Archive for May, 2013
Posted by|31 May 2013
Allergy season is in full swing here in the Willamette Valley – thank you grass! This is one reason why we’re thrilled to bring you this new Herbal Chest Rub from our friends at Wild Carrot Herbals. They fill each batch with botanical healing goodness that you just can’t find in conventional chest rubs.
Perfect for this time of year, I have been dabbing a little under my nose to make it through the day. This effective chest rub is crafted with herbally infused olive oil and essential oils known for opening the airways. Calming and soothing during times of congestion, this is an even stronger version of Wild Carrot’s ever popular Children’s Chest Rub and is easily applied to the chest for long lasting relief or just a bit under the nose to soothe when needed.
Contains: organic olive oil infused with organic yarrow, organic chickweed, organic roman chamomile, organic yerba mansa, organic Echinacea purpurea, organic oregon grape root, organic castor oil, beeswax, and essential oils of Eucalyptus radiata, niaouli, rosemary, lavender, tea tree, and organic sweet orange.
Posted by|30 May 2013
Mountain Rose folks Alyssa and Kori attended a ceremony yesterday for the 5th annual 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon…and we made the list! Here’s a shot of Alyssa our Director of Social and Environmental Responsibility accepting the award. This prize showcases exemplary workplaces that inspire and empower workers with a daily and enduring commitment to sustainable practices.
How’d we do? We’ll bring you the full report next week!
Posted by|28 May 2013
This fascinating 17-minute mini-documentary from Our Common Roots TV takes a look at the threat of GMOs in our food and environment - Alfalfa in particular. As legitimate concerns continue to grow over the long-term health effects of GMOs, more and more consumers and organic farmers fight for their right to know what’s in their food. Without thorough testing, the question of safety over genetically modified food is truly unnerving…
Posted by|23 May 2013
Here’s a cheery shot of Bethany from our shipping department out pulling invasive plants like teasel and blackberry in the Coyote Spencer Wetlands. Folks from around Mountain Rose Herbs joined up with Hummingbird Wholesale and the McKenzie River Trust for a day of restoration work. Not a bad day at the office!
View the entire Mountain Rose River Project photo album here!
Posted by|21 May 2013
Climate change is an undeniable fact. We feel it as we’re hit with extreme storm systems, a warming planet, melting icebergs, and rising tides. The fact is, humans have caused this global change and now we must all do our part to shift gears and find a solution. One way that Mountain Rose Herbs takes responsibility for the carbon dioxide emissions released in production of our organic herbs, spices and tea blends, and botanical products is through our partnership with Carbonfund.org, who’s motto is “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t.”
In 2012, our estimated carbon emissions amounted to 254 metric tons.
What we did to REDUCE:
- All light fixtures upgraded to low-impact fluorescents
- Cargo and delivery vehicles run on used vegetable oil based bio-diesel
- E-Star rated appliances, electronics and heating and cooling units
- Enrolled in EWEB Greenpower Program to support wind and solar energy sources
How we OFFSET with Carbonfund.org:
- Renewable Energy and Methane Projects
- Energy Efficiency Research and Carbon Credits
- Reforestation and Forest Preservation Projects
To find out more about Mountain Rose Herbs’ commitment to reducing carbon emissions or to learn how you can reduce your impact, visit: Carbonfund.org
Posted by|20 May 2013
We are three weeks into our new adventure as beekeepers. My amazement every time I peek in the hive, or the saucy pride I feel when I notice some of our bees working away on lavender, kale, and fruit tree blossoms has yet to wear off. At this point, it is hard to imagine I will ever take these hardworking little honeybees for granted!
As a beginner (and I mean brand new, never-before, only-read-a-bunch-of-books novice), my first obsession was simply getting the bees to stay. I wanted to make sure our home-built hive was as hospitable as possible and that the new bees had everything they needed to get off to a good start.
We started by preparing our hive—since we built a Kenyan Top Bar beehive, we needed to make sure that each of the 28 bars was an obvious choice where the bees would know to attach their combs. We melted about 4 ounces of beeswax pastilles over low heat, and dipped lengths of hemp string we’d precut to be just a tad smaller than the bars into the warm wax. We then just pressed the string along the length of the bar. This way, the bees would have a guide from which to attach the combs they’d be building from scratch! For added hospitality, I sprinkled a handful of beeswax pastilles along the bottom of the hive and shook several drops of lemongrass essential oil at each end of the hive. We did this a week or two before we got our bees, so the hive was ready and waiting.
Herbal Bee Tea
Amidst all my pre-bee research, I came across the Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary (www.spikenardfarm.org) in Virginia. They are a wonderful resource for organic beekeeping and bee health information. There is a “Healing Tea for Honeybees” created at Spikenard Farm that I adapted for our Pacific Northwest bee scene:
(I used a mix of dried and fresh herbs and flowers, but you could use all dried or all fresh):
Heat 3 cups of water to boiling
Prepare a tea mix:
½ teaspoon organic dried chamomile
½ teaspoon organic dried yarrow
½ teaspoon organic dried nettle
½ teaspoon organic dried peppermint
¼ teaspoon organic dried sage
2 fresh Dandelion flowers
½ teaspoon organic fresh or dried hyssop leaves
½ teaspoon organic fresh or dried thyme leaves
2-3 big, organic fresh or dried lemon balm leaves
Put all of the herbs into a large tea infuser (you could use cheesecloth or simply put them in a jar and then strain them after steeping) and pour 3 cups of boiling water over. Let this steep for 10-15 minutes. Then, add 3 cups of cold water. You will find this is a surprisingly strong smelling infusion! Check out the original recipe for other herbs you can add to the tea.
Once it has cooled to room temperature/lukewarm, stir in 1 cup of high quality, organic, local honey. I put a quart of this in a chicken watering container and filled the tray with little rocks, but you could definitely use a quart-sized bee feeder too (store the remainder in the fridge and use if/as needed.) The idea is to put the tea out where the bees can take it if they need it and use in times of stress—new colony and hive, early in the season, late in the season, etc. I left it out for about a week until it seemed like the bees were doing just fine and had plenty of nectar and pollen to forage for.
At this point, our bees seem to be going strong. We have been going in for a visit each week and have watched as they built the initial combs, the queen started laying eggs, and things have progressed to several full combs, hundreds of capped brood, honey and pollen deposits, and what looks to be an expanding operation! I love the faint smell of honey as I walk by the hive on warm, sunny days and the steady whirring buzz of all those bees working away inside. And don’t even get me started about how fun it is to watch those bees clamber all over our garden plants and then speed off back to our hive!
This post comes to us from Kori, 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.
Posted by|17 May 2013
These soothing lotions from Acure Organics will nourish your skin and leave you feeling smooth and hydrated all summer long. They are free of parabens and sulfates, cruelty-free, and contain no synthetic fragrances. Each of these lotions contains Acure’s Certified Organic Curoxidant Juice Blend as a base. It’s packed with organic Acai, organic Pomegranate, organic Blackberry, organic Rosehips, and organic Rooibos to create one of the most potent antioxidant blends available for your skin.
There are two lovely lotions to choose from:
The Firming Lotion has a slight lemongrass aroma and is made with firming organic argan oil. This lotion will leave your skin feeling nourished and stimulated.
The Ultra-Hydrating Lotion is made with organic cocoa butter. It is fragrance free and will leave your skin feeling smooth and satisfied.
Visit our Body Care page to see a full list of all the nourishing skincare goodies and accessories we have to offer!
Posted by|16 May 2013
We love to admire the unique artwork each year when the Wildflower Festival poster comes out. This year’s subject is the cute spring native Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii var atomaria) with Dance Flies. Check out those pollinator-attracting spots!
Be sure to visit the Mountain Rose booth for free organic tea and lots of herbal goodies to explore.
Hope to see you out there this Sunday…
Posted by|14 May 2013
Have you heard of the “no ‘poo” movement? It’s definitely not my favorite term, but the philosophy behind it is worth exploring. It refers to the droves of people turning away from using expensive commercial shampoos and conditioners. These products often contain harsh synthetic fragrances, sodium laureth sulfate, propylene glycol, and other creepy ingredients that come from mystery labs around the world. We trust that these products will make our hair gorgeous and drench ourselves in weird chemicals without knowing how they affect our overall health. Plus, think of the millions of plastic bottles that end up in the recycling bin, or worse, from all of the hair products we use.
But…you HAVE to use shampoo, right?
We’ve been told to “lather, rinse, and repeat” for decades now – and with dreams of healthy, shiny, flowy, bouncy perfection, we have complied. But what happens? The first day after a wash, your hair is kinda frizzy and dried out. On the second day it’s looking pretty good. By the third day it’s a crazy greasy mess again and time to shampoo. This cycle happens as your scalp desperately tries to maintain balance. Most shampoo strips your hair of sebum, which is the natural oil produced by sebaceous glands to help condition and protect each strand. When it’s completely washed away, your glands sound the alarm bells and produce even more sebum to compensate for the sudden loss of protection. Using gentle cleansers and washing less often allows your body to function the way it was meant to…
Going “no ‘poo” is a different experience for everyone, depending on your natural hair and scalp condition. I have very fine, curly hair with a normal to dry scalp, so the transition was super easy for me. I started using the Chamomile Rose rinse recipe below just once a week. My hair immediately looked so much healthier and had more body and shine. Suddenly, instead of one good hair day a week, my hair was consistently awesome with less frizz and no scalp irritation at all. I know other people with thicker or oily hair go through a not so fun “balancing” phase where the sebaceous glands continue to produce more and more sebum in anticipation of that regular shampooing. If you can stick it out, the process will eventually find homeostasis and revert back to a normal sebum production rate. This usually only takes a few weeks and is well worth the wait. Just think of all those neglected hats waiting in your closet!
Ready to try it out? These herbal hair rinses are amazing. They are so easy to make and will leave your hair feeling soft and your scalp clean and revitalized, but not stripped or dried out. Use once a week to replace your shampoo for good and allow your natural oils to condition each strand from root to tip.
Chamomile Rose Rinse
1 ½ cups organic Chamomile tea, brewed strong
1 cup organic Rose Petal tea, brewed strong
1 tbsp baking soda
The deep golden yellow produced by the chamomile flowers makes this a wonderful choice for light colored hair or to enhance natural highlights in darker hair. My hair is dirty blond and I really notice a lightening effect like a sunny glow to my hair when I let it soak in for at least 5 minutes before rinsing out.
Rosemary Cacao Rinse
1 ½ cups organic Cacao nib tea, brewed strong
1 cup organic Rosemary leaf tea, brewed strong
3 drops organic Peppermint essential oil
1 tbsp baking soda
Rosemary is a classic herb for hair health. It brings circulation to the scalp and stimulates the follicles. It is also known to enhance the richness in dark colored hair. The naturally conditioning cocoa butter fats found in cacao nibs will leave your hair feeling soft, and the chocolate colored infusion is perfect for all shades of brown hair. Peppermint oil adds an invigoratingly clean scent, and is great for oily or sensitive scalps.
Nettle Lavender Rinse
2 1/2 cups organic Nettle leaf tea, brewed strong
5 drops organic Lavender essential oil
1 tbsp baking soda
Nettle is a wonderfully strengthening tonic herb for hair. Its high mineral and vitamin content nourishes all hair types. Lavender essential oil is calming and helps normalize both dry and oily scalp conditions, and its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory nature makes it a nice choice for irritated or sensitive scalps too. This formula is perfect for all hair colors and types.
- Using a covered pot, decoct your herbs for 10-15 minutes. I generally use 1/4 cup of herbs per cup of water.
- Strain out the herbs and combine your herbal infusion, essential oils, and baking soda together in a glass jar. You want the baking soda to be completely dissolved and well mixed.
- Allow to cool to body temperature.
- Pour over dry hair or soak hair in the mixture for at least 5 minutes. Massage the scalp gently using a circular motion.
- Rinse out with clean running water.
- You can follow the herbal rinse with an apple cider vinegar rinse if you’d like, which is a really popular method, but I usually skip it.
Feel free to experiment with other herb and essential oil combinations. For more information and guidance about what herbs are good for hair care, check out Naturally Healthy Hair by Mary Beth Janssen.
Enjoy your natural tresses!
Posted by|13 May 2013
This recipe is such a convenient preparation which either can be used alone or incorporated into cosmetic and medicinal recipes. And, it couldn’t be simpler to make!
Witch Hazel extract is produced from the leaves and bark of the North American shrub Witch-hazel, Hamamelis virginiana. It has astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and anesthetic properties, making it an invaluable ingredient for many different medicinal and cosmetic preparations.
I especially love using herbal infused witch hazel as a facial toner, often incorporate it into facial wash recipes, and a small dab works great on blemishes. Beneficial for all skin types from oily to dry and mature skin, Witch Hazel is often used as an aftershave, to cleanse oils from the skin, remove make-up, decrease bags under eyes and skin puffiness, reduce pore size, and to minimize varicose veins. Medicinally, Witch Hazel extract is often applied as a compress or added to bath water to assist with minor injuries, insect bites, hemorrhoids, skin irritation caused by poison ivy or oak, localized inflammations, and other conditions. Athletes sometimes rub Witch Hazel extract onto their arms or legs prior to workouts to help prevent muscle strain, or after a workout to help relieve soreness.
What you’ll need:
• Witch Hazel extract
It’s best to use a high quality organic Witch Hazel extract. Commercial Witch Hazel extracts usually contain more alcohol than actual Witch Hazel, and have only been distilled once. However, true Witch Hazel extracts (like the one offered by Mountain Rose Herbs) has been double distilled, and contains 86% Witch Hazel extract and only 14% alcohol. This makes it more soothing than the versions found in stores, and it lacks the alcohol sting and scent.
• Herb(s) of choice
Here some favorites, but feel free to be creative! You can make infuse just one or can make a blend: Basil, Calendula, Chamomile, Elder flowers, Green Sencha Leaf tea, Lavender flowers, Lemon Balm, Lemon peel, Lemon Verbena, Lemongrass, Nettle leaf, Orange Peel, Peppermint, Rose petals, Rosemary, Sage, Red Clover flowers, Vanilla beans.
1. Place the dried herbs in a glass mason jar, and cover completely with the Witch Hazel extract. Make sure that the Witch Hazel extract covers the herbs by at least 1-2” to account for swelling once that the herbs become hydrated. If the herbs swell and rise above the Witch Hazel extract, simply add more Witch Hazel extract until they are fully submerged.
2. Cap tightly and place in a cool, dark place like a cabinet or closet.
3. Allow to infuse for at least 2 weeks, shaking the jar daily or as often as you remember. You will notice that the Witch Hazel will quickly take on the scent and color of the herbs.
4. Once finished, strain the herbs out using cheesecloth or a fine cloth. Pour into a clean bottle, label, and enjoy!
The FDA has approved Witch Hazel distillate as safe for external use in skin care products. Avoid using Witch Hazel extract close to the mucus membranes or in the eyes, as it contains a small amount of alcohol. It is best to use on this product on unbroken skin. External use of Witch Hazel extract could result in minor skin irritation for some people. Do not use on serious burns, cuts, or other wounds.
Posted by|10 May 2013
Our handcrafted Rose and Lemon Facial Washes are now Certified by Oregon Tilth, and have a gorgeous new look! These wonderfully gentle cleansers are certified as made with organic aloe vera and organic extracts, and the castille soap that we use is certified as made with organic oils.
These all natural botanical facial washes are mild enough for any skin type and lightly aromatic for a refreshingly clean experience. They make a wonderful body wash too! Our facial wash contains no synthetic ingredients, perfume oils, preservatives, or harmful chemicals, and we make them in small batches to ensure the highest quality for bathing bliss.
Visit our website for a complete list of ingredients!
Posted by|09 May 2013