favorite botanical ingredients and essential oils! As a general rule, use 3 parts of carrier oil to 1 part of beeswax (omit butters from your calculations since they are solid at room temperature). If you feel as though your lip balm is too soft, re-melt it and add more beeswax and if it is too hard, re-melt and add more oil. You can also adjust your recipes with the seasons: harder lip balms are better for warm summer weather and softer lip balms during cold fall and winter months. Add essential oils at your discretion, a general amount is 2 drops per container, but this varies depending upon the essential oil used. Less is better when it comes to essential oils; you don’t want to end up with lip balm that will sting or irritate your lips.

You can find all of the ingredients needed to make lip balm on our website: www.mountainroseherbs.com

Happy lip balm making!

~ irene

A Passion For Organic

Posted by Shawn|10 January 2011

Back in 2001 I began the process of re-structuring Mountain Rose Herbs with an exclusive focus on certified organic materials- simply because I could not blithely ignore the harsh realities that conventional agriculture was causing to our communities, landscape, rivers and wildlife. This was a daunting task because it meant that no conventionally grown materials could enter our warehouse, which is much more difficult to enforce than you can imagine! However it fills all of us at Mountain Rose Herbs with an immense sense of pride knowing that we remain the only herbal products company that does not offer its customers conventionally grown items, nor do we allow them into our facilities.

I was recently given an awesome opportunity to speak candidly with Organic Connections magazine about why organic agriculture is important to Mountain Rose Herbs and why other companies are not following our lead. It’s a great article and I promise it won’t produce yawns. Check it out at….. http://organicconnectmag.com/wp/2010/11/company-committed-to-organic/

Shawn Donnille and Julie Bailey inspecting the quality of our freshly harvested organic Echinacea root at our Northern Farm

 

Seeds of Inspiration

Posted by Erin|07 January 2011

 

What herbs do you plan to grow in your garden this year?

Thanks to our awesome fans for this beautiful animation and inspiration!

A New Kind Of Fair Trade

Posted by Shawn|05 January 2011

Since our inception in 1987 we have always supported the principles based upon Fair Trade systems and in the late 1990′s when formal Fair Trade certification became available we made great haste in getting Mountain Rose Herbs certified and approved for the sale and distribution of Fair Trade teas, herbs and spices from our network of farms. However something was amiss as we quickly realized that the Fair Trade system as we knew it only guaranteed premiums for the farmers but little was done to ensure that the company offering, distributing, or processing the Fair Trade items was conducting itself ethically and responsibly. To our great joy we learned about the program offered by IMO which is called “Fair For Life” and we were ecstatic about the possibility of partnering with this unique organization. Unlike traditional Fair Trade programs that merely certify just the products, the Fair For Life program is much more thorough in that it audits Mountain Rose Herbs from the top to the bottom; and it evaluates all of our working conditions, labor practices, environmental programs, social benefits, and our company’s transparency. Not only does the Fair For Life program certify our entire company, but it also reviews and monitors the origins of our products to ensure complete compliance with the program. Whew! The inspection was grueling and lasted 2 full days but we are utterly thrilled to announce that we are now certified through IMO’s Fair For Life program and we passed with blazing colors! In fact, they shared with us some interesting news and went on to say that for a company’s first inspection, we garnered more points necessary for certification than they have ever seen. YAH!

To learn more about our Fair Trade certification through IMO’s Fair For Life program please see…. http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/fairtrade.html

Make a Plant Press

Posted by Erin|03 January 2011

The frosty, bloomless months of winter offer their own charms as mosses, lichens, and mushrooms pop from every moist nook under the forest canopy, but who doesn’t long for the sun filled beauty of handpicked wildflowers? The colorful blossoms of spring and summer can be enjoyed year round with one simple tool that is easily crafted during a lazy afternoon at home. 

Plant presses have been used for hundreds of years to dry and preserve specimens for safe travel across vast continents and rough seas. Explorers would guard their botanical treasures like gold, hoping to return home with a variety of floral curiosities for later identification, taxonomic cataloging, and even cherished supplies for artwork.

Presses can be small enough to carry in your hiking pack, perfect for collecting herbaceous plant leaves, roots, and flowers as you wander, or they can be made large enough to press a towering Verbascum thapsus from your garden, root to flower. It is important to press flowers as soon as possible after picking them to avoid wilting and improve your results. You should also make note of the plant’s common name, Latin name, location, height, habitat, abundance, date, and other valuable information that can fade from memory and leave you stumped when you’re finally ready to use your pressings.

Your dried flowers, leaves, ferns, and roots can be mounted in glass for display, placed in papier-mâché crafts, used to make stationary and scrapbooks, or to adorn homemade candles. Another fun project would be to document your favorite wild or garden plants in a home herbarium. To do this, simply arrange your specimens on acid-free paper with all of the pertinent harvesting information and glue or cover with contact paper to conveniently catalog your prized pressings.    

 

Cardboard Plant Press

There are several ways to make a plant press. The easiest and most economical choice can be constructed beautifully with materials from your recycling bin! This press would also be the perfect handmade gift for the crafter or plant lover in your life.

This is what you will need:

             * Several old newspapers

             * Corrugated cardboard

             * Two pieces of wood

             * Two straps with buckles that can be secured: belts, canvas straps, light bungee cords, rope 

  1. Fold individual sheets of newspaper along the normal folding creases. These folded sheets will become your blotters.
  2. Cut the cardboard to fit your folded newspaper blotters. This will save you the time and trouble of cutting every piece of newspaper to size. You’ll want the zigzag corrugation to run through the width of your cardboard, not the length, to allow for maximum airflow.    
  3. Assemble your press by placing three single sheets of folded newspaper on top of one piece of cardboard, and then continue by layering another piece of cardboard, three more individual sheets of folded newspaper, and another piece of cardboard. Repeat this process until you’ve reached your desired stack.
  4. Next, sandwich your stack between two pieces of wood that measure about the same size or ½ inch larger than the cardboard. You can decorate the wood boards with paint, markers, or decoupage if you’re feeling extra crafty!
  5. Secure two straps around the width of the boards to hold it all together. Old belts work perfectly; just keep in mind that the press doesn’t need too much pressure to work well.

           

Once your press is completed, it’s time to harvest your specimens, remove dirt with a dry brush, and if desired, dissect them to isolate the characteristic botanical organs. Next, open your press to find the first set of folded newspapers. Select the middle sheet of newspaper and unfold. Position your plant material on the newspaper without overlapping and refold the sheet to cover. Plants with long stalks can be bent into a zigzag to fit in your press. Make sure there is a blotter underneath the sheet containing the herbs and replace the top blotter sheet along with the cardboard. Repeat until you’ve pressed all of your plants. Each pressed plant should be tucked between two blotters and separated by cardboard.

Allow the plants to set for one day and then open your press to adjust the delicate petals and leaves that may be curled or crooked. Most plants will be dry and ready to use within one week’s time, but they will happily wait in the press until you are ready to honor them with creativity or study.    

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Meet Us

  • ErinErin (362)
    Erin is the Marketing Director at Mountain Rose and studied herbalism, botany, and ethical wildcrafting at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. She spends her days making botanical illustrations, playing in the garden, creating culinary gems, and formulating medicine in the magnificent Oregon Cascades.
    ChristineChristine (137)
    Christine is our Product Manager here at Mountain Rose Herbs and our Certified Aromatherapist on staff. She's a longtime Mountain Roser with nearly a decade under her belt and assists with selecting new and exciting herbal and herb-related products. She also makes sure our current products are the best they can be!
    KoriKori (69)
    Kori is our Public and Media Relations Coordinator! A West Coast native, Kori is a seasoned nonprofit activist and community organizer. Having launched six adult kids, she spends her free time in her burgeoning organic and very urban “farm”—taming Heritage chickens, building top-bar beehives from reclaimed materials, baking, brewing, and preserving.
    IreneIrene (53)
    Irene Wolansky is the Customer Experience Director at Mountain Rose Herbs. Born and raised on the Oregon coast, her interests include crafting body care products and herbal medicine, harvesting mushrooms, gardening, brewing herbal mead, fermentation, and exploring wild areas.
    AlietaAlieta (42)
    Alieta is our Marketing Assistant! An Oregon native, she studied philosophy, Spanish and graphic design at Portland State University and has a natural affinity for the natural foods industry. She spends her time outside of work playing her 54 key Rhodes piano, hanging out with her cat Penelope, and cooking delicious gluten-free and dairy-free meals to share with friends.
    FriendsFriends (37)
    An array of voices from around Mountain Rose Herbs and beyond share their wisdoms, inspirations, and exciting stories from the herbal world.
    AlyssaAlyssa (27)
    Alyssa is the Director of Sustainability at Mountain Rose Herbs and an expert social butterfly. When not fluttering between community and non-profit events, she enjoys hiking, gardening, playing with her chickens, and organizing potlucks.
    On the FarmOn the Farm (17)
    Our team of farm representatives travel around the US and the world to visit our organic crops. They bring back stories and photos from their meetings with our farmers and important news about our herbal harvests.
    ShawnShawn (14)
    Shawn is the Vice President at Mountain Rose Herbs, which means he has his hands in just about everything here, but he is most passionate about advancing the company's ecological platforms for sustainable business practices. In his spare time, he can be found deep in Oregon’s designated wilderness areas or fly fishing (strictly catch and release) with his furry friends Abigail and Maggie.
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