Archive for December, 2012
Posted by|28 December 2012
Our Herbal Bitters from Urban Moonshine are now available in three sizes!
1/2 oz. personal glass spray bottle: the perfect size to take your bitters with you. Easily slips into a purse or pocket.
2 oz. glass dropper bottle: convenient bottle ideal for medicine cabinets and kitchen counters.
8.4 oz. glass refill bottle: economic, perfect to keep around to refill your smaller sizes.
Bitters have been used throughout history to stimulate the digestive system. Thus began the tradition of steeping bitter-tasting roots, leaves, and berries in alcohol and serving the mixture before or after a meal. These tasty bitters may be enjoyed as an aperitif, a digestif, or to settle an upset stomach.
Choose from three delicious flavors:
Citrus, Maple, and Original!
Contains: organic grape alcohol, water, organic Dandelion root and leaf, organic Angelica root, organic Burdock root, organic Orange peel, organic Fennel seed, organic Yellow Dock root, organic Gentian root, organic Ginger root, organic Maple Syrup (Maple Bitters only), organic Gum Arabic, organic essential oils. Not for use in pregnancy due to the use of angelica.
Posted by|27 December 2012
We found a beautiful box of cedar tips in our showroom for your Photo Thursday enjoyment!
Posted by|26 December 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!
Chinese Medicine ~ Between Heaven and Earth
The roots of Chinese medicine lay in a time before X-rays and blood tests, a time when people lived by the light of the sun and spent time observing the world around them. This gave birth to the notion that the best lifestyle is lived in harmony with nature and the ebb and flow of the seasons.
Our place in the universe was seen as quite unique. We walk on two feet connecting us to the Earth and our head points to the sky connecting us to Heaven. Humans are suspended between Heaven and Earth.
Our most ancient and important extant medical text is The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huangdi Neijing). The first mention of the Neijing is in 111CE, but it is believed to have been written some time in the last four centuries before the Common Era.
The text is written in the form of questions and answers, and begins with a discussion of why people “in the old days” lived for more than 100 years when the people of the day were only living about half of that. The answer given is the long-lived ancestors were in sync with the rhythms of nature, and thus able to live until they were very old.
The rhythms of nature not only applies to sleeping late and retiring early in Winter and rising early and staying up late in summer, but also to the natural world mirrored within us. Because we are suspended between Heaven and Earth, the human body is seen as a microcosm of the universe.
Just as there are Wind, Dampness, Heat, Cold, Summer-heat (think about August in the South) and Dryness (the Six Qi) in the natural world, these climactic factors are present inside the body. These are all naturally occurring phenomenon, so their presence in the body is totally normal. Disease arises when one of the factors becomes imbalanced, either too weak or too strong. We use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to restore the relative balance of these elements, thereby restoring a person’s internal climate and harmony with the universe.
Understanding Chinese Medicine Disease Diagnosis
Chinese medicine has a number of diagnostic paradigms. As the centuries passed, so changed the way ancient doctors understood and desired to classify disease.
The most essential, in my opinion, and most basic classification system is based on the concept of Yin and Yang. The classic example of how to understand Yin and Yang pictures a mountain. The sun shines on one side while the other is shaded. The sunny side is Yang and the shaded side is Yin. The shaded side can become the sunny one and vice versa. Yin and Yang are constantly in flux, constantly transforming one into the other. Yin is stillness and Yang activity, but how do we know stillness without knowing activity? Cannot stillness become activity in the next moment? This is the nature of Yin and Yang. We see this in the Yin-Yang symbol, also known as the Taiji. Within the white portion there is a seed of black, within black a seed of white; the promise of dawn even in the night sky, the lengthening day at the apex of Winter.
Every disease can be classified in terms of its nature as either Yin or Yang. This is the basis of what becomes Eight Principle Diagnosis, our most basic (and sometimes most powerful) diagnostic paradigm. The Eight Principles are a 4-step contrast of diseases symptoms: Interior vs. Exterior, Hot vs. Cold, Excess vs. Deficiency, Yin vs. Yang.
The Interior versus Exterior step of this equation tells us the location of the disease. Is it an internal organ pathology? Was disease created by a thought pattern or lifestyle? Exterior diseases are those caused by external pathogenic factors (the meteorological phenomenon I mentioned above) causing disease in the most superficial layers of the body. Exterior diseases can move inwards to become Interior ones, too, but this implies some kind of pre-existing deficiency that let the disease move inward.
Hot versus Cold classifies the nature of the temperature of the disease. Are there Heat signs like fever, thirst, sweating? Are there Cold signs like chills, desire to curl into a ball, diarrhea?
When we ask if the disease is Excess or Deficient, we are really asking is there a pathogen (Excess) or is the body weak or missing some vital substance (Deficient)? Sometimes the answer is simply one or the other; sometimes it is both.
The last step in the equation is the Yin and Yang differentiation. Together these allow a synthesis, which guides our treatment principles.
In addition to Eight Principle Diagnosis, the important major diagnostic paradigms in brief are:
~ 6 Stage Diagnosis, which tracks the course of an Exterior disease caused by Cold as it travels inward to the core of the body
~ 4 Level Diagnosis, which tracks the course of an Exterior disease caused by Heat as it travels inward towards the Heart
~ Organ-Bowel Diagnosis, which assigns symptoms and diseases to each of the organs of the body
~ Sanjiao Pattern Diagnosis, which classifies Damp-Heat diseases in terms of their location in the upper, middle or lower part of the body
~ Qi, Blood and Fluid Diagnosis, which is related to Organ-Bowel Diagnosis, but looks at irregularities in these vital substances of the body
In just this small bit alone, I’ve managed to tell you about six different ways to look at disease. There are others, too. Sometimes this makes our job easier, and sometimes harder. This is why I like to always come back to Eight Principle Diagnosis when I’m formulating my treatment plan. It keeps things as straightforward as possible, in my opinion.
Treating disease in Chinese medicine is like peeling an onion. Each layer reveals something a bit different. Sometimes it’s difficult to see one layer at a time. The more clear we can be on a diagnosis, the more effective we will be as practitioners. So, pick whichever paradigm resonates with you and stick to it. Get to know it inside and out. Use it until it is well worn. You will have an easier time formulating treatment plans, and if you are a clinician, your patients will thank you.
In my next post, I will start to talk about the herbs themselves, specifically the herbs Chinese and Western herbal medicine traditions share.
Posted by|21 December 2012
Eucalyptus essential oil is a wonderful staple for this time of year. A bottle graces the window sill of my bathroom all season long. Steam distilled from the leaves and twigs of the Eucalyptus globulus tree, this oil is clear or sometimes pale yellow, with a strong camphoraceous aroma that has a soft woody undertone. It feels thin when rubbed between the fingers and evaporates quickly.
Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia and the surrounding islands, but have been cultivated and can now be found worldwide in subtropical climates. There are over 20 species that are used to produce oil which can be divided into three types. Medicinal eucalyptus oils such as E. globulus have high contents of eucalyptol. Industrial eucalyptus oils have higher quantities of terpenes, and aromatic eucalyptus oils such as
Eucalyptus Lemon (E. citriodora).
Eucalyptol, also know as 1,8-cineole and cajuputol when it is found in cajeput oil, is an oxide that gives eucalyptus its expectorant properties. E. globulus usually contains around 70% of this constituent, but can contain anywhere between 54% and 95%.
Eucalyptus is mostly known for its expectorant and disinfectant/antibacterial properties. Around the house it can be added to cleaners and sanitizers, and makes an effective deodorizer for shoes (1 drop on a cotton ball placed in each shoe) and trashcans (1 drop directly into the can).
As an expectorant, eucalyptus oil can be added to an inhalation or diffuser blend, a massage oil, or a homemade ointment. If I think that I’m coming down with something or am feeling congested, I like to put a couple drops of eucalyptus oil directly on a wash cloth and place it in the bathtub while I’m taking a shower. The heat slowly releases the oil making a wonderful steam that clears and soothes the respiratory system.
To learn more about Eucalyptus oil visit our Lean More link here.
Next month look for my Guide to Dilutions!
Posted by|20 December 2012
Posted by|19 December 2012
I know, I know…those expensive, synthetically perfumed candles can be tempting with their bright colors and romantic promises of candy canes, apple pie, and evergreen cheer, but diffusing pure essential oils at home or work is a wonderfully natural way to fill your space with seasonal aromas. Here are a few of our favorite oils for this time of year, but feel free to experiment with a blend of your own!
Douglas Fir ~ perfume of the Northwest forest, encourages family harmony
Frankincense ~ sweet and woody, said to improve memory
Myrrh ~ warm and earthy, revitalizes the spirit
Cinnamon ~ spicy and warming, relieves tension
Peppermint ~ fresh and cooling, stimulates and uplifts
Fill your essential oil diffuser reservoir with water. Add 5-6 drops of oil. Light a tea candle in the base of your diffuser and enjoy as your space fills with aroma! Making a little collection of essential oils along with a diffuser would make a sweet gift for the scent-lovers out there!
Posted by|17 December 2012
It’s that time of year again when noses are red and running, throats are scratchy, and ginger-onion-garlic soup is on the stove. Whether answering the phone at work, borrowing a pen at school, or grabbing a few groceries at the store, our immune systems are bombarded with these microscopic viruses each day.
Sickies around us can be contagious even before a fever hits and flu germs continue to spread for up to 7 days. Since these sneaky little organisms far outnumber us, it’s just a matter of time before the tell-tale symptoms appear. Herbal formulas make wonderful alternatives to over-the-counter cold and flu medications because herbs can help support your immune system before or during the sickness, rather than just masking the unpleasantness.
Here are two of my favorites for your natural medicine cabinet:
Herbal Throat Spray
1 oz organic Echinacea tincture
1 oz Osha root tincture
2 tbsp raw local honey
½ oz organic Peppermint Hydrosol (optional)
Combine all ingredients into a glass spray bottle and shake vigorously. Say “ah” and spray 3 pumps into sore throat every hour or as needed. Store spray in the refrigerator for an added cooling affect on the inflamed issue.
First Signs Formula
1 oz Echinacea tincture
1 oz Elderberry tincture
1 oz Red Root tincture
Combine all ingredients together in a 4oz glass dropper bottle and shake well. I like to take 3 droppers of this formula 3 times a day at the first signs of a cold or flu. This blend helps support your immune system to ward off a developing sickness or to process it more quickly.
Posted by|13 December 2012
Aren’t these lovely organic Rainbow Peppercorns festive?
What a fun way to spice up the season!
Posted by|12 December 2012
We are proud to share some exciting news!
The Oregon Sustainability Board selected Mountain Rose Herbs as the 2012 Grand Champion for the Governor’s Sustainability Award. The award was presented in Portland at the Northwest Environmental Conference and Tradeshow earlier this month by Oregon Secretary of State, Kate Brown. It is a tremendous honor and we are grateful to everyone who made this possible.
Upon accepting the award, we were asked to impart a piece of advice to other organizations that are pursuing sustainability initiatives. Since 1987, Mountain Rose Herbs has been known for its uncompromising commitment to organic agriculture, sustainable business practices and community involvement. But how sustainability is defined and viewed within the company continues to change and evolve as it must. Whether the organization follows a top-down approach implemented by the owners or a grassroots effort initiated by employees, it’s important to agree on this definition and outline realistic goals throughout the organization.
For instance, at Mountain Rose Herbs we know it’s necessary to have specific policies and programs in place to maintain our standing as a Zero Waste Company. But without employee education and cooperation, our extensive recycling and composting programs wouldn’t be possible. Encouraging participation through incentives is another effective strategy. We do this by reimbursing employees through our Carpool, Bus, and Bike to Work Program.
Congratulations to the other award recipients and many thanks to Oregon’s Sustainability Board, Business Oregon, and the entire Mountain Rose Herbs family for staying at the forefront of the sustainability movement and inspiring other organizations to do the same.
Here’s a list of our sustainability programs:
- Organic, Wild-harvested and Fair Trade sourcing
- Zero Waste Company
- Mountain Rose River Project
- Carpool, Bus and Bike Program
- Charitable Giving Fund
- Paid Time for Community Involvement
- Recycled and non-toxic packaging and shipping material
- Green landscaping and integrated pest management
- Offset carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org
- Company trucks powered with vegetable oil
- Facility constructed to LEED standards
- EWEB GreenPower Program
Posted by|11 December 2012
We are excited to bring you our new Tea-To-Go Tea Glass Infuser featuring the Mountain Rose logo!
Whether on a train or a plane, a hike or a bike, this BPA-free Tea Glass Infuser is the perfect way to take loose leaf tea on the go! So easy to use, this 12.85 oz (1.5 cup) travel infuser keeps your hands cool and your tea hot. Each glass has a durable poly exterior, glass interior, and comes with a leak proof removable stainless steel screw-on tea strainer and water tight screw-on lid.
To brew a perfect cup, remove the lid and stainless steel strainer, add 1-3 teaspoons of your favorite tea, carefully add hot water, and replace the strainer and lid. Once the tea has reached your preferred brew (usually 1-2 minutes) remove the lid and enjoy through the strainer, keeping the tea leaves in the glass and out of your mouth. This is an especially wonderful way to steep herbal tea blends, but if you’re worried about over brewing your green or black tea, simply use less tea leaves or water that’s not as hot.
A practical and playful gift for yourself or for a dear friend…
Posted by|10 December 2012
Is it cold out there? Want a little something sweet and spicy to warm you up?
This healthy herbal spin on classic hot chocolate is dark and rich and decadent. Especially with roasted dandelion root, a pinch of hot cayenne powder, a cinnamon swizzle stick, and a dollop of homemade vanilla bean whipped cream swirled on top. Ooooh! I feel all cozy just thinking about it. You can adjust the spicy heat to your liking by adding more or less cayenne. A little goes a long way in this recipe. Enjoy this wonderful treat and keep warm out there!
Hot Dandelion Cocoa &
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
2 tbsp organic cacao nibs
½ cup organic half & half, whole milk, or milk alternative of your choice
½ tsp organic vanilla extract
Pinch of organic Cayenne powder
Raw local honey to taste
In a pot, bring 3 cups of cold water, roasted dandelion root, and cacao nibs to a simmer and gently decoct for 30 minutes. Strain out the herbs and return the liquid to your pot. Pour in the milk, vanilla extract, and cayenne powder. Add one spoonful of honey at a time and dissolve over very low heat until you reach desired sweetness. Stir until combined and serve in your favorite cup. Top with a dollop of Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream (see recipe below) and add a cinnamon stick for stirring!
Whipped Cream Ingredients
1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp organic sugar
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
Pulp from one half of a split and scraped organic vanilla bean
Add all ingredients to a quart sized mason jar and tightly screw on the lid. Shake the jar for several minutes until the liquid stops sloshing. Open periodically to check for a fluffy consistency. Be careful not to over shake, or you’ll have a jar full of sweet vanilla butter instead!
Posted by|07 December 2012
We are excited to offer these luscious body butters from our friends at Wild Carrot Herbals. Available in two scents, each decadent butter is packaged in a reusable 8oz glass jar with a two piece lid.
Enjoy this citrus inspired sunrise in a jar! Designed to nourish dry itchy skin, a little goes a long way. With uplifting grapefruit essential oil and balancing clary sage and chamomile oils, this body butter is sure to bring a smile to your face.
This creamy body butter contains ginger infused oil and ginger essential oil. This warming combination is designed to stimulate circulation and nurture dry skin all year round, but is especially warming during the cold, wet winter months.
Get one (or both) for yourself, and one for a friend as a bodycare treat. Enjoy!