Archive for May, 2011

Luxurious Facials at Home

Posted by Irene|31 May 2011

A colorful facial steam with Roses, Calendula, Rosemary and Sage.

Indulge in a luxurious facial at home! A blissful and relaxing 30-45 minutes spent pampering yourself with a facial is well worth the effort and is an especially fun and rewarding experience to share with friends.  Facials leave skin feeling soft, fresh, renewed, and radiant by exfoliating, eliminating toxins and impurities, increasing circulation, nourishing skin, and much more. A good goal is to try and set aside time for a facial every month, but once per week would be even better.

Step 1: Wash

Wash your face with cool water before beginning. If wearing make-up, you can remove it naturally and effectively with organic Jojoba oil or Hazelnut oil.

Step 2: Exfoliate

Facial scrubs exfoliate the skin, scrubbing away dead skin cells. Some facial scrubs can be rough on the skin, but this recipe is gentle and soothing.

Rose and Oat Facial Scrub

1 TBSP organic steel-cut or rolled Oats
1 TBSP organic raw Almonds
2 tsp dried organic Rose petals
1 tsp French Green Clay

Grind oats, almonds, and Rose petals in a clean coffee grinder until finely powdered.  Sift through a mesh screen to remove larger pieces; larger pieces may be too abrasive for the delicate facial skin. Add clay, mix thoroughly, and store in a glass jar. To use, mix 2-3 tsp with water, milk, cream, flower water, or tea until a smooth paste forms. Massage the scrub onto your face with fingertips, then rinse off with cool water.

I love visiting my garden and picking fresh herbs for facial steams.

Step 3: Steam

Facial steams are amazing for your skin. They moisturize, relax muscles, plump wrinkles, eliminate toxins, dislodge dirt from pores, and are good for circulation.

I love visiting my garden and picking fresh herbs to use in facial steams. Dried herbs work well too, especially during the winter months and when fresh herbs are not available.  Create different herbal combinations depending on your mood and skin care needs. Lavender, Chamomile, Roses, Calendula, and Lemon Balm are relaxing and calming to the skin. They are good for all skin types and are well suited for dry, mature, and sensitive skin. Rosemary, Sage, Peppermint, Thyme, Lemon Verbena, and Eucalyptus are refreshing and help with congestion. They are best for normal-oily skin types.

Herbal Facial Steam

Place 2-3 TBSP of dried herbs or 3-5 sprigs of fresh herbs into a large ceramic or glass bowl. Boil water and pour over herbs, immediately placing a towel or lid over the bowl so that the oils being released from the herbs do not escape. Steep for 5 minutes. 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 of the herbs. Steam for 10 minutes.

Step 4: Mask

Facial masks are used to deeply cleanse the skin. Clay masks pull excess oil, dirt, toxins, and impurities from pores, while honey masks are hydrating and wonderful for dry or mature skin.

At times, I desire the cleansing properties of a clay mask but my skin feels dry. In these instances, I will do a short clay mask for 5-7 minutes and then follow it with a hydrating honey mask.

French Green Clay

To use, mix 1-2 teaspoons with water, flower water, tea, yogurt, cream, or milk. Apply a light layer on the face, making sure to avoid the delicate skin area around the eyes and mouth. Leave on for 10 minutes or until the mask feels taught and dry, then rinse off with cool water. For delicate or dry skin, you may only want to leave on for 5 minutes.

Honey

Using your fingers, spread onto your face and gently massage with fingertips. Leave on for 15 minutes or longer (you can’t really overdo this treatment), then rinse off using lukewarm water.

Step 5: Tone

Toners help adjust pH levels, remove any residues left on the skin after cleansing, and moisturize. This recipe will create a calming, hydrating, and healing herbal facial toner.

Soothing Facial Toner

4 oz distilled or filtered water
1/8 cup organic steel-cut or rolled Oats
1 tsp dried organic Chamomile flowers
1 tsp dried organic Lemon Balm leaves
2 dried organic Calendula flowers

Boil water, pour over oats and herbs, and steep until cool. Strain, and place in a 2 oz. bottle with fingertip mister. Store in a refrigerator for up to a week to ensure freshness. Shake before each use.

Rejuvenating facial serum created from nourishing oils and botanicals.

Step 6: Moisturize

Facial Oils nourish the skin at a deep cellular level. The recipe below is for a rich and healing facial oil ideal for mature, dry, or damaged skin. The ingredients have been shown to help prevent wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks. If you are in a pinch, then plain Rosehip Seed or Pomegranate Seed oil are superb when used by themselves.

Rejuvenating Facial Serum

1/2 oz organic Rosehip Seed oil
1/4 oz organic Jojoba oil
1/4 oz organic Pomegranate Seed oil
Dash Vitamin E Oil (around 1/4 tsp)
10 drops organic Lavender essential oil
6 drops organic Roman Chamomile essential oil
3 drops organic Helichrysum essential oil
2 drops Carrot Seed essential oil

Drop essential oils, Vitamin E Oil, and Rosehip Seed oil into a 1 oz glass bottle and roll bottle between your palms to evenly mix the oils. Top with other oils and roll again. Use daily for best results.

Happy pampering!

~ irene

Our First Mothers’ Tea: Presenting Fecundi-Tea!

Posted by Christine|27 May 2011

fe•cun•di•ty [fi-kuhn-di-tee] noun
1. The quality of being fecund; capacity of producing young.
2. Fruitfulness or fertility, as of the earth.
3. The capacity of abundant production: fecundity of imagination.

A number of months ago, we asked our customers “If you were in charge of making a pregnancy tea blend for Mountain Rose Herbs, what herbs would make the perfect blend?”, and the response was overwhelming! We passed all of your brilliant suggestions on to our skilled tea formulators. After collecting nettles, lemon balm, spearmint, dandelion leaf, alfalfa and several other herbs, they disappeared into the tea formulation lair, leaving us to wait expectantly outside. Finally, they emerged triumphantly with our long-awaited first mothers’ tea blend: Fecundi-Tea! Although it’s a tasty anytime tea, Fecundi-Tea has been meticulously formulated to be particularly helpful for expectant mothers by supporting general uterine health during pregnancy. As an added plus, this refreshing blend includes ginger and mint to help with that occasional queasiness.

Stay tuned—in a couple of weeks we’ll be introducing another new mothers’ tea. Hint: this one will be especially useful after a precious little one is born… and hungry!!

Photo Thursday

Posted by Erin|26 May 2011

This is a photo of the gift basket we put together for the Wildflower Festival! Every year, amazing prizes are raffled off to help raise money for the Mount Pisgah Arboretum in Eugene. We piled up sacks of herbal tea, organic seasonings, gourmet oils, medicinal extracts, a tea set, and more goodies for the celebration this year!  

You can see more photos from this year’s festival in our Facebook album HERE.

Happy spring!

Meet the Author ~ William Sullivan

Posted by Erin|24 May 2011

William Sullivan has deep roots in the Pacific Northwest. He is a 5th generation Oregonian and has authored seven books about Oregon’s outdoors, as well as two books on Oregon history, two adventure memoirs, and three novels! The journal of his 1000-mile hike across the state, Listening for Coyote was chosen by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission as one of Oregon’s 100 Books.
 
We are beyond honored to have this phenomenal wilderness expert share his knowledge and experiences with us at Rootstalk! Enjoy our entertaining interview with him below, filled with poisonings, forest spirits, and old fashioned stick-ups!
 

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

 Because I’ve written so many hiking guidebooks, people often ask me “What is your favorite spot in Oregon?” This is such a complicated question that I’ve decided to give a slide show about it at Rootstalk on Friday evening.  The show is based on my new book, Oregon Favorites. Saturday morning I’ll lead a short hike around the property to talk about the area’s natural history.
 
Bill’s Favorite Trails & Tales
Oregon’s hiking guru takes us on a tour of his favorite trips — hikes and adventures in all parts of the state. Based on his new book Oregon Favorites, this fascinating slideshow presentation includes tips on new trails, as well as anecdotes about history, geology, wildlife, and people along the trail.
 
Wilderness Walk
Join fifth-generation Oregonian, William Sullivan on a walk through the wilds to explore beautiful old-growth forests surrounding the 4-H Center. Generally considered the hiking expert of Oregon, you’ll learn about native plants, wildlife, geology, and other interesting facts as you follow the gorgeous woodland trail.

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

 When I hiked 1000 miles across Oregon in 1985 to kick off my guidebook research, I managed to poison myself with mushrooms, get held at gunpoint by marijuana growers, and confront nighttime apparitions seemingly conjured up by spirits. I retold those stories in my journal, Listening for Coyote. Frankly, I’m amazed that the people who read this book tell me it makes them want to go hiking!

 
 

3. What is your primary environmental concern?

 Of the countless threats facing Oregon’s natural world — habitat loss, clearcutting of ancient forests, and global warming spring to mind — the biggest problem I see is simply our disconnect with the land. As our lifestyles become increasingly urban and technological, our children sometimes don’t have the time to interact with nature.
 

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

 Go hiking!

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

I’m a board member of Oregon Wild, and encourage everyone to support conservation groups.
www.oregonwild.org
 

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

Let’s have fun!

7. What is your favorite plant and why?

How about Western Pasque flower? It’s the first alpine wildflower to bloom, sometimes actually melting holes in a snowfield to flower. Even after its petals drop, it doesn’t give up. By fall it puts up a foot-tall, dishmop-shaped seed head. Then it goes by a completely different name, “Hippie on a Stick.”
 


 
Learn more about William Sullivan’s work by visiting, http://www.rootstalkfest.com/page/william-sullivan or his website www.oregonhiking.com.

New Product Friday: 4 New Herbs!

Posted by Christine|20 May 2011

Herbs are the foundation, heart and soul of Mountain Rose Herbs, and we’re always delighted to be able to add fresh new offerings to our lineup. This week, we’re unveiling 4 new herbs!

The tantalizing thalli of Oak Moss

Organic Cordyceps Mushroom Powder
As students of traditional Tibetan and Chinese medicines know, use of Cordyceps sinensis dates back to the 15th century. In these traditional medicines, Cordyceps is regarded and valued for restoring energy, promoting longevity, and general improvement of quality of life. Because wild Cordyceps is rare and expensive, a strain isolated from the wild form has been cultivated and is now commonly used. We’re happy to offer a type of Cordyceps that’s organically grown in the United States.

Organic Red Sage (Dan Shen) Root
Red Sage, also known as dan shen, has been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Traditionally used for increasing circulation of the blood and for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, Red Sage has also been used for treating acne, psoriasis, eczema and other skin diseases.

Grains of Paradise
Grains of Paradise received their name during the Middle Ages, when they were a prized commodity—so much so that the “Grain Coast” of West Africa received its name from the Grains of Paradise that were traded there! Today, Grains of Paradise are commonly used in West and North African cooking, and in the United States, they are gaining popularity among breweries as a flavoring for beer.

Oak Moss
Oak Moss is a lichen which grows in many mountainous temperate forests throughout the northern hemisphere. Mostly found on the trunk and branches of oak trees, Oak Moss can also be found on the bark of other trees such as fir and pine. Absolutes made from the deer-antler-shaped thalli of Oak Moss are widely used in perfumery and are valued for their earthy aroma and their properties as a fragrance fixative.

Happy (Herbal) Friday!
~Jessie

Hibiscus Berry Chia Tea

Posted by Erin|18 May 2011

Chia (Salvia hispanica) is a beautiful flowering herb in the mint family native to Central America. When soaked in water, the mucilaginous nature of the seed makes Chia a diverse ingredient for smoothies, baked goods, sprouting, and soothing drinks. These marbled black, gray, and cream colored seeds are little treasure troves of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and anti-oxidants!

This recipe gives the traditional Chia Fresca drink a creative twist. The tartness of Hibiscus tea paired with the sweetness of honey and the viscous Chia gel come together in superbly refreshing harmony. Not only delicious and nourishing, this tea is the perfect demulcent treat to help soothe and relax mucus membranes in your digestive system that may be irritated by acid reflux or ulcers.

Hibiscus Berry Chia Tea

Make a quart of tea using the Hibiscus High and Hibiscus flowers.

While the tea is hot, stir in the honey until completely dissolved.

Allow to cool to room temperature.

Add the Chia seeds to your tea and stir well.

When your tea has cooled a bit, add the berry purée and stir into the infusion.

Refrigerate and allow the Chia seeds to produce gel for about an hour, or overnight if you can wait!

Shake the tea before serving and enjoy cold!

Feel free to experiment with your favorite teas, juices, and fruits for even more Chia possibilities!

~Erin

May Wine

Posted by Irene|17 May 2011

 

May Wine is an old, traditional beverage that originated in Germany and is consumed throughout Europe. Infusing white wine with Sweet Woodruff gives this libation an herbal flavor with green notes that are refreshing and pleasant. Often served on May Day and at spring and early-summer weddings, this beverage is perfect for sharing with friends and family during dinner parties, backyard barbeques, picnics, and at other get-togethers.  May Wine was historically brewed during the May and June months when Sweet Woodruff is in flower, but there is no need to restrict consumption to these months.  This light and refreshing herbal infused beverage is a perfect treat that can be enjoyed throughout the year!

Not only does May Wine taste delectable, but Sweet Woodruff has a long history of herbal and medicinal use. It has been used throughout the ages to treat ailments including liver problems and jaundice. During the Middle Ages, Sweet Woodruff was widely applied as a poultice for wounds and cuts and taken internally for digestive and liver problems. In modern day herbalism, infusions of Sweet Woodruff are used for diuretic and anti-inflammatory effects and to ease stomach aches.

This is a classic recipe for May Wine, but feel free to adjust it to your liking. I am already envisioning Chamomile flowers, Rose petals, and Lemon Balm incorporated into future batches! Simply follow the recipe below but substitute the herb(s) of your choice for Sweet Woodruff, and make allowances for herbs that are especially flavorful – like Lavender flowers. 

May Wine

Ingredients:
1 bottle white wine
1 bottle sparkling wine or champagne
½ cup dried organic Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)
½ cup organic strawberries, sliced or whole

Combine dried Sweet Woodruff with the bottle of white wine, cover tightly, and place in a refrigerator.  Allow to steep overnight. Fresh Sweet Woodruff may be used, but dried is preferable because the flavor and aroma increase when the herb has dried.  Before serving, strain out the Sweet Woodruff and pour the infused wine into a punch bowl, carafe, or other glass or ceramic serving vessel. Add the bottle of chilled sparkling wine or champagne and garnish with strawberries.  Feel free to further beautify the beverage with fresh Sweet Woodruff or edible and herbal delights from your garden. Fresh Violets, Rose petals, Lemon Balm, or sprigs of Lavender are especially captivating and delicious!  Serve in wine glasses or champagne flutes. Ice may be added if desired.

Cheers!

~ irene

A note of caution: Sweet Woodruff may produce headaches and other toxic effects if high doses are consumed or if it is used long-term.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Even More Oregon Soap Company Goodness!

Posted by Christine|13 May 2011

Around here, we’re huge fans of Oregon Soap Company! For several years, we’ve offered (and enjoyed) their luscious, long-lasting organic bar soaps. Carefully handcrafted with organic vegetable oils and scented with pure plant-derived essential oils, these soaps are the real thing. These friendly soapcrafters are friends of the natural world as well; for every 10 bars or 5 gallons of soap sold, they are committed to planting one tree or native plant!



That’s why, when our customers asked us to carry more Oregon Soap Company products, we wasted no time. We contacted our friend and “Soapman” Sat Atma Singh, who very obligingly sent an assortment of organic foaming hand washes for us to try. When the package arrived, we eagerly unpacked it and ran to the sink for a little handwashing party! We weren’t disappointed—the foaming hand washes smell every bit as delicious as the bar soaps, and the lavish suds left our hands feeling clean and soft. We chose 5 favorites: Citrus Sunshine, Oregon Double Mint, Clary Sage and Fir, Lavender, and Lavender Geranium—and now you can enjoy them too! Each bottle holds over 325 pumps of soapy, foamy, bubbly organic goodness. Wow! Talk about economical!

Happy lathering!
~Jessie

Photo Thursday

Posted by Erin|12 May 2011

 

 

Okay, who reads tea leaves around here? I have a feeling the message is,”drink more tea!”

We’ve been getting creative with all of the lovely green, white, black, and herbal teas brewed around the office this week. This incredible teapot is indeed made of tea!

Feeling inspired? Send a photo of your herbal  masterpieces to us and we’ll post them!

 

New Seeds from Horizon Herbs!

Posted by Christine|06 May 2011

In celebration of Spring, and in eager anticipation of lush summer herb gardens, we’ve added eleven new varieties to our family of organically grown herb seeds from our good friends at Horizon Herbs! In addition to our existing vast collection, you can now select from Zaatar, Madder, Hibiscus, Cilantro, Elecampane, Parsley, Cayenne Pepper, Purslane, Garden Sage, Summer Savory or Thyme.


Founded by world-renowned herbalist Richo Cech (who will be teaching at Rootstalk this year!), Horizon grows and hand-harvests an unbelievable variety of medicinal herb species on their beautiful organic herb farm in Williams, Oregon. Grown with love and harvested with care, these are truly special seeds from truly special growers.
Happy planting!
–Jessie

Rose & Lavender Facial Toner

Posted by Irene|05 May 2011

 

This is one of my all-time favorite facial toner recipes!  I love how hydrating, soothing, refreshing, and gentle it is. This facial toner is suitable for all skin types and is perfect for using at any time of the year.  The Vegetable Glycerin in this recipe acts as a humectant, attracting moisture to the skin, Witch Hazel Extract and Rose Flower Water are gently cleansing and toning, and the Aloe Vera Gel, Chamomile Extract and Lavender Essential Oil are soothing and calming.

Facial toners are an important part of daily skin care routines.  They improve the skin’s tone and texture by naturally tightening and toning pores, hydrating the skin, and removing any residue of make-up or dirt left behind after washing. 

Please feel free to adapt and embellish this recipe to see what works best for you. Lemon Balm, Helichrysum, Calendula, Chamomile, and Rose Geranium flower waters are also lovely to use. Herbal infusions (teas) may be substituted for the flower water, but they will not last as long. If using an herbal infusion, make only as much toner as you will need for a week or so, as they will not keep well, unless refrigerated. You can also substitute other herbal extracts or essential oils, or can omit them entirely from the recipe if you would like. If this recipe feels a little sticky to you, then decrease the amount of vegetable glycerin. If it feels a little drying, then increase the vegetable glycerin or add a dash of oil (Jojoba, Rosehip Seed, Olive, Kukui Nut, Meadowfoam or Avocado are all great choices). 

 

Rose & Lavender Facial Toner

2 oz. Rose Flower Water (Hydrosol)
1 oz. Witch Hazel Extract
1 TBSP Aloe Vera Gel
1/2 tsp Vegetable Glycerin
7 drops Lavender Essential Oil
4 drops Chamomile Extract (Tincture) 

Place all ingredients into a clean 4 oz. bottle, top with a fingertip mister, and shake to blend. Shake a little before each use as the contents will naturally separate.  This toner should keep for at least 6 months without refrigeration.

To use: Wash your face with water and gently dry with a soft washcloth. Then, mist with Rose & Lavender Facial toner and allow to air dry or gently pat dry.  Finish by applying a moisturizing lotion, oil, or cream.

Enjoy!

~ irene

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Meet Us

  • ErinErin (344)
    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 (129)
    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 (53)
    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.
    FriendsFriends (35)
    An array of voices from around Mountain Rose Herbs and beyond share their wisdoms, inspirations, and exciting stories from the herbal world.
    AlietaAlieta (30)
    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.
    AlyssaAlyssa (25)
    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 (16)
    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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