Archive for the ‘Natural Health’ Category

How to Make a Cooling Herbal Compress in 3 Easy Steps

Posted by Alieta|18 August 2014

 

How to Make a Cooling Herbal Compress

 

A gentle and effective treatment for too much heat or minor bumps and bruises can come in the tried-and-true form of an herbal compress. This preparation brings the healing constituents of herbs and the soothing sensations of a cool damp cloth close to your skin to accelerate the natural healing process. When draped around the skin, the moisture of the tea soaked towel softens the skin and allows the healing herbs to penetrate deep into your body.

Unlike a warm compress, a cold compress constricts blood vessels, which helps ease swelling and calm inflammation, as well as reduce some kinds of pain. You can use a cold compress to soothe insect bites, sunburns, and general skin irritations. Cold compresses can also help speed healing in situations of bruising, occasional swollen glands, and minor strains and sprains.

The fun thing about compresses is that you don’t need an excuse to make one up to enjoy! Making a cold compress on a hot day can be a pleasant way to escape the heat and incorporate topical herb treatments and aromatherapy into to your daily life. A few of your favorite herbs for skin care can transport you to a spa oasis in your own home and remind you that you never need an excuse to treat yourself extra special!

 

How to Make a Cooling Herbal Compress

 

How to make and use an herbal compress:

1. First make a strong tea with your desired herbs. I like to use about 3 Tablespoons per cup of water. I use a cotton muslin bag and a ceramic bowl for steeping, but you could do this in a sauce pan or tea pot too! Let your tea cool, or place in the refrigerator to cool quickly.

2. Soak a clean piece of fabric/cotton material in the tea and squeeze excess tea out of the cloth.

3. Place soaked cloth on your skin and wrap around the area in need. Let sit and enjoy the cooling herbal sensation!

 

Cooling Herbal Compress Recipe

3 Tablespoons organic Calendula flowers or organic Lavender flowers
3 Tablespoons organic Peppermint leaf
3 Tablespoons organic Sage leaf
3 Tablespoons organic Chamomile flowers
3 cups water

Steep, strain, cool, soak, and wrap!

 

How to Make a Cooling Herbal Compress

 

More herbs to use in compresses!

Bug Bites:

BasilPlantain, Green Tea,

Mild Burns:

CleaversPeppermint, Sage, Eucalyptus, Marshmallow RootChamomileChaparral, Green Tea, Rose

General Skin Irritation:

Plantain, Chamomile, Calendula, St. Johns Wort, Lavender, Rose

 

Have fun and enjoy the refreshing cool!

 

Summer Heat Relief: Sweet Peach Herbal Elixir

Posted by Friends|05 August 2014

 

Kiva2

 

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

 

Cooling Peach Elixir Recipe

 

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.

 

Peach Elixir Recipe

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.

 

Cooling Peach Elixir Recipe

 

Herbal Additions

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.

 

Cooling Peach Elixir Recipe

Homemade Bitters: Cacao & Dandelion

Posted by Alieta|14 July 2014

Mountain Rose Herbs - Dandelion & Cacao Bitters Recipe

 

Sweet, sour, salty, umami, and everyone’s favorite flavor - bitter! Does the word bitter get you salivating?  Chances are it does, since it’s the duty of this flavor to get digestion going. Most people try to avoid this important taste, but bitters are necessary for helping us maintain wellness. If you just can’t do bitter greens, ease into a relationship with bitter using my favorite recipe – Cacao & Dandelion Digestive Bitters! Chocolaty with a bitter punch, this is a great place to start.

There are a number of aromatic and bitter herbs that are great for making a tincture like this including gentian, grapefruit peel, quassia bark, and cardamom, just to name a few.  You can make appetite stimulating bitters out of one herb at a time or blend flavorful herbs together to make a personal concoction to add to your daily health routine. My recipe today calls for two classy companions, Dandelion and Cacao.

You can enjoy bitters in cocktails or straight on the tongue whenever you’d like, but especially before or after a meal.  Your bitter receptors and digestive prowess will thank you!

 

Dandelion and Cacao Bitters

2 TBSP organic roasted Cacao Nibs

2 TBSP organic Dandelion Root

40% or higher proof vodka

Your herb to alcohol ratio should be about 1:3

Fill one half pint jar 1/4-1/3 of the way full with your herb combination. For my recipe, I used equal parts cacao and dandelion, although I could have done more dandelion for more bitter flavor or more cacao for more cacao flavor. Once your herb is in the jar, you can cover with alcohol. Fill the jar to the very top and shake well. Allow to extract for two weeks and then strain through cheesecloth. Keep in a glass dropper bottle for convenience. Enjoy!

 

Mountain Rose Herbs - Dandelion and Cacao Bitters Recipe

 

 

 

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.

- See more at: http://mountainroseblog.com/dandy-tummy-bitters-recipe/#sthash.n9rqWJap.dpuf

 

 

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.

- See more at: http://mountainroseblog.com/dandy-tummy-bitters-recipe/#sthash.n9rqWJap.dpuf

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.

- See more at: http://mountainroseblog.com/dandy-tummy-bitters-recipe/#sthash.n9rqWJap.dpuf

The Sunday Steep

Posted by Kori|13 July 2014

syrup

 

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…

 

suntea

Summer Sniffles Tea

2 Tablespoons organic Slippery Elm Bark

2 Tablespoons organic Marshmallow Root or organic Marshmallow Leaf

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.

sundaysteep

DIY: Homemade Ginger “Bug” and Fermented Herbal Sodas

Posted by Kori|07 July 2014

gingerdrink

 

Brace yourselves for my true confession…I love fizzy, buzzy, sodas. There, I’ve said it and I’m not the least bit sorry! While I do avoid commercial sodas for obvious and well-documented reasons, I still get mad cravings for a good ginger ale or sparkly fruity punch. In addition to the refreshing nature of a tasty soda drink, there is something about it that makes me feel youthful, playful, and decadent. While there are more choices on the market now for sparkly fermented beverages made with healthier ingredients, like kombucha and fruit sodas made with real fruit and cane sugar, they can be a bit on the spendy side. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to make delicious fermented soda beverages in the home kitchen and I can use fruits from my own garden!

The first step in creating soda at home is to make a fermented culture known as a Ginger Bug. This takes a few days, but it isn’t the slightest bit hard! It could even be a fun learning project for a child. Here’s the basic recipe:

Ginger Bug

Equal parts fresh ginger, organic cane sugar, and filtered water

I used approximately 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 Tablespoons cane sugar

2 Tablespoons filtered water

Mix these ingredients in a jar. I just tossed them into the jar, put the lid on, and swirled it around to combine.

Each day for 5-7 days, add the same equal parts of these three ingredients to the mixture:

2 Tablespoons fresh, grated ginger

2 Tablespoons cane sugar

2 Tablespoons water

elderberriesbl

Elderberry Soda

I make my version of Elderberry Syrup every fall and sometimes have a bit left over as spring turns into summer to use for a delicious soda. It’s quite easy to make at any time of the year though! Here’s my recipe and another recipe here.

1 cup dried, organic elderberries

4 cups water

1 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon or 1 Tablespoon cinnamon bark

1 teaspoon organic whole cloves

1 teaspoon organic ground ginger or 1 Tablespoon ginger root

1/4 cup organic wild cherry bark

1 Tablespoon organic dried orange peel

Put all these ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Once the mixture boils, turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer for 30-40 minutes. Using a strainer, pour the mixture into a large glass or Pyrex bowl (compost the herbs and berries). I like to press down with a wooden spoon to make sure I get all the juice and flavor I can! Let the mixture cool a bit and add 2 cups raw, organic honey to the mixture while it is warm, but not hot. This helps the honey to incorporate into the juice without the need to heat.

This makes about 5 cups of a rather thick syrup (thick enough to use on pancakes or waffles).

For the Soda

In a half-gallon pitcher or jar, add 2 cups of Elderberry Syrup and fill almost to the top with cold, filtered water. To this, add 1/2 cup of the Ginger Bug. Stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Cover with cheesecloth and a rubber band and allow to sit at room temperature for 3-5 days while it ferments. Depending on the weather, season, ambient temperature, and other variables, it may ferment quickly or take a little longer. Taste it after 2 days and see how it tastes to you and then decide if you’d like to let it go a little longer.

You can bottle your soda at this point, if you’d like. Use bottles with a screw top or bottle as you would homemade beer. I prefer to make small batches and drink it rather quickly as they do continue to ferment, even if stored in sealed bottles in the fridge.

Experiment!

Once you’ve made the Elderberry Syrup, you can use the same technique to make syrups from other fruits and herbs. A rose or lavender syrup or a fruit juice base would work nicely for a home-crafted soda. As you use some of the Ginger Bug, add equal parts fresh, grated ginger root, cane sugar, and water to replace. Like a sourdough starter, this culture can last for quite a while if tended properly and you can have the makings for delicious homemade sodas at your fingertips!

 

 

ginger-illustration

 

Make Your Own Natural Sunscreen!

Posted by Alieta|17 June 2014

Make Your Own Natural Sunscreen!

 

If you love the sun as much as I do, you’ve probably been scouring the natural foods stores for the best natural sun protection out there. I worked at a grocery co-op for a while and even though we had the best products on the market for happy healthy skin with minimal additives, I’ve still always wanted to go a little further.

I’ve spent the last couple of months perfecting a sunscreen recipe, and have finally created one that I’m happy to share with friends and family. For this recipe I combined all of my favorite skin-loving ingredients and combined it with the known protection of a small amount of zinc oxide (non-nano) for a super protective and perfectly nourishing sun screen.

Right now is also the perfect time of year to utilize the powerful sun for infusing oils. This is a great way to add the healing properties of herbs to a body care recipe. I like to keep a bottle of calendula infused olive oil and lavender infused olive oil around, because I know I use them in SO many recipes. For this one, I used half calendula infused olive oil and half lavender infused olive oil. If you want a shortcut, you can purchase calendula infused oil here and use it alone for the recipe.

Make Your Own Natural Sunscreen!

Herbs for Healthy Skin

Calendula

Known for its anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties. Slightly astringent and antiseptic.

Lavender

Lavender is a calming and relaxing herb. It is antispasmodic, antiseptic, and used to relieve sunburns, insect bites, cuts, blemishes, and muscular aches. A classic healing herb for skin – especially minor burns.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe helps to both moisturize the skin while being mildly astringent to draw out heat. It is soothing and helps relieve irritation from sunburn, minor skin burns, rashes, and insect bites.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a rich and thick (you may need to heat it in warm water to use it) golden brown base oil with a strong and nutty aroma.  Neem oil is derived from pressed neem tree nuts and has antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties.  Neem also has a low natural SPF which will help protect your skin!

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil comes from pressed sesame seeds. Sesame oil is an antioxidant base oil and is a source of vitamins A and E and protein. Sesame oil has a long shelf life and also has a low natural SPF.

Unrefined Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a great ingredient for lip balms, lotions, deodorants, and is known as the ultimate skin softener. Makes a great after-sun treatment.

Olive Oil

Derived from the first pressing of ripe olives with beneficial vitamins and minerals. It is a great oil for infusing herbs, although in body care it is best used lightly unless you enjoy the aroma. In this recipe, you won’t be able to smell it in the end.

Beeswax

Beeswax is used as a thickener in recipes for creams, lotion, salves, butters and balms. It also adds a lightly protective barrier to the skin. If you desire a vegan recipe, you could replace it with carnauba wax.

Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter smells heavenly! Cocoa butter is hard at room temperature but easily melts at body temperature. This will help keep your final product solid until you rub it on. Great before, during, and after sun!

Shea Butter

Derived from pressed shea nuts, this butter is a cream-colored soft substance with a strong nutty fragrance.  Shea butter is a highly emollient, skin softening additive that’s great for lotions and creams, as well as body balms and nail care.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender Essential Oil contains all of the amazing healing power of lavender flowers, but concentrated into a highly aromatic and therapeutic oil.  A few drops go a long way, so I use this oil both as a soothing agent and for fragrance since it blends deliciously with the scent of the cacao and shea butter.

DIY Herbal Sunscreen Recipe

Make Your Own Natural Sunscreen!

 

Ingredients

1/8 cup organic Calendula or organic Lavender infused oil (Jojoba, Grapeseed, or Olive Oil)
1/8 cup Aloe Vera Gel
1/8 cup organic Neem Oil
1/8 cup organic Sesame Oil
1/8 cup organic Coconut Oil
1/8 cup Beeswax Pastilles
1/8 cup organic Cocoa Butter or 10 wafers
1/8 cup organic Shea Butter
40 drops organic Lavender essential oil
1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil

OPTIONAL:
2 Tbsp Zinc Oxide (non-micro) – I found mine online.

If you don’t want to add Zinc Oxide, that’s totally fine. Simply omit it and you will have a lovely lotion great for the skin with a low natural protection around 5 SPF.  If you go this route, it will be important to test out how the protection works for you with short exposures. Use multiple applications!

These tins work perfectly to store your natural sun block. I used one 4 oz tin and two small 1 oz tins.

Directions

When making body care products that include oils and butters and other ingredients, I always melt my butters first.  You can do this using a double boiler over medium heat.

1. In a Pyrex bowl, melt together coconut oil, beeswax, cacao butter, and shea butter over gently simmering water.

2. Once melted, add in your oils and your aloe vera gel.

3. Once everything is adequately mixed together, remove from heat and then stir in the zinc oxide if using. Be careful while doing this step, zinc can be irritating if it comes into contact with mucous membranes, especially in this powder form. Wear cloth around your nose and mouth and goggles. It is important to agitate as much as possible at this stage. Use a whisk to mix thoroughly.

4. Lastly, add in your essential oils and Vitamin E Oil. Stir until well distributed.

5. Pour into containers and let cool until solid before closing with a lid.

And now you’ve made your own sunscreen!  Time to soak up the sun safe and luxuriously! The sunscreen will be usable in about an hour, but will harden more overnight.  Apply a thin layer when out and about in the sun, every hour for optimal nourishment. You’ll notice in the photo that the sunscreen you just made will go on silky smooth and won’t leave behind a white residue.

 

Make Your Own Natural Sunscreen!

 

The Sunday Steep

Posted by Kori|15 June 2014

tea-set-blog

 

One of my favorite tea-making strategies is to take a delicious tea blend that I love and add extra goodness to it with organic herbs and berries. It is a great way to get extra nutritive, calming, and health benefits out of a cup of tea. This tea is all about healthy calm while building on the yummy flavors in our organic Peace Tea (like spearmint, lavender and rose). I like to toss in some nettle leaf and schisandra berries. Feel free to substitute other herbs that speak to you when the stressors of life start to wear you down!

nettleinfuse

 

Calm Spirit Tea

1 Tablespoon organic Peace Tea

1 Tablespoon organic Nettle leaf

1 Tablespoon organic Schisandra berries, dried

Put all ingredients in an infuser, nest or tea bag. Pour boiling water over and let steep for 4-5 minutes. I like to make this one up in a disposable tea filter and let the compostable paper bag stay in my cup while I drink the tea, just to make sure I extract as much of the tasty nutrients as possible. This makes enough for one large cup, but you can multiply the measurements for a full pot (or more.)

Enjoy!

sundaysteep

 

Photo Thursday!

Posted by Erin|05 June 2014

Mountain Rose Herbs Pop Up Shop

 

We are in downtown Eugene setting up for our first ever Pop-Up Shop! 

Come out and see us this weekend to experience our organic herbal goodies in-person. Enjoy free organic tea while you stock up on 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!

 

Mountain Rose Herbs
Pop-Up Shop!

When?

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

Where?

Broadway Commerce Center
50 W. Broadway in Downtown Eugene, Oregon

 

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Posted by Kori|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:

Hawthorn Berry Extract

Eleuthero Root Extract

Muscle Care Extract

Male Care Extract or Male Care Capsules

Happy Man Tea

Joy Tonic

Mountain Rose Herbs - Father's Gift Guide

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!

Herbal Facial Kit

Lemon Face Wash

Rosemary Hair Oil

Herbal Bath Salts

Natural Deodorants

 

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

Mountain Rose Herbs - Father's Day Gift Guide

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:

Grateful Heart Tea

Memory Zest Tea

Cast Iron Tea Pot

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.

For the man on the move, toss the books in our Support Organic Agriculture messenger bag and fill one of our Tea-to-Go glass tea infusers with his favorite tea blend, and he’s good to go!

 

 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!

 

 

 

 

Basic Botany: The Lily Family

Posted by Erin|26 May 2014

 

Let’s take a closer look at the Lily Family!

 

Basic Botany: The Lily Family

Liliaceae – The Lily Family

(lil-ee-AY-see-ee)

Identification Tips

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:

The Four Whorls of the Flower

Basic Botany: Rose Family

Basic Botany: Carrot Family

 

Basic Botany: The Lily Family

Basic Botany: The Carrot Family

Posted by Erin|19 May 2014

 

Let’s take a closer look at the Carrot Family!

Botany: Carrot Family

Click to enlarge

Apiaceae – The Carrot Family

(a-pee-AY-see-ee)

 

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.

 

Identification Tips

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

This family includes celery, parsnip, fennel, cumin, anise, parsley, caraway, dill, Queen Anne’s lace, angelica, osha, giant cow parsnip, water hemlock, and poison hemlock.

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:

The Four Whorls of the Flower

Basic Botany: Rose Family

 Botany: The Carrot Family

 

Chia: Using the Ancient Superfood

Posted by Christine|09 May 2014

Chia: Using the Ancient Superfood

 

Yummy Chia!

This new book was written by one of our favorite vegan chefs, Beverly Lynn Bennett.

Chia: Using the Ancient Superfood

Chia: Using the Ancient Superfood

 

Grown as a staple crop for centuries in North, Central, and South America, chia seeds were highly prized by Aztec warriors and athletes for the sustained energy they provided. A source of low-fat, plant-based protein, and both soluble and insoluble fiber, chia seeds also contain eight times the amount of essential fatty acids (EFAs) found in salmon.

You’ll find more than 25 recipes ranging from desserts, snacks, and beverages, to casseroles, soups, salads, and breakfast dishes all showing just how easy and delicious it can be to add these minuscule marvels to your daily diet. Some of our favorites include Chocolate Chia Pudding, Seed-Crusted Tofu Cutlets (cover image), and the Paradise Smoothie.

 

You can order a copy of the book here!

 

Chia: Using the Ancient Superfood

 

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    Erin is the Marketing Director at Mountain Rose and studied herbalism, botany, and ethical wildcrafting at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. She spends her days making botanical illustrations, playing in the garden, creating culinary gems, and formulating medicine in the magnificent Oregon Cascades.
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