On August 30, 2023, we will experience a super blue moon. Astronomers say it will be the closest, biggest, brightest full moon of the year. To me, this super full moon holds the potential to illuminate stagnant thoughts and emotions, both of which are good self-work for me right now. I am planning to spend the evening seeking clarity from these “peripheral” thoughts so I can move into them or on from them healthily and productively.
To get in this space, I decided to call on some of my trusted herbal allies to help me slow down busy and distracting thoughts. In doing so, I ease my overactive brain so that I may uncover the important things that have been muffled by the noise of life. I decided that the perfect vehicle for this herbal support would be best enjoyed as a moon milk—a blue one, of course. Butterfly pea flowers are the star of the show for this blend since they are responsible for the dreamy blue hue.
You may have noticed over the years that we have some really unique orange cream-themed offerings in the Mountain Rose Herbs product catalog. From our Orange Cream Rooibos and Oolong teas to our Orange Cream Essential Oil, these custom blends did not come to be by happenstance. Mountain Rose Herbs’ Owner, Shawn Donnille, is an avid Creamsicle® fan and has been the driving force behind those specialty blends for years.
In celebration of National Creamsicle® Day, we decided to make a homemade vegan version of the classic popsicle for you to try out.
As a child, I remember delighting in the hot days of August. My brother and I could spend an entire day in the yard leaping through the sprinkler, having rowdy water fights, and just causing general (damp) mayhem. However, the real highlight of any summer day was the moment that the sing-song tones of the ice cream truck floated to us. In my memory, the ice cream truck has an almost mythical quality to it. It would appear with a burst of song at the perfect moment, with an endless bounty of colorful, frozen treats. I recently learned that national creamsicle day is August 14 and I was immediately flooded with countless (sticky) memories from my youth. Pairing my new awareness of the upcoming occasion with the fact that our fearless leader, Shawn Donnille, is an avid Creamsicle® fan, I decided to try my hand at an herbal adaptation of this beloved summer treat that would win over even the most diehard admirers.
Many of us are ready for fall, but the truth remains that we are still in summer and it is hawt! With the heat and sun come sunburn, heat rash, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. There are things we can do to prevent these from happening and natural remedies for when they do.
Why Do We Get Sunburn?
Sunburn is an acute inflammatory response by the skin in reaction to excessive exposure to sunlight. The harmful changes that occur in the skin cells’ cytoplasm (a gel-like substance that is between the cell membrane and nucleus) and the nucleus itself are cumulative over a lifespan and can lead to an increased incidence of skin cancer. Sunburn is common in this era of popular outside summer activities and clothing styles that leave more skin exposed to the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. We’ve all had that burning sensation after being in the sun too long. While limiting sun exposure is the most reliable method of preventing sunburn, we do want to be able to bask in the sun, don’t we?
A good shaving cream can make all the difference in both the quality and comfort of a shave. It’s no wonder then that this homemade shaving cream recipe has been such a longtime favorite of the Mountain Rose Herbs community. Whether you’re working on your beard, your head, or a full-body cleanup, the rich texture of this cream feels wonderful on the skin as it nourishes, hydrates, and makes a perfect surface to safely and comfortably shave away unwanted hair.
We’ve chosen kukui nut oil for its wealth of linoleic and alpha-linolenic fatty acids and added rosemary and bergamot mint essential oils to give our shaving cream a wonderfully clean scent. But one of the beauties of this recipe is that it is supremely customizable. Feel free to substitute oils and butters (sunflower oil would be a good swap for the kukui nut oil) and create your own essential oil blend to suit your mood.
Summer being what it is—with all the extra sunshine and outdoor fun—our deodorant choices start to matter in a bigger way. Consumers have become increasingly aware of the potential issues that can come with using deodorants with ingredients like propylene glycol, aluminum, and triclosan, and have been turning more and more to natural deodorants. Unfortunately, while over-the-counter natural deodorants are a safer and more earth-friendly option than those loaded with parabens and chemicals, they are still packaged in mostly non-recyclable plastics that millions of Americans throw away every year. Happily, it’s an easy task to make your own natural, herbal, roll-on deodorant.
Just so we’re on the same page, it’s important to know that deodorants aren’t meant to reduce or eliminate sweat. No matter what those old antiperspirant ads used to tell you, sweating is essential for the human body. Its primary task, of course, is to help control body temperature, but sweating also helps moisturize the skin and increase skin hydration. The kind of sweat we produce when exercising or relaxing in a sauna is also evidence that we’re supporting heart health and mental wellbeing. Our bodies need to sweat, so it behooves us to find natural, safe ways to neutralize any resulting underarm odors from this necessary bodily process. That’s where our herbal allies come in!
This simple recipe for a liquid roll-on deodorant is a longtime, tried-and-true Mountain Rose Herbs favorite. It’s effective, wonderfully low-mess, and easily portable so we can take it with us and reapply as needed. Also, it is easy to customize to meet your unique needs and aroma preferences. Need more absorbency? Add a bit of baking soda or organic arrowroot powder. Want to customize the scent? Create your own blend of essential oils!
Summer is a great time to make simple kid-friendly psyllium slime! Unlike so many of the DIY slime recipes you find on the Internet, slime made with psyllium husk is pure, natural, and safe. It takes less than 10 minutes to make and is good for days of fun. Many of us have psyllium husk around the house, so it’s easy to whip up a batch of this crazy substance that defies Newton’s laws of viscosity, but if you’re not one of those people, you may be asking yourself what in the world you’re going to do with the extra psyllium husk when it takes as little as a teaspoon to make slime. Research shows that psyllium husk offers our bodies myriad benefits, promoting digestive and heart health as well as healthy insulin and blood sugar levels. It’s also handy in the kitchen and is a key ingredient in gluten-free baking. Ultimately, what makes psyllium husk good for our gut and gluten-free lifestyle is also what makes it an excellent ingredient in natural DIY slime: this high-fiber husk expands with liquids and forms a gel. It just so happens that that gel is a lot of fun to play with!
Slime—that strange substance that defies Newton’s laws of viscosity—has been a staple in store toy aisles for almost 50 years and the DIY versions have been around almost as long. The typical school-science-project slime recipe involves mixing either borax or contact lens solution with PVA glue and water. The science behind it is a chemical reaction between the polyvinyl acetate in the glue and the borate ions in the contact solution or borax, an action called cross-linking that results in a logic-defying substance that is a whole lot of fun to play with. However, fascinating DIY science aside, too much exposure to boron—which is the base of borax, boric acid, and also, ironically, that contact lens solution—can cause respiratory, skin, and eye irritation, and when ingested can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Note the caution on the front of a box of borax detergent: Caution: Eye irritant, may be harmful if swallowed. Needless to say, that DIY slime hack is not ideal for small children, particularly those who tend to taste-test things. Fortunately for the child in all of us, you can make slime from psyllium husk!
Jesús Garcia is a Mexican Shaman and Herbalist teaching the traditions of lineage work through botanica practices of curanderia and community spiritual herbalism. Jesús is an early childcare educator focusing on nature school fundamentals through holistic enrichment garden programs and is the founder of the Herbal Action Project, a nature play-school and community garden sanctuary.
Jiling and Jesús discuss herbal traditions, family root work, children’s botanical practices, and nourishing community connections.
There may be no better person that embodies the vision of “Plant Stories” like herbal troubadour and Appalachian naturalist, Doug Elliot. A gifted storyteller, Doug recites both wisdom and whimsical through spoken word and song. We’ve compiled some of our favorite songs that Doug has recorded with us and are releasing them together, in this delightful and heart-warming episode. Our host, Thomas, gives a brief introduction in between Doug’s sets, offering context for each of the four botanical tales & tunes.