Archive for February, 2013

Photo Thursday!

Posted by Erin|28 February 2013

Jeannine-Andreblog

 

Here’s our first reader submission for Photo Thursday!

“Our recent cold spell being broken by a sunny day gave opportunity for magic in the baby lavender plants I’ve started as a border along the garden fence. Icy droplets on the lavender became fragrant jewels fit for faerie Queendom.” ~ Jeannine Andre

So sweet! Share your gorgeously herbal photos with us on Facebook!

 

Barrels of Good!

Posted by Alyssa|27 February 2013

troy-barrels

Here’s Jim Fleck, Zero Waste Operations Coordinator, and Troy Gile, Master Recycler and Waste and Recycling Coordinator at Mountain Rose Herbs, loading up another dozen barrels.

Mountain Rose Herbs is partnering with the University of Oregon Campus Zero Waste Program to reduce landfill waste by re-purposing 55 gallon barrels. The university will cut the tops off of these barrels that transport our bulk liquids, such as glycerine, aloe gel and hydrosols, and use them as recycling collection bins. In the past, these have also been made into rain barrels or donated to a local non-profit, M.E.C.C.A., Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts.

Our creative and passionate team of recycling experts have come up with new ways to reuse or recycle everything from old pens to paper towel rolls, plastic banding to twist ties. This is one more exciting development in our continuing efforts to eliminate waste.

Learn more about our Zero Waste Program!

 

New Catalog on the Way!

Posted by Erin|26 February 2013

catalogphoto

The new Spring/Summer 2013 catalog is on the way and we’ve packed it full of recipes, how-tos, farm stories, new products, gorgeous color photos, and plenty more herbal goodies!

We are also debuting a new format for our beloved 68 page catalog this time around! The whimsical design allows us more space to share our products, herbal recipes, and photos, with much better print quality for easier reading. We truly hope you love thumbing through it as much as we do.

As always, we print on post-consumer waste paper with eco-friendly inks so you can recycle the cover and compost the rest, although we hope you’ll keep it around for awhile or share it with a friend.

Want a FREE copy all for yourself?

Request a new catalog here!

 

Ready for the Blackberry Boogie?

Posted by Erin|25 February 2013

We finally have a video from RootStalk to share with you all and much more to come! Here’s the always entertaining Doug Elliott celebrating the joys of blackberries.

Meet ya in the middle of the patch…

 

Why Cold Expression for Citrus Essential Oils?

Posted by Christine|22 February 2013

Why Cold Extraction for Citrus Essential Oils?

Citrus essential oils, such as Lemon, Lime, Orange, and Mandarin, are the perfect oils for this time of year. Winter is coming to an end, and the bright uplifting aroma of citrus can help remind you that spring is just around the corner. With this season change also comes spring cleaning! Citrus oils are a classic ingredient in homemade cleaning products.

Most essential oils are distilled with a combination of water and steam, but oils from citrus peels are cold expressed to preserve all of the aromatic botanical goodness that they posses. This process involves puncturing the skins of either the whole fruit or just the fruit peel and pressing the essential oil out. With this process, a little bit of juice is also extracted, which is then separated from the essential oil.

For therapeutic uses, you want to buy a citrus oil that is cold expressed, however you can find distilled citrus oils on the market as well. These oils are mostly used in the fragrance industry and have different characteristics then an expressed citrus oil. Pictured below is an expressed lime essential oil (left) and a distilled lime essential oil (right). The expressed oil has a rich green-golden color and has that characteristic tart lime aroma. The distilled oil is clear and has an almost sweet aroma more associated with a lemon-lime flavor.

The difference between Cold Expressed and Steam Distilled essential oils.

The aromas of citrus oils are not always as sour as they may seem. Orange or Tangerine oils have a sweet citrus aroma, where Lime and Grapefruit have a more sour note. I consider Lemon to be the middle, and Bergamot has a slightly spicy note to it. All citrus oils are considered top notes, and will evaporate quickly, so it is a good idea to add some grounding base and middle notes while blending, like with Clary Sage or Nutmeg.

Citrusy Cleaning Recipes!

Essential oils for natural cleaning.Citrus Shine Aroma Spritz

3 drops organic Orange essential oil
3 drops organic Lemon essential oil
3 drops organic Lime essential oil
2 drops organic Lavender or organic Clary Sage essential oil
1 drop organic Nutmeg essential oil
2 oz organic Witch Hazel Extract

Mix all ingredients in a 2 oz glass bottle with mister top. Shake well before use and spray as needed. This blend makes a wonderful spritz for offices or bathrooms. It may also be used as a dusting spray while cleaning.

 

Multipurpose Cleaner

2 cups vinegar and 2 cups water
15 drops citrus essential oil of choice

Mix all ingredients together. This blend may be used on most hard surfaces as a general surface cleaner in a spray bottle, or as a floor cleaner (when cleaning hard wood floors always clean a small test patch to ensure the blend does not react with the finish on the floor)

 

Want more cleaning recipes using natural essential oils?

Check out The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier!

 

 

Photo Thursday!

Posted by Erin|21 February 2013

mossesblog-2

 

Here’s a little homage to the beautiful tenacity of green beings.
These tiny glowing mosses and plants have found a home in the cracks of the sidewalk, leading us to the wetlands with emerald cheer…

 

All About Licorice!

Posted by Erin|20 February 2013

Licorice

 

Historical Roots

Native to southern Europe and parts of Asia, this much beloved “sweet root” legume is a member of the Pea Family (Fabaceae) and can be found in apothecaries across the world. Considered one of the most important medicinal herbs since ancient times, Licorice has been used throughout history as a demulcent to help soothe irritated membranes, support the immune system during viral infections, quell inflammation and allergic reactions, support normal respiratory health, remedy adrenal fatigue, and as a sweet flavoring agent.

Glycyrrhizin is the sweet tasting chemical compound in licorice that has been measured at 30 to 50 times sweeter than sucrose. This sweet constituent can also exacerbate health issues for some folks, and as always, you should do your own research and consult with a healthcare professional to decide if an herb is right for you.

Traditional Preparations

Licorice root is used as a tea or tea ingredient, tincture, lozenge, or capsule. It is also used to flavor candies, soups and savory broths, tobacco products, root beer and other soft drinks. Whole sticks and slices can be chewed and are pleasantly sweet, although some find the flavor quite cloying and prefer it only when formulated with other herbs.

Herbal Curiosities

Among precious jewels and treasures, a fortune of Licorice root was discovered in King Tutankhamun’s tomb. The pharaoh requested the root so he could enjoy the popular sweet drink mai sus in the afterlife.

 

egypt_kitchen_md

licoriceslice

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. Consult with a licensed healthcare 
practitioner before use to discuss effects and possible interactions.

					
				

Understanding Nervines & Adaptogens

Posted by Erin|18 February 2013

3-Stress-Slide

 

As we transition from winter into spring and new tender leaves begin to color the ground under our feet, it’s a good time to restore our nervous systems for the busy year ahead. Herbal nervines and adaptogens are our allies for coping with the daily aggravations of life, especially work pressures, family responsibilities, financial worries, lack of sunshine, and regular use of caffeine. Whether your nervous tension results in minor aches and pains, occasional melancholy, or sleepless nights, there are many herbs that can help us find relaxation and calm both day and night.

Stress is the body’s heightened physiological response to stimuli, both good and bad. The adrenal glands secrete stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline which create a cascade of effects including a rush of energy, increased heart rate, and rising blood pressure. These hormones act as an emergency response to a temporary situation, subsiding to normal functioning when the event has passed. However, constant release of these hormones can result in a weakened immune response, over-stressed mind, and harmful inflammation.

 

stress

 

Nervines are herbs that specifically support the nervous system. Their effects range from tonics like Skullcap and Oat Tops, to mildly calming herbs like Catnip and Chamomile, to strongly sedative ones like Valerian and Hops. They are used to relieve nagging muscle tension and spasms, circular thoughts, insomnia, and the occasional worry we all experience from time to time. Some of these herbs provide multiple nervine actions, such as Skullcap which relaxes the muscles, helps calm worried thoughts, and nourishes the nervous system. Others such as Oat Tops, are not necessarily relaxing to the physical body, but help restore and support healthy nerve functioning when taken on a regular basis.

Adaptogens are another group of herbs that help us face and handle stress as it happens – although the classification is often complicated and the boundaries difficult to define. These herbs restore overall balance and strengthen the functioning of the body as a whole without impacting the balance of an individual organ or body system. Adaptogens facilitate these changes by a wide range of actions and energetics, rather than one specific action. Adaptogens can be stimulating and/or relaxing, many help improve focus, support immune system functioning, or provide some other broad-spectrum normalizing influence on unbalanced physiological processes.

By definition, the active properties of the adaptogenic herb must be safe, non-toxic, and non-habit forming, even when taken over a long period of time. When taken daily as a tea or extract, these herbs can help improve your mental functioning and allow your body to adapt more easily to stressful situations, relieving an overactive adrenal response. However, as Kiva Rose suggests, herbs should not be used to push us beyond our limits and cannot replace the benefits of good restful sleep. These herbs are of better use to our health and healing when paired with the appropriate need or used as gentle tonics.

 

scullcap1

Here’s a basic list of nervine and adaptogen herbs:

Nervines

Oat Tops – Very gentle tonic herb that is nutritive to the nervous system, without a sedative action. Can help reduce fatigue and improve nerve functioning over time. Great for anyone who is overworked or relies on caffeine to get through the day.

Skullcap - Wonderfully gentle and nourishing to the nervous system. Helps relieve muscle tension and spasms, circular thoughts, nervousness, and anxiety. Can be used throughout the day during stressful situations or at night before bed to calm worried thoughts and muscle aches.

Chamomile – Classic relaxing nighttime tea, this nervine herb is also anti-inflammatory and helpful for relieving headaches, general pain, and mental stress.

Lavender - Calming herb that is often used in aromatherapy applications for its mild antidepressant action. Lovely when used in the bath, massage oils, pillows, room sprays, or body fragrance to uplift the spirit.

Lemon Balm – Sunshine in plant form, this herb helps relieve nervous exhaustion, gloom, restlessness, and insomnia with pure aromatic pleasure. Simply rubbing a leaf between your fingers and smelling the citrusy oils can elevate the mood.

Catnip – Gentle sedative for sleeplessness in children and the elderly. Helps relieve nervous headaches.

California Poppy - Used for its anti-anxiety, sedative, and analgesic properties, this plant helps promote relaxation in those seeking rest from nerve pain.

Passionflower -  This stunning plant offers anti-spasmodic power and is helpful with tension headaches, nerve pain, nervous restlessness, and insomnia.

Hops - With a distinctive flavor and action known well by beer drinkers everywhere, this plant makes a nice sedative (although the effect can be considered hypnotic), helps calm a nervous stomach, and is anti-spasmodic.

Valerian - A potent sedative herb for most people when sleep seems impossible thanks to nervous energy at night. It is reliable, but only if used occasionally – not daily. For some people, Valerian can have the opposite effect of relaxation, causing more anxiety and stimulation.  If this happens to you, Valerian is not the right herb to use.

Adaptogens

Schisandra Berries - Improves concentration, coordination, and endurance. Chinese folklore says that Schisandra calms the heart and quiets the spirit. Stimulating to the central nervous system without excitation. Helps with insomnia and supports immunity.

Holy Basil or Tulsi - An important adaptogenic herb in India that helps restore vitality and promotes overall health and a softened reaction to stress.

Eleuthero Root – Improves mental clarity and emotional stamina during stressful situations, boosts physical endurance, helps with sleeplessness and insomnia,  and supports the immune system.

Ginseng - (Panax quinquefolius) Boosts physical strength and stamina. Improves mental alertness and memory. Good for exhaustion and sexual vitality. Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is thought to be better suited for people older than 30 or the very weak. Used as an anti-aging tonic for the elderly.

Rhodiola - Improves the brain’s ability to analyze, evaluate, calculate, and plan. Normalizes the heart rate after exercise or a stressful event. Stimulates release of dopamine and serotonin. Strengthens immune system against bacteria, viruses, and toxins.

Reishi Mushroom – This immune system supportive mushroom is also considered to have a calming and strengthening effect on the nervous system.

Herbalist Jim McDonald has compiled a wonderful list of articles if you’d like to learn more. Read more about these diverse and helpful herbs, click here for Adaptogens and here for Nervines.

~Erin

FarmHarvest3

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. Consult with a licensed healthcare 
practitioner before use to discuss effects and possible interactions.

New Packaging for Massage Oils!

Posted by Christine|15 February 2013

massage-blog

You may have noticed our new massage oil packaging in our Herbal Love Gift Guide. Well, here they are! Our 4oz Massage Oils are now packaged in a plastic amber flip cap bottle for easy one-hand application. They also have beautifully redesigned labels that can be proudly displayed on store shelves or on your nightstand.

Choose from 5 aromatic and therapeutic massage oil blends handcrafted from 100% natural botanical ingredients:

1 ~ Aches & Pains oil is both warming and soothing to minor aches and stiffness.

2 ~ Arnica & St. John’s oil is crafted for deep tissue work.

3 ~ Goddess Dreams oil will stimulate your senses and dreams with it’s sweet fragrant aroma.

4 ~ Autumn Moon oil and 5 ~ Rose Moon oil are both indulging and make a wonderful oil to share with a loved one.

Whether you try one or all five, they will make the perfect addition to your personal or professional collection of luscious massage oils.

Click here to see a full list of ingredients!

 

Photo Thursday!

Posted by Erin|14 February 2013

rosevalentine1Awww!

Check out this sweet heart Mason made for his sweetheart! I bet there will be rose bud tea and a rose bud soak in this lucky lady’s future.

What herby pleasures did you make for your honey?

Happy (Herbal) Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Herbal Living by the Seasons

Posted by Friends|11 February 2013

dylan_steinnew

We’re excited to 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!

 

The Awakening ~ Winter into Spring

WinterIce

 

In my kitchen window hangs a prism twirled by a solar-powered motor. It hasn’t budged an inch since about mid-Autumn. At least, that is, until a few days ago. We now find ourselves on the cusp between the seasons; Winter is turning into Spring. The sun is being reborn from the darkness of Winter, lighting the sky for more hours each day. Nature begins to awaken from its slumber.

In Chinese medicine philosophy, Winter is the season of quiet, of storage, and of stillness. The ground water has sunken down to the deepest soil, and frozen there. It’s as if Nature has been put on pause. The days are short, and the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic tells us to wake late and retire early to match the season.

We lead busy lives. Luckily, Nature has built a period of the year when the days are short, gently suggesting we go to bed early and rest indoors to avoid the cold. If we do not honor this season of storage, we cannot experience rebirth in Spring. We need to find stillness to recharge in order to have the fuel for bursting forth like the buds and shoots of the currently slumbering plants all around us.

cinnamon

Winter is obviously the season of Cold. It is also the season of the Kidneys. We should eat with three things in mind to benefit the Kidneys and fend off the cold: emphasize gently warming spices (ginger and cinnamon, not cayenne and chili peppers), eat foods that nourish the Kidneys (beans, root vegetables, seaweeds, dark leafy greens, and walnuts), and eat foods that are very dark in color (black is the color of Winter in Chinese medicine), like black sesame seeds, blueberries, beets, and black beans. It is also the time to avoid cold or frozen foods in general. Check out my blog post about a mineral-rich, vegetarian alternative to bone broth to boost the Kidney energy and nourish the digestion.

Since Winter is a season of stillness, we should moderate our exercise habits for the time being. Instead of heavy sweating and intense exercise, try Tai Chi (Taiji) and Qi Gong, gentle yoga and walking meditation. In fact, all kinds of calm and centering meditation will be additionally beneficial in Winter. If you need to do heavier exercise than this, try Pilates or swimming as they focus on fluid movements that are less hard on the joints.

Winter’s Qi persists, but my kitchen prism has begun to spin. Spring is steadily approaching here in New York City. February 10th marked the first day of Spring on the Chinese calendar. This is the Lunar New Year, Chun Jie. The Yang, or motive force animating the entire Universe, continues to grow stronger. Life is waking up. There are already buds on the witch hazel tree near my home. Spring is imminent; the season of new beginnings is upon us.

 

witchhazel

 

After February 10th, start to make some lifestyle changes with Spring in mind. The resonances of Spring are the Wood element, Wind, the Liver, the green color of fresh shoots and grass, the tendons, the flavor sour and an upwards, bursting movement.

It is easy to notice the warmer weather and throw off our winter coats. According to Chinese medicine, we must continue to guard against the cold and the wind. Keep your scarf on! Continue your warming, nourishing, winter-chasing, immune boosting regimens even now.

Start to introduce pungent foods to benefit the Liver, but don’t abandon warming flavors. A touch of sour foods is good now, too. Enjoy a squirt of fresh lemon. Fresh ginger is also a good choice because it is warm and also pungent, or acrid as we sometimes call it in Chinese medicine materia medica-speak. This acridity helps to get the Qi moving in the body.

You can begin to do more active stretching to benefit the tendons. Like plants in spring, reach up to the heavens and see the Yang energy of your body rising from its deep winter slumber. Harness that rising energy to do your spring cleaning. Nothing bothers the Liver more than roadblocks, so make sure you clean out all the junk you can so when the Liver - the plan-maker in Chinese medicine - kicks into high gear, you’ll have nothing but open road ahead of you. It’s also a good time to do some big picture visioning and list making for this reason.

Here is one of my favorite traditional restorative winter tea recipes:

Spring Qi Tea Recipe

teasm

Ingredients

1 teaspoon for organic Dandelion (aerial parts and roots)

1/2 teaspoon organic Sweet Annie

1/4 teaspoon organic Licorice

1/4 teaspoon organic Barberry (roots and/or fruits)

3 buds of organic Red Clover

3 thin slices of fresh organic ginger

Directions

Bring herbs to a full boil in 1.5 cups water and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Divide into 2 equal portions for morning and evening. This formula benefits Qi, generates fluids, and protects the Liver. A few days of this tea is all that is required to reap its benefits.

 

wintersun

 

As stillness turns to action, let’s take these last few weeks of winter as an opportunity to rest, to meditate quietly and to prepare our bodies for the bursting energy of spring. Recharging our batteries in winter will bear fruit all year long.

Yours in health,

Dylan Stein

 

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.

New! Support Organics Posters

Posted by Christine|08 February 2013

 

871814 Mt Rose Posters 2871814 Mt Rose Posters 3871814 Mt Rose Posters

 

We are so excited to offer these new Support Organic Agriculture posters!

At only $5.00 each, they sure are hard to pass up! These stunning posters are printed on durable post-consumer recycled stock with a matte finish, and measure 16″ by 24″.

Choose from: Fill it With Organics featuring a harvesting basket, Organic Revolution, or Support Organic Agriculture featuring our For Food, Family, and Future slogan.

Supporting organic agriculture gives us the strength to secure safe crops for our health and the future. Show your support with these powerful and beautifully designed posters!

 

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Meet Us

  • ErinErin (358)
    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 (136)
    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 (68)
    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.
    AlietaAlieta (41)
    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.
    FriendsFriends (37)
    An array of voices from around Mountain Rose Herbs and beyond share their wisdoms, inspirations, and exciting stories from the herbal world.
    AlyssaAlyssa (26)
    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 (17)
    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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