About Friends

An array of voices from around Mountain Rose Herbs and beyond share their wisdoms, inspirations, and exciting stories from the herbal world.

Recipe: Frankincense & Myrrh Hand Balm

I love this season of celebration. This time of year I'm often dreaming of chocolate truffles, forests covered in snow, and catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Making special foods, festive treats, and gifts while singing along with my favorite songs brings a glow of happy cheer to my heart—but my favorite part of the holidays is seeing the joy and excitement in other people as they unwrap the gifts I have made for them! This year I decided to create a rich and moisturizing balm to soften the appearance of rough dry skin, using the scents of sacred resins and trees that are often associated with this time of year.   Let's make our holiday hand balm! Ingredients: This recipe makes roughly 9 oz. of salve […]
  • Herbs and spices, Mountain Rose Herbs

2016 Winter Gift Ideas

We love being able to offer an array of goods that empower home herbalists and inspire homemade gifts, but sometimes even the best of us DIY folks are short on time. Here are a few ready-made ideas for you and the people you love. Want these gifts to arrive on your doorstep before December 25? Then make sure to order by next Monday, December 12! For the "I drink tea not coffee" person Have a friend or loved one who is tea-obsessed? We have two unique tea-inspired gift ideas too pretty to hide away in a kitchen cupboard. How about this quality cast iron teapot set decorated with festive gold flair? Or perhaps this contemporary glass teapot to match your tea lovers' modern aesthetic?   For the "I […]

Sustainably Harvesting Oregon Grape

­ Alternative wellness philosophies often ask “what is the root cause?” By assessing the root cause, one can take proactive measures towards health and well-being. In the case of Oregon grape, the root of this plant has been used by traditional healers to stimulate the digestive tract. Oregon grape root is classified as an Alterative and a Bitter in the tradition of neo-eclectic herbalism popularized by Michael Moore, Howie Brounstein, and many others. From State Flower to Home Remedy In the Northwest where Oregon grape grows in abundance, the plant’s root is a go-to tonic for both the fledging and well-seasoned herbalist. However, the root is not only used as an internal tonic. Traditional and modern herbalists may also incorporate Oregon grape root into external preparations. One […]

In Gratitude for Plants

Fall is my favorite time of year. We find more time to spend with family and friends, indulge in lovingly-prepared meals that feature the abundance of the harvest, and light the first warm, cozy fires of the season. For me, the focus on the harvest extends beyond food and crops: we also gather community, stories of summer, projects, and hopes for the coming year. As an herbalist, I collect the moments of connection I’ve had with plants since they re-awakened in spring — walks in the deep forest, the unexpected ally in an unfamiliar land, new friends made, nuanced experiences of flavor, and the shifts along the way. Perhaps this is why I love this time so much. It is an opportunity to reaffirm connection, […]
  • Zero waste tips for buying less & celebrating more!

Zero waste tips for buying less & celebrating more!

The holidays are the most giving and generous time of the year. They are also the most wasteful. Between Thanksgiving and New Years, Americans throw out about 25 million tons more trash than normal — a 25 percent increase over the rest of the year. We can change that! Here’s a list of suggestions to help you celebrate the holidays, or any special occasion, while making the planet happy: Make a gift using upcycled material. This one is near and dear to our hearts. You knew that, right? Not as crafty as you’d like to be? Bake a treat or invite your friends over for a lovely home-cooked meal. They can return the favor by making it a potluck party. Donate in someone’s honor. Your loved ones are as […]
  • Organic Spearmint Farm - Mountain Rose Herbs

Cultivating Botanical Diversity through Organic Agriculture

  Earlier this fall, we visited our farm that straddles both Oregon and Washington, interrupted by the blue Columbia River running down its middle. The farm's verdant green fields shone brightly against brown, parched hillsides that stretched as far as the eye could see. The irrigated fields provided relief to the eyes, a soft green that promised healthy harvests yet to come. This is where our Organic Peppermint and Organic Spearmint are grown – where the heat stress increases the volatile oils of the plants, producing highly flavorful, aromatic herbs. Agriculture happens on a large scale out here, with circular fields up to 200 acres. Farmers typically grow wheat, onions, potatoes, alfalfa, and silage corn. These large fields are broken up by fields of mint, and farmers are transitioning not […]

Precious Barks: Developing a Sustainable Tree Harvest

Increasing demand of spices acquired from tree barks such as our beloved cassia (a.k.a. cinnamon) is putting many tree species in peril worldwide. At Mountain Rose Herbs, we are passionate about supporting sustainable harvesting that preserves the life and integrity of the tree, rather than killing it. Our Fair for Life Project farmers in India use methods that are unconventional, harvesting only small sections of the tree bark and then allowing the tree to heal completely before taking more. I was able to observe this practice firsthand on my recent trip to India when I visited some of our Fair for Life Project farms and saw their regeneration trials in action. We have been working for many years to get cassia established on these farms […]
  • Ensuring a Fair Trade Future - Mountain Rose Herbs

Helping Ensure A Fair Trade Future

    The smiles on the faces of the farmers as I handed them their organic cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and clove saplings were ear-to-ear grins. Today, I had the pleasure of hand-delivering the saplings to one of the 60 farms we collaborate with as part of our innovative Fair for Life Project. It was the winter of 2016, and over the course of two weeks, I visited about 25 of these organic farming projects in India. These are the farms and farmers that Mountain Rose Herbs is working with as part of its Fair for Life Project. Each bioregion in India is known for growing its own unique crop types, so our farms are spread out across hundreds of miles and dozens of climate regions. The hot, arid […]

The Journey of our Turmeric

From the fields of India to your kitchen I recently visited the remote agricultural Indian village of Kollegala, based at the foothills of the Western Ghats. It’s a fertile farming land with a dry growing season and heavy summer rains. The community in this area makes its living primarily off of the sales of turmeric (Curcuma longa). The turmeric growers here represent the largest farming group in our innovative Fair for Life Project, and grow turmeric exclusively for Mountain Rose Herbs. Read more about the project in my recent blog post. I was there to check up on some new construction projects that our Fair for Life premiums funded. This year, Mountain Rose Herbs helped rebuild several of the resident farming families’ homes that were literally […]

Innovating Fair Trade in India

As I stepped back onto the fertile red soil of India, memories of my last trip came rushing back, filling me with excitement. Memories of long hot days, endless miles journeyed on backcountry roads, and walking the fields with proud farmers who happily welcomed me. Being there again brought it all back. How it was such an honor to be invited to take chai breaks with the joyful workers and join them in their homes for a spicy snack and to meet their children. Standing there on my first day back in India, I was flooded with joy to be around these welcoming communities again, in the rich, humid spice fields with the lush tropical backdrop that only India can provide. As the Executive Director […]

Create Your Own Broth Mix Recipes

Soups are one of my all-time favorite things to cook. There is a meditation for me in the chopping, measuring and stirring that goes into making a wonderful pot of soup. Alas, like many, I don’t always have the time to make soup from scratch. I’ve also chatted with many folks who are intimidated by making soups and broths—they have a hard time getting the seasoning right so the soup doesn’t taste like bland dishwater. I stumbled upon the idea of making broth mixes when I passed by some packaged mixes at the store. Why couldn’t I create my own and have on hand to use in soups, for a basic broth, or even mixed in to pasta or ramen noodles? With a bit of […]

Northwest Farm Stories: Growing Hops

I recently attended a harvest party at our favorite local hops farm. Driving the back roads in the golden light of late summer, I followed the heady scent of fresh hops to their fields, located hear our headquarters in Eugene. A few days into harvesting, the farmers were enthusiastic – the dry conditions prime for hop harvesting and processing. Using extension pruners, the farmers cut the hop vines at the top of the trellis system, approximately 15 feet off the ground. Then they’d drag and pull until the vine released onto the tarp below. Wrapped in the tarp, the cut hop vines were hauled to the stripper, chopped into five foot lengths, and handed up a ladder to the top platform where Farmer Don fed the […]