Archive for July, 2011
Posted by|29 July 2011
Here at Mountain Rose Herbs, we are passionate about herbal education, which is why we’re pleased to offer the new book Herbal Healing For Children. Published earlier this year, it’s already received rave reviews from its readers. The helpful and informative volume is written by the brilliant Demetria Clark, a traditional family herbalist who has worked with families 20 years as an herbalist, aromatherapist, midwife, doula and traditional medicine maker.
If you’ve been thinking about how to incorporate herbal medicine into your children’s lives and are a bit nervous about it, or if you’d simply like more ideas to add to your repertoire of herbal remedies for your little ones, you’ll find this book to be a vital resource. Clear and concise instructions cover everything from explanations of how herbs work, a “pantry list” of herbs to keep on hand, to a comprehensive alphabetical list of common childhood illnesses accompanied by corresponding remedies.
But that’s not all! This info-packed book also contains useful information about how to prepare all kinds of herbal remedies. Whether you prefer to grow and gather your own herbs or purchase herbs or ready-to-use herbal products, this handy book shows you how it’s done!
Posted by|28 July 2011
We are now offering Single Day Passes for Rootstalk!
Single Day Passes are the perfect option for anyone who wants to attend amazing classes, workshops, wilderness walks, and live music happening during one of the festival dates, but can’t stay to camp with us all weekend. These passes allow you entry to the festival from 7am to 11pm.
You can also purchase a Weekend Pass to gain entry to over 70 classes, workshops, and guided hikes, 4 days and 3 nights of live concerts, a 100+ page proceedings book, and camping on 300 forested acres, for an incredible deal!
And most importantly, your attendance at Rootstalk directly supports wilderness protection in our bioregion. Mountain Rose Herbs will donate all profits from the festival to Cascadia Wildlands!
Now you can come to Rootstalk for the day or stay all weekend and celebrate with us!
Visit the Rootstalk website for more details.
See you in the forest!
Posted by|26 July 2011
Our gardens are finally swelling with sun-kissed fruits and veggies here in the Pacific Northwest. Preserving these gems of summer now will bring much pleasure during the deep cold months of winter as I pop open jar after jar of colorful sauces, jams, salsas, and chutney.
Of course, another classic canning technique is pickling! Try this wonderfully herby and spicy recipe for pickling all of your garden favorites. Experiment with cauliflower florets, pearl onions, peppers, carrots, fresh garlic cloves, green beans, watermelon rind, or my favorite, stinging nettle leaves ~ harvested before the plant flowers or goes to seed ~ for a unique and nutritious treat! Feel free to customize the blend by playing with the ratios or add other spices that call to you from the rack.
• 3 tbsp Mustard Seed, whole
• 3 tbsp Rainbow Peppercorns
• 1 tbsp Allspice, whole
• 1 tbsp Cardamom, hulled
• 3 tsp Coriander Seed, whole
• 1 tsp Mace, powder
• 1 tsp Ginger, ground
• 3 Cloves, whole
• 2 Red Chili Peppers, dried and crushed
• 1 Bay Leaf
• 1 Cinnamon Stick
Mix all ingredients together in a storage jar and use with your tried-n-true pickling recipe. Be sure to label and date your creations. Your homemade pickles will be a big hit when used to make unique charcuterie plates, or when prepared as a delicious gift set decorated with fabric tops and twine. Yum!
What’s your favorite pickling recipe or creative dish using pickled veggies?
Posted by|25 July 2011
In late June, I was fortunate enough to attend the truly incredible and inspirational 10th International Herb Symposium. Rosemary Gladstar and Jeff Carpenter (Rosemary’s step-son and owner of Zach Woods Herb Farm) facilitate the conference biennially at Wheaton College, an utterly beautiful college within the quaint town of Norton, Massachusetts. The event was attended by over 650 plant and herb loving folks from all around the world, including places as far flung as South America and Europe. The International Herb Symposium is a benefit for United Plant Savers, a non-profit organization that Rosemary founded and works tirelessly to save native medicinal plants within the United States and Canada.
Our days at the symposium were extremely full as we tended to our booth in the busy vendor area, learned from renowned herbalists, explored the gorgeous campus, chatted with customers and friends, and enjoyed nighttime revelries. The schedule was so packed with inspirational classes that the most difficult part of attending the conference was trying to decide which class to attend next!
One of my favorite classes was A Taste of Herbs with Christopher Hedley. An herbal educator for over 30 years, Christopher taught us how to use organoleptic testing to determine a plant’s properties by using our senses of taste, smell, and how the herb affects us when ingested. This class really changed the way that I think about approaching and experiencing botanicals, even those that I am already familiar with.
Paul Stamets’ lecture on Mycoremediation, Microfiltration and Micoremedies: the use of mycelial membranes to heal ecosystems was absolutely incredible. Paul is doing amazing and astounding work with mushrooms, proving that they are beneficial for much more than food and medicine. His studies prove that mycelium can replace chemical insecticides and herbicides, break down toxic wastes including oil spills, into non-toxic forms, and repel mosquitoes away from humans. This groundbreaking work gave me a brand new respect for the healing properties of mushrooms. Yet more reasons to love fungi!
Another highlight was Doug Elliott’s herb walk, Weeds for your Needs. Doug Elliott’s classes are always a fun and entertaining experience, complete with storytelling, harmonica playing, singing, and much more! In his class, we roamed the rich wooded campus and identified the botany, natural history, folklore, and uses of medicinal, edible, and other wild plants. I can’t wait to see Doug again at Rootstalk!
In Keeping You and Your Microflora Happy, Nancy Phillips taught us how to make sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and other healthful fermented foods that are beneficial for digestion. Nancy also discussed the emotional, healthful, and medicinal benefits of optimal digestion. Prior to taking this class, I did not realize that digestion affects us on so many levels, and plan to incorporate even more fermented foods and probiotics into my daily diet.
In her class, An Herbalist on the Road – Traveler’s First Aide, Rosemary Gladstar shared her favorite herbal remedies and preparations when traveling. She kept us entertained by recounting stories of her gypsy travels and international adventures while discussing “must haves” always stowed away in her personal herbal first aid kit.
Rocio Alarcon taught an incredible class titled Plants and Shamanism: Practical Activities in our Daily Life in which she demonstrated how to cleanse ourselves utilizing shamanistic practices from the Andes and the tropical rainforests of Ecuador. She led us through two cleansing ceremonies, one utilizing fresh Yarrow, Chamomile, Roses, and Lavender and one in which we were allowed to choose from an array of dried herbs to burn in a smoldering pile of White Sage. I felt completely transformed after leaving her class, all of my stress and cares completely melted away!
At night we enjoyed lively music and storytelling by Doug Elliott and his son Todd Elliott, soulful tunes and beautiful firedancing by Appalachia Rising, an herbalists’ ball with fresh Kava punch supplied by Herbal Ed of Herb Pharm, comic relief from Mark Blumenthal, and a keynote address by Paul Stamets.
The joyous event concluded on Sunday with a closing circle led by Rosemary Gladstar with music by Appalachia Rising and Brigitte Addington, and traditional ceremonies led by Raylene Ha`alelea Kawaiae`a from Hawaii and Rocio Alarcon from Ecuador. It was a perfect way to end the conference.
Attending herbal conferences is truly a nourishing and inspiring experience. Seeing and speaking to our herbal elders and educators in person is a magical and transformative experience, as is meeting other like-minded folk within the herbal community. Thank you, Rosemary, for treating us all to such an incredible and life-changing experience! I can’t wait for this year’s Rootstalk Festival, and the opportunity to be part of this incredible community again in the very near future.
Posted by|22 July 2011
For quite some time now, we’ve offered disposable single-use tea filters made from 100% natural, unbleached, and chlorine free paper. These are ultra-convenient for when it’s not practical to use a tea strainer. I took them camping this summer (I can’t live without my daily cup of Jasmine Green tea) and tossed them in the campfire after using them—and of course, they can be placed in the compost if you’re at home or near someone else’s compost bin. They can hold enough tea for a cup or a teapot. These filters are great! However, the packaging they arrived in was just a little ho-hum.
Tom, our talented graphic designer, came to the rescue by creating this beautiful custom packaging featuring a Victorian motif. Now when you order our disposable tea filters, you’ll receive the same filters at the same price, but they’ll be tucked into this lovely packet!
As you’re infusing your favorite tea, we hope this exquisite little piece of art will infuse a bit of beauty into your daily life.
Happy brewing! –Jessie
Posted by|15 July 2011
I’ve been taking walks around my neighborhood on these pleasant summer evenings. As I admire my neighbors’ charming bungalows and fragrant flower gardens, I’m inevitably greeted with the delicious, smoky aroma of someone grilling tasty food. It makes me want to turn around, go home, and fire up the grill!
Whether I’m grilling fish, chicken, tofu or vegetables (grilled corn on the cob, anyone? Mmmmmm…), Epicurean Organics Grilling Herbs is my go-to seasoning. Made with garlic, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and other mouthwatering spices, the bold piquancy of this tasty blend is perfect for accentuating flavors and making the neighbors jealous of MY dinner!
Posted by|14 July 2011
Imagine the aromatic joy of walking through a field of this lemony plant in bloom, buzzing with happy bees!
The blissfully uplifting perfume of Lemon Balm is one of our very favorite mood elevating scents. A lovely member of the Lamiaceae or Mint family, Melissa officinalis is known for its wonderful ability to calm rattled nerves, improve mental performance, and shoo away those dark rain clouds that seem to shadow our heads from time to time. Helpful and easy to grow, Lemon Balm will also support your health during a bout with the common cold or herpes virus.
The fragrant green leaves can be prepared for a variety of formulas. If you are using the fresh plant, making a preserved juice from the leaves, also known as a succus, is delightful. Simply juice the leaves and add 1 part grain alcohol to 3 parts fresh juice. You can also make fresh plant tincture, perhaps with a few of the delicate and charming little flowers added to the chopped leaf, soaked in 100 proof vodka. A refreshing iced tea can be made with dried lemon balm leaf, spearmint leaf, and hibiscus flowers or you can use a strong infusion of the leaf as a wash for skin irritations. A cold infusion or sun tea made with finely chopped fresh leaf is another quick method that yields a delicious and potent treat. The precious Melissa essential oil makes a fabulous addition to healing skin creams and lotions too.
Lemon Balm & Green Tea Cooling Mist
A blend of astringent green tea, calming lemon balm, and cooling peppermint is one of the most soothing remedies for sunburned skin!
Make an infusion by pouring boiling water over the Peppermint and Green Tea leaves, cover, and allow to sit for 2-4 hours. Once cool, strain the herbs and pour into a spray bottle, add Lemon Balm Hydrosol, and spritz directly on the sunburn as often as desired. This recipe is also wonderful as a refreshing facial toner! Use within 1-2 days, or store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Makes 8 oz.
Posted by|11 July 2011
As most of you know, all of us at Mountain Rose Herbs have an unbridled soft spot for our wilderness areas and the great outdoors. In fact, our love for wild places is so strong that we dedicate time, staffing, and money to the preservation and expansion of our state’s natural heritage, and in doing this we realized that we could accomplish something much larger.
Just over a year ago we began the groundwork for a company run grassroots program called the Mountain Rose River Project which focuses on the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of our Northwest rivers, and we are happy to announce that the Mountain Rose River Project is now official!
When you live in the Pacific Northwest (or the Cascadian Bioregion) you quickly learn how vitally essential wild fish populations are to our regions ecology, and when you come to Oregon you might hear folks say that “Salmon is King” or “Salmon is found in the fabric and fiber of our culture”. This just goes to show how intimately linked Cascadians are to their aquatic species, and it is not just Salmon, but also wild Steelhead, Cutthroat Trout, and Rainbow Trout that contribute to the vibrancy of our watershed.
This connection to rivers and aquatic communities is what inspired us to create the Mountain Rose River Project which is a company run project with an exclusive focus on riparian ecosystems, stream health, and fish habitat. Each year we manage 6-8 restoration or enhancement projects that are fully staffed by Mountain Rose Herbs employees and these employees are compensated for their work by our Paid Time for Community Involvement Program. Getting paid for cleaning our rivers? Yes, it’s really true.
To see how we pulled this off and to learn more about the project please see……
Posted by|08 July 2011
Nurse-Me Rhyme was lovingly crafted with the nursing mother in mind. Designed to help your body give your little one the best nutrition available, this blend is formulated using organic herbs that have traditionally been used to support healthy lactation. Red rooibos, raspberry leaf, lemon balm, fenugreek and other nutritious herbs combine to make a tasty and invigorating blend.
Christine, our assistant lab manager, came up with the charming name “Nurse-Me Rhyme” for this tea. A nursing mother herself, she brews and enjoys this blend on a daily basis. Her little one looks pretty happy about it too!
Posted by|06 July 2011
jim mcdonald is an herbalist in southeast Michigan (that cool state that looks like a mitten you can see from space) where he teaches, sees clients, wildharvests, and concocts herbal formulas. His approach to herbalism is a blend of traditional folk and indigenous influences mixed up with a bit of 19th century eclectic and physiomedical vitalism, which he tries to blend with a bit of humor and discretionary irreverence so as not to appear to be too serious about life! Jim hosts the website www.herbcraft.org which lists his offerings and conveys his thoughts of plants and herbalism (and if you’ve ever wondered, the lack of capitalization is an homage to e.e. cummings).
We can’t wait to have jim back in the Pacific Northwest to share his quirky teaching style and deep knowledge of herbs with us at the Rootstalk Festival! Enjoy the interview…
1. What classes will you be teaching at Rootstalk this year?
The Wonders of Wayside Weeds
Common weedy plants are the foundation of most herbalists’ repertories, and for good reason. We’ll take a deeper look at the specific indications and the surprising and overlooked uses of some of our most beloved medicinal plants. Jim will focus on a few plants, discussing them in greater detail during this entertaining walk.
Topical Potions and Poultî
The external use of herbs is an important and foundational aspect of traditional herbalism. These formulations are too seldom left forgotten and their worth left unexplored. Join Michigan herbalist jim mcdonald for a hands on exploration of some underused oils, improvised eyewashes, and other tempting topicals.
2. What is one of the most powerful moments you have experienced in the wild or through your work?
The people I’ve worked with, either through teaching or consults… seeing the restoration of their connection to nature embodied by their faith in medicines made from plants.
3. What is your primary environmental concern?
A disconnect between the idea of “nature” and “the environment” and the land upon which a person walks, whether that’s wilderness, country, suburb or city. I think we need to focus the work we do in support of the environment in the habitats we live in.
4. What can people do to help combat this in their community?
Teach – teach people to learn and be in relationship with the land they live on; to feel more connected to and a part of it. To pick herbs where they live, and to plant them. To view the whole of their life as creating habitat in which nature can grow and thrive.
5. Are there any projects that you are working on and would like to share?
I’m in the process of expanding my classes, with the end goal of having a more comprehensive herb school. Also, (still) working on two books: a great lakes herbal (discussing plants common the the great lakes bioregion) and foundational herbcraft (discussing the core actions and energetics of western herbalism).
6. What do you hope to experience at Rootstalk this first year?
Oh, so much… spending time with the like minded, making new friends and seeing old, both botanical and animal.
7. What is your favorite plant and why?
Favorite plant? Is that a question like “which is your favorite child?” I’m just not good at answering questions like that… maybe the one I’m currently looking at, or making medicine from, or brewing, or steeping or smoking or otherwise focused on in a moment. A very important plant in my life has been calamus, which I credit for leading me to becoming an herbalist.
For more information about jim mcdonald at Rootstalk, visit: