Bitter, Aromatic, and Demulcent Herbs for Digestion + 3 Recipes

This is the time of year when we start thinking about how to best support our bodies as our diets shift to heartier winter eating and those inevitable holiday meals that are just around the corner. Digestive function is a key factor in our overall health and wellness, and can be thrown off by a number of things that are part and parcel of this time of year: not just hearty cold weather meals, but also changes in our routine, less sun and exercise, the stressors (both positive and negative) of family gatherings, holiday travel, etc. This seasonal dietary and energy flux impacts our bodies in a wide variety of ways, and can particularly play havoc on our digestive system. Fortunately, when we pay attention to our own unique rhythm, we can get ahead of these factors and be prepared when our normal balance is off-kilter. There are three herbal actions that are particularly helpful: bitters, aromatics, and demulcents.

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Posted by Heidi

Herbs to Support Burnout

Burnout. Most of us at one time or another have felt fatigue, jumpiness, irritability, lack of concentration, hopelessness, occasional digestive and bowel disruptions, difficulty sleeping, headaches, and muscle soreness to name a few. It feels like we are always working to keep it at bay. Adopting nourishing nervines and adaptogens into our lives can be immensely helpful to support and balance our nervous systems.* And when I say adopt the herb, I really mean embrace them and they will embrace you back! They work best when used daily over time. If your life includes a lot of stress and/or discomfort, these herbs can help you increase your capacity and resiliency. I’ll share the ones I use most in my work as a community herbalist.

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A Midwinter Cordial to Support Your Digestive System

In the United States, ‘cordial' and ‘liqueur’ are two words for the same thing; they are sweetened distilled spirits. Although many people know them as cocktail ingredients, cordials can also be potent digestifs. This digestive-aid version of cordials is generally more bitter and less sweet than its cocktail-focused brethren and is loaded with herbs, spices, and other natural flavorings that support the digestive tract. A cordial-digestif can be as simple and delicious as a 3-seed herbal cordial for digestion, or you can make them more complex with layers of herbal flavors and aromas to delight the nose and the palate. Either way, they are ridiculously easy to make. This festive midwinter version with its blend of aromatics and bitters is the perfect finish to a holiday meal, when you have a moment to sit down and enjoy the company of your favorite people.

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Posted by Heidi

Homemade Playdough: No-Cook Playdough Colored with Herbal Powders

Recently, I was barred from calling my grandbaby any endearment that includes the word “baby.”  Apparently, we are in “big kid” territory now. The term “big kid” doesn’t really lend itself to sweet endearments, but that aside, the no-longer-baby has had one consistent love since the moment those little hands and big brain were coordinated enough to squish clay—this kid loves playdough. However, Nana (me) is not fond of the typical store-bought versions, which can include chemical preservatives, binders, lubricants, surfactants, hardeners, anti-fungal additives, and artificial fragrances and colors. My favorite little dough-lover spends hours each week rolling, shaping, stamping, and building. I don’t want her hands in chemicals, preservatives, and additives day in and day out. In her world, a day without playdough is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, which means I had to figure out how to make an excellent, naturally colored playdough that is easy to whip up when the need arises. 

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Posted by Heidi

Herbalist Shopping List for Beginners 

Getting started in herbalism can feel like embarking on a great adventure! The journey is full of excitement, discovery, and learning, but may also include a little overwhelm and uncertainty. If you are new to herbalism, you’ve likely wondered how to begin and what herbs and supplies are best to keep on hand. At the Herbal Academy, we find great joy in guiding budding herbalists and have some tips on this topic. 

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Copal: A Healer, Protector, & Guide for Dia de Muertos


I grew up with the understanding that “Life” is Ceremony. Copalli—the Nahuatl word for Copal—is a resin extracted from the Copal tree or Protium Copal (Burseraceae.) This material has been used in Indigenous practices for thousands of years. Today, the use of aromatic resin varies from ceremonially burned incense to other uses.

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Elderberry Mulled Cider Recipe for Immune Support

Herbalism is a health practice that can be traced around the globe for millennia. For most of our existence as a species, humans have lived closely with nature relying on the Earth for shelter, food, and medicine. While time-tested methods for making and consuming herbal preparations have carried through the ages, some herbal preparations have evolved to fit the needs of the modern population—like the ease of taking capsules. However, one ancient preparation involving the soaking of herbs in wine or cider has managed to stand the test of time, although it is perhaps a little under the radar.

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Posted by Elise

What Are Polysaccharides & How to Extract Them

In our continuing study of phytochemistry, let’s advance further with Polysaccharides. Studies show the many benefits of polysaccharides. They are immune modulating which means they help the immune system to regulate itself, whether stimulating or suppressing its actions. Polysaccharides stimulate the parasympathetic action to produce mucous, our body’s natural demulcent, to soothe dry, irritated tissues and assist in elimination. Contained in the primary cell walls of plants, polysaccharides act as a prebiotic, as most fiber does, to support beneficial bacteria and decrease non-beneficial bacteria. Serving as a soluble fiber, polysaccharides slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream as they enter the gut and bind bile acids. Bile acids then leave the body through the digestive system. Polysaccharides also prevent the absorption of cholesterol from food in the gastrointestinal tract and relieve constipation. 

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Ayurvedic Kitchari Recipe for Seasonal Support

We are “microcosms of the macrocosm” according to Ayurvedic philosophy—an eloquent way of describing our interconnectedness with the natural world. While technology and other changes in our society have created a separation between us and nature’s rhythms, the body’s incredible intelligence easily “remembers” its synchronicity with the macrocosm when we give it a chance. One way of creating this opportunity is by honoring the changes of the season, which Ayurveda describes as a moment in time when the system (micro- and macrocosm) is more vulnerable to illness because of the shifts in dominant energies and elements. Most of us naturally do this in some form or another—changing our wardrobe, adjusting to a new schedule for work or school, etc.—but we can take our seasonal self-care one step further by giving our digestive system some space and ease with a seasonal reset.

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American Ginseng: A Forest Grown Future


As you know, we spend a lot of time thinking about at-risk herbs and what we can all do to support these botanical allies. The issue of overharvesting in the wild is a key reason why Mountain Rose Herbs is increasingly turning to cultivated herbs when possible and why we support certified organic forest farming, particularly for hard-hit herbs like North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). We know that to ethically procure these valuable botanicals, they must be consciously and mindfully gathered and harvested. We only work with growers and harvesters who have been fully vetted, who we can trust to cultivate, harvest, and handle our plant allies with the respect and care they deserve. With that in mind, we’d like to show you what successful forest farming looks like.

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Posted by Friends

Guide to Brewing Tea

As you no doubt know, the Mountain Rose Herb team loves a good cup of tea. Our in-house artisan tea experts blend our teas with health and well-being in mind using superior botanicals to create nourishing, delicious teas with rich, organic flavors and nuanced tasting notes. But the quality of a tea is best showcased when it is brewed correctly. If you appreciate a fantastic cup of tea, here are some pointers on how to create your dream cuppa’.

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Posted by Heidi

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

Bitter, Aromatic, and Demulcent Herbs for Digestion + 3 Recipes

Learn about three herbal properties that are helpful when our normal digestive balance is off-kilter—bitters, aromatics, and demulcents. Plus recipes!
WRITTEN BY Heidi

November 21, 2022

Herbs to Support Burnout

Most people experience burnout at one time or another. Adopting nourishing nervines and adaptogens into our lives can be immensely helpful to support and balance our nervous systems. Learn about five herbal allies that you can call on in times of need.
WRITTEN BY Jet Eccleston -Guest Writer

November 15, 2022

A Midwinter Cordial to Support Your Digestive System

This festive midwinter cordial brings together bitter and aromatic herbs for a delicious digestion-supporting finish to a bountiful meal.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

November 10, 2022

Homemade Playdough: No-Cook Playdough Colored with Herbal Powders

It’s simple and fast to make awesome, homemade, no-cook playdough and you can easily color it with herbal powders rather than artificial food dyes!
WRITTEN BY Heidi

November 4, 2022

Herbalist Shopping List for Beginners 

When you are just beginning to dive into the world of herbalism, it can be a little daunting to determine which supplies you need to procure. To help mitigate time and effort at the outset (and enable you to dive right into your studies) this supply list for beginning herbalists allows you to conveniently find and purchase necessary items online so you can easily incorporate them into the learning process.
WRITTEN BY The Herbal Academy- Guest Writer

November 2, 2022

Copal: A Healer, Protector, & Guide for Dia de Muertos

I grew up with the understanding that “Life” is Ceremony. Copalli—the Nahuatl word for Copal—is a resin extracted from the Copal tree or Protium Copal (Burseraceae.) This material has been used in Indigenous practices for thousands of years. Today, the use of aromatic resin varies from ceremonially burned incense to other uses.
WRITTEN BY Patricia Cortez (Guest Writer)

October 29, 2022

Elderberry Mulled Cider Recipe for Immune Support

Mulled cider makes for a delicious and supportive beverage once the cooler weather settles in. This elderberry apple cider recipe with mulling spices is a healthful alternative to traditional mulled wine.
WRITTEN BY Elise

October 19, 2022

What Are Polysaccharides & How to Extract Them

Learn how polysaccharides can support health and wellness and some of the herbs and mushrooms that contain them. You will also find a soothing reishi mushroom skin cream recipe!
WRITTEN BY Suzanne Tabert- Guest Writer

October 11, 2022

Ayurvedic Kitchari Recipe for Seasonal Support

Traditionally, an Ayurvedic seasonal reset is based on a dish called kitchari, which is eaten as a monodiet for one or several days. This tasty dish is easy on the digestive system and offers vital nutrients to carry you through the seasonal shift.
WRITTEN BY Jennifer Kurdyla- Guest Writer

September 30, 2022

American Ginseng: A Forest Grown Future

We are increasingly turning to cultivated herbs and certified organic forest farming to procure at-risk herbs like North American ginseng.
WRITTEN BY Friends

September 22, 2022

Guide to Brewing Tea

The finest qualities of teas are best showcased when brewed correctly. Learn about the factors that go into a perfect tea-sipping experience: tea quality, storage, quantity, water temperature, and steep time.
WRITTEN BY Heidi

September 16, 2022