Posted by|10 September 2014
This guest post comes to us from attorney Peter M. K. Frost who leads the Western Environmental Law Center’s efforts to protect and restore wild salmon and steelhead! Frost was raised in Oregon, graduated from Stanford University, and earned his J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law, where he was editor of the Oregon Law Review. For more than two decades, he has represented local angling groups and national nonprofit organizations in court to restore wild salmon and steelhead runs. From 1992 to 1999, Frost was an attorney for and directed the Western Regional Office of the National Wildlife Federation. In 2000, he received the David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award for Environmental Litigation.
“Salmon ran in runs so thick you couldn’t see the bottoms of rivers, so thick people were afraid to put their boats in for fear they would capsize, so thick they would keep people awake at night with the slapping of their tails against the water, so thick you could hear the runs for miles before you could see them.” —Derrick Jensen
The scene described above—of a West Coast river teeming with wild salmon—was once commonplace.
But now, everything has changed.
Our wild salmon and steelhead runs have been and continue to be seriously threatened by the “four H’s”: degraded habitat, hydroelectric dams, harvest of depleted stocks, and hatcheries. Most wild salmon and steelhead runs are at a fraction of historic levels. Many runs are now less than 10 percent of historical numbers, and hatchery fish—not wild fish—dominate these diminished runs.
Of the four H’s, hatcheries have received only recent attention, yet they can harm struggling wild salmon and steelhead runs. Within the last decade, a consensus among fisheries biologists is that hatchery fish can prey on, out-compete, or interbreed with wild fish, further diminishing their numbers.
To address hatcheries, the nonprofit group I work for, the Western Environmental Law Center, is litigating to reform hatchery operations on rivers in California and Oregon. We are focusing on hatchery operations where genetically significant runs of wild salmon and steelhead exist, and there is still a chance to recover them.
We are working to reform hatcheries on the Mad and Trinity rivers in California, and the Sandy and McKenzie rivers in Oregon. We are also researching hatchery operations on other Western rivers that likely should be reformed.
Reforming salmon and steelhead hatcheries in the West will not be easy and we have hard work ahead of us, as legal battles may continue for years. That’s why we are honored to partner with Mountain Rose Herbs—a company truly dedicated to protecting the West’s natural heritage. The first Salmon-Safe Certified business in Eugene, Mountain Rose Herbs’ support of our hatchery reform work helps allow us to use the power of the law to work to preserve wild salmon and steelhead. As a nonprofit group, we rely on contributions from individuals, charitable foundations, and business partners such as Mountain Rose Herbs to fulfill our mission of protecting the West’s wildlife and wild lands.
With the support of Mountain Rose Herbs, we will continue to work to protect wild salmon and steelhead so that one day we may again witness healthy runs of wild fish rushing through our Western rivers.
Founded in 1993, the Western Environmental Law Center is a nonprofit, public-interest environmental law firm that uses the power of the law to safeguard the wildlife, wildlands, and communities of the American West.
Posted by|05 August 2014
Our summer post from Kiva Rose Hardin is here! Her beautifully written articles marry the personal with the scientific, lore with experience, offering untamed and fresh insight. Herbalist, wildcrafter, artist, and storyteller, Kiva Rose lives in a canyon botanical sanctuary within the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. She is also the co-director of the HerbFolk Gathering, held each September in the mountain Southwest, coeditor of Plant Healer Magazine, and publisher of the historical novel, The Medicine Bear as well as The Plant Healer’s Path by Jesse Wolf Hardin, and maintains an herbal blog, The Medicine Woman’s Roots.
When someone mentions Peach, it’s usually the sweet, juicy fruit of Georgia that comes to mind, not the medicinal properties of the leaf, bark, and flower. Despite that, Peach has a long and storied history of medicinal use the world over, including through portions of the United States. In North America, Appalachian herbalist Phyllis Light has helped to bring this wonderful remedy back to the broader herbal community through her teaching and writing. I grew up in the deep South and knew a little of its medicine as a young girl since it’s a traditional herb there, but learned a great deal more from Phyllis when I became a practicing herbalist.
Being a member of the Rose family, Peach shares many cooling, soothing properties with the Rose, including its gentle nature and sweetly aromatic taste. It’s safe even for children, the elderly, and pregnant women, and is incredibly good at what it does. Here I’ll be discussing the elixir in some details, but a wonderful tasting tea can be made with the dried leaves as well. If you have more than one Peach tree to choose from, it’s worthwhile to do a scratch and sniff test by gently scratching the bark of a small twig and sniffing. The tree that smells the strongest also tends to have the strongest medicine as far as relaxing and cooling properties
Peach is the perfect herb to explore during the long, hot days of Summer. It helps to soothe the irritability that often comes with extended periods of heat, as well as lessen the nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, and lack of appetite that can go with it. Here in New Mexico where summers can be exceedingly hot and dry, some people develop a dry, hack in response to the climate and I have found that the Peach Elixir works very well to soothe it. It works similarly on respiratory function aggravated by heat, and I always keep it on hand for my daughter who finds both it and our local Chokecherry, Prunus serotina, in easing her breathing issues during the hot months. The local Hispanics of my region think of Peach leaf as an overall summer tonic, and given how many heat induced ills it can alleviate, I’m inclined to agree with them.
Peach has another property worth noting, it can be applied topically as tincture, elixir, or poultice and taken internally when stung by a bee, wasp, or other venomous insect. Take half to one ml (that’s approximately half to one dropperful from a one ounce tincture bottle) of the elixir as soon as you’re stung or bitten and then again if the sting/bite gets worse or in fifteen minutes if there are any symptoms. This is not a replacement for an epi pen, but is great for the average person with a normal response to insect stings and bites. Some even find the action strong enough to help with reactions to seasonal pollen or pets as well. It doesn’t always work, but it’s certainly worth a try.
Sweet Peach Leaf Elixir
Ingredients & Tools
For your elixir, it’s helpful to have on hand:
A glass pint jar that seals well
Fresh Peach leaves and/or flowers and twigs (the more aromatic the better, and either feral or domestic varieties will work)
About a pint of high quality brandy (the better the brandy, the better your elixir will taste)
1/3 pint of raw honey (preferably local, and of a lighter wildflower type since darker honeys can muffle the Peach taste a bit)
A good stirring spoon
Step by Step Instructions
First, fill your jar all the way to the top with Peach leaves or flowers/twigs. You don’t have to pack them in, but push them down a bit to minimize the air space in the jar.
Now, pour the honey in slowly, stirring as necessary, until the plant matter is well coated.
Next, fill to the top with brandy, again stirring as necessary to remove air bubbles and fill the jar evenly.
Now cover the jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake carefully to finish the mixing process.
Let macerate in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks or as long as you can stand to wait.
When straining, reserve liquid.
Bottle and store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight until needed.
Organic rose petals compliment the medicine of Peach and they taste amazing together!
Cinnamon warms and spices up Peach, making it more appropriate year round.
Apple bark combines well with Peach specifically for gastric upset accompanied by heartburn.
Chamomile flowers amplify the digestion soothing properties of Peach, and they taste lovely together.
Chokecherry, Prunus serotina works very well with Peach.
Ideas for Application
Internally for soothing irritability and occasional sleeplessness when the weather is hot or the tongue is bright red and the person feels overheated.
Internally for nausea, and vomiting from sun exposure, being overheated, and in any case where the tongue is red and the person feels excessively hot.
Internally for gut upset, including nausea and diarrhea, with signs of heat and tension.
Internally for occasional tension and irritability aggravated by the heat or resulting in feelings of overheatedness.
Internally for some types of gastric irritation.
Topically and internally for insect stings and bites.
I’ll have another article specifically on medicinal uses of Peach, including case studies, in the August issue of the free Plant Healer Newsletter that you can sign up for at http://planthealer.org.
Peach medicine can be hard to find, but is available online in elixir form from King’s Road Apothecary and my own shop, The Bramble & The Rose, and will also be sold at the Healer’s Market at this September’s HerbFolk Gathering conference near Flagstaff, Arizona.
Posted by|30 July 2014
Danica Swenson is Oregon Wild’s summer Wildlife Intern. She’s also a student at Lewis and Clark Law School, studying Animal and Environmental law. When she’s not reading for school or work, she’s out adventuring or volunteering at a local wildlife rehabilitation center. She was exposed to the issues surrounding endangered species at an early age from growing up in Hawaii, which has one of the highest amounts of endangered native species listed federally. She’s passionate about educating others on animal and environmental issues, which is reflected in her work.
This June, Oregon Wild hosted its 5th Annual Wolf Rendezvous sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs! As Oregon Wild’s Wildlife Intern, I was lucky enough to tag along and help out. In light of recent news of OR-7 pups and a new pack on Mt. Emily, there was a lot of wolf buzz surrounding our trip. The purpose of this yearly trip is to educate the public on wolf recovery in Oregon, the positive impacts wolves can have on an ecosystem, and the big challenges wolves face in communities driven by ranching.
We started the weekend with a short hike led by Wally Sykes and a presentation by Jim Akenson, recent Executive Director of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, about the natural history of wolves and other predators. This gave the group a solid foundation of wolf knowledge that we built on later that night around the campfire with a more in-depth discussion of wolves. The hike with Wally only hinted at the beautiful landscapes we would see in the next few days.
Jim Akenson spent many years living in remote wilderness in Idaho studying native carnivores, so he was a treasure trove of information. He also brought a box full of amazing predator skulls and bones, which we all ogled at and guessed who was who!
First stop the next day was to meet with Russ Morgan, the Wolf Program Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. He discussed the biology surrounding wolf recovery, the complications he sees first hand in the ranching community, and put his hand in a wolf trap as a demonstration. A huge issue in wolf recovery is predation on livestock and the most fascinating piece of information I learned is how he tells the difference between an animal killed by a bear, cougar, or wolf. (That’s important for ODFW to do because ranchers are compensated for predation by wolves!) His job is most likely one of the most difficult at ODFW, balancing the need for wolf conservation and the ranching communities’ interests.
After meeting with Russ Morgan, we went on a hike near wolf territory. No wolf sightings then, but we found a couple wolf tracks and scat! I had no idea how huge wolf tracks are. I grew up with a husky/malamute mix so I thought I knew what big paw prints look like, but these are giant! With Wally leading the way, we were careful to steer clear of where the wolves have denned in recent years. We were dismayed to see a large herd of cattle roaming through these public lands, not far from where wolves have been documented. It seemed odd to me that a rancher (who most likely had knowledge of the wolves’ prior habitat area) would place his free range herd so close to where wolves with potential pups could be living.
On Saturday, we had more to think about in the form of two different perspectives on the landscapes there. First we had an excursion into the Zumwalt prairie with Ralph Anderson, who worked for the Forest Service for many years. He showed us locations that the Nez Perce, the local Native American tribe, used to use for food scavenging. They would tap Ponderosa Pines for its pitch, which was used for medicinal purposes. We even tasted some of the wild onion and edible flowers that grow there!
Perhaps one of the highlights of the trip was the sighting of a potential wolf!! We were driving through the Zumwalt praire when we saw a herd of elk coming over a hill, running at full speed. We stopped the van and watched them jump over fences, cross the road, and head up the opposite hills. We weren’t sure what was chasing it until one of the attendees spotted some kind of canid. This big dog was just tracking the herd, not actively chasing it. Right now our group is split on whether it was a wolf or coyote, with the majority going for wolf. Based on the dog’s behaviors and it’s physical appearance (rounded ears, boxy face, dark fur, etc.) I’m going with wolf. Coyotes tend to be smaller with lighter fur and long, pointy noses. What do you think??
Later that day the group met with a rancher who has personally experienced livestock losses from wolf predation. Hearing this perspective of the wolf discussion was crucial to ensuring our participants understand the entire issue. It wouldn’t be fair if we held an entire weekend dedicated to wolves without hearing anything from the other side. While many of us disagreed with the rancher on multiple points, we were all very impressed with how much this rancher cares about his cows and their livelihood. It also deepened our understanding of what these ranchers deal with when it comes to wolves returning to their native landscape. It seemed that to most of the attendees, this was one of the most important narratives that we heard. Some felt that we didn’t ask hard enough questions, but I think it’s better that we start the dialogue slow. It’s crucial to have open lines of communication between the conservation side and the ranchers’ side, so it’s best to be respectful in these beginning stages of cooperation and exchanges.
I was so impressed with the insight and thoughtfulness that our attendees brought. Everyone came from different backgrounds and levels of wolf knowledge, but we all came together and had some great, thought provoking conversations about the dilemmas surrounding wolf recovery in Oregon. Almost all of the attendees voiced some kind of concern regarding the potential de-listing of wolves from the Endangered Species Act, which is a possibility in 2015 — a sentiment that Oregon Wild shares as well.
I would venture to say that the 2014 Wolf Rendezvous was a success. We heard voices from almost every perspective of the wolf recovery issue, saw a potential wolf, found tracks, and enjoyed the company of other wildlife advocates in one of the most beautiful spots in Oregon. I learned so much and I’m excited to share this experience with all of you through this post and my photos!
Please contact Oregon Wild if you have questions about the Rendezvous!
Posted by|18 June 2014
We are so excited to have a guest post by Brian McFarland of Carbonfund.org featuring the Purus Project in the Amazon! Because we source our organic acai berry powder, catuaba bark, pau d’arco bark, and other products from Brazil, we understand its global ecological importance as a carbon sequestration area for the world.
Since 2011, Mountain Rose Herbs has worked with Carbonfund.org to offset our company-wide carbon dioxide emissions and help fight climate change. We wholeheartedly support their mission to reduce what you can, offset what you can’t! Every year, we calculate our carbon footprint by accounting for the electricity and heating fuels we use in production, and estimate the greenhouse gas emissions of our business travel. Find out more about what you can do to reduce and offset your carbon footprint as an individual or business!
Tropical deforestation is a global problem. It is responsible for approximately 15-20% of the human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, reduces habitat availability for a tremendous amount of biodiversity, and further threatens the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. With this in mind, only 2% of the world’s total surface area is home to rainforests, yet these ecosystems are home to 50% of the world’s plants and animals. Shockingly, according to The Nature Conservancy, “every second, a slice of rainforest the size of a football field is mowed down. That’s 86,400 football fields of rainforest per day, or over 31 million football fields of rainforest each year.”
Because of the support of our generous donors including Mountain Rose Herbs, the Carbonfund.org Foundation created its wholly-owned subsidiary, CarbonCo, to design, finance, implement, and manage large-scale forest conservation projects. Our projects help mitigate this trend of tropical deforestation while also preserving precious rainforest habitat and providing alternative economic opportunities for local communities. These projects, known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) projects, are essentially payment for ecosystem service projects which rely on the sale of verified emission reductions (VERs), commonly known as carbon offset credits.
As of today, CarbonCo has several REDD+ projects in the Western State of Acre, Brazil which are protecting more than 700,000 acres. To help visualize how large these projects are, consider that 700,000 acres is the equivalent to approximately 1,100 square miles. This is almost as large as the entire state of Rhode Island (1,545 square miles), about the size of the urban area of Paris, France (1,098 square miles) and more than twice the size of New York City (470 square miles).
The Southwestern Amazon, specifically along the Purus River in the State of Acre, Brazil, is home to our Purus Project. This forest conservation project covers approximately 85,714 acres and achieved validation and verification to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and to the Gold Level of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) for the Project’s exception biodiversity benefits.
The Purus Project is located within one of the World Wildlife Fund’s ecoregions which represent “the most distinctive examples of biodiversity for a given major habitat type.” The Project achieved exceptional biodiversity benefits because during a rapid biodiversity assessment from August to September 2009, at least two endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List were identified at the Purus Project. These endangered flora species are Car-cara (Aniba rosaeodora) and Baboonwood (Virola surinamensis).
Anecdotal observations of biodiversity on or next to the Purus Project include:
Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao)
Amazon River Dolphins (Inia geoffrensis)
Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri sciureus L.)
Great White Herons (Ardea alba)
One of the ways the Purus Project monitors biodiversity is by using motion-sensitive cameras to photograph medium-to-large mammals. The motion-sensitive cameras took pictures of a short-eared dog and a jaguar, both considered near threatened by the IUCN Red List. Also captured by the motion-sensitive cameras, are photos of a giant anteater and a lowland tapir, which are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Other wildlife photographed include a puma, otherwise known as a mountain lion, along with an ocelot. Furthermore, the photograph of the short-eared dog is only the second photograph ever taken of a short-eared dog in the State of Acre!
Carbon offset credits at work!
About Brian McFarland
Brian McFarland is the Director of Carbon Projects and Origination for Carbonfund.org and CarbonCo.
At Carbonfund.org, Brian identifies climate change mitigation projects in the energy efficiency, renewable energy and forestry sectors, conducts due diligence on such projects, and then structures the financial support and manages the project portfolio. This project portfolio includes approximately 75 tree planting and carbon reduction projects across 30+ US states and 15+ countries. At CarbonCo, Brian identifies early stage forest conservation projects and then designs, finances, and implements the origination of REDD+ projects including co-authoring more than 1,000 pages of project documents.
Photos courtesy of Brian McFarland.
Posted by|04 June 2014
Guest post! Laurele Fulkerson is the Director of NCAP’s Healthy Wildlife and Water Program. She leads NCAP’s work to protect pollinators, salmon, and other wildlife and their habitat from harmful pesticides. She has over a decade of experience working on conservation policy issues for non-profits, most recently for Wild Salmon Center in Portland, OR. She holds a J.D. and certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark Law School, and a B.A. in Political Science from U.C. Santa Barbara. In addition to her conservation background, Laurele is an avid organic gardener and budding herbalist.
Every day this time of year brings a new joy to my heart as I watch my plant friends bloom and grow. Seeing the lemon yellow flowers of evening primrose bursting forth, motherwort growing tall and exhibiting her delicate pink blooms, California poppies glowing in the sun – and a diverse array of pollinators flocking in droves to feed.
With our gardens in full swing, June feels like a keenly appropriate time to pay tribute to pollinators for the critical role they play in our gardens, farms, and food. The U.S. Senate unanimously approved and designated the third week in June as “National Pollinator Week” eight years ago. It has grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, and other pollinators.
As we approach June 16th, the first day of National Pollinator Week, I want to share with you some of the things that Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) is currently doing to protect pollinators, and how you can help!
At the federal level, NCAP is promoting safeguards for pollinators against harmful pesticides via legislation. Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 2692) would ban the use of a class of neurotoxic insecticides called neonicotinoids (“neonics”) as seed, soil, and foliar treatments on pollinator-attractive plants. The suspension would remain in place until the Environmental Protection Agency can conclusively demonstrate that neonics will not harm pollinators. More and more scientific evidence points to neonics as one of the main contributors to bee die-offs in recent years, so passage of this legislation would be a big win. Introduced by Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), H.R. 2692 has strong support with more than 60 cosponsors. However, more support is necessary for the bill to advance. Please take a moment to ask your representative to cosponsor this bill. Check here for more information: http://www.pesticide.org/tell-us-about-your-call#bill
NCAP is also working on a marketplace campaign to remove harmful neonics from the nursery retailer supply chain. Many people are not aware that a vast number of products used to keep pests off of plants contain neonics. Neonics are both systemic and persistent, so they can harm pollinators long after a spray due to soil absorption. In addition, conventional seeds and plants may be treated with neonics in a nursery and then, when transplanted to your yard, hurt the very pollinators your flowers are attracting. This info card is a good reference for questions to ask your nursery before buying plants to ensure that you aren’t killing your neighborhood pollinators. If they are not already, please ask your local nursery or plant supplier to go neonic-free.
I encourage you to take some time this summer to plant pollinator-attractive herbs, make sure the plants and other garden products you buy are either organic or neonic-free, and give thanks for the pollinators who make many of our herbs and foods possible.
Posted by|28 May 2014
Mason is our Events and Outreach Coordinator here at Mountain Rose! Eugene born and raised, Mason found an early interest in nutrition which eventually brought him to the world of herbalism. When not busy planning events and traveling around the country, Mason studies herbalism and wildcrafting at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies and volunteers at Occupy Medical. He’s also papa to a sweet baby daughter and enjoys sharing many plant adventures with her.
I’m back from a most excellent herbalism filled event! A few weeks ago, I headed up to Portland for NCNM’s inaugural Traditional Roots Conference. The weekend proved to be a unique one indeed, combining classes from both Naturopathic Doctors and herbalists on topics ranging from herbal energetics, to ethical wildcrafting, and medicine making.
To kick things off, I had the pleasure of attending Dr. Tori Hudson’s class, Women’s Health Past and Present. With 30 years of experience as an ND, and the author of Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Health, Dr. Hudson was able to provide a lot of valuable knowledge in the two-hour class including traditional plant medicines for PMS, insomnia, and menopause. I’m really thankful to have access to information about women’s health and herbal applications for common issues, especially since I can pass this wisdom on to my daughter as she grows up.
Glen Nagel ND, “the herbal wise guy,” led a fabulous plant walk through the Min Zidell Healing Garden. Glen is the curator of the garden, so he really knew his way around. As usual, Glen started the walk with a group song, playing the mandolin, and giving thanks to the plants. We had some delicious herbal sun-tea that he made with plants from the garden and we were on our way!
I was really impressed with the variety of medicinal herbs throughout the garden. Some of my favorite herbal allies were there to greet me like hawthorn, sage, and motherwort, to name a few. There was a patch of goldenseal which was quite lovely to see. Beautiful valerian was nearly ubiquitous in the garden and Glen hinted that this was the plant helping stressed out ND students the most. We ended the walk with another delightful ditty that I found infinitely adorable. It goes like this…
When I grow up I want to be a tree
Want to make my home with the birds and the bees
And the squirrels, they can count on me
When I grow up to be a tree
I’ll let my joints get stiff, put my feet in the ground
Take the winters off and settle down
Keep my clothes till they turn brown
When I grow up, I’m gonna settle down
I’m gonna reach, I’m gonna reach
I’m gonna reach, reach for the sky
I’m gonna reach, I’m gonna reach
I’m gonna reach, till I know why
Lastly, I attended Laura Ash’s class, Preserving Culture Through Documentation of Herbal Medicine. Laura recalled her time spent with the Masaai people in Tanzania where she studied their herbal traditions and shared her concerns about losing traditional healers and with them their medicines. She told stories and detailed the plants most commonly used for medicine in this part of the world. She also discussed at length the importance of how intellectual property law and herbal anthropology can be used as tools. With modern technology and documentation equipment, her work with the Herbal Anthropology Project is able to preserve traditional knowledge and support it’s continued use.
For more information about Laura Ash and her fascinating and important non-profit, please visit: http://herbalanthropology.org/
“The mission of NCNM’s Traditional Roots Institute’s is to reinvigorate the herbal roots of medicine. It was such an honor to have clinical herbalists, nurses, doctors and acupuncturists come away from the conference with new skills and renewed passion for healing with plants. We are so grateful to Mountain Rose Herbs, our incredible speakers and other sponsors for their support of our inaugural effort. We look forward to seeing everyone again at the conference next year — May 15-17, 2015!” ~ Orna Izakson
The Traditional Roots Conference provided a wonderful opportunity for us to connect with the herbal healer community here in the Northwest. The in-depth classes offered an educational experience that Mountain Rose was thrilled to support. Kudos to Orna Izakson, Sasha Steiner, and their team for creating such a fantastic gathering of herb loving folks!
Posted by|06 February 2014
Another unexpected beautiful snowy day, time to go home and drink some Mint Chocolate Maté from this beautiful gourd and bombilla. Stay warm, folks! ~Alieta
Posted by|22 October 2013
Our autumn post from Kiva Rose Hardin is here! Her beautifully written articles marry the personal with the scientific, lore with experience, offering untamed and fresh insight. Herbalist, wildcrafter, artist, and storyteller, Kiva Rose lives in a canyon botanical sanctuary within the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. She is also the co-director of the HerbFolk Gathering, held each September in the mountain Southwest, coeditor of Plant Healer Magazine, and publisher of the just released historical novel, The Medicine Bear as well as The Plant Healer’s Path by Jesse Wolf Hardin, and maintains an herbal blog, The Medicine Woman’s Roots.
Every autumn when the weather starts to shift, folks in the village inevitably start to come down with fevers and various respiratory issues. The sudden demand for every sort of immune tea and tincture reminds me to make sure I have enough cold weather tonics on hand for the whole winter! There are many possibilities, from Elderberry Elixir to Astragalus decoctions to garlicky chicken soup, depending on the person, climate, and particular bug going around. One of my perennial favorites though, is an easily made apple cider vinegar based preparation that tastes wonderful on its own, or can be added to any number of savory dishes year round.
My Gila Harvest Cider is yet another variation on the infamous Fire Cider and Super Cider created by various herbalists like Rosemary Gladstar. Many of these creations are based on being super hot and spicy, and seeing as my belly just can’t handle that kind of thing I decided to make something a bit different. The cider still feels warming and a tiny bit stimulating but lacks the GI bang & burn of some other preparations that may not be appropriate for those with sensitive bellies.
Kiva’s Gila Harvest Cider
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh Turmeric (roughly chopped)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh Ginger (grated or finely chopped)
- 1 head fresh Garlic (minced)
- 2-3 Tbsp fresh Rosemary (roughly chopped)
- 1 small handful Sundried Tomatoes (roughly chopped)
- 2 Tbsp Coriander (crushed in a mortar and pestle or powdered)
- 1 small handful dried Hawthorn Berries (whole)
- 2 Tbsp fresh grated Orange Peel
- 3/4 Cup fresh Basil (I used the stems that were leftover from pesto making, roughly chopped, Tulsi could also be used)
- 1 whole Red Chile
- approximately 3 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
- raw honey to taste
- 1 quart canning jar
I make mine in layers, starting with the Turmeric and working my way up to the Chile, but you could just as well mix it together beforehand, but then you’d miss the amazing display of colors that happens with the herbs all stacked on top of each other. You can adjust amounts to suit your taste and to properly fill your jar. After you add all the solid ingredients, pour the ACV over the top until the jar is full. Let sit for about six weeks.
Strain the Cider, preserving both liquid and herbs. Add honey to taste to the Cider. You can then refill the jar of preserved herbs with ACV again if you like for a slightly weaker Cider (you can freshen it up a bit with more Rosemary and other spices). Or you can put the herbs through the blender with a new batch of ACV and have a super concentrated version.
This stuff is amazing on nearly anything, with soups, salad dressings, spooned on steamed veggies, you can even marinate meat in it. I’ve even been known to drink it occasionally, cuz it’s that good. The warming, tonic herbs help build and maintain the immune system, increase circulation and generally enhance your sense of well-being. The Basil and Hawthorn add a lovely relaxing aspect, and the whole potion is a potent digestive helper.
To order The Plant Healer’s Path by Jesse Wolf, Kiva Rose, Paul Bergner, David Hoffman and more, go to the Bookstore & Gallery page at: www.PlantHealer.org
Posted by|09 October 2013
This post (and tasty recipe!) comes to us from herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt! She is the creator of Taste of Herbs, an exciting new course teaching practical herbalism by LearningHerbs and Mountain Rose Herbs. Rosalee is a clinical herbalist, herbal educator, and founder of Herbal Remedies Advice who lives on the edge of the wilderness in the northeastern Cascadian mountains of Washington state. Many thanks to Rosalee for sharing!
How often do you use your sense of taste to understand how herbs work?
There are many ways to learn about herbs. Oftentimes when people first begin to study herbalism they attempt to memorize long lists of what an herb can do. Or they might memorize a list of herbs that are good for a particular reason. Of course, there is no wrong way to learn about herbs! But learning herbs by memorizing lists can be a bit overwhelming (not to mention a bit boring!).
There is another wonderful way to dive into the world of herbalism. This method gives you a strong connection to plants and how they are used and it doesn’t require memorizing lists of information. This is your sense of taste!
The taste of an herb can reveal how we can use that herb for medicine. When you develop your sense of taste and fine-tune it to understand how herbs work, you unleash a powerful tool. The best part is that this is a tool you can easily carry with you wherever you go!
There are five categories or tastes in herbal medicine:
pungent, salty, sour, bitter, and sweet.
In this recipe, we are exploring an herb that is classified as having a pungent taste: cardamom!
Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. I use it in chai blends as well as sweet and savory dishes.
It has a pungent and spicy taste that is warming in nature. Cardamom helps to increase circulation, which can warm up the body or break through stagnant digestion. (Ever eat a meal that just felt like it was stuck in your middle, making you feel bloated and heavy? That’s food stagnation.)
Cardamom is also a famous aphrodisiac herb that has long been touted as an herb that can spice up your love life. But what does that mean exactly? Do you eat cardamom and instantly feel like an evening in front of the fire with Marvin Gaye in the background? Probably not…
One way of understanding how cardamom works as an aphrodisiac is by its taste and qualities. Remember, cardamom is spicy and warming. It increases circulation and invigorates the senses. You might begin to imagine what the effects of increasing warmth, circulation, and sensations might have on your love life. It also tastes alluring and sweetens the breath. I think that makes for a win, win, win, win in the love department.
Here’s a delicious recipe for Cardamom Chia Pudding to bring this pungent taste to life!
If you’ve never had chia seed pudding you are in for a treat! Chia seeds are nutritious seeds that soak up the liquid around them to form a tapioca-like pudding. Yum!
This recipe takes only minutes to put together, but then needs several hours or overnight for it to turn into a pudding. And yes, feel free to enjoy it in front of the fire with Marvin working his magic in the stereo.
Cardamom Chia Pudding
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the water and coconut milk until it has an even consistency. Add the chia seeds and mix well. Let stand for one hour in the fridge, then stir again, breaking up any clusters of chia seeds if necessary. Store for a couple more hours, or overnight, in the fridge before serving. Add the cardamom powder and honey to taste. Mix well. This goes great with any kind of seasonal fruit. I prefer this recipe served chilled, but some people may enjoy it warmed up. It will keep in the fridge for several days.
Want to learn more?
You can download the free Taste of Herbs Flavor Wheel here!
Posted by|08 August 2013
Our heroes and heroines!
Nobody can make a stressful time playful and creative like Mountain Rose Herbs employees! Our resilient and unflappable customer service team didn’t blink an eye this week as we needed to conduct maintenance to our online shopping cart and website. Coming in a bit earlier and leaving a bit later, the representatives have pitched in to help customers place their orders via phone, email and fax.
We couldn’t be prouder of these helpful and cheerful folks, as well as our patient customers who opened their catalogs and called for a chat. We hope to have everything back up and fully operational shortly, but for now, you can access our catalog and browse our products on our website and then call our customer service line to place an order at (800) 879-3337.
Posted by|08 July 2013
A few weeks ago, we celebrated the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun was in the sky for about 15 hours, shining its beautiful light down on what proved to be a truly gorgeous day here in New York City.
While I sat with my son on a picnic blanket and shared dinner with him in the evening light, I began to think more about what Summer really means from a Chinese medicine perspective. We didn’t have much of a Spring here in New York, so I think I was still stuck in Winter’s inward gaze. It took a picnic in the park with a loved one to jog my memory.
Summer is ruled by the Fire element, the Heart and Joy. These are symbols of expansion, outward movement and connection. Summer is the season of going beyond the four walls, if you will, of our body to connect to the world beyond. Expand beyond your boundaries and find yourself out there.
Make connections with people: one of the jobs of the Heart. Look into a person’s eyes when you greet them or say, “Nice to meet you,” to someone for the first time. Let your Heart-Spirit connect with theirs through the gateway of the eyes. You can also connect with places by disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with the land. Walk barefoot, rest beneath a shady tree, meditate in nature. Be who you are, where you are. You will naturally feel a connection to that place.
Since Summer is the season of Joy, I always tell my patients to find every opportunity to laugh. Even if you’re not feeling happy, smiling and laughing has been shown in research to improve your mood. Go to a mirror, put your hands on your hips in a powerful, strong pose, and smile at yourself for 2 minutes. You’ll see the effects immediately.
I find that just like in the kitchen, basil and rosemary can also help lift your mood during the Summer. Rosemary is especially powerful when you’re feeling introverted or your self-esteem is low, so it pairs nicely with that power pose I mentioned above. Neroli essential oil has an affinity for the Water element of Winter, which is why it is so effective in treating fear and the common worry we all experience from time to time, but it also opens the Heart to let joy come in and flow out. Try some diluted essential oils of neroli or rosemary on the inside of your wrist or in a diffuser.
There are some great Summer foods to keep in mind, too. Cold bean salads can ward off those hot and humid days that leave you feeling heavy and exhausted. Watermelon is another great choice, and good for cooling off on any hot day. When you head outside for that picnic under a shady oak, take a pitcher of iced tea infused with lemon balm, rose hips and hibiscus to help you tune into the summertime vibe.
I hope you will take time this Summer to enjoy some of the Chinese medicine health tips I’ve mentioned. At the very least, be sure to close your eyes and feel some sunshine on your face now and again.
About Dylan Stein
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!
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.
Posted by|27 June 2013
There is nothing like pulling freshly-dried laundry off the clothesline! The days are sunny and the winds are warm and we have a super-easy recipe for natural herbal laundry liquid to share. Break out the clothespins and take advantage of one of Summer’s many gifts. Why not sip a nice glass of ice tea while you watch the brightly colored cottons waving in the breeze?
Carol’s Herbal Laundry Liquid
Not only is Carol our Human Resources Director, she is also a highly talented crafter and gardener. Aside from making delightful handmade soaps and natural body care products, she also bakes delectable pies and treats and has an incredible garden. Carol has generously shared this wonderful recipe for natural liquid laundry detergent with us.
- 1 1/2 quarts of water
- 15-20 organic Soap Nuts
- Essential oil of choice (optional). Some favorites are: Cedarwood, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Mandarin, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint, Sweet Orange, Tangerine, Tea Tree, or Ylang Ylang.
Pour hot water over the Soap Nuts and steep for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Cover the Soap Nuts and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Strain into a bowl and reserve the water. You’ll have a generous quart of liquid remaining. Once the solution has cooled, add essential oils (optional). Carol uses 4 Tablespoon Soap Nut liquid plus 2 tablespoons of Borax powder per load (with hard city water). This laundry potion works wonders, as even old towels and sweaty clothing come out smelling line-dried.
This Photo Thursday 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.