Archive for the ‘Herbal Info’ Category
Posted by|27 August 2014
When you ask our Regulatory Compliance Manager, Dana, what her favorite part of her job is, you might be surprised to find that it really has very little to do with creating spreadsheets, managing data, or meeting with regulatory representatives. Dana loves helping customers! The customers that she often works with are the small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups who purchase our organic and Fair Trade ingredients to use in their culinary and body care products. These small companies are striving to become certified Organic, Kosher, Fair Trade, and more—using Mountain Rose Herbs as a model for building an ethical and mission-driven company providing high-quality products. Dana really likes helping them along. She says, “That’s where our company started and I really love supporting those entrepreneurial spirits!”
Because we have made it a company priority to provide the highest quality herbs, spices, and teas grown by strict organic and Fair Trade standards, Dana has a very big job. Arranging for on-site audits and inspections, keeping all of the certifications and requirements compliant, and researching new ways for us to do business in increasingly sustainable ways are all tasks that fall on her desk.
In order to maintain our strict standards, Dana gets involved before an herb ever comes through the door. We don’t even get a sample for quality control testing until she’s seen the paperwork on the farm’s organic compliance. “When we decide to carry a new product or work with a new supplier,” she shares, “we want to make sure we’re on the same page right from the beginning!”
As you may imagine, there can be some challenges in staying ahead of the trends and regulatory institutions and Dana couldn’t do it alone. It takes a great deal of collaboration and teamwork with other departments here at Mountain Rose Herbs—from the Quality Control Lab, to our Sustainability efforts, to the Procurement and Purchasing, and things are always changing! Dana operates under the mantra that “it’s better to cross all our t’s from the onset!”
For a company like Mountain Rose, with so many agricultural and botanical products, we strive to constantly update our packaging, labels, and the process by which we care for our herbs. Dana helps to lead us along this journey!
Posted by|28 July 2014
White Sage has been used for centuries as incense and in smudge pots for ceremonial use. This flowering perennial is native to the Southwest United States. Its tall woody stems and tiny white flowers love dry, arid slopes with lots of sun, and flourish in the rocky heights of the southwestern canyons.
These smaller bundles are the perfect size for home use and smaller ceremonies. They are approximately 4 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick at the burning end. They are bundled with the stems together, providing a handle for easy use, and come in a 4 pack.
We’re so excited to offer these convenient bundles!
Posted by|18 July 2014
Our organic Cracked Black Pepper is a little larger in size than the organic Black Pepper Ground that we offer, and measures roughly to a 30-40 US mesh size. This makes it the perfect size for rubs and salad dressings.
Peppercorns are the fruit of Piper nigrum, an evergreen climbing vine. Black, white, and green peppercorns all come from the same plant, but they are harvested at different times and handled in different ways. To make black pepper, the clusters are plucked shortly before they ripen and are left in piles to ferment. After a few days, the berries are spread out on a mat and left to dry in the sun for two or three more days where they shrivel and blacken. This process takes quite a lot of care and precision to produce one of the world’s most treasured spices.
Visit our website to see our full line of whole and ground peppercorns!
Posted by|13 July 2014
I recently returned from vacation travels (which included several plane flights) to find I’d come down with a doozy of a bug, just in time for warm weather and opportunities for summer fun. Summer sicknesses are the worst! Between the snuffles and the lingering hack, I knew my body needed some rest, recovery, and tea. This recipe includes my favorite go-to herbs for nourishing a sickly me…
Summer Sniffles Tea
2 Tablespoons organic Slippery Elm Bark
1 Tablespoon organic dried Elderberries
1 Tablespoon organic Red Clover Blossoms
raw, organic honey
This recipe makes about 3-4 cups of tea or infusion. I like to make it in my Tea-to-Go glass tea infuser to take along with me, but you could also make it up in a Mason jar or other large mug. Put all the herbs in the container and cover with 3 cups or so of boiling water. You can also make this up and let it infuse overnight, if you’d like a stronger decoction. While battling my cold, I made a big half-gallon jar full and then “decanted” it as I needed it. Stir in the honey to taste.
Posted by|04 July 2014
Calling all lavender lovers!
You might have noticed some variations in our lavender products lately. There are many species of Lavandula out there, and for years we have sold both Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula x intermedia as Lavender Flowers. The differences between these two are very subtle. In general, they can be used interchangeably. However, some do prefer one over the other once you get into the fine complexities. We are excited to now offer you both of these beautiful flowers!
Lavandula angustifolia is the classic lavender that most people are familiar with. It can also be found on the market as Common Lavender, French Lavender (when it comes from France), True Lavender, or Lavender. You may also see it labeled as Lavandula officinalis. This little greyish purple flower is known for its sweet floral aroma and medicinal properties.
Lavandula x intermedia is quickly becoming a popular lavender species on the market. It can sometimes be found as Dutch Lavender, but is often sold as just Lavender. We are slowly seeing it labeled properly as Lavandin. These bluish purple flowers have a brighter color in comparison to the English Lavender. Lavandin has an equally characteristic sweet floral lavender aroma, with a slight camphor note.
Visit our website to see all of our wonderful Lavandula products!
Organic Lavandin (Lavender) Flower Powder (Lavandula x intermedia)
Organic Lavandin (Lavender) Hydrosol (Lavandula x intermedia)
Organic Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
Organic Lavender, Spike Essential Oil (Lavandula latifolia)
Lavender 40-42 Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender Skin Cream
Posted by|03 June 2014
Let’s take a closer look at the Mint Family!
Lamiaceae – The Mint Family
Leaves: Square stems with opposite or whorled leaves
Flowers: Tubular flowers that are bilabiate (two-lipped)
Stamens: Generally, two or four uneven stamens
Food and Medicine
There are so many helpful plants in the mint family used for aromatherapy, medicine, and delicious culinary spices. When used medicinally, aromatic plants like peppermint are helpful for supporting the digestive system with carminitive action, while others like skullcap, lavender, and lemon balm offer calming effects through a variety of actions. Many of these herbs can be made into a tasty medicinal tea or tincture, and the especially aromatic ones can also be distilled to produce essential oil.
As for food, who can imagine a spice rack without rosemary, sage, oregano, and thyme?
For more in the Basic Botany Series see:
Posted by|02 June 2014
The third Sunday in June is an opportunity to celebrate fathers, dads, grandfathers, and the influence of those strong, encouraging, male figures in our lives. While it may not seem like it to look through the card aisle at at any department store, our dads are as different, varied, and individual as flowers in a field! When you’ve exhausted the traditional tie and tool combo, maybe it’s time to ponder how to truly honor the unique spirit of the guiding men in your life. We’ve compiled a gift guide for all the fathers out there – nourishment for the soul, the heart, and the creative man that may be on your list…
Medicinals for Men
Whether you want to encourage and support an active lifestyle or an active mind, natural and organic botanicals can be a wonderful way to show you care. Herbal extracts are nice additions to Dad’s health care routine and the right tea or tonic is a tasty way to introduce adaptogens into the daily grind:
Spa Day for Dad
Who doesn’t need a little time out to relax, rejuvenate and tend to self care? We’ve long felt that the men in our lives deserve all the organic herbal goodness we have to offer. Perhaps a basket full of some of these goodies would make the perfect gift? And, if dad needs a little inspiration, we have this wonderful video featuring one of our favorite dads-on-staff, Mason, demonstrating our Herbal Facial Kit!
And, why not add a little aromatherapy to boost the spirit and calm the soul? Our Aroma Oils work so nicely as colognes or to transform an ordinary bath into a soothing treat. Favorite organic essential oils like Bergamot, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Fir Needle, Rosemary, Lavender, Lemongrass, and Vetiver work well in an electric diffuser to scent the air and change the mood in any room!
A New Take on Tools
Whether you want to honor the herbalist or the cook, gifting useful and beautiful kitchen tools is a great way to show your support (and you might even be one of the first to receive a delightful herbal concoction!)
For grinding spices, making rubs, or making powders and other herbal mixes, a well-made mortar & pestle is a must! We have them in both marble and porcelain, and in the classic size and style to suit any kitchen. Add a spice and/or nutmeg grater for grating those hard-to-crush seeds and pods (like cinnamon sticks and nutmeg) or for a quick mince of fresh garlic.
Our Mezzaluna choppers are such handy tools, Dad will wonder how he ever lived without it! Perfect for quickly chopping fresh or dried herbs and spices, and good for nuts, vegetables and more!
Funnels are one of the most useful kitchen tools around for straining, mixing, and draining. We find them especially good for straining tinctures, infused oils and infused vinegars. Since one size does not always suit every project, we think a nice collection of large and small makes the most sense!
A Cup of Tea and the Perfect Book
Settling down with a good book and a hot cup of delicious tea is a gift that can be experienced again and again. We also believe that our organic teas can be good for you as well as tasty to drink. Brewed from water heated in a lead-free cast iron pot, Dad can lose himself in an afternoon of herbal pleasures:
Dad’s bookshelf just wouldn’t be complete without some of these fine titles: Foraging & Feasting by Dina Falconi, Wild Roots by Douglas Elliott, and Medicinal Mushrooms by Christopher Hobbs. These are all great volumes for the man interested in learning more about the foods and medicinal plants available in the wild world around us. If dad is interested in learning more about herbs and herbalism, both The Male Herbal and The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook by James Green are great guides.
If you’re looking for more ideas for recipes to make, products to craft, or other herbal treats to give as Father’s Day gifts, we have another post of Herbal Gifts for Dad!
Happy Father’s Day!
Posted by|26 May 2014
Let’s take a closer look at the Lily Family!
Liliaceae – The Lily Family
Flowers: Flower parts (petals, sepals, stamens, carpels) in threes or multiples of three.
Perianth: The sepals may look like the petals. Also known as tepals.
Leaves: Alternate, whorled, or basal simple leaves generally with parallel veins.
Ovary: Generally a superior ovary that sits above the sepals and petals.
Food and Medicine
This family includes tulips, trilliums, camas, and many other fragrant and beautiful lilies adored as ornamentals and florist staples. Chives, garlic, asparagus, and onions are also sometimes/formerly classified in the Liliaceae family. Some wild lilies have edible fruits called capsules and/or edible bulbs – but proper identification is key!
While some native lilies growing in the forest have medicinal properties, I think it’s best to enjoy their loveliness through study, making field sketches, or through photography. Plus, there are great weedy herbs out there that offer similar medicine. Herbs like the trillium were once widely sold on the herb market, and because they are so alluring, populations became at risk of becoming endangered. This is one reason why we adopted Trillium through the United Plant Savers! These flowers not only add beauty to our wild places, they are also very important beings in our ecosystems.
For more in the Basic Botany Series see:
Posted by|20 May 2014
For a company filled with herb-loving tea-drinkers focused on creating a positive customer experience for all, it’s no wonder that one of our fastest-growing departments here at Mountain Rose Herbs is our Customer Service team. Working hard to increase efficiency at every turn with new processes and technologies, it seems pretty amazing that just 5 years ago we were still recording order information with paper and pencil!
According to our Office Manager, Cassie, despite some changes over the years, the core guiding principles and values have stayed the same: “The service has stayed the same, the questions are still the same, and we continue to instill customer care in all of our representatives.”
You might be surprised to learn that, for us, customer service starts before you ever place your order. While we have lots of customers who’ve been with us for years, many of the calls and questions we get are from folks brand new to the herbal world. We work to make sure that our representatives know as much as possible about our products so we can help share the information. This takes time and training, but it’s a fun learning experience!
In addition to keeping shelves stocked with samples of products to have answers at our fingertips, we are also fortunate to have herbalist Liisa Korpela offer classes on natural body care and medicine making, harvesting techniques, and herbal actions once a month for our Customer Service folks. Our Product Manager, Christine, also visits the Customer Service team regularly to give updates and answer questions about our new and exciting products. This free education enriches our depth of herbal knowledge and helps us better serve our customers.
Although we now have online ordering through our website in addition to the catalog sent out to customers twice per year and our daily phone service hours, every order is still processed by hand with care and attention to speed and accuracy. Our processors are the folks who take an order from the web, mail, or phone and create an invoice to be sent along to the production and shipping folks. If there are adjustments, out-of-stock items, or any student discounts that need to be configured, we do that by hand to make sure we cover all the bases. If a customer places an order and then changes their mind or wants to make adjustments, we do our best to retrieve that order, although sometimes it has already moved on to be processed and shipped, since our goal is to get the herbal goodies to you as quickly as possible!
When a customer calls or emails with a question about their order, we take time to do research before we call back. For complicated questions, this may mean involving our in-house investigators in the Claims & Returns Department and the Quality Control Lab. No matter how complicated, we set a goal of returning calls and emails within one business day. During very busy times this might be more challenging, but we strive to handle everything as quickly as possible. As Cassie explains, “It is a delicate balance. We are committed to tending to all emails, phone calls, and orders and making sure they are done within 24 hours. We may not be able to give every customer everything they want when a problem arises, but our reps are so nice, they try!”
In addition to the front line phone representatives, our Customer Service team also includes the small group who handle any returns (we have a generous, no questions asked 60-day return policy), as well as the folks who comprise our Terms Department (they work with stores and retail customers who purchase our herbs, teas, and spices to resell in their establishments including in-store demonstrations, arranging for deliveries, and more) and the International team who take care of our Canadian customers.
Like the other aspects of our work here at Mountain Rose Herbs, our Customer Service team stays focused on open, useful, and genuine communication. Whether problem-solving, taking herb classes, or interacting with our growing community of customers, constant communication is what Cassie identifies as the key to stellar customer service. We continually strive to stay connected with our customers on a very personal level! Herbalism and natural health attracts the sweetest earth-loving people, and we are so happy to provide organic herbs to our community.
Posted by|19 May 2014
Let’s take a closer look at the Carrot Family!
Apiaceae – The Carrot Family
Be humble with the umbel! This family includes delicious food plants, wonderful medicines, as well as deadly poisons – and many look very much alike, especially in leaf and flower! Never use a wild Apiaceae plant without 100% positive identification.
If you are interested in learning more about plants in this family that grow near you, I highly recommend finding a good botanical key for your region and practicing without picking, or consult a local botanist whenever possible, until you become experienced at keying out plants. It’s really fun to identify these herbs, but takes careful study.
Inflorescence - Small flowers in umbels or compound umbels. Umbels are inflorescences with the pedicels (individual flower stalks) arising at a common point, like an umbrella. Compound umbels have secondary umbellets arising from the the primary rays.
Leaves - Often dissected to compound
Flowers - Generally, five petals and five stamens
Fruits – Mature fruit is a schizocarp that splits into two one-seeded mericarps. Each species differs in texture and can be ribbed and/or winged, and have stylopodiums of varying sizes to obsolete or nearly so.
Food and Medicine
Medicinally, many of the plants in this family are prized for their warming aromatic properties, especially the seeds and roots. These aromatics are most often used to stimulate the digestive system (fennel, cumin, caraway), reproductive system (angelica), and the respiratory tract (osha).
As food, the leaves (parsley, dill, cilantro), roots (parsnip, carrot, celeriac), seeds (coriander, anise, fennel, cumin, caraway), and other vegetative parts (celery and fennel) are used. Although, again, some plants in this family are very poisonous!
Topically, organic carrot seed essential oil from the seeds of the Daucus carota, also known as Queen Anne’s lace or wild carrot, is used in facial serums and creams created for dry or mature skin.
For more in the Basic Botany Series see:
Posted by|16 May 2014
Newly back in stock…
Certified Organic Gynostemma (Gynostemma pentaphyllum)
Gynostemma is a perennial climbing vine, prized for both its ornamental and medicinal properties. It is a member of the cucumber and gourd family, but does not bear the characteristic fruit, instead producing clusters of tiny black berries. The gynostemma carried by Mountain Rose Herbs is from the pentaphyllum species, native to Vietnam, China, and Japan. It can be planted as an annual in temperate climates, but will wilt in direct sunlight and cannot survive the freezing temperatures of winter. Gynostemma is dioecious, meaning that each plant is either male or female and requires both for germination.
In the 1970s, Dr. Masahiro Nagai discovered that gynostemma possesses many of the compounds found in the unrelated ginseng plant, and it is similarly employed as an adaptogen. Like other adaptogens, gynostemma helps the body to maintain balance and optimal health.
Find it HERE on our website.
Posted by|15 May 2014
For years we’ve dreamed of having a little store where our customers could come visit us, sip free tea, and experience our organic herbal goodies in-person. It’s finally happening – but for 2 days only!
Our first ever Pop-up Shop will take place during the First Friday Art Walk and the Eugene Saturday Market. Come enjoy free organic tea with us while you stock up on herbal delights, including gourmet salts & spices, handcrafted bodycare products, plant medicines, organic tea, herbal books, and much more! Spend $25 or more and receive a free organic cotton “I Dig Herbs” tote bag while they last. There will also be AMAZING door prizes and friendly folks from Mountain Rose will be on hand to serve free tea and answer your questions about our products!
Mountain Rose Herbs
Friday, June 6th from 4 pm – 9 pm
during the First Friday Art Walk
Saturday, June 7th from 9 am – 5 pm
during the Saturday Market
Broadway Commerce Center
50 W. Broadway in Downtown Eugene, Oregon
See you there!