Archive for September, 2013
Posted by|30 September 2013
Variations of this recipe have been treasured since Medieval times when it is said that a band of thieves raided the homes of plague victims, protected only by an herbal-infused vinegar formula the robbers had concocted. The herbs they used in this tale vary from story to story, but many well-known immunity boosters and anti-microbial herbs can be combined to create this potent medicinal preparation.
We’ve received quite a few questions from folks about using our Four Thieves Oil recipe internally (which we don’t recommend, since essential oils are highly concentrated), and thought it would be helpful to post an effective vinegar-based recipe that can be consumed. This Four Thieves vinegar formula can be taken by the spoonful, added to water, used in place of regular vinegar in many recipes, or as a surface cleaning agent.
Turning this classic remedy into a delicious salad dressing helps the medicine go down easy and has become one of my favorite ways to use it! I go a bit lighter on the herbs when making a dressing, but you can increase the amount of each herb to 1 tablespoon for an extra medicinal kick. If you are using fresh herbs, chop them up and fill the jar 1/2 full. Then fill the rest of the jar with vinegar, infuse for a month, and strain.
Four Thieves Vinegar & Vinaigrette Recipe
1 tbsp organic sage leaf
1 tsp organic lavender flowers
1 tsp organic rosemary leaf
½ tsp organic thyme leaf
½ tsp organic peppercorns
16oz raw organic apple cider vinegar
Place the herbs in a pint jar and fill to the top with gently warmed apple cider vinegar. You don’t want to boil the vinegar, just heat it on low for a few minutes until it reaches the temperature of warm bath water. This will help get the extraction process going. Close with a plastic lid or place a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal. Allow to extract for four weeks. Next, strain the vinegar into a clean glass jar.
For the vinaigrette
2 cloves of organic garlic, crushed
To make the vinaigrette, mix together 1 part vinegar, 3 parts olive oil, and 1/2 part prepared mustard. Add crushed garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Whirl the mixture together in a blender until combined or shake vigorously in a capped glass jar.
Posted by|27 September 2013
I will be the first to admit that I love Lavender essential oil. I will mix pretty much anything with it for a diffusing blend. With it’s sweet floral aroma, lavender is mostly associated with the spring and early summer. Here are a few essential oils that I like to combine during autumn months when the weather is changing and I want to feel a little more cozy, but am not quite ready to turn on the heat.
The scent pairings…
Rosemary Essential Oil (Rosmarinus officinalis): with it’s fresh, camphoraceous aroma, and slightly balsamic undertones, rosemary compliments lavender in a subtle way. I would consider rosemary to have a medicinal aroma, where the lavender is sweet and floral. They seem like an odd couple, but combine to make a blend with a sharp top note followed by smooth floral finish. Awakening and calming all in one.
Orange Essential Oil (Citrus sinensis): who doesn’t want pure sweet sunshine when the days are getting shorter and chilly? Lavender and orange (or your favorite citrus oil) combine into sweet floral bliss. These recognizable aromas create an uplifting blend for the office or personal space.
Douglas Fir Essential Oil (Pseudotsuga menziesii) or Grand Fir Essential Oil (Abies grandis): combining either of these essential oils with lavender creates a surprising aroma that is difficult to identify if you don’t know the contents. This is also one of the reasons why I love it! The slightly balsamic and evergreen aromas of the fir oils combine with the lavender to create a beautiful citrusy, green floral scent.
To play with any of these oil combinations…
…all you need is a diffuser (see our full line here), a couple drops of organic lavender essential oil, and a couple drops of your oil of choice. I hope you enjoy these combinations as much as I do. Not only do they smell great, they are a must have for disinfecting the air during this time of year.
Visit our website to see our full line of essential oils where the aroma possibilities are endless.
Posted by|26 September 2013
We have returned from the flower-filled Ponderosa Pine forests of northern Arizona, where hundreds of plant-lovers gathered for the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous! Here’s an action shot of our lab manager and herbalist Steven Yeager examining a beautiful chicory flower (or a head of ligulate flowers for the botany nerds out there) during 7Song’s plant walk.
We have more photos from the conference over on Facebook!
Posted by|25 September 2013
In my old understanding of myself, I am a perky, pleasant and mellow sort who took a long time to anger or irritate. My current reality, however, is one of a bit more emotional buoyancy. I have surprised myself with a newly-shortened temper, a wide range of energy levels (from bursts of incredible creativity to unexplained exhaustion), and perplexing tears in the midst of a sunny, cheery day. I joked with one of my friends that it is a bit like being a teenager, only now I have the experience, vocabulary, and bank account to really shake things up!
My philosophy about some of this menopausal upheaval is to not just survive, but to also embrace the lessons and opportunities as I move toward what I trust will be an even more mature version of myself. I’ve decided that self-care is in order: embracing the emotional depths and exploring the creative surges. My strategies include soothing teas, yummy treats, calming herbs, and some exciting new projects:
Oatstraw, Lemon Balm, & Sage Tea with Honey
1 teaspoon organic Oatstraw
1 teaspoon dried organic Lemon Balm or about 4-5 leaves of fresh
1 teaspoon dried organic Sage
Put these herbs into an infuser and pour boiling/hot water over. Let steep for 3-4 minutes (or more) and stir in a teaspoon or so of raw, local honey. Sip. Breathe.
Gooey, Sort-of Healthy, Feel-Good Cookies
These can easily be made as vegan cookies and you could adjust the flour to even make them gluten free! This is the recipe as I like it.
½ cup organic butter
½ cup organic brown sugar
1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. You’ll need a 13 X 9.5 X 2” baking pan. (I prefer glass for this recipe but you can use what you have!) Mix these three ingredients and then press to cover the bottom of the pan. This can take a little time to get it even (good for working out some stress.) Bake this for about 10 minutes and then remove from oven.
Sweet Coconut Topping
2 organic, free range eggs—well beaten (or an egg substitute)
1 cup organic brown sugar
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons organic, whole wheat pastry flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup organic shredded coconut
1 cup nuts of choice, chopped or sliced (optional)
Mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla, stir in flour baking powder and salt and then add coconut and nuts. Spread this over the “crust” and return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, cool a bit, and cut. These are especially good warm, but they age well too. They are chewy, gooey and great with a glass of tea!
To calm down fast, I rub a little lavender essential oil onto my temples and/or take a few drops of Skullcap Tincture. I find the Skullcap to be useful if I feel a tension headache coming on (something new in my world) or am experiencing that pounding, flushing, anger-rising feeling, where I’m afraid I might say something that will make things worse!
I have heard that the menopausal years can be a time of great change for many women—relationship shifts, children leaving home, going back to school, or changing careers. I definitely feel the pull toward reinvention and exploration. After all, half my life has passed, my kids have all struck out on their own and now is the time for me to do the things I’ve always craved. For me, my new foray into keeping bees seems to be one of the ways to feed my transitional soul. I feel calm and centered when I’m working with the bees. I love the buzzing vibrations stirring when the sun warms the hive and I feel nothing short of wonderment at the feminine focus and the purposeful way the bees move through the tasks and jobs of their short lives with a strong desire to serve the whole. All the work that goes into one drop of honey dazzles me and gives meaningful metaphor to a person’s lifetime of work!
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 September 2013
This fun tool will help you find herbal synergy when creating your own tea blends. Start with the herbal action you need (immune support, calming, digestive stimulant, etc.) and use your preferred herb as the “active ingredient” base. Then add a “supportive ingredient” that is soothing to that particular body system. The final ingredient is the “catalyst” which adds a pop of flavor or offers stronger potency to the active ingredient by providing a complimentary action.
These proportions are conceptual and not hard set, so you have freedom to experiment. Start with 3 parts active ingredient, 1 to 2 parts supportive, and 1/4 to 1 part catalyst, and then make adjustments as needed. You will find that herbs often switch roles from one blend to the next.
Keep this helpful guide in mind when you begin blending gifts for the holidays!
Posted by|20 September 2013
As harvest season is coming to an end, we are receiving freshly distilled hydrosols! Which means that all of your favorites are back in stock or will be soon.
Hydrosols may also be referred to as hydroflorates, flower waters, or distillates. They are produced by steam distilling plant material, which is the same production method used for most essential oils. They have similar therapeutic properties as their accompanying essential oil, but are much less concentrated. These pure hydrosols are not by-products of essential oil production, but come from devoted distillers who steam small batches of plant material strictly to produce these wonderful products.
Hydrosols have mild aromas when directly compared to their matching essential oil, this is because they only contain the water soluble constituents from the botanical material. They still have very beautiful aromas and are a versatile botanical product to have on hand for many preparations. They can be used alone as a facial toner or body spray, combined into an air freshener, or as a luxurious ingredient to substitute water in homemade bodycare formulations.
Posted by|17 September 2013
Our very special catalog for Autumn/Winter 2013 is on the way!
This time around, we’ve packed it full of our favorite recipes and stories to celebrate our 25 years in the herbal community. You’ll also find fun how-tos, exciting new products, gorgeous color photos, and plenty more herbal goodies. We truly hope you’ll enjoy strolling down our little memory lane as much as we did!
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 a while or share it with a friend.
Want a FREE copy all for yourself?
Posted by|16 September 2013
You may have seen the recent news report which outlined the alarming decline of wild Ginseng populations in the United States due to poaching. In response, the United Plant Savers have begun a petition to encourage the government to coordinate and better manage our most important and threatened woodland plants. Working to protect our woodland medicinals saves forests, supports rural livelihoods, and aides in our health and wellbeing.
We want to encourage the herbal and plant community to join us in supporting United Plant Savers and others by signing this petition.
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is one of the most beautiful plants in our Eastern forests. It shines green under old hardwoods in deep cold Appalachian hollows. It’s a sort of plant that you see glow from the corner of your eyes, but when you look at it straight on it disappears. In pre-colonial old-growth, this plant was a regular ground cover under our lost American Chestnuts and ancient forests.
Ginseng is one of our most respected medicinal plants. Considered an adaptogen, it’s thought to work in a gentle but steady way to recalibrate our bodies to adjust to the stress of everyday life. Many clinical herbalist feel that Ginseng is overused or misused in part because of its popularity as an “energy boosting” herb. In Chinese medicine, North American Ginseng is considered a more cool or tonic form rather than the Chinese Red Ginseng (Panax ginseng). For these reasons and many others, Ginseng is one of the most sought after plants in North America.
Despite being the most federally and state regulated legal plant in the US, there is still a major monetary incentive for poaching. Mountain Rose Herbs has worked with United Plant Savers and other conservation organizations since our inception to protect our wild places and plants. We work with farmers and landowners to reasonably manage and cultivate our native woodland plants and other non-timber forest products. While there is a strong ethical Ginseng wildcrafting culture in the Eastern US, there is an increasing cadre of people destroying wild and woodland cultivated stands of this iconic American plant for short-term profit.
In addition to overharvesting, deer browse from populations that are displaced and have grown too large, mountaintop removal, climate change, the expansion of cities and housing developments, and other landscape-wide changes are a large part of this issue. We encourage people to support organizations like Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild, Appalachian Voices, Beyond Toxics, and other sustainable ecology organizations to help protect our wild lands from these large ecosystem pressures. As “plant people” we also need to work directly to affect where and how Ginseng is managed and harvested.
Together we can help protect and preserve our nation’s rich botanical resources. For our reasonable use, for our children, and for our forests. Please take a moment to sign the petition here:
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.
Posted by|13 September 2013
Our collection of Aroma Oils offers a great way to enjoy natural botanical scents, without the harsh, synthetic chemicals found in many commercial products. Exquisite and alluring, our aroma oils make wonderful body perfumes that last for hours. These beautiful synergistic healing blends are crafted to evoke feelings of passion or relaxation. Each of our aroma oils are created in small batches, right here at Mountain Rose Herbs, and contain a perfect combination of jojoba and grapeseed oils with pure essential oils…
~ Here are 4 of our classic aroma blends! ~
Aphrodite Aroma Oil: This sensuous blend has the perfect mix of spice and floral notes. Contains organic Palmarosa, organic Australian Sandalwood, Rose and organic Patchouli essential oils in a base of organic Jojoba and Grapeseed oils.
Heart Aroma Oil: A warming and balancing blend crafted to inspire joy. Contains organic Lavender, organic Ylang Ylang, organic Roman Chamomile and organic Sweet Marjoram essential oils in a base of organic Jojoba and Grapeseed oils.
Sleep Ease Oil: This soothing and relaxing aromatherapy blend has a mellow, mildly warm, and slightly sweet fragrance with pleasant bittersweet undertones. Contains organic Sweet Marjoram, Hops, Valerian, Moroccan Chamomile, organic Roman Chamomile and organic Lavender essential oils in a base of organic Jojoba and Grapeseed oils.
Spirit Aroma Oil: This grounding oil is based on a very old recipe that promised “visions of fairies”…oooh! Contains organic Australian Sandalwood, organic Lavender, organic Cedarwood, organic Cypress, organic Fir Needle, organic Sweet Marjoram and organic Sage essential oils in a base of organic Jojoba and Grapeseed oils.
See our website here for our complete line of these amazing blends!
Posted by|12 September 2013
What a sweet photo of herbalist Paul Bergner and Brian, our Domestic Farms Representative, at the Breitenbush Herbal Conference last weekend! This gathering has deep roots in the herbal community and we are so happy to be a part of it every year.
You can find more photos from this weekend on our Facebook page!
Posted by|11 September 2013
This body scrub is so easy to make and smells amazing. It leaves your skin feeling refreshed but not too minty as the soft vanilla bean aroma lightly perfumes your skin. Honey is a luxurious ingredient that helps moisturize, nourish, and protect the skin with its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and humectant properties. In fact, I love to use honey alone as a face mask several times a month. If you’re collecting recipes for this year’s herbal handmade holiday gifts, this one will be perfect for the vanilla lovers out there!
1 cup fine sea salt or fine organic sugar
1/4 cup raw organic honey
1 organic vanilla bean, split and scraped
10 drops organic peppermint essential oil
1 tsp organic vanilla extract (optional)
Posted by|10 September 2013
Our day began in the Mountain Rose parking lot here in beautiful Eugene, Oregon. If there is such a thing as perfect trash picking weather, this was it! Warm breeze, just a few raindrops to cool us off, cloud cover to shield us from the brutal sun and heat. Perfecto! Our team loaded tools, gloves, and trash bags into the Mountain Rose vehicle. Pickers and stickers in hand, we struck out to clean up a local trail.
We recently adopted a section of the bike path that runs parallel to the Amazon Creek canal which empties into the Long Tom River. Many of us use the bike path to get to and from work and we feel it’s our responsibility to help maintain the path and keep trash out of the creek.
As the Director of Sustainability, it’s up to me to organize these volunteer days. It’s probably the most fun and rewarding part of what I do here. The Mountain Rose River Project is a grassroots, employee-led program which completes 6-8 restoration projects each year as part of our Paid Time for Community Involvement Program. Funded entirely by Mountain Rose, we partner with numerous non-profits and governmental agencies. The teams of spunky volunteers tackle projects to restore riparian ecosystems, maintain stream health, and protect wildlife habitat.
So, on that fine drizzly day, we had the opportunity to get out of the office, give back to our community, and have some fun with co-workers. What makes us really proud is that fact that we collected 120 gallons of trash!
Check out our Facebook page for more photos from this fun day!