Archive for February, 2011
Posted by|24 February 2011
We’ll have a BIG announcement to share with ya’ll next week!
And we mean old-growth BIG!
How about a sneak peek?
For more clues, visit our Twitter page!
Posted by|23 February 2011
The allure of tea has captivated the world for more than 5,000 years.
I too have been an enchanted teahead since the delicious liquor of Orange Pekoe first passed my lips. As a kid, my dad would make a fresh pitcher of sweet tea every few days, steeping a strong black amber brew and then whipping sugar into the hot infusion before tossing just-sliced juicy lemon wheels into the dark swirling goodness. So refreshing during hot summer barbeques, the tea’s sweetness and astringency cut right through the wonderfully salty and greasy southern cooking of my childhood.
Not knowing where to begin, I decided to try them all.
The diverse world of tea blossomed for me 10 years ago when I moseyed into a new little tea house in my funky neighborhood. I stood at the counter in complete awe of the tea rainbow that surrounded me. Not knowing where to begin, I decided to try them all and ordered the first green tea on their menu. Within a few weeks, my kitchen cabinets were spilling with bags and tins of Assam, aged Pu’erh cakes, Dragon Well, Yunnan Golden Tips, fluffy sweet rose petals, vanilla chai, and smoky Lapsang Souchong.
I soon discovered my six must-have favorites…
My absolute favorite green oolong is grown in the high mountains at elevations reaching over 3,500 feet. Each leaf is tightly rolled after withering in the sun and undergoing light oxidation. Boasting a sweet and flowery perfume, this tea is wonderfully floral and buttery, with a gorgeous green-gold liquor. Amazing!
This delicious brew is made from young tea leaves that are crushed into a fine and glowy green powder. It can have a milky texture since you actually drink the whole leaves, instead of removing them from an infusion. Matcha is prepared and served during traditional tea ceremonies in Japan to imbue the spirit with humility and calm. I like to use the powder to make the most incredible lattes and ice-cream!
The first and most tender wooly leaf buds of the Camellia sinensis tree are hand-harvested every spring for just a few days to produce this tea which is delicate and smooth with light floral notes and a soft nutty finish. Very rich in anti-oxidants.
Imagine a mouthful of flowers at sunset…that‘s the experience this tea provides. To make this elegant brew, the young downy tea leaf shoots are rolled into pearls and covered with fresh jasmine blossoms. Once the delicate tea leaves have absorbed the flowers’ sweet perfume, the pearls are separated and ready to steep.
This African red tea is Aspalathus linearis, a shrub in the Fabaceae family that is rich in anti-oxidants, trace minerals, and nutrients – with no caffeine! Red Rooibos is oxidized and produces a stunning garnet infusion that is lusciously smooth, with a mellow sweetness. I like it perfumed with vanilla beans, but it is lovely alone. Some people like to brew it strong and use shots of it in espresso-styled drink concoctions! You can also find green Rooibos that is completely unoxidized.
I love maté! The dried leaves from this tropical South American shrub (Ilex paraguariensis) should be steeped in hot, but not boiling water. Though it is traditionally served in a gourd with a metal straw called a bombilla, I like it paired with orange peel or mint, and I sometimes make iced maté lattes with creamy coconut milk. Gently stimulating and nutrient rich, maté is always a marvelous treat.
Posted by|21 February 2011
During the cold winter months when our bodies are vulnerable to colds and flu, herbs can help keep us healthy. Many herbs have antibacterial and antiseptic properties that help the body resist germs and infection, others boost the immune system and shorten recovery times, and some herbs can be used to naturally treat, sooth, and relieve cold and flu symptoms including sore throats and nasal congestion. Keep these herbal remedies in your home medicine chest and you’ll have them on hand whenever you need them!
Herbal Vapor Balm
Interestingly enough, two of the common active ingredients in commercially-made vapor rubs are Eucalyptus essential oil and Menthol. But, the classic ointments also contain things like Petroleum and Turpentine oil. Luckily, we can make a homemade version utilizing all-natural elements and botanicals!
- 1/2 cup organic Olive Oil
- 1/2 – 1 tsp organic Menthol Crystals
- 1 oz Beeswax, coarsely chopped or use pastilles
- 15 drops organic Eucalyptus essential oil
- 10 drops organic Peppermint essential oil
- 10 drops organic Rosemary essential oil
- 2 drops organic Tea Tree essential oil
- 2 drops organic Thyme essential oil
Heat the Olive oil and beeswax in a double boiler until the beeswax has melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little. Add Menthol crystals (1/2 tsp for a gentler balm, 1 tsp for a stronger product) and essential oils, stir, and quickly pour into jars. Immediately place lids loosely over the jars so that the oils do not escape. This balm will last for years, I have some that I made 7 years ago and it is still effective! Note: The menthol crystals may be irritating when inhaled so use in a well ventilated area or wear a mask if needed.
Steven’s Osha Pastilles
This recipe is courtesy of our Quality Control and Laboratory Manager, Steven Yeager. In addition to his work at Mountain Rose Herbs, he has also been teaching at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies for 13 years. These pastilles are great for sore throats and after a long night of singing or howling at the moon!
- 1 gram organic Acacia (Gum Arabic) powder
- 4 grams organic Sugar (Steven uses Maple sugar)
- 3 grams Osha root powder
- 1 gram organic Licorice root powder
- Water or herbal extract/tincture of your choice
Combine and mix dry ingredients in a bowl. With a one ounce glass dropper, add one dropperful of water at a time to the bowl. (Steven likes to use Osha root or Elecampane root tincture instead of water). Keep adding one dropperful of water or tincture until the mixture holds together in a clump, similar to the consistency of cookie dough. Be careful not to add too much liquid. Form into small pastilles/lozenges/stars/hearts etc. Keep the shapes small as the pastilles will be strong! These are medicinal, not candy. Coat the outsides with additional Licorice root powder if desired. Allow to dry on a screen or plate for a few days. Store in a glass jar.
Simple to make, this old-fashioned remedy is a favorite therapy for quickly and effectively relieving sinus congestion.
- Herbs or Essential Oil of organic Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Rosemary or Thyme.
Use any of the above herbs or essential oils, or create a blend. Place 2-3 TBSP of dried herbs or 1-2 drops of essential oil into a large ceramic or glass bowl. Boil water and pour over the herbs or essential oil, immediately placing a towel or lid over the bowl so that the oils being released do not escape. Steep for 5 minutes (skip this step if using essential oils). Place the bowl on a table or other surface where you can comfortably sit and hold your face over the bowl covering your head and the bowl with a large towel to make sure that no steam can escape. Make sure to keep your eyes closed and breathe deeply to inhale the therapeutic properties. Steam for 5-10 minutes.
Sore Throat Gargle with Sage
This delightfully simple recipe comes from our friends at Herb Companion. The Sage (Salvia officinalis) used in the following recipe is a classic gargle, but other herbs such as Marjoram, Tyme or Hyssop can be used instead.
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons fresh or dried Sage leaves
- 1/4 ounce salt
Pour the boiling water over the Sage, cover and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and add the salt. Gargle as needed. May be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Cold Flu Tea
When you’re huddled at home nursing a cold or flu, a warm cup of herb tea is comfort in itself. An advantage to drinking tea is that the liquid thins congestion and flushes out toxins. Drinking two to three cups of the following tea, nice and hot, will make you sweat and lower a fever. If possible, tuck yourself into a warm bed afterwards.
- 1/2 teaspoon Yarrow flowers (Achillea millefolium)
- 1/2 teaspoon Elder flowers (Sambucus canadensis)
- 1/2 teaspoon Peppermint leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon Echinacea root
- 1/2 teaspoon Schisandra berries
- 3 cups boiling water
Combine the herbs in a teapot and pour the boiling water over them. Steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain and drink throughout the day. You can make a double batch and keep it in the refrigerator, just be sure to warm it before drinking.
Sore Throat Gargle and Cold Flu Tea recipes reprinted with permission from The Herb Companion magazine, a division of Ogden publications. Recipes written by Kathi Keville. Kathi Keville is the author of eleven books, including Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art and Herbs for Health and Healing. She teaches herb and aromatherapy seminars throughout the United States and is director of the American Herb Association (www.ahaherb.com). Click here for the original article: Herbs for Cold and Flu
Don’t have the time to make your own medicine? Check out these herbal products:
- Cold Care Capsules
- Single Herbal Capsules
- Phyto Capsules
- Throat Shield Spray
- Herbal Syrups and Lozenges
- Herbal Extracts and Tinctures
- Herbal Vapors
- Herbal Teas (try our 21st Century Tea, 5th Chakra Tea, Echinacea & Roots Tea, Forests Tea, and Winter Spice Tea)
Happy medicine making!
Posted by|17 February 2011
Posted by|15 February 2011
We just love expanding our liquid herbal extract (also known as tinctures) line and recently we completed 5 new single extracts which we are now offering. They include Catnip, Cilantro, Blue Vervain, Alfalfa, Raspberry, and Rosemary. Oh boy are they good! We are also working on a select line of about 20 combination extracts and with a little luck they should be available in the next month or so. Click here to see our complete line of herbal extracts.
Also, instead of buying our herbal extracts, you can very easily make your very own from freshly harvested materials from your garden or surrounding area, which is infinitely more fun and satisfying.
If this is something that might interest you, check out this video….
Posted by|14 February 2011
Congratulations to our VP here at Mountain Rose, Shawn Donnille for becoming the most recent board member for Oregon Wild!
This is really exciting news and a wonderful opportunity for us to deepen our previous partnership with this incredible group that protects and restores Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife, and natural waterways. Oregon Wild works to sustain an enduring legacy of thriving ecosystems for Oregonians, that will surely ripple throughout the planet. We hope that you’ll pay them a visit to check out all of the awesome projects they’re leading – or better yet, become a member!
Posted by|10 February 2011
Posted by|10 February 2011
What could be better than adorning ourselves with the exquisite scent of orchids?
Did you know that Vanilla Beans come from gorgeous orchid flowers? Growing Vanilla is truly labor intensive. Every orchid must be hand pollinated by farm workers who carefully transfer the pollen from the anther to the stigma of the flower. The Vanilla flower has a very short life span, and only blooms for less than a day. This means that the growers have to inspect their plantations daily for open flowers to pollinate.
6-9 months after pollination, the long green pods begin to turn yellow at their tips, which means that they are ready to be harvested. The Beans are picked and then cured for 3-6 months on drying racks in the sun and in special conditioning rooms. During this time, they develop the dark color, rich aroma, and delicious flavor that we all know and love. Aside from culinary use, we can also harness the intoxicating aroma of Vanilla for body care recipes. What could be better than adorning ourselves with the exquisite scent of orchids?
Vanilla Steeped Witch Hazel Extract
I love using this infusion as a facial toner in the morning, the sweet scent is a perfect way to start the day! Plus, the natural astringent helps cleanse oil from the skin, decreases bags under eyes and skin puffiness, and reduces pore size.
- 2 organic Vanilla Beans
- 8 oz Witch Hazel Extract
Slice Vanilla Beans lengthwise and cut into small pieces. Place in a glass jar, cover with Witch Hazel Extract, cap, and shake well. Store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks and shake daily. When the blend has reached the desired strength, strain the Vanilla Beans out using cheesecloth and pour the liquid into a glass bottle with a mister top.
Vanilla Infused Body Oil
A delectable Vanilla infused oil which can be used for massages or as a moisturizing body oil. You can even make a more concentrated version of this oil to use as a natural perfume!
- 2 organic Vanilla Beans
- 1 cup organic Jojoba Oil
Slice Vanilla Beans lengthwise and cut into small pieces. Place in a glass jar, cover with oil, cap, and shake well. Store in a sunny and warm windowsill for 1-2 months and shake daily. When the oil has reached the desired strength, strain the Vanilla Beans out using cheesecloth and pour the infused oil into a bottle.
Vanilla Aroma Spray
A delightful aromatherapy spray which can be used around the house or misted directly onto the skin or hair. It also makes a wonderful facial toner!
- 1 oz Witch Hazel Extract
- 3 oz water
- 2 tsp organic Vanilla extract (Make your own! See recipe below.)
Pour all ingredients into a 4 oz glass bottle with a mister top and shake well. Shake before each use as contents will naturally separate and be careful not to spray over light colored furniture or clothing.
Vanilla & Honey Body Scrub
This scrub smells scrumptious and will exfoliate your skin, leaving it soft and smooth.
- ¾ cup organic granulated sugar or fine sea salt
- ¼ cup plus 1 TBSP organic Apricot Kernel Oil (or other carrier oil of your choice)
- 1 TBSP Honey
- 1 tsp organic Vanilla extract (Make your own! See recipe below.)
- ¼ tsp powdered organic Vanilla Beans (optional)
Combine sugar and powdered Vanilla Beans in a bowl. Add oil, honey, and Vanilla extract. Mix well. Package in jars, and enjoy!
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Making your own Vanilla Extract is extremely easy, and is much less expensive than purchasing it.
- 3-4 whole organic Vanilla Beans
- 1 cup brandy, vodka, or bourbon
Split Vanilla Beans lengthwise with a knife, leaving the seeds inside intact. Place Vanilla Beans in a jar, cover with alcohol, and cap tightly. Agitate the mixture by shaking the jar daily for 4-6 weeks. You can infuse the Vanilla Beans for as long as you would like, and add new Vanilla Beans to make a stronger extract.
Once that the flavor of the extract has reached the desired strength, strain the Vanilla Beans out and bottle the resulting extract. To make the bottles even more alluring, you can insert a Vanilla Bean into each bottle. Vanilla extract will last indefinitely, and will become even more aromatic and flavorful as it ages. Homemade Vanilla Extract may be used in exactly the same manner as commercial Vanilla Extract.
Other ideas for using Vanilla Beans:
Vanilla Salt: Infuse Vanilla Beans in sea salt to create naturally scented bath salts or for culinary use.
Vanilla Sugar: Place a Vanilla Bean in a jar filled with sugar, it tastes delicious in coffee or sprinkled over Crème Brulee.
Vanilla Liquor: Add Vanilla Beans to liquors. They are especially wonderful in whiskey, bourbon, or vodka.
Vanilla Honey: Gently heat honey with a Vanilla Bean in it to create Vanilla infused honey. Simple and delectable for dipping fresh fruit or drizzling over desserts.
I hope that you enjoy these Vanilla-inspired recipes!
Posted by|09 February 2011
We’ve posted photos from our weekend at the Good Earth Show here in Eugene! We had an awesome time hanging out in our recycled herbalist’s garden and connecting with our neighborhood folks.
Click the link below to see our photo album from the event!
Good Earth Show Photos:
Posted by|08 February 2011
If you find yourself plucking petals over whether or not you actually love Valentine’s Day, just remember that February 14th is the perfect excuse to honor that special someone. Why not reinvent the holiday by pampering your exceptionally beautiful lover, best friend, favorite aunt, or fluffy cat with pure herbal decadence? These all natural and organic gift ideas will be well enjoyed by the one you hold dear!
Lover’s Essential Oil Kit
Did you know that there are 60 roses in every drop of Rose essential oil?
This set is much better than a bouquet! We love this romantic collection of sensuous and arousing essential oils. Each pure botanical oil comes in its own glass vial, beautifully packaged in a crimson gift box. The perfect way to enjoy Clary Sage, organic Ylang Ylang, organic Palmarosa, organic Sandalwood, organic Patchouli and a 1/24 ounce vial of true Rose.
Everyone loves to have their aches and pains soothed away by touch. Light a few candles and enjoy massage oils infused with roses, lavender, damiana, and other sweet aphrodisiacs. The Goddess Dreams Massage Oil is our top pick for Valentine’s Day.
~~ Massage Oils ~~
Using commercial perfume is like covering your body in a cloud of toxic chemicals. Many people have severe reactions to heavy, artificial fragrances and become ill when the noxious particles enter their lungs. What better way to love someone than with the gift of all natural aromatic pleasure? These aroma oils are made with pure plant resins and essential oils in an organic jojoba oil base – nothing synthetic! You only need a drop or two to experience the warmth and beauty of these enchanting botanical blends.
~~ Aroma Oils ~~
This oil is truly unique!
Crafted with the finest organic botanicals and oils, this 100% natural herbal lubricant will encourage closeness and awaken arousal. Perfect for times of sensual intimacy, Gentle Oil is specifically formulated without synthetic chemicals or petroleum derived ingredients to be safe and effective.
A lovely blend of Organic Sweet Almond oil, organic Jojoba oil, and Vitamin E oil infused with organic Calendula flowers, organic Plantain and organic Marshmallow root. This luscious oil will definitely spark the flames!
~~ Gentle Oil ~~
Herbal Aroma Sprays
These aromatic sprays can really set the mood! Spritz them in a sunset lit room to create an amorous ambiance. They also make dreamy body mists as the organic hydrosols and essential oils warm against your skin. Try the Aphrodite or Evening Embrace for romance.
~~ Aroma Sprays ~~
Purrrfect Catnip Toy
Give your cat an herbal Valentine, too!
Cats LOVE carrots…if they are filled with the finest organic catnip leaf! Cute, sweet, and a completey natural toy that will seduce your furry friend into a frenzied infatuation!
~~ Catnip Toy ~~
Wishing you all much love!
Posted by|03 February 2011
In the cold winter days of 2010, our Operations Manager Jennifer Gerrity traveled to sunny India, colorful with culture and history, to visit our farms and meet with longtime suppliers who grow organic herbs around the country. During her trip, she visited our gorgeous organic chili pepper crops, ripening in the sun!
More photos and stories from her trip coming soon…
Posted by|02 February 2011
As most of you have heard, we have been sadly hit with another defeat by the USDA’s recent deregulation of genetically modified Alfalfa. All of us at Mountain Rose Herbs don’t like the idea of folks in funny lab suits manipulating nature’s blueprint and for these people who have always promoted that it COULD be done, we have always retorted with SHOULD it be done.
In 1999 Mountain Rose Herbs began campaigning for mandatory labeling of genetically modified food items and at that time we had partnered with a ground breaking organization called Mothers For Natural Law. Sadly they are no longer with us but we have not stopped the fight! Currently our regulatory compliance manager Bryan Burnette has begun developing a partnership with Organic Consumers Association as the Oregon representative for the national campaign for mandatory labeling of genetically modified food crops and you can be rest assured that we have forcefully voiced our opposition to the USDA’s recent deregulation of genetically modified Alfalfa. We will continue to petition all of the agencies involved in labeling law that items which contain GMO’s be labeled as such because we firmly believe that if the American public knew what they were buying, they would not buy it all.
If nobody buys the product, we win, and they lose.
We urge you all to participate in a little action yourself and our friends at the Organic Consumers Association have created an online form which can be sent directly to the USDA. We implore you all to give up 1-2 minutes of your time to address this pressing issue and we guarantee it will make you feel good all over.
Organic cheers and good luck!
Organic Consumers Association Petition