Heidi

Heidi is a native Oregonian and an award winning freelance writer with a passion for urban homesteading. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been honored to receive a number of literary prizes including the esteemed Pushcart Prize, and an Individual Artists Award in Creative Writing from the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. When she isn’t working in the garden, cleaning the henhouse, preserving food for winter, pruning the fruit trees, or writing and editing content for really fantastic small businesses, you’ll find her in her quilting room, or somewhere with her nose in a book, or up in the mountains alongside her husband and her terrier pup, Gracie Cakes.

Recent Posts

20+ DIY Herbal Recipes You Can Make for Under $10

 

Affordability is a real issue when it comes to health and wellness. Many of us are living on tight budgets, and that’s not getting any better with the current skyrocketing inflation. One of the things that I love about herbalism is that it empowers me to make better choices for my health and wellbeing without blowing my budget. It’s true that some herbal formulations require ingredients that are beyond what I can purchase, but there are many effective options that fall comfortably in the affordable zone, so I’ve never felt like I missed out because I couldn't buy those pricier options. The following 20+ recipes are perfect examples. From wellness recipes to topical applications and culinary treats, these excellent, affordable formulations have served the Mountain Rose Herbs community well for many years. Enjoy!

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Posted by Heidi

Black Cohosh: A Powerhouse Herb to Use and Source Mindfully+ Recipe for Hot Flashes

Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) is one of the top-selling herbal supplements in the United States. According to United Plant Savers (UpS), the harvest of black cohosh in our nation is as much as half-a-million pounds in dry weight per year—and 97% of that harvest is wild-sourced! This level of massive-scale wildharvesting has repercussions and raises concerns about the long-term sustainability of this powerhouse herb. Fortunately, unlike some of our other favorite forest-farmed botanicals, black cohosh is easy to cultivate. While this doesn’t address the immediate issue, it does give us hope for a bright future. Let’s take a deeper look at what we can do to support a sustainable future for black cohosh.

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Posted by Heidi

Carrier Oils: What Are They and How Are They Made?

Have you ever had the experience of talking about something—that to you is the most normal thing in the world, like talking about ice cream—only to discover that your audience is looking at you blankly, and you realize that they have no idea what you’re saying? I had a conversation recently with a couple of folks who expressed interest in essential oils for massage. I was expounding on appropriate carrier oils to use for DIY massage oil recipes and had gone on for a couple of minutes on this topic, when I saw them looking at each other with perplexed faces. As I sputtered to a stop, one of them said, “What is a carrier oil?” Ah, right; I clearly needed to back up and start at the beginning. With that in mind, let’s take a  moment to talk about carrier oils, starting with what the heck they are and how they’re made.

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Posted by Heidi

How to Make Tulsi Sipping Vinegar + Spritzer and Shrub Cocktail Recipes

 

A friend called the other day and before I had a chance to finish with “Hello” she asked, “What was that vinegar drink you made last summer? The zingy one with basil and berries?” It was a shrub: a “zingy” drinking vinegar infused with fruit. Apparently, my friend had a craving because berry season is upon us. It was a good reminder—this is a perfect time to start infusing vinegars with herbs and fruit for both refreshing summer drinks and herbal formulations for later in the year. I love the allure of a jar full of drinking vinegar and the potential it represents for delicious, healthful sipping. Infuse berries and we’re also well on our way to a perfect shrub cocktail/mocktail season.

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5 Natural Recipes For When You’ve Had Too Much Sun

I am one of those people who seeks out shade. On a camping day or a lazy afternoon at the river, as the sun crosses the sky, I will be the one moving my camp chair to stay out of its way. And yet, somehow, I still find myself dealing with the effects of too much sun. It’s easy to underestimate the sun’s power when we’re busy playing, gardening, swimming, hiking, and enjoying other summertime activities. That’s why I prepare ahead by keeping the necessary components around for simple botanical formulations that help alleviate the symptoms of prolonged sun exposure. When you have the ingredients, the recipes below take just minutes to put together, so you’re only a couple steps away from sweet relief.

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Posted by Heidi

How to Choose High Quality Herbs and Spices

Recently, as I was making soup with my three-year-old granddaughter and teaching her to pronounce galangal root, I found myself in an extended game of “name that spice.” It turns out you can get through an entire elaborate Thai soup recipe with a toddler in this way; I highly recommend it. It goes something like this: Cute toddler points at spice jar and asks, “What is that spice?” Adult says, “Paprika. Smell it, what do you think?” Cute toddler makes funny face and spies another spice that looks similar. “Is that paprika too?” Adult is impressed. “Good eye, that’s smoked paprika. Does it smell different?” And on it goes like that through the colored jars. In this way, I was reminded that I have so many jars of excellent dried herbs and spices and it’s definitely time to check them for freshness.

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Posted by Heidi

How to Choose the Best Cooking Oil + Oil Smoke Point Chart

When we make body care formulations, we choose specific oils and butters based on our final goals: consistency, absorption rate, skin type, etc. The same is true for cooking. Fats, like those in culinary oils, are integral to our dishes, not just to keep food from sticking to a pan, but also to affect the final flavor, consistency, texture, and more. Every cooking oil has a unique chemical composition that makes it better at some things than others. This is why one oil might be amazing in a salad dressing or for a lightly sautéed protein, but is a poor choice for grilling or deep-frying. To achieve your cooking goals, it’s important to understand culinary oils and fats. And an important element of that understanding is the smoke point.

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Posted by Heidi

Trillium Plant: An Age-Old Ally That Needs Our Help

Mountain girl that I am, trillium is one of my favorite flowers. TechnicallyTrillium ovatum, also known as Pacific trillium, is what I think of when I think “trillium” because it’s the one I grew up with in the Coast Range of Oregon. Trillium plants look simple (just three petals and three sepals), but they are actually a complex little botanical. They live for decades, so you can form long-term relationships with them and welcome them back year after year. Unfortunately, however, they are slow to develop and spread, which is a serious weakness in the face of habitat loss and rampant wildharvesting. Between land use issues, trillium collectors who dig up wild varieties, deer who love to munch its leaves, and herbalists who seek out the rhizomes to make potent formulations, wild trillium is now in trouble. Let’s take a look at an age-old herbal ally and what we can do to preserve this beautiful, fragile plant.

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Posted by Heidi

A Beginner's Guide to Herbalism

Are you interested in learning about herbalism, but aren’t sure where to begin? Many of us grew up learning more on this subject than we realized; we drank teas when we didnt feel well, or we put our head over a bowl of steaming vapor, or we ate a dish with curry for digestion, things that our parents or grandparents told us to do without ever saying the words herb” or herbalism.” When I was growing up, my father decocted ginger root for an upset stomach and pulled out chamomile tea for sleeplessness. He gave me raw honey for a scratchy throat and sour cranberry juice for bladder health. And yet, ironically enough, years later, when I developed a huge interest in this new thing—herbalism—I thought I was clueless on the subject. A lot of people have stories like mine; they don’t have any idea how much they know, or if what they know is correct or helpful, or how to begin to find out. If you’re ready to jump in, but aren’t sure how or what direction to aim, here is some helpful information.

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Posted by Heidi

How to Season Cast Iron + Cast Iron Conditioner Recipe

JUMP TO RECIPE!

Many of us who are cast iron cooks have read reams of advice about the proper way to season our cast iron pots and pans. To use soap or not when washing, which oils to choose, using a burner vs. the oven, whether or not to add salt—this is one of those topics that people have strong feelings about. I get it, because two of my cast iron skillets were handed down to me from my grandmother, who received them as a wedding gift in 1917. She spent decades perfecting their seasoning. Those skillets came to me in mint condition and they arrived with the stipulation that I maintain their perfection for all the years of my life and teach the next generation how to continue on in the same vein. No pressure or anything!

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Osha: A Supportive, but At-Risk Plant Ally

Photo courtesy of Susan Leopold, PhD, Executive Director at United Plant Savers.

Osha root (Ligusticum porteri) has been in use as an herbal medicine, incense, food, and for ceremonial purposes for thousands of years. When European colonists arrived in North America, osha was already being widely used by First Nations People in the American Southwest and Mexico to treat a variety of conditions, particularly those involving the upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. The Zuni people chewed the root in healing rituals and the Tarahumara people used it ritualistically in protection ceremonies. This herbal ally has been generously gifting itself to humans on our continent for millennia, and its renown has spread to other parts of the world. Unfortunately, this increasing popularity has shined a light on osha’s one significant problem—virtually all commercial osha is wildharvested because this independent herb doesn’t do well as a cultivated crop. This limitation combined with the ever-increasing demand for osha has many herbalists concerned about the viability and long-term sustainability of this precious botanical. Let’s take a deeper dive into osha.

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WELCOME

We offer one of the most thorough selections of certified organic herbs, spices, and botanical products and are commited to responsible sourcing.

Heidi

Heidi is a native Oregonian and an award winning freelance writer with a passion for urban homesteading. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, and has been honored to receive a number of literary prizes including the esteemed Pushcart Prize, and an Individual Artists Award in Creative Writing from the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. When she isn’t working in the garden, cleaning the henhouse, preserving food for winter, pruning the fruit trees, or writing and editing content for really fantastic small businesses, you’ll find her in her quilting room, or somewhere with her nose in a book, or up in the mountains alongside her husband and her terrier pup, Gracie Cakes.

Recent Posts

20+ DIY Herbal Recipes You Can Make for Under $10

Affordability is a real issue when it comes to health and wellness. Explore these 20+ effective recipes that you can make for $10 or less.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

June 27, 2022

Black Cohosh: A Powerhouse Herb to Use and Source Mindfully+ Recipe for Hot Flashes

Black cohosh is a powerhouse herb known for helping with hot flashes and night sweats that go with menopause. Learn how you can help create a sustainable future for black cohosh.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

June 20, 2022

Carrier Oils: What Are They and How Are They Made?

Carrier oils are key to many DIY herbal and aromatherapy recipes. Understanding how they are produced will help you choose the right oils for your goals.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

June 15, 2022

How to Make Tulsi Sipping Vinegar + Spritzer and Shrub Cocktail Recipes

Berry season is the perfect time to infuse vinegars with adaptogenic holy basil and healthy fruits for summer shrub cocktails and berry spritzers!
WRITTEN BY Heidi

June 8, 2022

5 Natural Recipes For When You’ve Had Too Much Sun

When we’re caught up in summer fun, it’s easy to lose track of how long we’re in the sun. These 5 recipes offer relief when you’ve had too much sunshine.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

May 26, 2022

How to Choose High Quality Herbs and Spices

The best quality dried botanicals have superior flavor, nutrient value, and food safety. Learn why product testing is key and how to test for freshness.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

May 20, 2022

How to Choose the Best Cooking Oil + Oil Smoke Point Chart

Every cooking oil has a unique composition that makes it better at some things than others. Learn how to choose the best oils for all of your culinary masterpieces.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

May 13, 2022

Trillium Plant: An Age-Old Ally That Needs Our Help

Trillium plants are an age-old herbal ally and one of the most overharvested plants in the wild. Learn what you can do to preserve this beautiful plant so it can flower for many more years to come.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

April 28, 2022

A Beginner's Guide to Herbalism

Interested in herbalism, but don't know where to begin? Build your herbalism starter kit with this guide to beginner-friendly herbs, supplies, and more.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

March 17, 2022

How to Season Cast Iron + Cast Iron Conditioner Recipe

Learn how to properly season your cast iron skillet, how to choose the best oil to season cast iron, and how to make a DIY cast iron conditioner.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

March 5, 2022

Osha: A Supportive, but At-Risk Plant Ally

Learn more about osha and how you can help take pressure off this important, at-risk herbal ally. 
WRITTEN BY Heidi

February 23, 2022