Archive for April, 2011

New at Mountain Rose Herbs: Herbal DVDs!

Posted by Christine|29 April 2011

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve added a new herbal DVD section to our website! Here is the new page, which features the first DVD we’ve chosen for your viewing pleasure. It won’t be by its lonesome for long; we’ll soon be adding more informative and educational titles for you to choose from.
The first DVD we’ve added is (drum roll, please) Numen: The Nature of Plants.

Mountain Rose Herbs is proud to be a sponsor of this fascinating 95-minute documentary film focusing on the healing power of plants and the natural world that produced them. This video is chock-full of stunning footage of medicinal plants and insightful interviews with well-known veteran herbalists, and presents an inspiring vision of how we can transcend conventional healthcare and move towards safe, effective and sustainable plant-based medicine. Through this video, the producers aim to raise awareness about medicine and the medical industry in the same way that the organic food movement did for the food industry. Numen will inspire and encourage you in your quest to think deeply about the sources of your medicine and how your healthcare choices affect you and the larger web of life.
Stay tuned for the next imminent addition to our DVD collection, to be unveiled soon. We promise it’ll make you want to get out your pots and pans to whip up all kinds of herbal concoctions!
Happy viewing!

Mountain Rose Gruit!

Posted by Erin|28 April 2011

Exciting news! There’s a Mountain Rose Herbs beer on tap in the Pacific Northwest!


The beermakers at Oakshire Brewing in Eugene crafted their very first Belgian Style Gruit (pronounced grew-it) this year. They used 9 of our organic herbs to make the wort, so when it came time to name the beer, a light bulb sparked…Mountain Rose Gruit! Clever, right?  

A gruit is an ancient style of beer that uses a blend of bitter and aromatic herbs instead of Hops. Oakshire chose our Mugwort, Dandelion root, Dandelion leaf, Burdock root, Licorice root, Milk Thistle seed, Blessed Thistle, Chamomile flowers, and Grapefruit peel.

They first made a tea from each herb to determine how much bitterness, sweetness, and aromatic character the roots, seeds, leaves, and peel would bring to the beer’s flavor. Through this tasting process, the brewers were able to formulate ingredient ratios for the mash. Bitter herbs were added early to the boil and more aromatic herbs were added later to preserve their nose.        




This week, we took a fieldtrip down to Oakshire’s brewery to sample our namesake beer. We sat at the bar and watched the new gruit flow from the tap. Rivaling the glorious color of dark amber wildflower honey, the beer is medium bodied and malty with notes of fresh Licorice roots, dried fruit, and a subtle spicy finish. We filled a few growlers to go as we savored each sip of this truly unique beer.

The Mountain Rose Gruit will be featured at the Portland Cheers to Belgian Beers festival this weekend and can be found on tap at the Oakshire tasting room and a few select locations around Eugene during the coming weeks.  This is a limited single batch beer, so be sure to enjoy it while it lasts! 

For more information, visit Oakshire’s website:




Nettle Garlic Buttermilk Biscuits

Posted by Erin|27 April 2011

It’s time once again to harvest the tender green tops of the glorious Stinging Nettle!

Growing happily in herb gardens, wet woods, and riparian eco-systems this time of year, Urtica dioica is used around the world as a springtime tonic. Whether taken as a tincture, nutrient rich tea, sautéed with garlic, added to green juice, or blended fresh into smoothies and pesto, this versatile and delicious herb is much beloved – stinging trichomes and all!

Spring Nettles growing wild in the Oregon woods!

How humans came to trust this lovely but very well armed perennial is a mystery to me. When I told my mom that Nettles make tasty greens, her voice filled with pain as she recounted childhood memories of neighborhood kids chasing each other with spiky stems full of the dreaded burning chemical cocktail!

For those who brave the sting, Nettles are a true powerhouse offering us potassium, calcium, magnesium, silicic acid, iron, zinc, and a plethora of other vitamins and minerals. It has also been used throughout history to make rope and beautiful green dye.

The fiercely serrated cordate leaves can be used fresh or dried for a variety of medicinal actions too. Nettle is a strong diuretic and helpful for pre-menstrual water retention, offers kidney and liver support, aids arthritic inflammation, restores electrolytes, makes the skin glow, the hair shine, and can relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. A few strong cups of Nettle tea per day can help prepare your body for the pollen filled breezes of spring!

The vibrant patch of Nettles in my garden has inspired me to experiment with new ways to incorporate this amazing plant into everyday recipes. I’ve tossed them into omelettes, sprinkled chiffonade cut leaves on pizza, blended them in a Thai curry sauce, and pickled them in jars. A few weeks ago, I hosted a brunch for friends and created a new recipe that I’m really excited to share! These Nettle Garlic Buttermilk Biscuits are soft, savory, and absolutely craveable. And no worries…the leaves lose their sting as you chop them up.      

Nettle Garlic Buttermilk Biscuits

• 2 cups organic unbleached flour
• 1⁄2 teaspoon fine Himalayan pink salt
• 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
• 4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
• 5 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
• 1 cup 1.5% organic buttermilk
• 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh Nettle leaves
• Thick gloves for harvesting and chopping the Nettles

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and stir thoroughly. Using two butter knives or a pastry cutter, add the butter until the mixture resembles a crumbly meal.

2. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk with finely chopped garlic and Nettle leaf. Add this liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold together to form a soft dough.

3. Turn the dough onto a floured cutting board, knead gently until it just comes together adding a little more flour if needed, and roll the dough out until it’s about 1⁄2-inch in thickness. Using the rim of a small glass, cut the dough into 2.5 to 3 inch rounds and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

4. Bake the biscuits for 18 minutes or until light golden brown.

5. Remove from the baking sheet to avoid over crisping your biscuit bottoms and serve warm fresh from the oven with butter.

Makes 12-15 biscuits.



Meet the Herbalist ~ Giveaway!

Posted by Erin|26 April 2011



Richo Cech is an internationally known herbalist, the founder of Horizon Herbs, and the author of one of our favorite herbal books, Making Plant Medicine.  He started his professional work as an archaeologist and ethnobotanist in East Africa and has propagated over 1,000 medicinal herb species gathered from all around the world to grow on his organic certified farm in Williams, Oregon.  Horizon Herbs sells an impressive array of  rare medicinal herb seeds that are grown on their farm.  Recently, he has botanized in China and Africa, resulting in the introduction of many new and exciting medicinal herb species to gardeners throughout the world.    

The Giveaway!

We are excited and honored to have Richo Cech share his incredible wealth of knowledge and passion for plants with us at Rootstalk! To celebrate, we’re giving away a copy of his book The Medicinal Herb Grower: A Guide for Cultivating Plants that Heal and 5 packs of organic herb seeds from Horizon Herbs (Echinacea, White Sage, Tulsi, Calendula, and Self Heal) to help get your healing herb garden growing this spring!

There are 5 easy ways to enter for a chance to win:

1. Read our interview with Richo below and leave a comment telling us your favorite herb to grow in the garden.

2. ”Like” the Rootstalk Festival on Facebook: Rootstalk Facebook Profile  Leave a comment here to let us know that you’ve “liked” the Rootstalk page.

3. Write a blog post about your most powerful experience in the garden or out in the wild.  Link back to this giveaway and be sure to leave a comment with a link to your blog so we can check it out!

4.  Follow us on Twitter at MtnRoseHerbs and tweet about this giveaway with the tag  #RootstalkGiveaway. Leave a comment letting us know you’ve tweeted.

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, May 3rd and we’ll announce the winner on Wednesday!

Good luck and enjoy reading our new interview with Richo!  


1. What classes will you be teaching at Rootstalk this year?

Seed Harvesting, Winnowing, Floating and Planting

 Richo will bring his seed screens and buckets for this one.  We’ll start by harvesting a few local herb seeds, and then distill them down to the essence.  Relative advantages of each technique will be discussed and demonstrated.  We will then plant some seeds of hope in the hearts of all participants. 

Vulneraries: Herbal Agents that Heal Wounds

Richo will discuss the main antibacterial, astringent and eliminative herbs. This little gathering will include a chance to taste the gentle astringents and to apply special salves, but if we use any eliminatives, the effects will probably not occur within the time allotted.

2. What is one of the most powerful moments you have experienced in the wild or through your work?

I ran over my favorite cat (his name was “White Paws”).  I was coming home from work and driving my pickup in the yard with the cat running in front and he stopped to tell me he was hungry and I ran over him.  His pelvis was crushed.  Not knowing what to do, I went inside and made him some canned cat food and then smothered it with comfrey tincture.  I took the bowl of food out to this crushed cat in the yard and he pulled himself forward on his good legs and ate it all up.  At that moment I knew he would walk again.  After eating comfrey laced food for 2 weeks, he wobbled to his feet and took his first steps.  He lived on for years.

3. What is your primary environmental concern?

We wouldn’t know what to do if the elements failed us–enough sun, enough water, the fertile land to grow our food and medicine.  My family and I are dependent on this.

4. What can people do to help combat this in their community?

I think we can only continue to protect the wilds and cultivate our gardens.  This is the kind of grounded lifestyle that has proven, throughout history, to be most sustainable.  And of course, plant Empress Trees (Paulownia tomentosa), one of the fastest-growing carbon sinks on the planet.

5. Are there any projects that you are working on and would like to share?

Revitalizing African Herbalism.  I’m involved with a project in Kenya that provides guidance to allow the resurgence of basic useful herbal medicine to be available to the common person.  The idea is to find out what the people need and then to guide them to cultivate, prepare and utilize the traditional plant medicines.  This project incorporates these positive factors:  conservation through cultivation, bioregionally harmonized, effective medicine, non-polluting to the environment and inexpensive enough for all.

 Ethnobotany in East Africa.  I’m compiling a lexicon of medicinal herbs employed throughout
eastern Africa, complete with Swahili and Latin names and traditional uses.  This is a project that helps satisfy my personal desire to learn more about what is available from these diverse equatorial regions, and also is an attempt to contribute to the existing literature.  Currently, the lexicon is comprised of over 200 species, and I yearn to go back to Zanzibar to collect seeds, take photographs and continue to augment this learning.

6. What do you hope to experience at Rootstalk this first year?

I am seeking a coming together of herbalists from the western states–Western Herbalists, if you will.  We are a diverse group in that we practice many healing modalities, but we can be inspired and strengthened by coming together and sharing what we know.  In this gathering I would like to cultivate a sense of awe for the gifts that we each have, and pray that each of us can contribute to a healing vibration that enriches the planet first with our grateful breaths coming right from the root,  and then with a flower, the simple result of living lightly on the Earth. 

7. What is your favorite plant and why?

Actually, my favorite herb is Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris).  Not only did she give me my first experience of an herb actually working (healing canker sores) but she continues to beguile me, winking up out of the grasses with her impossibly bright purple petals displayed asymmetrically like the curls tossed aside by the inadvertent head-tossing of an overly pretty maiden.  I love her.  And, I love her dried flowering cobs in pure hot water when I make the tea, late in the winter, when all around me people are sick, and my internal membranes begin to sag from seasonal neglect and I can feel an angry army of pathogens, armed to the teeth, leering at the brink of my infirmity, and ready to pounce.  I drink her down before bed, and rise in the middle of the night to drink her again, and when I arise in the morning–I’m cured!

For more information about Richo Cech’s amazing work, visit the Rootstalk website here:

Friday Featured Product!

Posted by Christine|22 April 2011

A lovely card can be a sweet and thoughtful way to say “I love you”, “happy birthday”, or simply “I’m thinking of you”. It’s even better when the card is sustainably manufactured and contains a hidden herbal gift! These stunning and environmentally friendly handmade cards from our friends at Green Journey seeds are crafted from 50% recycled paper and 50% sugar cane. A beautifully illustrated packet of organic seeds is mounted on the inside of each card so that the gorgeous artwork shows through the die-cut window in the front of the card. Long after receiving the card, the your loved one will be enjoying fragrant herbs they’ve planted themselves.

At their small organic farm in the foothills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Aline and Steven at Green Journey Seeds have been organically growing and saving seeds for 15 years. Besides growing and harvesting the seeds together, each member of this amazing herb-loving team has an additional specialty: Steven researches and adds to their collection of seeds, and Aline does the beautiful artwork for the seed packets herself!

I’m planning to give these delightful cards to several special people with upcoming birthdays. The only problem is—which seeds to choose? Astragalus, Calendula, Echinacea, Poppy, or another of the 11 options? Hmm…

Photo Thursday!

Posted by Erin|21 April 2011


We’re excited to partner with several Oregon breweries to create custom herbal beers using organic herbs and spices for the Rootstalk Festival this September! All profits from beer sales will be donated to Cascadia Wildlands. Be sure to check out our new Rootstalk Festival Activities page for more details!



Meet the Herbalist!

Posted by Erin|19 April 2011


We are excited and honored to have K.P. Khalsa join us at this year’s Rootstalk Festival!

K.P. Khalsa, Yogaraj, D.N.-C., R.H., has over 37 years of experience in alternative medicine, and is one of the foremost herbal experts in North America. He is President of the American Herbalists Guild, and a respected teacher, writer, and lecturer who has presented at over 150 national conventions and conferences. He has authored 30 books, including his most recent The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs.

He’s also a faculty member in the Botanical Medicine Department at Bastyr University, in Seattle, where he trains naturopathic medical students, and a professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. Khalsa is the curriculum director and principal instructor of the Nutritional Therapy Program at Portland Community College and the curriculum designer and principal herbal medicine instructor at the Northwest Institute of Ayurveda. He also serves as Senior Research Scientist and Chief Medical Formulator for Yogi Tea.

K.P. will be sharing two amazing classes on Ayurveda at Rootstalk and be sure to check out his new online course called Culinary Herbalism! You can learn more about the class here:    


We hope you enjoy our interview with K.P. Khalsa!


1. What classes will you be teaching at Rootstalk this year?

Introduction to Ayurveda: Ancient Healing Wisdom

 Ayurveda, the “science of life and longevity”, is the oldest healing system known to humanity. It is the sister science of yoga and its origins lie in India. Ayurveda utilizes a unique system of body types and mental tendencies based on heredity and lifestyle. Use of this exceptionally accurate body typing system, paired with Ayurvedic diagnosis and therapies, including diet, herbs, exercise and lifestyle practices, results in a radically potent and effective healing system that produces deep, powerful results. My class includes a body type test, body type characteristics, dietary and herbal recommendations and lifestyle considerations. Get started on your road to optimal health for life with Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic Remedies for Common Conditions

The world is becoming a small place and herbalism is rapidly on its way to being truly global. My deep background in Asian medicine and four decade career in America combine to create a rare perspective on which remedies truly produce great results. I will share outstanding, clinically proven therapies from the Indian natural healing system, Ayurveda. Anyone can enhance a healing repertoire with these remedies. We will emphasize practical therapies that will be exceptional additions to your natural lifestyle toolkit, but which are reasonably priced, reasonably available, and potent. I will bring my favorite remedies from 40 years in natural healing. Learn about exceptional natural remedies for a strong immune system, powerful stamina, great digestion and clear, insightful thinking.

2. What is one of the most powerful moments you have experienced through your work?

Through countless experiences with my mentor, I learned about the incredible power of culinary herbalism, applied with laser sharp insight, to heal people with simple food remedies.

3. What is your primary environmental concern?

The unfortunate indiscriminate harvesting of medicinal plants for poorly conceived purposes is a tragedy.

4. What can people do to help combat this in their community?

We can all make an effort to make sure that native plant populations get replanted with extra to spare in reserve so that future generations have the same access to natural medicine that we enjoy.

5. Are there any projects that you are working on and would like to share?

My mission is to educate people about the potential to use each opportunity to sit down to a meal to be an occasion for herbal and spiritual healing.

6. What do you hope to experience at Rootstalk this first year?

My hope is to spend a weekend mingling with likeminded people who all aspire to live sustainably and pass on a balanced and healthy life on Mother Earth to future generations.

7. What is your favorite plant and why?

In the herb world, I am known as “Haldi Baba” (Mr. Turmeric). I have been teaching about this remarkable herb for over 30 years. It offers so much for so many, for so little.

For more information about K.P. Khalsa’s amazing work, visit the Rootstalk website here:

You can view his new Culinary Herbalism course here:

Herbal Hair Care

Posted by Irene|18 April 2011

The majority of hair products commercially available, even among those touted as all-natural, contain synthetic detergents, fragrances, petrochemicals, and known allergens. These ingredients are harsh, stripping natural oils from the hair and scalp and resulting in imbalances to the scalp and hair. By making our own hair care products, we can help repair the health of our hair and scalp – all while saving money!

Homemade hair care products are simple and inexpensive to create while also being gentle and nourishing for the scalp and hair. They do not have the synthetic ingredients and chemicals often found in commercial products; instead they rely upon botanicals and other pure ingredients to give you healthy hair and scalp. Not only can you harvest many of the ingredients from your garden, but you can customize the recipes so that they perfectly fit your specific needs.

Herbal Hair Care

Homemade Herbal Shampoo Infused with Sage, Rosemary & Mint.

Herbal Shampoo

Homemade shampoo is not as thick or lathering as store-bought varieties, but it will effectively clean hair with nourishing ingredients and botanicals. Because this shampoo is so much gentler, you can expect that your hair will not feel as squeaky-clean after washing. This is because it will not be stripped of its natural oils!

8 oz water
3 oz Liquid Castille Soap
1-2 TBSP dried organic herbs of choice (see list below)
20-60 drops essential oil (see list below)
1/4 tsp organic Jojoba or Olive oil (adjust as needed – use more for dry hair or may omit for oily hair)

Make an herbal infusion by pouring boiling water over the herbs, cover, and allow them to steep for at least 4 hours. Strain the herbs out and pour the reserved liquid into a bottle, then add Castille soap and oils. Your herbal shampoo is now ready to use! Always shake well before use since the contents will naturally separate.

Oil Treatments

Oil treatments are a great way to naturally condition, sooth, balance, cleanse, and invigorate the hair and scalp. Leaving hair soft, shiny, and silky, they are excellent for treating damaged, dry, dull, or frizzy hair and scalp conditions. A few drops of either of these recipes can also be used to tame those dry or wild-looking locks!

To use, pour a little oil into your palm and massage it into scalp and hair. Add as much as needed, making sure to thoroughly coat your hair and scalp. Leave in for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better. I like to wrap my hair back into a bun and leave the oil in all day, washing it out at night. Once finished, be sure to shampoo the oil out completely. Don’t worry of your hair still feels a little oily after washing; it should absorb the residual oil as it dries.

Heat deepens the oil’s penetration of the hair shaft, enhancing its benefits. Harness heat’s effects by sitting in the sunshine, by a wood stove, fireplace, or in a sauna. Or treat yourself to a hot oil treatment by gently warming the oil to 100 degrees Farenheit and massaging it into your hair and scalp. Pull your hair back, cover it with a shower cap or plastic bag, and finally wrap up with a thick wool cap to help retain heat. Leave head covered for at least an hour, then shampoo out.

Basic Hair Oil

To create, simply pour 1 oz organic Jojoba or Olive Oil into a bottle and add 10-30 drops essential oil of your choice (see list below). Shake before using to blend the oils.

Herbal Infused Hair Oil

Jojoba oil infused with botanicals has all of the benefits listed above, but is even more therapeutic. It will take a few weeks to infuse, but the resulting oil will be worth the wait! To make, place 8 oz organic Jojoba or Olive Oil and 3 or more TBSP dried organic herbs (see list below) in a glass jar, cap tightly, and infuse for 3-6 weeks. Shake the jar daily. Once infused, strain the herbs from the infused oil. The infused oil will last for at least a year if properly stored in a cool dark place.

Soothing Lavender, Chamomile & Nettle Infused Vinegar Hair Rinse.

Hair Rinses

Hair rinses are simple to make, and they naturally condition the hair and scalp. They soften, add shine, body, and enhance natural highlights. To create an herbal hair rinse, simply pour 2 cups of boiling water over 3 or more TBSP of dried organic herbs (see list below) and allow to infuse for 8 hours or overnight. Strain herbs from the liquid, you can gently warm the liquid if you’d like. To use, slowly pour the rinse over your head, making sure to massage the infusion into your hair and scalp. Keep a large bowl under your head to catch the liquid and reapply. Repeat several times, and either rinse out or allow to dry.

Herbal Vinegar Rinse

Vinegar rinses have the same advantages as water-based hair rinses, and they also help restore hair’s pH balance. Vinegar is beneficial for oily hair, itchy scalp, dandruff, dull hair, and other scalp conditions. To make, place 3 or more TBSP dried organic herbs (see list below) and 8 oz organic Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass jar, cap tightly, and infuse for 3-6 weeks. Shake the jar daily. Once infused, strain the herbs out.  To use, apply 1-2 TBSP herbal infused vinegar to damp hair and scalp and thoroughly massage in, then rinse out with water. Or, you can use the method described above by combining 1 TBSP herbal vinegar with 1 cup water, followed by a thorough rinse with plain water. The infused vinegar will keep for at least a year if stored properly in a cool and dry area.

Natural Hair Coloring

Did you know that you can use a plant to dye your hair? Henna naturally colors the hair; it’s made from the powdered leaves of the desert shrub plant Lawsonia. Henna comes in a variety of colors including black, mahogany, various shades of brown, red, burgundy, and marigold blonde. In addition to adding color, Henna will coat hair, seal in oils, and tighten the hair cuticle to give hair a rich and healthy shine. Henna’s effects will last up to 3 months. You can also use herbs to encourage natural highlights, see the list below for more information.

Grace Sutherland and her six sisters were famous for their long hair. Date ca. 1890.

Herbs for Hair Care:

Normal hair: Basil, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail, Lavender, Linden flowers, Nettle, Parsley leaf, Rosemary, Sage, Watercress.

Dry hair and scalp: Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey leaf, Elder flowers, Horsetail, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Parsley leaf, Sage.

Oily hair and scalp: Bay leaf, Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Horsetail, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Lemon peel, Lemongrass, Nettle, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme, Witch Hazel bark, Yarrow leaf and flower.

Scalp conditions (dandruff, sensitive skin, inflammation, itchiness, dermatitis): Burdock root, Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey leaf, Eucalyptus, Horsetail, Lavender, Marshmallow root, Nettle, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.

Hair loss/thinning: Basil, Nettle, Rosemary, Sage.

Golden highlights: Calendula, Chamomile, Lemon, Sunflower petals.

Dark highlights: Black Tea, Black Walnut hulls (crushed or chopped), Comfrey root, Nettle, Rosemary, Sage.

Red highlights: Calendula, Henna, Hibiscus flowers, Red Clover flowers, Rose hips, Red Rose petals.

Essential Oils for Hair Care:

Normal hair: Carrot seed, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Cypress, Geranium, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Rosemary, Sage, Sandalwood, Thyme, Ylang Ylang.

Dry hair: Carrot seed, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Orange, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang.

Oily Hair: Basil, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Orange, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme, Ylang Ylang.

Scalp conditions (dandruff, sensitive skin, itchiness, inflammation, dermatitis): Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Cypress, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Myrrh, Orange, Patchouli, Rose, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang.

Hair loss/thinning: Basil, Cypress, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Ylang Ylang.

Resources for Herbal Hair Care:

Aubrey Organics Shampoo and Conditioner

Bulk Herbs and Spices

Carrier Oils

Castille Soap

Essential Oils


Invigorating Hair Oil

Rosemary Herbal Oil

Interested in learning more about natural hair care? These books are full of information and recipes:

Earthly Bodies Heavenly Hair by Dina Falconi

Naturally Healthy Hair by Mary Beth Janssen

Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles

~ irene

Sensational Szechuan Pepper!

Posted by Christine|15 April 2011

Q: When is a pepper not a pepper?

A: When it’s Zanthoxylum bungeanum, a delicious member of the Rutacae (rue or citrus) family known as Szechuan Pepper! Also known as Chinese prickly ash or Chinese pepper, it’s tart, lemony and creates a tingling sensation on the taste buds, followed by a cool numbness. It’s an entertaining taste experience, as we can tell you from sampling the pods! While it’s fun to try the peppers by themselves, a more customary way of using them is to lightly toast the tiny reddish-brown outer seedpods, then crush them before adding them to food.

Native to China, the aromatic shrub that produces Szechuan Pepper is now grown in temperate zones of Asia and North America. As you may have guessed from its name, Szechuan Pepper is used in the spicy cooking of the Szechuan province in China, as well as Tibetan and Bhutani cooking in the Himalayas. It’s also an ingredient in traditional Chinese five-spice powder.

But wait! Szechuan pepper is not only tasty, but is also reported to have a number of health benefits and is sometimes used as a blood purifier and digestive aid. Other medicinal properties attributed to Szechuan pepper include pain relief (due to its numbing qualities), immune support, and weight loss. Be careful, though: Eating too much of it can cause numbness of the mouth and lips. It’s not recommended to use Szechuan pepper while pregnant.

To get started using Szechuan pepper, we recommend whipping up a batch of Hua jiao yan, a condiment that can be used as you would use salt and pepper in cooking or at the table. It’s especially tasty on seafood!

Hua Jiao Yan:
Combine equal parts salt (we recommend Himalayan Pink salt) and Szechuan pepper and place in a dry pan over medium high heat. Stir constantly until the Szechuan pepper begins smoking lightly. Before the mixture cools, grind it with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Enjoy!

Photo Thursday!

Posted by Erin|14 April 2011

Check out this incredible photo from our awesome fan Christina! She trekked across the globe with our organic cotton Pesticides Suck! tote bag. This tote may have been made in the USA, but it’s vacationing in China!

Pretty amazing!

Meet the Herbalist!

Posted by Erin|13 April 2011


Daniel Vitalis is a leading health, nutrition, and Personal Development Strategist, as well as a nature based philosopher, teaching that our invincible health is a product of living in alignment with our biological design and our role in the ecosystem. He incorporates the wisdom of indigenous peoples into our modern lives with an entertaining, motivational, and magnetic teaching style. He is also the creator of, a resource helping the public find clean, fresh, wild water, free of pollutants wherever they live.

We are thrilled to have Daniel share his wisdom and experiences with us at this year’s Rootstalk Festival! He will present two classes throughout the weekend, as well as ignite the ceremonial fire for us on Friday evening as we celebrate the autumnal equinox with folklore! 

We hope you enjoy this fantastic interview with Daniel!


1. What classes will you be teaching at Rootstalk this year?

The Quest for the Mushroom of Immortality

Forays into foraging and preparing medicine from medicinal mushrooms! Human beings have been using polypore fungi for food, medicine, and even fuel since deep antiquity. Come see how easy it is to add these fungal allies into your personal pharmacopeia, as we explore this strange kingdom of life. Neither plant nor animal, but somewhere betwixt the two are the fungi, they inhabit a nether-realm of life, and have a lore that is all their own. I will share my experiences, techniques, and musings on the hunting, gathering, processing and preparing of medicinal polypore mushrooms.

Indigenous Nutrition and Human Evolution

I’ve prepared a riveting and dynamic workshop exploring the origins of human nutrition and medicine from our inception as a species to modern society. How do we adapt and evolve to our environment and what implications are inherent in our current lifestyle choices? Deep scientific concepts are made simple through humor, yet the profundity and immediate relevance is made obvious. We will cover the gamut of nutrition and medicine choices, from natural wild foods to cloned and genetically engineered foods and synthesized medicines, and how our exposure to these affects us today, as well as the future generations who will inherit our genome.

2. What is one of the most powerful moments you have experienced in the wild or through your work?

For me, each time I create a meal or medicine from a wild landscape it is powerful beyond my ability to articulate. My life has been one where there was always a sense that I was part of something more than my culture had led me to believe. That something is Earth’s ecology, and having discovered how to experience this brings me joy beyond words. Coming face to face with the many dynamic species who inhabit the wild lands, developing relationships with them, and cultivating an ongoing exchange that encourages us both to thrive is the essence of what this life is about for me. Everything else seems dulled somehow. The only thing that compares is the excitement of sharing this with someone else, and seeing them awaken this within themselves.

3. What is your primary environmental concern?

I find it challenging to narrow this down, though if I must, I would say this. We are inseparable from the “environment” as we require habitat as much as any creature. My primary concern is that through our lack of connection to real functional ecosystems, we have assumed that we are omnipotent and can somehow live without the life support systems of our living planet, and have even become so bold as to assume that we can leave the Earth and colonize space. This belief is influencing people to postpone the very serious answers that must soon be generated, answers to questions about the basic care of our own habitat and that of other life forms as well. My biggest concern is the very real possibility that we may create a situation on Earth where there is simply not enough viable habitat left for us, especially with regard to our food and water sheds. It is nearly impossible for humans to hunt and gather today (as we always have throughout our long stay on this planet), and this life-way is quickly being abandoned around the world by the remaining indigenous peoples, leaving nearly all humans dependent on inherently unsustainable agricultural practices.

4. What can people do to help combat this in their community?

By learning to commune with, harvest from, and perpetuate wild foods and medicines in their local habitat, a person suddenly becomes aware of the scope and magnitude of the ravages our civilization has wrought against ecosystems. This is difficult to grasp when all of our food and medicine comes from local agriculture or perhaps even industrial agriculture and pharmaceutical medicine.

Until a person goes directly to ecosystems for subsistence – even in part – it is difficult to see oneself as a part of the Earth’s ecology. This is a problem even in the organic food, herbal medicine, and natural healing communities. It is very easy to view our needs as resources divorced from their sources when we haven’t gone to the source ourselves.

Defending wild places and the “resources” that they are composed of becomes very real and much less abstract when these wild places are our foraging grounds, and when the species that inhabit them are part of a complex system that we directly perceive ourselves as part of.

5. Are there any projects that you are working on and would like to share?

Currently I am developing curriculum that merges the so called “primitive skills” of our ancestors with modern science to create a true form of sustainable living that encourages the development of ecosystems rather than depleting them. It is my vision to teach foraging as a very real and accessible form of food and medicine procurement in order to offer a true and pure form of “environmentalism”. Our current forms are wonderful beginnings but are often just “less bad” variations on our current problem creating technologies. I feel that the gathering of wild foods and medicines, as well as the creating of our other necessities out of wild nature is a truly revolutionary approach to our current predicament. In addition to this, my company SurThrival is busy creating the most powerful and high integrity supplements to support our bodies in this current state of adaptive stress. We are particularly focused on foods and medicines that have the potential to awaken our  epi-genome and begin restoring our bodies to their original robustness.

6. What do you hope to experience at Rootstalk this first year?

Firstly, I am truly excited to experience Oregon, which I have never visited in this life. It is an honor to be invited to share my message with the community of people there, and to meet and hear from those who are pursuing similar goals as mine. I am also very much honored to share my particular view and expertise with the greater community of herbalists, foodies, and other naturalists and to see my ideas integrated into the greater whole.

For me and my partner, it is always wonderful to meet and share space and time with those who are working to achieve the same ends as us.

7. What is your favorite plant and why?

Again, a challenging question, as so many plants have revolutionized my life. Here in New England I am particularly fond of Wild Rice (Zizania palustris), which was the first plant that I harvested that contributes significant wild floral calories to my diet. There are many wonderful plants that I have a relationship with (Stinging Nettle, Orpine, Cattail, Pine, Milkweed, etc) both for food and medicine, but few provide the macro-nutrition needed for a robust life. I am eternally grateful to the Earth and the Creator for Wild Rice.

For more information about Daniel’s amazing work, visit the Rootstalk website here:

Just In!

Posted by Christine|11 April 2011


 We’re thrilled to announce that we have added more new liquid herbal extracts (also known as tinctures) to our line of single extracts! This time, we’re adding a whopping 11 of them: Artichoke, Cinnamon, Garlic, Gynostemma, Holy Basil, Maitake, Oregano, Reishi, Rhodiola, Sage, and Shatavari. These new extracts are truly exquisite and will make excellent additions to any at-home herbal pharmacy. We’re also hard at work on an upcoming select line of about 20 combination extracts—stay tuned for their imminent arrival! 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…

How to Make Herbal Tinctures

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  • 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 (139)
    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!
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    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.
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