Archive for the ‘Natural Health’ Category
Posted by|14 May 2013
Have you heard of the “no ‘poo” movement? It’s definitely not my favorite term, but the philosophy behind it is worth exploring. It refers to the droves of people turning away from using expensive commercial shampoos and conditioners. These products often contain harsh synthetic fragrances, sodium laureth sulfate, propylene glycol, and other creepy ingredients that come from mystery labs around the world. We trust that these products will make our hair gorgeous and drench ourselves in weird chemicals without knowing how they affect our overall health. Plus, think of the millions of plastic bottles that end up in the recycling bin, or worse, from all of the hair products we use.
But…you HAVE to use shampoo, right?
We’ve been told to “lather, rinse, and repeat” for decades now – and with dreams of healthy, shiny, flowy, bouncy perfection, we have complied. But what happens? The first day after a wash, your hair is kinda frizzy and dried out. On the second day it’s looking pretty good. By the third day it’s a crazy greasy mess again and time to shampoo. This cycle happens as your scalp desperately tries to maintain balance. Most shampoo strips your hair of sebum, which is the natural oil produced by sebaceous glands to help condition and protect each strand. When it’s completely washed away, your glands sound the alarm bells and produce even more sebum to compensate for the sudden loss of protection. Using gentle cleansers and washing less often allows your body to function the way it was meant to…
Going “no ‘poo” is a different experience for everyone, depending on your natural hair and scalp condition. I have very fine, curly hair with a normal to dry scalp, so the transition was super easy for me. I started using the Chamomile Rose rinse recipe below just once a week. My hair immediately looked so much healthier and had more body and shine. Suddenly, instead of one good hair day a week, my hair was consistently awesome with less frizz and no scalp irritation at all. I know other people with thicker or oily hair go through a not so fun ”balancing” phase where the sebaceous glands continue to produce more and more sebum in anticipation of that regular shampooing. If you can stick it out, the process will eventually find homeostasis and revert back to a normal sebum production rate. This usually only takes a few weeks and is well worth the wait. Just think of all those neglected hats waiting in your closet!
Ready to try it out? These herbal hair rinses are amazing. They are so easy to make and will leave your hair feeling soft and your scalp clean and revitalized, but not stripped or dried out. Use once a week to replace your shampoo for good and allow your natural oils to condition each strand from root to tip.
Chamomile Rose Rinse
1 ½ cups organic Chamomile tea, brewed strong
1 cup organic Rose Petal tea, brewed strong
1 tbsp baking soda
The deep golden yellow produced by the chamomile flowers makes this a wonderful choice for light colored hair or to enhance natural highlights in darker hair. My hair is dirty blond and I really notice a lightening effect like a sunny glow to my hair when I let it soak in for at least 5 minutes before rinsing out.
Rosemary Cacao Rinse
1 ½ cups organic Cacao nib tea, brewed strong
1 cup organic Rosemary leaf tea, brewed strong
3 drops organic Peppermint essential oil
1 tbsp baking soda
Rosemary is a classic herb for hair health. It brings circulation to the scalp and stimulates the follicles. It is also known to enhance the richness in dark colored hair. The naturally conditioning cocoa butter fats found in cacao nibs will leave your hair feeling soft, and the chocolate colored infusion is perfect for all shades of brown hair. Peppermint oil adds an invigoratingly clean scent, and is great for oily or sensitive scalps.
Nettle Lavender Rinse
2 1/2 cups organic Nettle leaf tea, brewed strong
5 drops organic Lavender essential oil
1 tbsp baking soda
Nettle is a wonderfully strengthening tonic herb for hair. Its high mineral and vitamin content nourishes all hair types. Lavender essential oil is calming and helps normalize both dry and oily scalp conditions, and its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory nature makes it a nice choice for irritated or sensitive scalps too. This formula is perfect for all hair colors and types.
- Using a covered pot, decoct your herbs for 10-15 minutes. I generally use 1/4 cup of herbs per cup of water.
- Strain out the herbs and combine your herbal infusion, essential oils, and baking soda together in a glass jar. You want the baking soda to be completely dissolved and well mixed.
- Allow to cool to body temperature.
- Pour over dry hair or soak hair in the mixture for at least 5 minutes. Massage the scalp gently using a circular motion.
- Rinse out with clean running water.
- You can follow the herbal rinse with an apple cider vinegar rinse if you’d like, which is a really popular method, but I usually skip it.
Feel free to experiment with other herb and essential oil combinations. For more information and guidance about what herbs are good for hair care, check out Naturally Healthy Hair by Mary Beth Janssen.
Enjoy your natural tresses!
Posted by|13 May 2013
This recipe is such a convenient preparation which either can be used alone or incorporated into cosmetic and medicinal recipes. And, it couldn’t be simpler to make!
Witch Hazel extract is produced from the leaves and bark of the North American shrub Witch-hazel, Hamamelis virginiana. It has astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and anesthetic properties, making it an invaluable ingredient for many different medicinal and cosmetic preparations.
I especially love using herbal infused witch hazel as a facial toner, often incorporate it into facial wash recipes, and a small dab works great on blemishes. Beneficial for all skin types from oily to dry and mature skin, Witch Hazel is often used as an aftershave, to cleanse oils from the skin, remove make-up, decrease bags under eyes and skin puffiness, reduce pore size, and to minimize varicose veins. Medicinally, Witch Hazel extract is often applied as a compress or added to bath water to assist with minor injuries, skin irritations, insect bites, hemorrhoids, rashes from poison ivy or oak, localized inflammations, and other conditions. Athletes sometimes rub Witch Hazel extract onto their arms or legs prior to workouts to help prevent muscle strain, or after a workout to help relieve soreness.
What you’ll need:
• Witch Hazel extract
It’s best to use a high quality organic Witch Hazel extract. Commercial Witch Hazel extracts usually contain more alcohol than actual Witch Hazel, and have only been distilled once. However, true Witch Hazel extracts (like the one offered by Mountain Rose Herbs) has been double distilled, and contains 86% Witch Hazel extract and only 14% alcohol. This makes it more soothing than the versions found in stores, and it lacks the alcohol sting and scent.
• Herb(s) of choice
Here some favorites, but feel free to be creative! You can make infuse just one or can make a blend: Basil, Calendula, Chamomile, Elder flowers, Green Sencha Leaf tea, Lavender flowers, Lemon Balm, Lemon peel, Lemon Verbena, Lemongrass, Nettle leaf, Orange Peel, Peppermint, Rose petals, Rosemary, Sage, Red Clover flowers, Vanilla beans.
1. Place the dried herbs in a glass mason jar, and cover completely with the Witch Hazel extract. Make sure that the Witch Hazel extract covers the herbs by at least 1-2” to account for swelling once that the herbs become hydrated. If the herbs swell and rise above the Witch Hazel extract, simply add more Witch Hazel extract until they are fully submerged.
2. Cap tightly and place in a cool, dark place like a cabinet or closet.
3. Allow to infuse for at least 2 weeks, shaking the jar daily or as often as you remember. You will notice that the Witch Hazel will quickly take on the scent and color of the herbs.
4. Once finished, strain the herbs out using cheesecloth or a fine cloth. Pour into a clean bottle, label, and enjoy!
The FDA has approved Witch Hazel distillate as safe for external use in skin care products. Avoid using Witch Hazel extract close to the mucus membranes or in the eyes, as it contains a small amount of alcohol. It is best to use on this product on unbroken skin. External use of Witch Hazel extract could result in minor skin irritation for some people. Do not use on serious burns, cuts, or other wounds.
Posted by|07 May 2013
Looking for a last minute Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift?
How about a little pampering just for yourself?
Our luxurious and botanically rich Herbal Facial Kit is so easy to use and leaves your skin wonderfully soft and glowing. Handcrafted with organic herbs, pure essential oils, fine cosmetic clays, and pure rosewater, this kit is perfect for everyone.
Each kit comes packaged in a decorative reusable box made out of recycled board stock that’s covered in a tree-free wild grass paper, and then finished with a sweet little twig closure. Perfect for storing your facial kit ingredients or any other treasures you may have.
Complete with step-by-step instructions, each kit comes with enough supplies for 5 facials and includes some of our very favorite Mountain Rose Herbs facial care products – all made by us in small batches:
Herbal Steam – Open pores with skin nourishing plant oils.
Cleansing Grains – Gently exfoliate dead skin and clear pores.
Green Clay Mask – Absorb toxins, stimulate circulation, and deep clean pores.
Wild Rose Facial Oil – Moisturize, protect, and balance your skin.
Rosewater Toner – Invigorating astringent to tighten pores and seal in moisture.
You can find the Herbal Facial Kit here!
Posted by|30 April 2013
We have a special gift to help you celebrate Herb Day this year!
In honor of this extraordinary community event, Mountain Rose Herbs will send out a free online packet called Herbal Medicine Making 101. Simply visit this link, enter your email address, and select the “Herb Day Newsletter” box. If you already subscribe to our regular newsletter, you are good to go! Then on May 4th we will send you an email filled with free lessons including…
How to Make Tinctures
Herbal Oils & Salves
Infusions & Decoctions
More about Herb Day:
The eighth annual Herb Day will take place Saturday, May 4, 2013. Herb Day is an international celebration of herbs and herbal products that is packed with events aimed at educating and sharing ideas about the many ways herbs bring joy and well-being into our daily lives. We celebrate herbs in food, beverages, medicine, beauty products, and crafts, along with the art of growing and gardening with herbs. Herb Day is a grassroots movement and its events belong to everyone who chooses to participate. Although May 4th will be the focal point of our celebration, we encourage you to commemorate Herb Day any time of year!
Posted by|23 April 2013
Well, well…a bit of time has passed since the Rootstalk Festival happened back in 2011, but we are SO excited to finally bring you a new video series from the event featuring some of our favorite herb walks and storytelling moments. These videos are fun and informative, and really make our hearts smile to experience this wonderful gathering all over again. Such sweet memories!
Next up is herbalist jim mcdonald’s entertaining exploration of a favorite spring herb: nettle! There are so many different ways to use nettle and you’ll probably learn some new preparations from jim during this in-depth 25 minute video. He’ll teach you about nettle sting therapy, share his secrets of raw spiced nettle treats, his favorite herbal combinations for nettle infusions, using nettle seeds, and more interesting tidbits. Plus, he also gives a great description of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and how nettle can be helpful. There might even be a surprise guest star herbalist in the crowd…
Thanks to LearningHerbs.com for putting this together for us all to enjoy!
Posted by|22 April 2013
Rosemary Gladstar writes, “Spring is here! It’s time to come out and play. To review our lives, and make new plans…to dream alive! It’s also a time of renewing and re-nourishing our precious bodies.”
In this free online class, Rosemary will cover the importance of wild greens, both nutritionally and energetically. Dandelions, plantain, nettle, chickweed and many more favorites will be covered, as well as her favorite ways to prepare wild greens, and ethical wild harvesting.
We hope you’ll join us Thursday night for this free online event in celebration of the upcoming 11th International Herb Symposium, which Mountain Rose Herbs and LearningHerbs.com are excited to sponsor again this year!
Plus, you could win these goodies…
You won’t want to miss Rosemary’s wisdom or the amazing giveaways during the teleseminar including this herbal gift set from Mountain Rose Herbs: Tea-to-Go Glass Infuser, Evening Repose Tea, Peace Tea, Blossoms of Health Tea, Dandelion Tincture, Elder Berry Tincture, and Skullcap Tincture!
Thursday, April 25th 2013
(7:30 Central, 6:30 Mountain, 5:30 Pacific)
Posted by|16 April 2013
As much as I wish I could simply open a book or do an internet search and find all the answers to my Menopausal challenges, I’m learning that my version of what I’m calling my “ transition” is as unique as I am. I am not interested in masking or pretending that I am not getting older, but I wouldn’t mind finding a little relief and learning some new ways to cope with these inevitable changes. Fortunately, there are some wonderful resources available, and I’ve come up with a few of my own solutions for the realities of how mid-life is shaking out for me.
I have always been someone who could fall asleep anywhere and sleep fabulously! Well, I used to be someone who could sleep anywhere – now with the menopausal journey, I find it harder to fall asleep, stay asleep and keep from overheating into a blazing and cranky beast! It has inspired me to develop a few coping strategies…
With a little experimentation, I came up with this tea recipe for my pre-bedtime ritual. While there are some wonderful soothing tea blends available, I wanted something tasty, a little sweet, and calming. I mix up enough to make a pot of tea, but you could reduce the amounts or mix it up and use a few teaspoons if you’d like to make a cup (I use all dried herbs for this tea, boiling the water on the stove and putting the herb mix into a large infuser. Once I pour the water into the pot, I let it steep about 4-5 minutes):
Sleep and Dream Tea
2 Tbsp organic Spearmint
1 Tbsp organic Chamomile
1 Tbsp organic St. John’s Wort
1 Tbsp organic Nettle Leaf
1 Tbsp organic Rosebuds
While I drink this without any additional sweetener, you could add a little local, organic honey. My grandmother used to give us grandkids a spoonful of honey right before bed, telling us it would give us “sweet dreams.” I’ve since read there is some truth to that folk therapy, as the complex sugars in the honey may help regulate the blood sugar, allowing for a sound night’s sleep without waking with a rumbly tummy.
Lavender Salt Soak
I’ve found a warm (but not too hot, as it can bring on a hotflash or flushing for me) bath soak in salts and organic Lavender essential oil right before bed, further helps relax and prepare me for a decent night’s sleep. Since I’m not very fussy, I literally toss a handful of Epsom or Dead Sea salt under the running water, along with about 4-5 drops of Lavender essential oil. Sometimes, I’ll add a little drizzle of some of my homemade calendula infused oil (calendula and sunflower oil) for extra luxurious softness!
Lavender essential oil has become my secret sleep weapon: During my weekly bed linen swap, I sprinkle a few drops of undiluted lavender essential oil over the mattress pad and pillows before re-making with fresh cotton sheets (the flannel ones are temporarily retired as they are just too warm now!) The clean, calming scent of lavender drifts all around me as I drift off to sleep—crossing my fingers I’ll be able to stay that way!
This post 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.
Posted by|09 April 2013
Spring is the classic time for deep-cleaning your home, but it is also a perfect time to cleanse and nurture the body. These herbals gently cleanse, nourish, and are perfect for providing energy and warmth after the cold, winter months and before the busy summer months begin.
These nourishing herbs provide essential vitamins and minerals, are so nourishing, taste delicious, and give a nice caffeine-free energy boost. Perfect as an afternoon “pick-me-up” or when the body feels run down or in need of nourishment.
Use one of the above herbs, or a combination. Simply place a handful of dried herbs in a glass quart jar, pour boiling water over them, cap the jar, and then let the mixture sit overnight. In the morning, strain the mixture, and then drink throughout the day. Yum!
The bitter taste of these roots stimulates the flow of saliva and digestion. Bitters are beneficial for poor and sluggish digestion, gas, bloating, and constipation, they help our bodies process nutrients, stimulate the metabolism, and increase appetite. Simply take a few drops before a meal to get the digestive juices going.
- 1 part organic Burdock root
- 1 part organic Dandelion root
- ¼-1/2 part organic Ginger root (depending on how spicy you like it)
- 100 proof vodka or other alcohol of choice, or use a 50:50 mixture of Everclear to water
Place all herbs into a glass mason jar, cover with alcohol. Make sure that the herbs are covered by at least 1-2” of alcohol. Add more alcohol as needed if the herbs swell above the alcohol. Place the jar in a dark area, and shake at least once per day (or as often as you remember). After 4-8 weeks, strain through cheesecloth, reserving the liquid and composting the spent herbs. Pour the bitters formula into glass bottles, and store in a dark, cool area. Review our Guide to Making Tinctures for more instructions specific to using dried or fresh roots in this recipe.
A twist on the classic lemon juice and cayenne “master cleanse” drink, this beverage incorporates Ginger and Turmeric. This spicy and healthful beverage is especially beneficial first thing in the morning to help cleanse and flush the body.
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- pinch of organic Cayenne powder
- pinch of fresh or dried powdered Ginger root
- a pinch of dried powdered Turmeric root
- Honey, maple syrup, or molasses (optional) to taste
Mix all ingredients into a cup of hot water, and enjoy!
Posted by|05 April 2013
Oooh! We have a new addition to our line of organic loose-leaf black teas that is truly intoxicating…
Our new organic Vanilla Black Tea is expertly handcrafted with our organic fair trade Assam tea from India, organic chrysanthemum flowers, gorgeous chunks of organic fair trade vanilla beans, and just a touch of organic vanilla flavoring. The crisp aroma and deeply floral flavor of this caffeinated tea is pure vanilla bliss. We’re so excited to debut it!
Posted by|04 April 2013
Yes, this actually happened.
Just snuggling the skullcap tincture seemed to work for this little one, huh?
Guess squirrels are herbalists too!
Posted by|03 April 2013
Have you heard the exciting news?
The Herb Fairies are back!
If you missed this one-of-a-kind online book club last year and wish you and your children could learn about herbs together, you’re in luck! Now is your chance to meet all of the Herb Fairies through 13 wonderfully colorful and interactive books. This thoughtfully created series teaches kids plant identification and herbalism through the art of storytelling, crafting, and exploration.
We’ve never seen another program like this before and we’re sooo happy to be a part of the magic…
Visit HerbFairies.com now to watch a fun video featuring some adorable kid-made entries from the “Herb Fairies Film Festival” and learn more about this incredible herbal learning system.
As a sneak peek, we have something really special for you! Here’s a free activity pack from the series including a coloring sheet of Stellaria the Chickweed Fairy, herbal recipes to try, and a journaling page!
Posted by|02 April 2013
If you love the aroma of toasty sesame seeds and the oceanic saltiness of seaweed like me, you might soon find this blend gracing your dinner table nightly. With just a flick of the wrist, this delicious combination of flavors adds a nutritive boost and subtle richness to just about any savory recipe you’re making. Plus, it can be a wonderful substitute for plain table salt, or customized with other herbs and spices to make it either more medicinal or more flavorful.
Gomasio or “gomashio” is a seasoning blend commonly sprinkled on simple rice dishes in Japan. The word means “salt and pepper” – as in someone who is handsomely graying, but also for the traditional combination of black sesame seeds and white sea salt.
In this re-imagined recipe, I’ve used toasted white sesame seeds along with hemp seeds, milk thistle seeds, and a touch of mineral dense Himalayan pink salt, but there are so many other possibilities to explore. I’d love to hear if you create a combination that is particularly delicious!
Herbal Gomasio Recipe!
1 cup organic sesame seeds, raw or quickly dry toasted in a pan
½ cup dulse flakes
1 tbsp Himalayan pink salt
*Optional ingredients: hemp seeds, milk thistle seeds, dried nettle leaf, peppercorns, garlic granules, fennel seed, dandelion leaf, flax seeds, chili flakes, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, dried oregano, dried holy basil, or really any other tasty herb or spice you can grind. Feel free to experiment with your favorite flavors or nutritive combinations.
To dry toast the sesame seeds, gently warm them in a pan over medium heat, tossing or stirring constantly. When the oil begins to release and the seeds start to turn golden, remove the seeds from heat and place in a bowl to cool. Be very careful not to let them burn!
Next toss all ingredients together until well mixed and grind in a suribachi, food processor, or one of our new glass vase grinders shown above. Use in place of table salt to season any dish. Especially tasty with rice, salad, sandwiches, wraps, pizza, popcorn, soup, and veggies. Enjoy!