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Smoke Cleansing Around the World

Smoke cleansing—burning botanicals, resins, wood, etc. for health and/or spiritual purposes—is an ancient practice that is common in a wide variety of cultures and faiths around the world. For instance, I was introduced to smoke cleansing through the practice of “fire saining,” a Celtic tradition that resonates well with my cultural and personal history. However, the form of smoke cleansing that most people are familiar with today is “smudging.” The commercialization of smudging is unfortunate on multiple fronts—it is cultural appropriation of North American indigenous practices, it has created serious issues around illegal and/or irresponsible wildharvesting of traditional smudging herbs, and it disregards the wealth of other forms of smoke cleansing that are just as ancient and powerful. Many times, looking to our own culture, faith, community, or heritage in our relationship to the botanical world can help us identify herbal allies that are particularly aligned with us as individuals. Our ancestors had personal relationships with these plants; they have been part of our people—our DNA—for time immemorial. Smoke cleansing can be a powerful, renewing, and healing practice for many people, particularly when they are embracing a form that resonates with their genuine self.

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Posted by Heidi

Meet Our On-Staff Certified Aromatherapist

In the past few years, interest in aromatherapy has skyrocketed. More and more people are looking at alternative ways to manage their own wellness, build resilience, and create a peaceful, clean space to rejuvenate and renew. Increasingly, people are reaching out to us with questions, and inevitably we look to our Director of Product Development and Certified Aromatherapist, Christine, to provide us with guidance. Having a talented aromatherapist on staff and continuing to invest in her ongoing professional development has been one of the best decisions for both Mountain Rose Herbs and our wonderful customers. Christine brings remarkable expertise to both product creation and quality control, keeps us in close touch with the aromatherapy community and trade associations, and is the mastermind behind our new lines of oil blends and essential oil kits. She also has excellent insights for others who are interested in pursuing aromatherapy personally or professionally. We love her story, and we want to share it with you, along with her tips for those who have discovered their own passion for essential oils and want to learn more.

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Posted by Heidi

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee + 3 Herbal Additions

Now that summer has arrived, I find myself constantly craving cold brew coffee. This beverage is not simply a traditionally hot brewed coffee, with ice added to it. It’s even simpler than that! Basically, it’s coarse ground coffee beans steeped in room temperature water, overnight. However, as per usual, I will complicate the process by adding a bunch of herbs and spices to the recipe. I can’t help myself; herbalism infuses so many aspects of my life. I’m sure you can relate.

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Posted by Mason

Licorice and Black Tea Poached Cherries

Waking each morning rested and ready to take on the day seems more of a luxury these days than a reality. Late nights, heavy workloads, and an endless stream of stressors and obligations can sap you of energy before you even have a chance to begin. While herbs can’t give you an extra hour of rest in the morning or cross anything off your ever-growing to-do list, they can help bring balance to your mornings. Energy-boosting herbs can nurture your stress response system and provide the support you need to start your day. As a result, you can start out feeling nourished, enlivened, and full of vitality.

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Supporting the Heart and Spleen Meridians Through TCM + Recipe

As our days lengthen into the summer months, we welcome more time with the sun and fire, the Element associated with summer, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Going on vacation with our families, playing with kids, and celebrating with friends, we welcome joyous playfulness into our lives, igniting and inspiring our Shen (神), or Spirit.

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The Art of Forest Bathing 

In my travels as an herbalist, I have witnessed plants used in many ceremonies. One of the first that I learned early in my path was spiritual bathing. Spiritual bathing is using the plants and the elements (fire, water, earth, sound, air, nature) to facilitate wellness on an energetic level. From birth to death, spiritual bathing ceremonies use elements such as incense, sacred water, decocted plants, sound, and even “forest bathing'' to bring balance. In my own practice, I have found it to be one of the most powerful modalities for times of transition and transformation.

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Posted by Lucretia VanDyke

How to Make a Superfood Smoothie Bowl + 6 Recipes

Sure, we’ve all heard of smoothies. But have you heard of the new trend smoothie bowls? There’s really nothin’ to it, it’s basically what it sounds like it is—a smoothie in a bowl—although, I’ve come to learn there are two distinct differences between the classic smoothie and the modern smoothie bowl. The smoothie bowl is typically a thicker consistency, and the smoothie bowl has a variety of fun toppings, such as strawberries, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and banana slices (more ideas below).

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Posted by Mason

Supporting the Microbiome Through Diet + Recipes

The emerging research about the human microbiome is changing our view of human biology. We have just begun to study the intense diverse communities of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in and on the human body and to understand how they shape our health. Since Earth’s beginning, the most successful, numerous, diverse, and ubiquitous organisms on the planet have been microbes, particularly bacteria. Every creature on this planet has evolved within this microbial soup and humankind is no exception. Microbes have always lived in and on us. As a result, our physiology has evolved to rely on them to influence physiological functions that have not been encoded within the human genome.

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Homemade Diaper Cream with Herbs

My grandbaby is now officially a toddler: talking up a storm, climbing everything, and making all day every day an adventure. I am realizing that this little sweetie might very well be the last baby in our family for a long time, so I am being extra conscious to appreciate every moment of development and growth. Last week my son stopped by to pick up a few more jars of homemade diaper balm to take home with him, and I made a mental note that I’d better start infusing some more olive oil because they’ll need another batch of ointment before this little one is potty trained. As we were waving our boy out the door, my husband asked me, “How much diaper salve do you suppose you’ve made in your life?” Three children, a grandchild, and a lot of friends’ babies later, I can’t even begin to guess. Gallons upon gallons I suppose.

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Posted by Heidi

Organic Nipple Cream for Breastfeeding

When I was having my children, folks used to say that women forget the pain of childbirth and also the pain that can accompany the first days or weeks of nursing a newborn. Having had and nursed three children, I will attest that this “halo effect,” as it is sometimes called, is not true, at least for me. My youngest child is 30 years old, and I still remember those long, hard hours of labor and the first tender days of nursing my babies. Yes, those memories are colored by the beautiful remembrance of the enormous wash of love and protectiveness I felt for those brand-new little beings, but to this day I still cringe when I remember the sensation of a days-old baby latching on to nurse, and how nipples that started out tender quickly became painfully sore from the near-constant attention of a new infant with super-suckle powers. I said it then, and it still holds true: a baby-safe nipple cream is a lifesaver.

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Posted by Heidi

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