Herb Stories

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 such example is the usage of Oregon grape root powder within topical creams. It’s easy to see why this plant has earned the […]

  • Organic Fair Trade Cassia Cinnamon Mountain Rose Herbs

Organic & Fair Trade Cassia Cinnamon

This is an important time of year for celebrations. Samhain is almost upon us, marking the halfway point between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. Many are stocking up on organic sweets to pass out to the little ones. And here at Mountain Rose Herbs, we’ve been celebrating Fair Trade Month. This annual tradition focuses on raising awareness and building support for fair trade in the United States. Mountain Rose Herbs is proud to be a fair trade certified company through IMO’s Fair for Life program. Unlike traditional fair trade programs that merely certify products, the Fair for Life program is much more thorough because it evaluates Mountain Rose Herbs from top to bottom – auditing our working conditions, labor practices, environmental programs, and social benefits. Not only does Fair for Life certify our entire company, but it also reviews and monitors the origins of our products to ensure […]

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 in order to increase diversity in the bioregion. Our involvement also allows us to oversee this spice’s sustainable harvest and to secure the desired flavor […]

Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference: Sky-Island Gathering

The path of herbalism is in many ways a journey, endless and winding, each turn on the way a chance for discovery for even the most experienced traveler. For many of us, it feels not like a hobby or business so much as a calling, beckoned forward by a sense of purpose, by the possibilities of healing, by the entreaties of plants whose voices and abilities we could give a lifetime to understanding.  This journey is often challenging, but also playful, as rhythmic as a dance, as sensual as a flower’s scent and lover’s touch. We choose which turns to take, deciding what form our herbal studies and practice will assume, saving the adventure of the healing journey as new vistas continuously rise up before us.     The path to a Plant Healer event can feel like a parallel to our healing journeys, a calling we find difficult to ignore, […]

  • New in the Shop: Organic Grapefruit Peel

New in the Shop: Organic Grapefruit Peel

We’re excited about the newest addition to our herbs and spices: organic grapefruit peel! Grapefruit is a bit of an anomaly in the world of citrus. Not even 300 years old, it was thought to be the byproduct of a horticultural curiosity gone awry at the time of its discovery. Though no record exists to prove it, scientists theorize that the grapefruit is a delicious cross between a pomelo and a sweet orange. The grapefruit made its way to Florida in 1823, and today, the U.S. is the world’s leading producer. The common name refers to the way the fruit clusters on the tree in a similar fashion to a bunch of grapes. Interesting botanical tidbit! We love this grapefruit peel in tea blends, ground for a body scrub, added to bath salts, and many other body care recipes that call for a sweet and tart hit of citrus. […]

  • New In The Shop at Mountain Rose Herbs: Spicy Sprouting Seed Blend

New in the Shop: Spicy Sprouting Seed Blend

We just love eating sprouts during the warm summer months! Recently, we introduced our Leafy Sprouting Seed Blend to make it easier for you to eat your microgreens. This blend was such a hit that we wanted to try our hand at another mix. We are happy to introduce our new Spicy Sprouting Seed Blend! This blend will awaken your taste buds with a spicy sensation. Our delicious blend of organic sprouting seeds is filled with the robust flavor of radish, mustard and broccoli sprouts. We’ve been adding these to salads fresh from our garden, sandwiches, smoothies, and even pizza! This blend is easy to grow at home, and will provide you with a quick way to add additional nutrients, enzymes, and protein to your diet. Learn how to sprout here!    Visit our online shop to find more sprouts and our favorite sprouting supplies listed in kitchen tools. […]

  • Northwest Farm Stories: Growing Goldenseal & Ginseng

Northwest Farm Stories: Growing Goldenseal & Ginseng

A few weeks ago, I visited one of our Northwest growers to check in on a new project we began last year. He has been supplying us with sustainably grown and harvested organic goldenseal root for years, and we both felt it was time to get some ginseng in the ground. Both goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) are slow-growing, shade-loving plants. Due to their popularity, they have been over-harvested in their native habitat and are now considered “at risk” of endangerment. To maintain the wild stands and still supply potent plants without the use of pesticides, we continue to initiate cultivation projects for these and other plant populations that are under pressure.     Walking toward the fields, I could see the dark green of goldenseal bursting out of the raised beds with shade cloth protecting them from the intense heat of the sun. As we came up to the ginseng beds, I was happy to […]

  • Spring Recipes: Stinging Nettle Harvest

Spring Recipes: Stinging Nettle Harvest

Nettle (Urtica spp.) is one of my all-time favorite herbs. Yep, that weedy plant that stings! This nutritious botanical can be cooked, steamed, baked, pickled, brewed into tea or beer, and it can even be made into hemp-like rope, woven into fabric, and used as a natural dye. Stinging nettle grows wild throughout North America. They usually grow in the same places every year, so once you find a good stand, you can return to it every year or grow it in your garden.  Look for nettles in rich soil and partially shaded areas, often in moist forests, along rivers, and in disturbed areas. It’s important to harvest the plants from clean and unpolluted areas, not in industrial or agricultural areas, roadsides, or where pesticides have been sprayed. The plants will absorb heavy metals and other impurities, so harvesting them in an uncontaminated area is of utmost importance.      Spring is […]

  • Mountain Rose Herbs Catalog - Spring/Summer 2016

Our New Catalog is Here!

Our new Spring/Summer 2016 catalog has arrived! Seeds are sprouting in the sunny soil as we begin another green cycle. We love spending time on our organic farms, surrounded by blossoming fields of herbs that are grown, harvested, and dried with great care. The healing vibrancy of color and aromatic bliss these plants offer infuse us with pure delight. We hope you’ll enjoy the herbal information, new botanical offerings, and fun recipes that fill these pages. Let them inspire you to try something new, make your favorite formulas with love, and prepare for the season ahead. 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 bit or share it with a friend. You can also view the catalog online by clicking here. Want a FREE copy all for yourself? Request a free catalog here!  

  • The Home Medicine Cabinet: First Aid Liniment

DIY First Aid Liniment

Liniments are one of the easiest preparations for the home herbalist to make. Using a basic recipe to get started, you can change up the herbs and essential oils to create various types of remedies. Along with homemade salve, liniment is a must-have topical formula for any first aid kit. To make this spray, herbs are soaked in a solvent to infuse it with the helpful properties found in so many roots, leaves, barks, and flowers. Liniments can be sprayed and rubbed into the skin when and where needed. Traditionally, basic rubbing alcohol has been used as the base for topical liniments, but witch hazel, vinegar, and vodka can also be used with good results. All of these options make it possible for the herbal properties to easily penetrate the skin.    Basic First Aid Liniment Ingredients 1 part organic comfrey root   1 part organic arnica flowers 1 part organic St. John's wort 1 part organic peppermint leaf organic witch hazel […]

  • Forest Grown Verification

Saving Our Roots: Connecting with Forest Farmers

Traveling to the heart of the herb growing region of the Appalachian mountain range during harvest season, Jennifer Gerrity, our Executive Director of Operations, and Jacob Lauch, one of our Procurement Officers, had the incredible opportunity to meet with prospective herb growers interested in native plant conservation. This gathering of forest farmers was part of a growing movement toward the cultivation of woodland botanicals through the new Forest Grown Verification Program. The PCO Forest Grown Verification program provides a third party audit system for native medicinal plants grown in their natural habitat. These herbs are skillfully tended by stewards who propagate and care for the plants in a sustainable and ethical manner. Additionally, the program also audits wildcrafted stands to ensure proper collection practices are being used and long term natural expansion of these stands can take root.     Professor Eric Burkhart from Penn State University is the visionary force behind the Forest Grown Verification Program. Eric is intimately involved with the ginseng trade in […]

  • New in the Shop: Forest Grown Organic Ginseng Leaves

New in the Shop: Forest Grown Organic Ginseng Leaves

We are so pleased to be able to offer certified organic Forest Grown Ginseng Leaf! This is the first offering of Certified Forest Grown American Ginseng Leaf in partnership with the United Plant Savers available on the market. As part of this new project, ginseng leaves are organically cultivated and sustainably harvested from private forests under the stewardship of farmers dedicated to preserving this important medicinal plant for the future. American Ginseng leaves were widely used by the indigenous cultures of eastern North America. Modern scientific studies have indicated that the leaves contain the same active constituents as compared to the root, and since there's not a huge demand for the leaves worldwide, we can enjoy the many health benefits of American Ginseng at a fraction of the cost. Each tin we offer is filled with 4 grams of whole leaf that has been collected from 25-30 year old plants. The roots of these plants are not harvested, but are maintained for seed stock, […]