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Yaupon: Rediscovering America’s Forgotten Tea

Sooner or later, everything old is new again. This saying has been sneaking into our day-to-day a lot over the last couple of years as people are rediscovering “old” methods of being more self-sufficient and resilient in these challenging times. One of our favorite old-new “discoveries” is yaupon tea. When our Mountain Rose Herbs tea team was introduced to yaupon, we—like most Americans—had no idea that there was a naturally caffeinated tea plant native to North America. This fact is astounding when you consider that yaupon tea was the drink of choice for literally thousands of years. This delicious tea is supremely sippable and, thanks to plentiful theophylline and theobromine (as well as a host of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.), provides a smooth caffeine boost and focus without the jitteriness that can come from coffee.

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Posted by Heidi

Welcome Spring by Moving Liver Qi

As we welcome spring into our worlds and bodies, we also welcome the energies of the Wood Element, and its associated emotion of anger. Anger manifests in many forms. It’s a natural and powerful energy that rises up from our values and our sense of self. We can choose to express our healthy anger clearly, calmly, and with integrity. We allow anger’s upward moving energy to move through and out of our bodies, initiating the powerful changes needed in our lives and worlds. Exercise, fresh foods, nervines, aromatics, and bitters can help support this natural movement.

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Bitter Melon: Herb, Food, and Bitter Ally

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia), also known as bitter gourd, has a long history of use in the herbal tradition of Ayurveda. As its common name suggests, this member of the Cucurbitaceae (cucumber family) is very bitter, unlike its many relatives that so commonly grace our dinner table! Even with its strong bitter flavor, bitter melon is utilized in cuisine and herbalism from many areas of the globe, including East Asia, India, South America, and the Caribbean, and it is one of those special plants that straddles the line between herb and food.

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How to Make an Herbal Electuary

Electuary: just saying it is fun. And after a bit of research, I found out that the word likely comes from the Greek word “ekleikhein”, which means “to lick up.” Or perhaps that’s just one of those constantly regurgitated bits of info that gets passed down from blog to blog. Nonetheless, it’s still a fun factoid worth mentioning. I’ve worked in the herbal industry for a decade now, and over time it’s been fun to see what goes in and out of fashion. Just the other day, my herbalist friend Erika Galentin with Sovereignty Herbs posted on social media about her ginseng leaf electuaries (amazing). I’ve seen a few others post about this ancient herbal tradition over the past few months as well. It occurred to me that after attending countless herbal conferences and taking two herbalism apprenticeships, I’ve managed to never have made one of the simplest of recipes: the electuary. As I explained to one of our photographers here at Mountain Rose Herbs, “It’s basically just powdered herbs mixed with honey.”

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Posted by Mason

What are Resins and Gums in Plants?

The diversity of natural chemical compounds in plants is remarkable. For many years, scientists thought they could be broken down into simple primary and secondary categories: the primary compounds being those that contribute directly to growth and development, and the secondary ones being byproducts that don’t directly contribute to those primary functions. Most of the aromatic oils, gums, and resins that humans have adored for thousands of years fell into this wide category of secondary natural compounds. Why do plants produce them? Understanding the roles these compounds play in plants helps us understand how to use them most effectively. We went to our friend, fourth-generation botanist and plant physiologist Karen Hall, to get a better understanding of natural gums, resins, and gum-resins in plants.

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Posted by Heidi

DIY Extract Blend for Sleep

Have you ever read about an herb, gotten excited about the potential benefits, taken it, and then didn’t feel any sort of effects from it? That’s mostly been my experience with skullcap. I mean, I like the plant, but it’s not the calming nervine rock star that I was hoping it’d be. Of course, there’s many different species of skullcap, so perhaps I just haven’t found the right match for me. For a lot of my friends, skullcap really seems to do the trick. I thought, perhaps someone with my constitution just needed to find another plant ally for those calming nervine effects I was looking for. Fortunately, I ended up stumbling upon blue vervain.

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Posted by Mason

How to Make Turmeric Congee

These days, digestion has become a big topic of conversation. Whether it’s “getting regular,” what fermented foods to eat, or what strain of probiotics are the best, people are talking about their guts and how to get them healthy. For more than three thousand years, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Asian cultures have been using congee, a delicious, digestion-harmonizing dish of porridge. Typically made with rice but also other grains and legumes, congee is pure comfort, especially on cold dreary days.

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Pumpkin Spice Moon Milk with Chamomile

Moon milk is one of my favorite beverages for eliciting feelings of peacefulness and serenity. Each sip of this herb-filled heated milk fills my belly with warmth and contentment and acts as the perfect vehicle for me to work in the herbs and spices my body craves. Over the years, I’ve created many moon milk recipes, and have also found some wonderful gems from other genius content creators. One of my favorite moon milk mavens is Stephanie from MyTinyLagunaKitchen. She even has a free ebook with some of her amazing adaptogenic creations that I highly recommend!

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Posted by Jessicka

Living in the Legacy of African American Healers

There is no way to fully know all the accomplishments and contributions people of color have made in the healing arts. Throughout my American herbal studies, I heard people sing songs to the plants and listened to their stories about herbalism. While these stories were helpful, they didn’t resonate as deeply for me because they did not represent people of color. Many times, when teachers could tell a story about someone in the BIPOC community who influenced their path to herbalism, they had forgotten those long-ago educators’ names. I began a quest to speak the names of my ancestors, to collect the stories of the powerful women who wove a patchwork quilt of herbal knowledge that was passed down to them from lands most had never felt a sunrise in.

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Posted by Lucretia VanDyke

Herbal Coffee Substitute with Roasted Chicory and Dandelion Root


I am a self-proclaimed coffee lover. Unfortunately, however, stimulants don’t work well for me. I can have a 12-ounce cup of coffee at 10 a.m. and still be wide awake at 10 p.m. Over the years, I have gone back and forth between regular coffee and decaf, but then I discovered the enjoyable benefits of herbal coffee substitutes and found a new warm beverage to love–chicory and dandelion root coffee!

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Posted by Anna

New Essential Oil Kits for the Aromatherapy Explorer

 

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