Archive for March, 2011
Posted by|30 March 2011
Meet Kathi Keville!
Kathi Keville has been teaching and writing about herbal medicine, aromatherapy, herb gardening, and ethnobotany for over forty years. She is the author of 14 books, hosts an herb centered radio show, is the director of the American Herb Association, founding member of the American Herbalist Guild and United Plant Savers, was given honorary membership to the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy and the American Aromatherapy Association for her work, and much more as this impressive list of experience goes on! We are thrilled and honored to have Kathi share her wisdom with us at this year’s Rootstalk Festival!
To celebrate, we are giving away a copy of her book Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art along with one of our Classic Essential Oil Kits so you can experiment! There are 5 easy ways to enter for a chance to win this awesome prize:
1. Read our interview with Kathi below and leave a comment telling us your favorite herb for aromatherapy and why you love it.
2. Post your own answer to question #3 on your blog with a link back to this giveaway. Be sure to leave a comment with a link to your blog so we can check it out!
3. “Like” the Rootstalk Festival on Facebook: Rootstalk Facebook Profile
4. Follow us on Twitter at MtnRoseHerbs and tweet about this giveaway with the tag #Rootstalk.
5. Leave a comment on one of our previous blog posts that you find interesting and include the tag #Rootstalk.
Submit all of your entries by next Tuesday, April 5th and we’ll announce the winner on Wednesday!
Good luck and enjoy the interview!
What classes will you be teaching at Rootstalk this year?
- Medicinal Herb Gardens for Sustainability
A self-sufficient approach to growing and wildcrafting herbs you and your family need for medicine. Replacing the exotics in your backyard pharmacy.
- Aromatherapy with Conscience, Safety & Sustainability
Choosing good medicines that are safe and sustainable. We’ll discuss conditions aromatherapy treats the best and which oils to use, and aromatherapy products you can make from your garden.
What is one of the most powerful moments you’ve experienced in the wild or through your work?
After working with medicinal plants for over 40 years, what comes to mind is a mosaic of experiences that mesh into a deep appreciation for the wonder and power of plants. There’s the first time I saw lavender and helichrysum growing in the wild in the mountains of Provence or the experience of traditional Mayan or Native American healings, or connections to the plant world through deep and amazing meditations on plant energies. But then, there’s also simply walking through the woods around my house or seeing the first seedlings emerge in Spring. Perhaps the most powerful of all is every time someone tells me they’ve been healed by a plant.
What is your primary environmental concern?
I’m deeply aware of many concerns about the environment because I write about what’s new on the ecological scene in every issue of the American Herb Association Quarterly. My focus is most often the unsustainable use of natural products, so ways in which we can stop depleting our native plants from the wild. There are also newly-created, modern compounds that tax the liver, kidney, and immune system, such as the toxins in some plastics used to store food and herbs. Herb plants that are not organically grown can contain pesticide and herbicide residues. Imported herbs may be fumigated. Synthetic essential oils permeate many products on the market, even creeping into products sold in natural food stores. These essential oils are especially worrisome because they are composed of small molecules that can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled.
What can people do to help combat this in their community?
As an educator, it is my responsibility to the environment to discuss these issues as much as possible in seminars and on my radio show. As a writer, it is a subject that is often addressed in my books, magazine articles, as well as my AHA Quarterly. I encourage other writers and educators to do the same. The environmental concerns around herbs and essential oils can be controlled by us as consumers when we do become educated and then make choices in what we choose to buy, or not buy. It is our job to spread the word so more people become aware of the facts, verses the fiction. We can all support sustainable products and environmental causes with our money and time. I suggest buying herbs and associated products that have been grown organically and sustainably–or even better–growing your own. I suggest that my students join United Plant Savers <unitedplantsavers.org> and attend their conferences, helping organize carpools and caravans with herb-related stops on the way.
Are there any projects that you are working on and would like to share?
For a long time, I’ve been studying and working with the local medicinal and edible plants around me, including those that are native to the Sierra. I’m always seeking to learn more and expand my experiences, then share this with my students. For several years, I’ve been working on a book covering the edible and medicinal plants of California.
What do you hope to experience at Rootstalk this first year?
People of like minds coming together to celebrate our plant allies!
What is your favorite plant and why?
This question is too difficult to answer. It’s like asking about a favorite child or friend! When I give herbwalks either in the wild or my garden, I find myself repeatedly saying, “This is one of my favorite plants” depending upon what is in front of me at the time. I see them as a united plant community that come together in different combinations and in so many ways to heal us in body, mind, and spirit.
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For more information about Kathi’s amazing work, visit the Rootstalk website here:
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Congratulations to the Winner!
Thanks to everyone for sharing your herby knowledge and stories with us this week. Lavender sure does have some big fans out there!
And the randomly selected winner is…
54. organic says:
Hard to choose… I definitely use lavender all the time but another great favorite of mine is yarrow… I love the blue color and properties that match chamomile (another great scent and the German strand is also blue)I grow yarrow in my backyard and come fall I harvest the plant, let it dry and make a pretty dry arrangement for my table. Ingesting it as a tea is pleasant and subtle and easily mixes with other herbs to create herbal flavors of your liking : )
We’ll be in contact to make arrangements for you to receive the prize!
Posted by|29 March 2011
Three cheers for Maqui berry! We would like to introduce you all to this amazing little fruit (we hate to call them “super fruits” simply because we consider all fruit “super”) that comes to us from our Chilean contract farm as a wild forest item. One interesting bit that we would like to share with you is that there are no commercial orchards that produce Maqui on a commercial scale and most of the world’s supply is from wild gathered areas. This delectable little beauty has several trade names and it is most commonly referred to as Chilean Wineberry because of its use in producing experimental wines during the last 4 centuries.
Maqui or Chilean Wineberry has been successfully cultivated in England since the 1700s, and was cultivated sparingly in the United States by the early 1900s. In 1844 the French botanist Claude Grey documented that Maqui berries were widely consumed by the Mapuche natives as a tonic to improve stamina and strength, and it was also used to prepare chica, a low-alcohol fermented drink. The berries, which taste like tart huckleberries, can be used to make jam or eaten raw, and they are a source of antioxidant and anthocyanin properties.
Maqui berries are relatively new to the American herbal market, and are primarily being sold as one of the latest “superfoods” with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and other beneficial properties. But we should emphasize that most of the research conducted thus far is preliminary and has its sources from Chile which has a strong interest in proving this berry’s effectiveness in alternative healing, but so far we like what we see. Some interesting research which surfaced recently shows that a majority of the constituents exist in the seed of Maqui berry and not the rind or fruiting body as most originally thought.
Maqui can be used in countless ways but here are a few of my favorites……
- Sprinkle berries into your cereal of frozen dessert
- Make a tea using Maqui, Hibiscus flowers, and Honeybush for a super “zingy” beverage.
- Make 1 gallon of juice (dark skinned like grape, cranberry, etc) and pour ½ cup of Maqui into the pitcher of juice. Allow this to sit in the juice for at least 3 days. Once done you can strain out the Maqui for super charged juice drink.
- Maqui can be easily blended into a smoothie and it juices marvelously without leaving “crunchy bits” in your finished drink.
- A great idea and one I just heard about is that they can be used in beer making to produce a fruit bodied ale.
Good cheers and enjoy!
Posted by|28 March 2011
Snow is melting away, green leaves are peeking out on limbs, and early bloomers are coloring the city pink and yellow. The long awaited warmth of spring is a little more noticeable as the days pass and I’m excited about the promise of a new garden space! While it’s still a bit early for dreams of tomatoes ripening on the vine, a deep spring cleaning is surely calling my name.
I’ve been making my own natural cleaning formulas for a few years now. Commercial cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that irritate my skin, burn my eyes, sting my lungs, and poison the natural waterways and wildlife I cherish. It feels great to banish these icky toxins from my home for good. Plus, making my own cleaning solutions is really easy, inexpensive, kinda fun, and much healthier for me and the environment.
These quick and easy recipes will help you prepare your home for the warm months ahead – without using gross chemicals. Great to have on hand year round, these natural homemade cleansers can replace conventional cleaning products in your cupboard with just a few basic ingredients.
Super Surface Spray
• 16 oz. spray bottle
• 14 oz. – 1:1 solution of distilled white vinegar and water
• 7 drops of tea tree essential oil
• 7 drops of lavender essential oil
• 7 drops of lemon essential oil
Use this aromatic and disinfecting solution for cleaning kitchen counters, cabinets, refrigerator shelves, blinds, painted wood surfaces, painted walls, molding, fan blades, and more.
Mix well until you have a nice consistency like cake frosting. If you have leftovers, add 1 tsp vegetable glycerin to keep the blend nice and moist.
Use this cleaning spray to disinfect your bathroom surfaces. You can use the Super Surface Spray to rinse away any residue left behind by the castille soap.
Refreshing Linen Spray
• 16 oz. spray bottle
• 3 oz. unflavored vodka
• 12 drops lavender, ylang ylang, peppermint, orange or your favorite smelling essential oil
• 12 oz. organic hydrosol of your choice
Spray to refresh your mattress, pillows, bed linens, couches, and fabric covered chairs, or spritz clean winter blankets before storing for the year. Also makes a wonderful ironing spray!
Shake well before each use. Spray onto your rag or directly onto furniture. Buff dry immediately.
Mix together and sprinkle the aromatic blend onto your carpet, let sit for 30 minutes, and vacuum as normal. Wonderful mattress deodorizer, too!
Spray, mop as usual, and quickly buff dry to protect your floors. They will be glossy and clean with a lovely lemon scent!
This is the perfect liquid cleaner for tile floors, vinyl, or linoleum. Mix the solution with 2 gallons of hot water and mop away the dirt and grime.
Anti-Microbial Essential Oils for Cleaning
Basil, Bay, Bergamot, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Clove, Eucalyptus, Fir, Ginger, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Orange, Oregano, Patchouli, Peppermint, Pine, Rose Geranium, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Spearmint, Spruce, Tea Tree, and Thyme.
Time for some good scrubbing!
Special thanks to Tara Michelucci for inspiring these recipes.
Posted by|25 March 2011
We are so proud of Steven Yeager, our awesome QC Laboratory Manager, for being elected to the AHPA Board of Trustees during Expo West this year! Steven is second from the right in the snazzy gray sweater.
AHPA, also known as the American Herbal Products Association, has been actively promoting the responsible commerce of herbal products for 30 years. This important industry organization works to ensure that consumers are informed and have access to a wide variety of herbal goods, and to guide healthy regulatory and business environment practices for the entire range of health-related products.
This is a huge accomplishment and we are thrilled for Steven to be part of this esteemed group!
Posted by|24 March 2011
Posted by|21 March 2011
Happy spring equinox to everyone! In celebration, we are extending the Spring Equinox Special ticket price for our Rootstalk Festival for one week only! Extending the discount date has been a popular request, so now you can get tickets for the entire Rootstalk Festival for just $199 until March 28th! Don’t miss this awesome deal!
Spring Equinox Special Ticket Price
Discount Deadline – March 28th
Rootstalk is a three-day, three-night festival which takes place on 300 acres of old growth forest just outside of Salem, Oregon. Join us for this unique celebration of herbal living, love of wilderness, homesteading skills, folk-infused music, plant lore, organic agriculture, and a return to our community’s roots. Enjoy 35 celebrated teachers, 3 nights of music, herbal biergartens, sleeping under the stars, and more! All profits will be donated to Cascadia Wildlands!
Buy your Rootstalk tickets today!
Posted by|17 March 2011
We just returned from a wonderful, inspirational, and fun-filled Natural Products Expo West! We had a blast meeting our customers in person, connecting with allies in the organic movement, waving at Guayaki’s booth across the aisle from ours, hanging out with buds from Coconut Bliss, making new friends, and seeing old ones. Thank you to everyone to took the time to stop by our booth to visit us. It truly was a joy to see you!
Posted by|10 March 2011
Posted by|08 March 2011
Want to make your donation to land conservation go even further? Donate to the McKenzie River Trust by March 31st and Mountain Rose Herbs will automatically match your donation dollar for dollar up to $2,500. This is a perfect opportunity to double your investment in Western Oregon land conservation, and it will help advance the programs put into place by this priceless organization we all love and adore. Please help McKenzie River Trust secure these much needed funds by sending them your contribution by the deadline, and remember for each dollar you donate, Mountain Rose Herbs will match it up to $2,500.
To learn more about the Mountain Rose Herbs matching gift campaign and to donate please visit
Posted by|07 March 2011
Doug Elliott will share plant lore and useful herbalism between harmonica riffs at this year’s Rootstalk Festival! He’s hosting our Storytelling Night around the ceremonial fire pit too.
It’s a real hoot to watch this jolly naturalist, author, and storyteller perform. Check out this video of Doug making some poplar bark berry baskets, tending to his beehive, and singing the Strawberry Boogie!
Posted by|03 March 2011
SO BEYOND excited to announce this amazing festival we’re hosting September 22nd – 25th!
35 Celebrated Teachers
70 Classes, Workshops, & Walks
3 Nights of Music
Moonlight Masquerade Ball
Organic Food Court
Oregon Micro-Brew Biergartens
Peace Tea Pavilion
300 Lush Forested Acres
Canoeing on Pagoda Pond
Solar Heated Pool, Archery Range,
Hiking Trails and more!
The dream of creating a festival steeped in herbal tradition, eco-activism, wilderness skills, joyous revelry, and blossoming community is rooted deep in the history of Mountain Rose Herbs. As plant lovers and herbalists, we are intimately connected with the incredible healing power and ultimate beauty offered through our experiences with the wild. It’s this deep connection to nature and community we hoped to cultivate when we finally decided to go for it!
When we started planning Rootstalk early last year, we knew that the location would be essential to the experience. We traveled the state in search of the perfect venue and melted with pure bliss when we arrived at the Oregon 4-H Center, nestled in the lush Cascadian woods just outside of Salem. With 300 acres of mature forest, groves of towering sequoias, emerald green fields, stunning pavilions, glimmering ponds, and state-of-the-art facilities, our vision for the festival came alive and Rootstalk took flight.
We’ve been blessed with a distinctive mix of experts from diverse backgrounds in the herbal and environmental movements who will share their invaluable insights, exciting skills, and rich knowledge about the earth to empower festival goers throughout the weekend! You can see the complete list of teachers, read their bios, and watch videos of them here.
Good for the spirit, we’ll also have performances by musicians, dance troupes, and storytellers to keep the festivities aflame well into the night. You can check out our list-in-progress here.
We are passionate about operating with sustainability and ecological harmony at the heart of everything we do, so we are dedicated to making the Rootstalk festival a Zero Waste and No Impact event. We will also invite food and craft vendors who mirror this commitment to sustainability – anticipate only the best organic, lovingly handmade, and locally produced goodies during the festival!
This year’s Rootstalk is being held in honor of Cascadia Wildlands, a small but fierce organization of planet guardians who educate, agitate, and work to inspire a movement to protect and restore Cascadia’s wild ecosystems. This amazing group fights to preserve and rebuild a Pacific Northwest with vast old-growth forests, rivers full of wild salmon, wolves howling in the backcountry, and vibrant communities sustained by the thriving temperate forest zones found from central Alaska to northern California. These unique landscapes of the Cascadian bioregion are crucial to the health of our world and to the abundant natural splendor we hold so dear in our lives.
Your attendance at Rootstalk will directly support Cascadia Wildlands. All of the profits raised by ticket sales, merchandise sales, and donations will be gifted to this much needed non-profit organization on behalf of all of the festival goers and participants who make Rootstalk an exceptionally beautiful and powerful event.
We hope you will join us for this unique celebration of plants, people, and planet!