Archive for November, 2012
Posted by|30 November 2012
These stylish and versatile jars are handcrafted in California from durable stoneware ceramic, and fired with a food-grade matte black ceramic glaze. Perfect for storing your favorite kitchen salts or bath salts - including those for your nasal cleansing pot.
These sleek beauties hold approximately 6oz, are 100% lead-free, and dishwasher safe. Plus, each Salt Jar comes with a food-grade cork stopper and a wooden spoon. They’ve definitely become a fast favorite around Mountain Rose.
You can find them here!
Posted by|29 November 2012
We do have a choice.
There is still 1 day left to double your money…for conservation!
Mountain Rose Herbs will match your generous donation to Cascadia Wildlands dollar for dollar up to $5,000 when you donate by tomorrow, November 30th, 2012. Your donation will support work on several important issues including suction dredge mining for gold in endangered salmon habitat in Oregon, destructive forest practices that pollute salmon spawning grounds, and Alaska’s Copper River salmon fishery that lies within the largest intact wetland in Cascadia. To guarantee Mountain Rose Herbs matches your gift, please indicate that you would like your donation applied to Cascadia Wildlands’ Wild Salmon Matching Grant Program.
Donate by Mail: Cascadia Wildlands, P.O. Box 10455, Eugene, Oregon 97440
Contact Camille Gullickson with questions, firstname.lastname@example.org, 541.434.1463
Posted by|28 November 2012
This body scrub is so easy to make and smells amazing. It leaves your skin feeling refreshed but not too minty as the soft vanilla bean aroma lightly perfumes your skin. Honey is a luxurious ingredient that helps moisturize, nourish, and protect the skin with its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and humectant properties. In fact, I love to use honey alone as a face mask several times a month. If you’re collecting recipes for this year’s herbal handmade holiday gifts, this one will be perfect for the vanilla lovers out there.
1 cup fine sea salt or fine organic sugar
1/2 cup organic sweet almond oil
1/4 cup raw organic honey
1 organic vanilla bean, split and scraped
10 drops organic peppermint essential oil
1 tsp organic vanilla extract (optional)
Mix the salt or sugar with the oil, scraped vanilla bean pulp, and honey. Add essential oil and stir. If too oily, add more salt or sugar until you reach the desired grainy paste consistency. Scoop into a jar with the split vanilla bean on the bottom for a decorative touch and screw the lid on tight. Use a tablespoon of scrub at a time and rub the paste in your palms until loosened. Gently massage into wet skin and rinse after 2-5 minutes. Your skin will feel exfoliated and moisturized!
Posted by|27 November 2012
Elvira Guelzow, our world traveling International Farms Manager, crosses oceans and continents each year to meet with our organic herb farmers and tour their processing facilities. Here are some stories and photos from her exciting trip this September to Hungary and Bulgaria. You can read her first report from the beautiful country of Hungary here!
Notes from Bulgaria
The last stop of my European farm visit tour took me to beautiful Bulgaria. This country is famous for its rose and lavender essential oil production, and many important medicinal plants grow in its large, undisturbed natural areas.
Bordered by the Black Sea to the east, Turkey and Greece to the south, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, and Romania to the north, Bulgaria has been shaped over the centuries into an important transportation and cultural cross road between Occident and Orient.
The first settlements were established by Greeks in the 8th century BC, to be followed by Thracians, and Romans in 200 BC. Remnants of roads, buildings, and mineral bath houses from these settlements have been excavated. Impressive Thracian burial mounds dot the valley. Byzantine and Ottoman rule over many centuries have left their marks on architecture and culture. With Russian help, a Bulgarian state was restored in 1878. In 2007, Bulgaria became a European Community member.
The Bulgarian language is of Indo-European origin with Slavic roots and based on the Cyrillic alphabet, which is also used in Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Macedonia, and Belarus.
Bulgaria’s diverse, natural landscape settings includes high mountain ranges, rolling hills, foothills, river valleys, plains, lakes, and the black sea coast line. Climate zones are divided into temperate-continental, Mediterranean, transitional, the Black Sea zone, and a mountain zone.
Bulgaria is one of the most biologically diverse countries in Europe with 12,360 plant species and 750 different medicinal plant species at home in the country’s diverse climate zones. Many are rare, endangered, and protected species. The geography consists of 11 different soil types, some of which can be used as medicinal mud. Mineral springs are abundant here and pictured above is a gorgeous mineral spring bath house. There are also 3 National parks, 11 Nature reserves, and 9 Unesco World heritage sites adding to the natural charm of this land.
The country’s bountiful agriculture reflects favorable growing conditions. Country dwellers produce their own food in home vegetable gardens. The country prides itself on growing the best peppers in the world, and potatoes are a culinary staple. The cuisine is distinctly Mediterranean with a Balkan twist. Every meal is started with an ice-cold glass of Rakia, a fruit brandy, most commonly made from grapes, but also from other fruits, and even roses, in the Rose Valley. Bulgaria also produces excellent wines from its own grape varieties.
Mountain Rose Herbs offers incredible Rosa damascena essential oil, absolute oil, and flower water, as well as Lavandula angustifolia essential oil and flower water from organic growers and artisan distilleries in Bulgaria. Some favorite organic herbs from this region that I always keep stocked at home include Linden flowers and fragrant Elder flowers. Other wonderful items that we offer from Bulgaria are Angelica root, Black Walnut leaf, Blue Vervain, Coltsfoot, Elecampane, Goats Rue, Hawthorn leaf and Hawthorn berries, Lovage root, Pennyroyal, Periwinkle, Sunflower petals, and Violet leaf.
It was such a joy to explore the beauty of Bulgaria and to connect with our gracious and skilled European farmers. I so look forward to returning to the magnificent Rose Valley for another herb adventure soon.
Posted by|23 November 2012
It’s the time of year for baking goodies, enjoying beloved company, and filling the air with warm spicy aromas! Diffusing essential oils is a simple and effective way to fill a room with your favorite seasonal scent, especially if you don’t have time to bake a pie. A classic blend for this time of year is pumpkin spice, which brings back warm feelings and memories of fresh baked pumpkin pie and family gatherings. This blend will not only fill your room with spicy goodness, it will also help disinfect the air while bringing a smile to your face. So, skip those expensive synthetically perfumed candles and make this delicious smelling treat!
Pumpkin Spice Essential Oil Blend
Blending Directions: Add all essential oils to a glass bottle. One 1/4oz bottle will hold this blend perfectly. Screw cap on tightly and invert the bottle to blend the oils. Do not shake!
Diffusing Directions: Fill your essential oil diffuser reservoir with water. Add 5-6 drops of the Pumpkin Spice Essential Oil Blend. Light a tea candle in base of your diffuser and enjoy as your space fills with this spicy aroma! (The diffuser pictured is our new Ceramic Diffuser, which is made in the USA).
Happy blending and diffusing!
Posted by|21 November 2012
Is your digestive system ready for the big feast? Excited for random food combinations of carby, fatty, acidic, spicy, and sweet treats as you nibble your way through the day? Just a drop or two of any bitter herb on the tongue will help stimulate healthy digestion before or after the big meal by getting your gastric juices flowing and your peristalsis moving.
We’ve covered bitter actions in the past, but herbalist Jim McDonald also has a wonderfully in-depth article you should check out to learn more about the importance of including bitter flavors in your diet: Blessed Bitters by jim mcdonald
If you’re looking for a great bitter-aromatic formula to have around during the next big holiday feast, make these Dandy Tummy Bitters! In addition to dandelion’s bitterness, the aromatics from the fennel, ginger, and orange will also help with that uncomfortable post-dessert bloat with carminative power and can help relieve excess acid in the stomach too. It’s also super easy to make and you’ll be happy you did…
2 parts organic Dandelion Root
1 part organic Fennel Seed
½ part organic Ginger Root
½ part organic Orange Peel
If using fresh plants, harvest and clean your herb. Be sure you have proper identification. Finely chop or grind the herb. Fill 1/2 of a clean mason jar with the mixture. If tincturing dried herbs, only fill 1/3 of the jar since dried roots will expand! Pour 100 proof vodka over the herb and fill to the very top of the jar. Be sure your herb mixture is completely covered. Label your jar with the name of the herbs, date, alcohol strength, and parts used. Allow to extract for 6 to 8 weeks, shaking the jar often. Strain the herb with cheesecloth and squeeze any remaining liquid in the herb back into the extract. Bottle the liquid in amber dropper bottles and label.
Give thanks to bitters!
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.
Posted by|19 November 2012
We’re excited to finally share a bit of the Chinese herbal medicine perspective from acupuncturist Dylan Stein. Dylan specializes in dermatology, men’s health, and pain management. In addition to acupuncture, he also passionately practices Chinese herbal medicine and will be joining us over the next few months to introduce us to this ancient healing practice!
Living By the Seasons – A Look at Autumn
Hello! I have been given the opportunity to write a bit about Chinese herbal medicine, its philosophies and diagnostic paradigms, and what herbs Chinese and Western herbal medicine have in common. Every day I am taken aback by the beauty and power of the medicinals we use and I feel so lucky to work with them. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into our medicine and that lots of fruitful conversations will grow from seeing these two traditions work side by side.
First, I want to talk about what it means to live by the seasons from a Chinese medicine perspective for autumn. As I sit here writing this, I’m sipping on some Mountain Rose rosehips tea and local honey from my favorite greenmarket vendor on a rainy day in New York City. This tea makes for good company while pondering autumn.
In Chinese medicine theory, each season has multiple correspondences. Autumn is the Metal season. This is the time of the Lungs and Large Intestine. The sensory orifice is the nose and the sense organ is the skin. The Qi of the season is Dryness. The sound is Weeping, the emotion is Grief and the actions are placing value and letting go.
What does all of this mean? Well, it’s a great time to work on healing both physical and emotional issues related to Metal. Strengthen the immune system through the Lungs to prepare for the Winter by tonifying and moistening. Work on those lingering coughs or chronic constipation with demulcent herbs. Your effort will be worth more in this season. This is also a time to clean your home, decide what the worth of the items in the clutter are, and let go of what you don’t absolutely need. In a way, this is like Spring Cleaning, but we’re cleaning so we can gather in the harvests after Summer as we prepare to hunker down for the season of storage, Winter. We don’t need anything in our root cellar that’s already rotten.
For the emotions of autumn, think of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. Think of what grief and weeping you have done in the past, but haven’t let go of. Try now to let it go so that fresh, new, joyful emotions can come to take the place of sadness.
Since the Qi of this season is Dryness, we need to make sure to stay moist. Honey, sesame oil, and poached pears are great foods to keep around. Now is a good time to dig up those lotion recipes you’ve been waiting to try, like this one from last November for Lotion Bars or homemade lip balm.
Another favorite recipe for this season is Longan Fruit and Chinese Date tea. This is a great tea to drink through the autumn and winter. It warms the body without being drying and promotes sound sleep. You can eyeball the quantities for a cup of tea. I generally use 1-to-1 ratio of a few pieces of each dried fruit. Sweeten to taste with honey (perhaps, herbal infused honey) or unrefined brown sugar. Longan Fruit (Long Yan Rou in Mandarin) and Chinese Dates (Da Zao) are regular kitchen herbs that will be available in your local Chinatown markets. Both tonify the digestion, ease pain with their sweetness, and calm the mind.
As I mentioned above, poached pears are the ultimate autumn dessert. They can be poached in wine spiced with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, vanilla, and orange peel, which would make them warm and invigorating, or simply water poached to be ready to throw into your oatmeal, salad, or yogurt. You could also use this delicious Chai recipe as a tea or mulling spice for wine to poach the pears, too.
This is a great time of year to do some work on ourselves inside and out. So, put your scarf on, button up, and head out. Taking good care of yourself in autumn will make winter all the easier.
Yours in health,
Posted by|16 November 2012
Our Herbal Facial Kit has a new look!
Rejuvenate, relax, and renew with our invigorating and all natural Herbal Facial Kit. Handcrafted with beautiful organic herbs, pure essential oils, fine cosmetic clays, and pure rosewater, this kit is perfect for pampering delicate skin.
Each kit now comes packaged in a decorative reusable box made out of recycled board stock that’s covered in a tree-free wild grass paper, and then finished with a sweet little twig closure. Perfect for storing your facial kit ingredients or any other treasures you may have!
Complete with step-by-step instructions, each kit comes with enough supplies for 5 facials and includes some of our very favorite Mountain Rose Herbs facial-care products – all made by us in small batches:
Herbal Steam – Open pores with skin nourishing plant oils.
Cleansing Grains – Gently exfoliate dead skin and clear pores.
Green Clay Mask – Absorb toxins, stimulate circulation, and deep clean pores.
Wild Rose Facial Oil – Moisturize, protect, and balance your skin.
Rosewater Toner – Invigorating astringent to tighten pores and seal in moisture.
This luxurious kit makes a wonderful gift for a friend or a lovely treat for yourself.
Posted by|15 November 2012
Here’s a great shot of Tim getting in the spirit at Green Fest last weekend!
To see our complete album of photos from this fun sustainability event , visit us on Facebook.
Posted by|14 November 2012
Ever since its arrival, we’ve been treating ourselves to big communal bottles of Joy Tonic by Urban Moonshine around the office. You’ll find a bunch of us crowded around the bottle at break time, adding it to afternoon tea or taking droppers straight for a little boost. Lovingly formulated with aromatic herbs and flowers, the refreshing lemon balm and rose flavors really stand out to inspire smiles, even when the Oregon sun is in hibernation.
We thought you might enjoy some Joy Tonic in your life too, so we’re partnering with herbalist Guido Masé of Urban Moonshine for a “joyful” giveaway! He’s also sharing this wonderful article to help us understand the power of calming herbs throughout time and during our often stressful modern lives.
Good timing for the upcoming season, ya know?
Aromatic Herbs: Uplift the Spirit and Gladden the Heart
Guido Masé, RH (AHG) 2012
In today’s world of tight schedules, constant communication, and high-speed movement we often find ourselves disconnected from what matters most, from what truly brings us joy. Whether from an endless to-do list or a lack of time spent quietly outdoors, our spirit is endlessly stimulated and yet feels dissatisfied, unsettled, and sometimes even sad. In a different time, we might have retreated to the corner of a scented garden to find a moment’s peace and solace, but without such a refuge readily available, internal tension can manifest as anxiety, irritability, and sleeplessness – or leave us feeling overwhelmed, uninspired, fatigued, and unhappy. It is a malaise that has been creeping up on us in these modern times.
There are so many options set forth to cure this malaise and researchers are always looking for the next “blockbuster” drug to help those suffering from depression and anxiety, but many of these choices have problematic side effects as well – from sexual dysfunction to weight gain. Not exactly the best way to heal an uninspired spirit!
Herbalists have an entire class of plants – the nervines – that can help support a balanced state of internal tension, nourish the mind and spirit, and thereby bring joy to frazzled days and restorative sleep to restless nights. They have been used for thousands of years: from the incenses and infused wines of Egypt and China, to the warming mulling spices served on a winter’s night. They are generally highly scented plants, a source of volatile oils, and are as safe as a cup of chamomile tea (still used today to soothe a worried, colicky child). Many are standby features of aromatic gardens: lemon balm, lavender, rose, and mugwort in the temperate zones, and lemongrass, cardamom, holy basil and jasmine in tropical climates. Just like a retreat into the garden itself, these fragrant herbs are a time-honored and effective way to gently rebalance internal tension without being habit forming, intoxicating, or sedating.
The chemistry of these plants goes to work on our heart and arteries, relaxing their state of tension and improving circulation to the hands and feet. The molecules responsible for the aromatic quality of the nervine herbs are also great at relaxing our bellies, urinary systems, and the smooth muscle that makes up the uterus. Thus they feature in remedies for stress and nervousness, unfocused and scattered personalities, worry and sleeplessness and – believe it or not – menstrual cramping! Beyond this, one cannot overestimate the havoc that chronic stress wreaks upon us: over time, the effort of maintaining such a high state of tension can make us feel sluggish, apathetic, and withdrawn – in a word, depressed. The aromatic, nervine plants are a blessing in two ways: they help keep our anxiety and worry in check on a day-to-day basis, but can also re-enliven us when we feel sad and despondent. Think of a bouquet of flowers from a friend: it’s hard to stay upset, closed within your shell, when presented with such a fragrant gift!
In the Czech Republic, the linden tree is sacred. In fact, this tree – whose incredibly sweet-smelling flowers bloom almost the entire month of July – features on traditional currencies, flags, and palace insignia. It is rumored that in order to maintain an even temper and render swift and just judgment, all legal proceedings in the rural villages are still conducted under a linden. The flower tea is a national beverage, though it is also prized from Provence to Scandinavia. Here in the darker, colder reaches of northern Europe, country folk rely on linden (and other aromatic nervines such as lemon balm and rose) to lift their moods during the long stretches of night at the heart of winter. When the sun barely peeks above the horizon for an hour or two, the scented herbs recall the garden’s summer delights, and give us that moment’s retreat that can make all the difference when the spirit feels low, disconnected, and undernourished.
If you look around, you might see that this very traditional practice is missing from our modern lives. Yet it seems so important, and so easy! When we cannot visit a garden for renewal, perhaps we can re-learn to cultivate our own inner gardens with the sweet-scented nervine plants. In doing so we will see tension melt away, relieve the weight of worry, and inspire a depressed spirit. Rest will come more easily, and creativity will be enhanced. Our stress might then become a challenge to meet and overcome with grace and joy – and all this using safe, aromatic, nourishing herbs that have been a part of the human experience for thousands of years. Aromatic nervines are still a delicious, refreshing cure for our modern malaise.
We want you to be filled with herbal joy, so here are the exciting prizes up for grabs:
We will choose 2 lucky winners to receive a bottle of Joy Tonic and an Urban Moonshine t-shirt available in both men’s and women’s styles!
How to Enter
There are several ways to enter the Joy Tonic Giveaway! You can submit up to 5 entries for a chance to win these prizes from Urban Moonshine…
1. Leave a comment here telling us about your favorite calming or joy inspiring herb!
2. Post a link to our Joy Tonic Giveaway on your Facebook page and leave a comment here to let us know you’ve shared.
3. Tweet about our Joy Tonic Giveaway on Twitter using the hashtag #HerbalJoy and leave a comment here to let us know that you’ve tweeted. Be sure to follow MtnRoseHerbs and UrbanMoonshine on Twitter!
You have until Tuesday, November 20th at 11:59pm PST to enter. We will pick two winners at random on Wednesday, November 21st. Prizes can only be shipped within the US!
The winners have been selected and we will be in contact with them via email! Thanks so much to everyone for participating. Wishing you a JOYful holiday!
Posted by|12 November 2012
As cool breezes make a wish and blow the leaves from the trees, I start to crave a cinnamon scented home warmed by an ever-baking oven. Rather than old favorites, I tend to make new recipes each fall to leave my lucky recipients guessing what exciting sweet treats they’ll get this time around.
On the hunt for this year’s perfect seasonal cookie, I decided to spice up the best oatmeal cookie recipe ever with some very special homemade chai powder. These cookies are crunchy, sweet, salty, warming, spicy, aromatic deliciousness. Go ahead and make a double batch if you plan to share these at a gathering – they go fast!
Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookie Recipe
1 cup organic all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
1 3/4 sticks softened organic butter
1 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup packed organic light brown sugar
1 large organic free-range egg
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups organic old-fashioned rolled oats
Powdered Chai Spice Mix
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, powdered spice mix, and sea salt together.
3. In another bowl, beat butter and sugars until fluffy and creamy. Add egg and vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until combined. Scrape bowl with spatula.
4. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until it just becomes smooth.
5. Gradually add oats and mix until well combined.
6. Roll 2 tablespoons of dough into balls with your hands. Place on parchment lined baking sheets about 2 1/2 inches apart. Gently press down each ball to about 3/4-inch thickness using fingertips.
7. Bake until cookies are golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool.
Makes 22-24 amazingly delicious chai cookies!
Posted by|09 November 2012
The 2013 Herbal Roots Wall Calendar is finally here!
This delightful and educational calendar, beautifully illustrated by Herbal Roots zine creator Kristine Brown, is not only visually stunning, but is also a treasure trove of herbal education. Each month, you’ll enjoy an intricate watercolor and ink illustration of a different herb, such as blackberry, vanilla, peach, and more! Each illustration is accompanied by general information for the botanical including Latin name and common uses.
This calendar makes a brilliant holiday, birthday, or “just because” gift for your favorite herbal enthusiast or for yourself! Calendar folds out to 11 x 17, is printed on heavy, glossy card stock paper and is white wire spiral bound. Printed in the USA.