Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a store-bought chest rub? When you’re congested, bleary-eyed, and feeling like death warmed over, reading ingredients is not high on the priority list, but it’s also not comforting to find out that you just rubbed a semisolid soup of petroleum products onto your skin in order to give your respiratory passages some relief. The classic over-the-counter chest rubs are often less than 10% herbal ingredients, and approximately 90% petrolatum in the form of petroleum jelly, which is generally combined with turpentine. When petrolatum is not refined properly or entirely, as is sometimes the case in the U.S., it can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known carcinogens particularly when used over a period of time. There are of course excellent petrolatum-free chest rubs on the market with all the herbal benefits and no carcinogenic ingredients. But why purchase something that you can easily make at home in 15 minutes and for less money?
In herbalism, herb is the root word. Of course, herbalism encompasses much more than herbs such as basil or rosemary. It also includes tree barks, roots, seeds, and even non-plant life such as mushrooms. I know some herbalist friends who are downright repulsed by mushrooms, but there’s another type of herbalist who is entranced and enamored with these fungal friends. I happen to be one of those weirdos. While I'm not a mycologist, I’ve always enjoyed learning about and including mushrooms in my diet and herbal lifestyle because of their health benefits, lore, and mystery. Science confirms that there are a great many benefits to consuming mushrooms. Let’s explore a few of these mushroom allies.
Healthy snacks are a staple in any herbal tinkerer’s toolkit. One of my all-time favorites snacks has always been caramel apples! While they get the most hype around Halloween, I’ve created an oh-so-perfect vegan version that is too good to only enjoy for one season per year. This date-based alternative offers the sweetness and consistency of caramel with earthy undertones of mesquite and maca powders. And if there is a way that I like to get my herbs in, it’s blended perfectly in a sweet-treat like this!Read More
2020 has been a year of rediscovery. As we have all been limiting trips to public places, many of us have found more interest in cooking and in creating DIY products to use around the home. It was fascinating to take a look at our top recipes of the year and reflect on just what our herbal community has found to be the most helpful in 2020. The silver lining to this year is that, although it has been difficult, we are more resilient than we were yesterday, and we will continue to learn and grow every day forward. We hope you enjoy this recipe roundup as living proof of our collective vision for a healthy and sustainable tomorrow. Cheers to a hopeful new year!Read More
In Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) Five Element theory, water is the element of winter and it governs the kidney and bladder meridian channels. Welcome to the north, place of coldness, the Great Mystery, that liminal place between birth and death, hibernation, and gentle yet powerful underground transformation. Miles and miles of infinite expansive water flows, seen and unseen, across the planet. 60% of our bodies are water.
As herbalists, we regularly combine a variety of healthful, supportive botanicals in infusions, extracts, elixirs, etc. With each herb bringing its own superpower to the mix and working in unison with the other ingredients, we ideally end up with a product that is greater than the sum of its parts. We use this wisdom in herb-based foods as well, stirring in a bit of herbal goodness here and supportive botanicals there to create a dish full to the brim with flavor, health, and healing. Homemade protein balls (or maybe we should call them energy balls? They’re both!) are a perfect example of this. With a base of healthy oats (which also happen to be gluten-free) and packed with nut-butter protein, they provide a good mix of protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, and are a perfect, oh-so-delicious vehicle in which to add the extra benefits of high quality herbal powders.Read More
I’ve been eating gluten free for nine months now and I’ve got to say it has been a serpentine journey to figure out how to meet my admittedly snooty standards for baked goods. Mediocre desserts are just not worth the calories if you ask me, but dessert is one of my two favorite “meals” (the other one being breakfast), and I refuse to give up the experience of a perfectly baked treat. I’ve taken the tactic of choosing a grain-based recipe that I love and reworking that recipe over and over again until I create a new gluten-free version that is at least as delicious. I’m lucky my husband and kids are good sports because sometimes this has meant days and days of eating slightly different versions of the same recipe. Lately it’s been crepes. Many batches of crepes later, the family and I agree that these coconut buckwheat crepes are so delicious, you would never guess they’re gluten free.Read More
In our modern western culture, caffeine makes our world go round. There is nothing quite like waking up to the gurgling aroma of coffee percolating in a machine while my mouth waters and my brain begs for that bitter taste to fully wake me up. One of my pleasures in working at Mountain Rose Herbs has been finding alternative ways of getting those caffeine boosts, including our organic black, organic white, and green teas, yaupon (the only North American plant to contain caffeine), and organic yerba mate. However, there is one plant that surpasses all of these in its stimulating abilities – guarana seed.Read More
Hummus is yet another of those kitchen staples that is worth taking the time to learn how to make. It’s versatile, economical, tasty, quick and simple to produce, and keeps in the fridge for at least a week. Look online and you’ll find countless variations on hummus, but there seems to be some consistent ingredients across the board: chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, cumin, salt, and olive oil.Read More
I sat tucked beneath the juniper tree, my head resting on the pillow of her fibrous bark. I was absently twisting and wrapping the aromatic leaves of a sagebrush around my fingers, each crush igniting fragrant oils into the air. My eyes gazed out across the vast stark white lakebed of the Alvord Desert. The air had begun to cool as the sun migrated closer to the mountain’s edge, preparing for the freezing starlit night. It was here on my very first solo camping trip that I began to contemplate what it means to ‘belong’ and to question why I felt so inextricably disconnected and foreign sitting upon the Earth.Read More