Archive for August, 2013
Posted by|30 August 2013
Many of us are familiar with the common and much beloved aromas of lavender and peppermint essential oils, but the world of botanical scents has so much more diversity and depth to offer. Here are a few of my favorite essential oils that are not so widely used. They have amazingly rich aromas that make fun and surprising additions to blends…
Tagetes Essential Oil
This oil comes to us from a species of marigold known as Southern Cone Marigold or South American Marigold. Distilled from the golden flowering tops, this oil has a rich, bitter-sweet green aroma with a resinous undertone. It will blend well with your favorite citrus and floral oils, such as bergamot, lemon, or lavender. You don’t need to add much of this tenacious oil to enjoy the full rounding notes that is adds. Learn more here…
Hyssop Essential Oil
Fresh or dried hyssop is a well known strewing and purifying herb. The essential oil has many medicinal properties including astringent, antiseptic, and expectorant uses, along with a wonderfully complex aroma. The sweet herbaceous top note is followed by a slightly camphoraceous middle note that mellows out to a warm undertone. It adds an interesting note when blended with other spice oils such as ginger or clove, and compliments blends that contain a lot of floral notes. Learn more here…
Cistus Essential Oil
Cistus is mostly used in fragrance and perfume blends, and allows fun exploration of a unique aroma. There are two products found on the market from Cistus ladaniferus: Cistus oil, which is distilled from the leaf and twigs, and an absolute which is extracted from the crude resin that the plant produces called Labdanum. The distilled oil has a rich, sweet-dry herbaceous aroma, and is often used as a fixative or base note in a blend. Learn more here…
Want to learn more about how to choose scents for blending?
Check out these previous posts:
Posted by|29 August 2013
What beautiful medicine!
With hot peppers peaking in the garden, now is the perfect time to start preparing some Fire Cider for the cooler months ahead. Here’s a picture of my batch for the year infusing away. With a tasty combination of powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, and spicy circulation movers, this delicious Fire Cider can be taken straight by the spoonful or added to dishes and sauces. Let your imagination lead the way…
You can find the recipe here!
Posted by|27 August 2013
Since 1987, Mountain Rose Herbs has been known for our commitment to pesticide-free, non-genetically modified, organic plants. As we have grown over the years, we continue to seek out the highest quality organic or wild harvested products for our customers. We are proud to stand behind our principles of transparency, honesty, and organic agriculture. We recognize that we are stewards of the land and it is our responsibility to protect the health of our soils which sustain plant and animal communities.
It is the right of every person to know what they are putting into their bodies. That is why Mountain Rose Herbs supports Washington state’s GMO labeling ballot initiative I-522.
In just two months, Washington voters will decide the fate of GMO labeling which will have an impact on labeling in all 50 states. Polling shows that the majority of voters want common sense labeling passed. 64 countries around the world already require labeling of GM foods.
It’s time for us to get onboard.
Please consider getting involved and stand up to mega-corporations and special interest groups!
Posted by|26 August 2013
Warm weather calls for swinging in the hammock and sipping ice tea, but when it gets really hot, slurping on a popsicle is an even better treat. While I love me some popsicles, I know too much to feel good about the typical sugary, colored offerings available at the grocery store. It occurred to me that I could combine my love of great, organic herbal tea with my love of frosty frozen desserts and come up with healthy, refreshing, and fun recipes for folks of all ages. I am thrilled to share a few of my best recipes!
There are a few things to know as you make popsicles from tea, whether using my recipes or as you get inspired and create your own:
• You need to make the tea about three times as strong as what you would normally drink. Use more tea and let it steep a bit longer. You can then add in other flavors and sweetness to balance it, but for flavor, you will want a good, strong brew.
• When adding fruit and herbs: if you want bits of fruit or chopped herbs to be distributed throughout the popsicles, partially freeze your tea mix until it is slushy, then mix in the bits and pour into molds. I don’t mind having layers of fruit or herbs so I put them into the mold and pour the tea mix over.
• You can substitute a light sugar syrup for the honey if you choose: 1 part sugar to 3 parts water
• Any of these recipes can be consumed as a hot or cold tea beverage too! I actually made up extra of the Ruby Freedom Pops and added some sparkling water and served it over ice for a yummy iced tea.
Cherry Vanilla Tea Pops
These popsicles are positively decadent—a little sweet, a little tart, and with vanilla undertones. Plus, there are the frosty bits of cherry to chew…
Pour 2 cups boiling water over:
½ cup organic Honeybush Tea
2 Tablespoons dried organic Rosehips
Let steep for 10 minutes and then add:
½ organic Vanilla bean (slice open the pod and scrape seeds into the tea using the flat edge of a knife)
3 Tablespoons local, organic honey*
For each popsicle mold, chop one ripe Bing cherry (you could use other cherries or try other fruits too!) and drop into mold. Pour tea mixture into mold and freeze.
Frosty Mint Lemon Pops
These pops really do taste like frozen minty iced tea. For the lemon flavor, I first explored lemon juice, but found the lemon extract gives it a more consistent lemon-y zip. I like them without the honey, but if you expect a popsicle to be sweet, the honey helps make that happen…
Pour 2 cups boiling water over:
½ cup organic Mint Tea
Let steep for 5-10 minutes and then add:
2 teaspoons organic Lemon Extract
3 Tablespoons local, organic honey*
For each popsicle mold, chop ½ – 1 teaspoon fresh mint leaves of choice and drop into the mold. Pour tea mixture into mold and freeze.
Fruity Floral Pops
I thought of these as like a little tea party in a frozen pop! The lavender is subtle, but goes well with the Jasmine Green Tea. These do taste better with the sweetness of the juice and honey…
Pour 2 cups boiling water over:
2 Tablespoons dried organic Lavender
Let steep for 5-10 minutes and then add:
3 Tablespoons local, organic honey*
¼ – ½ cup fruit juice (I used organic mango lemonade, but you could try any sweetened or unsweetened juice you choose)
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.
Ruby Freedom Pops
You will taste the licorice and the sweet-tart of hibiscus in these deeply-flavored popsicles. There’s also quite a bit of nutritive quality to this tea and it would be a good soother for a day when you really need a medicinal treat. These are also the most gorgeous deep ruby color!
Pour 2 cups boiling water over:
½ cup Women’s Freedom Tea
2 Tablespoons organic Hibiscus flowers
Let steep for 10-15 minutes and then mix in:
¼-1/2 cup organic lemonade (you can use prepared or make your own or experiment with other juices)
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.
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|23 August 2013
After a long day of playing outside, digging in the dirt, and delighting in the mud, the last thing my daughter wants to do is take a bath. I’ve got my list of persuasion techniques, which start with picking fresh lavender or lemon balm from the yard to play with in the bath.
When this doesn’t work…
I ask if she wants to add a Bath Blossom pouch? She gives me an interested look, but really wants to continue playing outside. These Bath Blossoms from Earth Mama Angel Baby are a wonderful addition to any bath. They are soothing for fussy babies (or adults!), and nourish dry skin that has been outside for too long. Contains: organic oatmeal, organic chamomile flowers, organic lavender flowers, organic calendula flowers,organic lemon balm, and organic rose petals.
If this still doesn’t work…
It may take a little while, but eventually she does take a bath, and always has a blast!
Visit our website to see our full line of Baby and Children’s care products.
Posted by|22 August 2013
This week’s photo comes to us from Oregon Wild!
Breathtaking, isn’t it?
Join Shawn from Mountain Rose Herbs and other concerned community members for a presentation about the future of public forestlands like this in western Oregon - also known as the O&C lands.
These forests provide 1.8 million Oregonians with clean drinking water, offer habitat for imperiled fish and wildlife, and store incomparable amounts of carbon, yet politicians are looking to ramp up cutting on these “backyard” forests in order to fund county services.
Come learn about what’s at risk, alternative solutions, and what you can do…
When: Monday August 26, 2013, 6PM to 8PM
Where: Eugene Public Library
Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director at Cascadia Wildlands
Chandra LeGue,Western Oregon Field Coordinator at Oregon Wild
Shawn Donnille, Vice President of Mountain Rose Herbs
Ernie Niemi, Senior Economist at ECONorthwest
Camilla Mortensen Eugene Weekly
Posted by|21 August 2013
These are some of my very favorite tried-and-true recipes for the summertime. Essentials for the home medicine chest, these simple remedies come in so handy during the warm summer months.
Herbal Relief Oil
This botanical-infused goodness soothes and helps aching muscles, sprains, bruises, and areas that are inflamed or swollen.
- 2 oz Calendula flower herbal oil
- 1 oz St. John’s Wort herbal oil
- 1 oz Arnica herbal oil
- 10-15 drops organic Lavender essential oil (optional)
Pour all ingredients into a 4 oz glass bottle and roll between palms to distribute the oils evenly. Massage into sore and tender muscles as needed.
If you’d like to make your own herbal infused oils, you can learn how to make them in this blog post: http://mountainroseblog.com/diy-herbal-salves/
Herbal Cooling Mist
Apply this mist on sunburns or whenever in need of a little cooling off. Aloe Vera and Lavender offer immediate relief to sunburns and other skin discomforts, shorten healing times, and are soothing, Peppermint is cooling and refreshing, and Green Tea helps reduce inflammation, redness, and the adverse effects of UV radiation exposure.
- 4 oz distilled water
- 2 oz organic Aloe Vera Gel
- 2 oz organic Lavender or Calendula Hydrosol
- 2 TBSP dried organic Peppermint leaf
- 1 tsp organic Green Tea leaves
- 5-10 drops organic Lavender essential oil
- 1-2 drops organic Peppermint essential oil
Pour boiling water over the Peppermint and Green Tea leaves, and infuse until cool. Strain out the leaves, and mix the strained infusion with Aloe Vera Gel and hydrosol. Pour into a spray bottle, then add the essential oils. Shake to combine all ingredients. Use within 1-2 days or store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Shake before each use as ingredients will naturally separate.
All Purpose Healing Salve
This is a very gentle, soothing salve. Perfect for minor wounds, cuts, rashes, bug bites, chapped lips, bruises, or other skin conditions and irritations.
- 2 parts organic Calendula flowers
- 2 parts organic Lavender flowers
- 2 parts organic Comfrey leaf
- 2 parts organic Plantain leaf
- 1 part organic Comfrey root
- 1 part organic Chickweed
- 1 part organic Yarrow flowers
- Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Beeswax (1 oz per 8 oz infused oil): more may be added during the warm, summer months
- Vitamin E Oil (optional)
- Essential oils of organic Lavender or Tea Tree (optional)
- Tins or jars
Place dried botanicals into a dry glass jar, and cover with Olive oil, leaving at least 1-2” of oil above the herbs to allow the herbs to swell. Place jar in a sunny window and shake once or twice per day. Allow the oil to infuse for at least 4-6 weeks, or until the oil takes on the color and scent of the herb. Once that the oil is ready, strain using cheesecloth. Place the infused oil and Beeswax in a double boiler, and gently warm over low heat until the Beeswax melts. Remove from heat and add Vitamin E Oil (if using). Tea Tree or Lavender essential oil may also be added during this time. Quickly pour into prepared tins or glass jars and allow to cool completely. Store in a cool location where they will last for 1-3 years.
Lavender, Calendula, and Shea Butter Lip Balm
This nourishing lip balm is made from healing ingredients which soothe dry and chapped lips.
- 1 Tablespoon organic Shea Butter
- 3 Tablespoons Calendula herbal oil
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Beeswax
- 10-15 drops organic Lavender essential oil
- A few drops of Vitamin E Oil
Coarsely chop the beeswax or use beeswax pastilles. Place beeswax, butter, and oil in a small pot or glass Pyrex measuring cup and gently heat in the top of a double boiler until the beeswax and butters have melted. Once melted, remove from the stovetop and stir in the essential oil and Vitamin E Oil. Immediately pour the mixture into lip balm tubes or small containers.
Simple to make, liniments have been made for hundreds of years to offer instant relief for pain, inflamed muscles, bruises, and sprains. Depending on which botanicals are included, liniments may benefit a variety of conditions including sore and inflamed muscles, joints, circulation problems, arthritis, rheumatism, sprains, strains, and bruises. Adding a dab to insect bites (especially with the addition on menthol), really helps to reduce the itching and inflammation.
- organic Witch Hazel Extract, Vodka, Rubbing Alcohol, or Vinegar
- Fresh or dried herbs. Combine any of the following: Arnica, Calendula flowers, Cayenne, Chamomile flowers, Comfrey, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lavender flowers, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, St. John’s Wort, Thyme, or Yarrow.
- Optional additions: organic Menthol crystals and/or essential oil(s) of choice.
Chop herbs finely and place in a clean glass jar. Cover thoroughly with menstruum of choice, and cap with a tight-fitting lid. Place the jar in a warm area and shake daily or as often as possible. After 4-6 weeks, strain the herbs out using cheesecloth. If desired, add Menthol crystals (they will dissolve overnight) and/or essential oil(s). Pour the liniment into dark glass bottles. Make sure to label the liniment for “External Use Only”.
These are just a smidgeon of all of the wonderful summer recipes on our blog! Here are links to some of our other favorite recipes from our blog:
Posted by|19 August 2013
With a Latin name as fun as Humulus lupulus, why not use hops to make some unique confections? Many years ago, a customer sent us a bag of homemade hop flavored hard candies. Much to our surprise, they were really delicious! The combination of floral, bitter, and sweet sang together in a very pleasant way, and soon many of us were unwrapping and enjoying them throughout the day.
We love hops here in the Pacific Northwest, especially as beer connoisseurs in search of the perfect IPA, but the medicinal properties make this herb valuable to herbalists as well. A classic calming herb used to encourage relaxation and sleep with a hypnotic quality, its effect can be felt after sipping tea, drinking a pint of beer, or taking some tincture. The bitterness is also helpful for stimulating digestion and appetite.
These two recipes were inspired by a visit to our beautiful organic hop farm (you can read about that here), but feel free to replace the hops with any other herb. Rose, chamomile, ginger, elderberry, hibiscus, lavender, chai, herbal teas, and maybe even damiana would all be interesting choices!
Hop Rock Candy
This is a great opportunity to infuse a little science project with herbs! It’s fascinating to watch the sugar crystals grow each day. You can eat the candy right off the skewers or use them as sweetener swizzle sticks in your hot tea.
1 cup organic dried hops (or any other herb of your choice)
2 cups water
3 cups organic white sugar
4 tall half pint glass jars
1. Bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of dried hops just to a boil and stir. Remove from heat and strain into a container.
2. Measure out 1.5 cups of the hop tea and pour back into the pot with 3 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Stir until the sugar is totally dissolved and clear. You want the sugar solution to boil, but not cook too long.
3. Dip your skewers into the sugar solution and then roll them in white sugar just to seed the crystals. Allow them to dry completely.
4. Cool the sugar solution to about 60 degrees. Next, fill your jars almost to the top with sugar solution and insert your skewers.
5. Pierce a piece of parchment paper and slide it down the top of the skewer until it rests on the lip of the jar to keep debris out. Clip a clothespin onto the skewer horizontally above the parchment paper to rest on the jar and suspend the skewer in the middle. Be sure to leave several inches of space between the skewer and the bottom of the jar, as well as the sides of the jar, for the crystals to form.
6. Allow to sit undisturbed at room temperature for 3-7 days as the crystals grow. Remove the skewers and enjoy!
Hop Limeade Shave Ice
This is a wonderfully refreshing alternative to beer on a hot summer day. I know lime and hops might sound like a strange mix, but it’s delicious! Just think about how satisfying a little squeeze of lime in an ice cold beer can be. Plus, you can easily booze up this recipe with a shot of tequila or rum.
2 cups organic sugar
1/2 cup organic hop tea
1/3 cup fresh squeezed organic lime juice
zest of 3 organic limes
Prepare an infusion of hops to make 1/2 cup of tea. Combine the sugar, hop tea, lime juice, and lime zest in a small saucepan. Heat over medium and gently simmer, stirring well until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Pour into a clean glass jar and refrigerate. Stir the syrup well and then drizzle over a bowl of shaved ice to enjoy.
Posted by|16 August 2013
Summer is in full swing and all of our summer favorites are still on sale! Our current site is under maintenance and may not reflect these amazing prices at the moment, but we will honor them when we process your order.
All of our summer favorites are 30% off!
Summer is an exciting season filled with backpacking trips through the forest, visits to local farmer’s markets, picnics at our favorite park, dips in the river, harvesting fresh berries and vegetables from the garden, dancing at outdoor concerts, and many other warm-weather adventures inspired by these long days. We look forward to this bounty of fun all year, so why not celebrate? In honor of the season, we’ve picked our favorite summertime products for this special sale!
Aloe Vera Gel 16 oz.
The classic treatment for sunburns! Aloe Vera Gel is such a helpful and indispensable household ally for treating burns, bites, and other skin maladies. We like to keep a bottle in the refrigerator to increase the cooling effect during the warm summer months. Pulverized from the inner fillet of certified organically grown Aloe Vera plants.
Regular price: $5.50
Sale price: $3.85
Aches & Pains Massage Oil 4 oz. flip cap bottle
The name says it all! A deeply penetrating and soothing herbal oil for all the aches and pains we endure. This is a great massage oil for relief from fatigue and stiffness. Ideal for sore muscles that result from hiking, gardening, long bike rides, yard work, and other physical activities. Contains: organic Calendula flowers infused with organic Olive oil, organic Jojoba oil, organic Sweet Almond oil, Vitamin E oil, and a blend of pure essential oils.
Regular price: $9.95
Sale price: $6.96
Injur Heal Balm 2 oz. tin
A loving companion for athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, and those who take part in strenuous activities. Wonderful to use on bruises, sore muscles, and general aches and pains. This balm is based on our popular and effective Injur Heal Oil. Use immediately after arduous exercise, exertion or injury to prevent, relieve and reduce swelling, bruises and pain. Contains: organic Arnica Flowers, St. John’s Wort flowers, organic Calendula flowers, organic Olive oil, Beeswax, organic Lavender essential oil, and Vitamin E oil.
Regular price: $8.00
Sale price: $5.60
Herbal Liniment 2 oz. spray bottle
Enjoy herbal healing with this highly effective herbal liniment which offers immediate soothing to bruises, sprains and muscle aches. Formulated with organic herbs and menthol crystals to help alleviate pain and promote circulation, this healing spray is essential for athletes, hikers, outdoor enthusiasts and gardeners alike. Just spray directly onto skin and massage into sore muscles for instant relief. Contains: Isopropyl alcohol, organic Echinacea Purpurea root, organic Calendula flowers, organic Comfrey root, organic Menthol Crystals and organic Cayenne.
Regular price: $9.50
Sale Price: $6.65
Tulsi (Holy Basil) Hydrosol 8 oz. spray bottle
Wonderfully soothing and uplifting! Used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine, Tulsi is considered a sacred plant and is found growing in many Hindu homes. Warm, and slightly spicy, this hydrosol is wonderful to spray on the face or body in times of stress. Keep a bottle chilled in the refrigerator, and mist to help cool down or whenever in need a little energizing pick-me-up.
Regular price: $17.50
Sale Price: $12.25
Pickling Spice 8 oz.
This sweet and savory blend is a must have for homemade picklers! Over 10 cut spices and whole berries and seeds are combined to perfectly compliment any refrigerator or canned pickled fruit or vegetable recipe. Contains: organic Cinnamon, organic Yellow and Brown Mustard seed, organic Black Pepper, organic Dill seed, organic Celery seed, organic Chili flakes, and organic spices.
Regular price: $5.75
Sale price: $4.02
Lemon Tea 8 oz.
A powerfully refreshing cup of tea blended with the finest lemony herbs. This infusion has just the right amount of citrusy tang, and is great for children. Try it iced as a soothing summer tea; it’s one of our absolute favorites! Contains: organic Lemon Verbena, organic Green Rooibos Tea, organic Lemon Balm, organic Lemon Peel, organic Lemongrass, and organic flavor of Lemon.
Regular price: $11.50
Sale price: $8.05
River’s Rhapsody Chocolate Elixir 4 oz.
This delicious chocolate elixir is sure to bring a smile to your face! Created with pure botanicals to promote relaxation and euphoria, and ease you through those stressful moments that we all have. Try drizzing over vanilla ice cream for a special summertime treat! Contains: unfiltered Pacific Northwest Honey, organic fair trade Cacao powder, organic Kava Kava root, organic Maqui berry, organic grain alcohol, and water.
Regular price: $14.50
Sale price: $10.15
Support Organic Agriculture Messenger Bag
These large organic cotton bags are perfect for trips to the local farmers market or filled with fresh veggies from your garden, and are spacious enough to hold water bottles, sunscreen, guide books, snacks, insect repellent, and other necessities for day hikes. Show your support for organic agriculture wherever you go! The 40” strap makes it easy to sling over your shoulder, and each bag measures 18″ wide x 12″ high and has a Velcro closure under the flap. Made from certified organic cotton grown and produced in the United States.
Regular price: $13.00
Sale Price: $9.10
Sale prices are valid now through August 31st
Enjoy the summer!
Posted by|15 August 2013
Here we are…all gathered together at sunset taking in words of inspiration from herbalist Rosemary Gladstar during the Free Herbalism Project. The kick-off to our new series of free herbal events exceeded all of our hopes and expectations with roughly 500 attendees! Many thanks to everyone who attended and to those who wished to be there with us. It was a magical night we will cherish.
We’re really looking forward to the next free gathering on October 20th, featuring Howie Brounstein and Steven Yeager from the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. They will be offering a botany basics workshop, as well as a lecture on medicinal plants of the Pacific Northwest. Sure to be an amazing event! Stay tuned here for more details.
Want more photos from the Free Herbalism Project? Check out our photo album on Facebook!
Posted by|14 August 2013
Herbalism is a healing art with nuances as diverse as the unique relationships we form with the plants around us. Whether we learn from family, a teacher in our community, a collection of books, or simply work with the herbs near us, understanding the language of herbalism can help us better communicate our experiences with medicinal actions.
Using these common categories allows us to recognize patterns that can inform our learning process when using a new herb, making decisions about formulations, or when we’re in need of a substitute for one of our go-to preparations. Many times, a plant will exhibit several actions, like a bitter calming herb for example, making just a cup of that single herb as a tea or a squirt of tincture the perfect remedy on its own.
Here’s a helpful list of basic herbal action categories with examples of uses and herbs. You might find that some of these definitions are a bit different from one herbalist to the next, but this simplified guide is a great place to start the journey.
Herbs that are drying, drawing, and constricting to help create a barrier for healing. Look for that “puckered” feeling. Topical astringents can be used to ease inflamed bug bites and burns, help pull out splinters or infection from a wound, dry out oozing rashes and sores, tighten tissue and gums, tone the skin, and stop bleeding. Internally, astringents work to help tone mucus membranes and dry up conditions of excess, like diarrhea, too much urine, or profuse sweating.
A few astringent herbs:
Herbs often with volatile essential oils that present strong aromas. Most often used to stimulate the digestive system, reproductive system, and disinfect the respiratory tract, or help expectorate the lungs. Some aromatics are also excreted through the urinary tract or the skin.
A few aromatic herbs:
Herbs that help stimulate sexual arousal through varied actions including increased circulation, relaxation, stimulation, or tonics that strengthen glandular health.
A few aphrodisiac herbs:
Herbs that support your body’s own natural defenses in the presence of illness and help restore proper function. Sometimes referred to as “blood cleansers” by herbalists, this action can occur through the lymph, glands, or mucus membranes.
A few alterative herbs:
A diverse 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.
A few adaptogenic herbs:
Herbs that help stimulate appetite and digestion by getting gastric juices flowing and your peristalsis moving. Just a drop of this often shunned flavor on the tongue is effective in activating the production of beneficial digestive secretions including saliva, gastric acid, and bile. Helpful for constipation, gas related cramping, sluggish digestive movement, and to support a healthy appetite after an illness or while traveling, for example.
A few bitter herbs:
Nervines are herbs that specifically support the nervous system, so not all calming herbs are nervines. Calming herbs have a range of actions including tonic nervines, mildly calming, anti-spasmodic, and strongly sedative. They are used to relieve nagging muscle tension and spasms, anxiety, some kinds of pain, circular thoughts, and insomnia.
A few calming herbs:
These herbs are often aromatic and help expel gas from the digestive system. This action can help ease bloating and gas related cramping.
A few carminative herbs:
Herbs that are mucilaginous and produce slime that coats, soothes, and protects mucus membranes, as well as ease dry conditions. This slime action triggers a reflex that helps promote natural moistening secretions within the body systems such as respiratory, digestive, renal, and reproductive. Best extracted as an infusion in water rather than in alcohol tincture form. Helpful for dry coughs, sore throats, ulcers, heartburn, constipation, etc.
A few demulcent herbs:
These herbs help raise your body temperature to make you sweat and stimulate circulation. This action can also cool the body through increased perspiration. Using diaphoretics may be helpful for breaking dry fevers, erupting skin infections, promoting blood flow to cold extremities, and detoxification.
A few diaphoretic herbs:
Herbs that make you urinate. They help promote the elimination of fluid by increasing the amount of urine expelled by the kidneys. This can be helpful for water retention and urinary tract flushing.
A few diuretic herbs:
Similar to demulcents, these herbs are also mucilaginous, but used as topical applications to help soothe, condition, and protect the skin.
A few emollient herbs:
Herbs that encourage productive coughing by breaking up mucus in the lungs and expelling it more effectively.
A few expectorant herbs:
These herbs are nutritive and can be taken regularly to help strengthen a system without harmful side-effects.
A few tonic herbs:
Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar
The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green
Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth by Sharol Tilgner ND
Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech
Posted by|12 August 2013
It was a beautiful Northwest day on the Goldenseal farm, overcast and threatening rain. While most of the country is well into summer, it was still a couple weeks off when I visited one of our local Goldenseal farms.
Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis, is probably one of the most popular medicinal plants in North America. Its anti-microbial and bitter attributes lend themselves well to alterative and topical applications. This slow growing woodland perennial is native to Appalachia and the Midwest where, because of its popularity and sensitive growing conditions, its abundance has been threatened.
We work with conscientious and sensitive shadecloth and woodland-managed, wild-simulated growers across the country to make sure we have an ecologically responsible, high-quality source of this important plant.
As an herbalist and forager, something I always enjoy when visiting farms is the weeds! You can tell a lot about the soil and growing conditions based on what plants volunteer to grow there. On this particular trip it was wonderful to see the healthy Goldenseal and Ginseng growing from the forest of Horsetail and Plantain. The roots grow in different layers of the soil and it’s a wonderful incidental bonus for what we’re intentionally growing.
This farm has been very successful in growing the much more difficult American Ginseng among the Goldenseal. The same anti-microbial actions that we want from the Goldenseal help to protect the Ginseng which is very susceptible to fungal diseases.
Our farmer invests a great deal of care and attention into supporting the workers’ wellbeing, most of whom have been employed there for over a decade. There’s at least an acre of the farm set aside for them to grow their own vegetables and fruit and raise chickens, turkeys, and goats.
It’s important that we work to manage and plant for the growth of at-risk medicinal plants. Buying from farms and woodlands that we trust, as well as supporting the protection and management of native ecosystems, are vital aspects to responsibly using these powerful plants.
This post comes to us from Brian, our Domestic Farms Representative! He was born and raised in the Southern Appalachian foothills of Alabama and has worked with plants in many ways for over a decade in the Deep South, all along the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Northwest. He studied at the University of Alabama in Environmental Studies and Geography as well as advanced botany and herbalism with Columbines School of Botanical Studies. Brian loves working with our farmers and wildcrafters across the country to provide the highest quality and most ethically harvested and gathered medicinal plants around.