Irradiation of food is a topic that is increasingly showing up as a point of concern for Mountain Rose customers, so I want to take a minute to talk about this timely subject. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of food irradiation in 1963 to kill bacteria, molds, insects, etc. in wheat and flour. Today, the FDA has approved irradiation for fruits, vegetables, eggs in the shell, spices and seasonings, sprouting seeds, poultry, crustaceans and shellfish, and red meats. Food irradiation involves exposing foods to one of three different types of ionizing radiation: gamma rays from cobalt-60, x-rays, or electron beams. The FDA uses this technology to improve food safety and extend storage and shelf life. Meanwhile, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organics Program (NOP), which oversees the nation’s organics labeling, prohibits the use of irradiation to treat organic products because the process alters the natural state of food. These two opposing views present consumers with something of a conundrum.
If I told you there’s a pantry staple that can soothe sore muscles and calm irritated skin, would you guess it’s vinegar? It’s true! From minor aches to dry or itchy skin, I turn to herbal vinegar baths. On its own, a cup or two of vinegar in the tub will leave skin soft and rejuvenated with a healthful glow. But herb-infused vinegars take this concept a step further, using plant constituents to boost the already impressive benefits of a vinegar bath.
This juniper-rosemary blend was formulated to increase circulation, soothe sore muscles, and calm irritated skin. If tension and muscle stress build up during your work week, whether from commuting, computer work, or overdoing it in the garden, make this restorative soak a regular weekend or mid-week ritual.
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.
“Guasha” (刮痧) translates as “scraping petechiae.” Gua (刮) is scraping, the act of pulling a guasha tool across the skin. Sha (痧) is petechiae: pinkness or redness on the skin that can arise from scraping, a result of increased blood circulation to the area. Guasha is one of the many tools in our East Asian medicine toolkit, which also includes acupuncture, herbs, massage, moxibustion, energy work, lifestyle medicine, and more.
Benefits of Guasha
By drawing a guasha tool, or guasha ban (刮痧板), across the skin with varying degrees of pressure, we can elicit different effects on the body. Guasha can be used for facilitating tissue repair in musculoskeletal injuries, breaking up scar tissue, lymphatic drainage, and more. Traditionally, guasha has also been used in the early stages of a cold for “releasing the exterior.” In this article, I will focus on gentle facial guasha.
I often recommend facial guasha as an evening ritual, particularly in clients experiencing chronic jaw tension that can lead to bruxism, or grinding teeth during sleep. Chronic jaw tension can also lead to headaches, especially temporal (side of head), or occipital (nape of neck) headaches. I also love recommending this facial guasha evening ritual for folks with dry skin and too many thoughts, as a way to simultaneously nourish the skin, cultivate an easy self-care ritual, and relax before bed.
Have you ever had the opportunity to experience guasha? This traditional East Asian practice is sometimes used as a complement to massage, acupuncture, herbalism, moxibustion, energy work, lifestyle medicine, and more. Practitioners draw a guasha ban (刮痧板) (guasha tool) over the skin with varying degrees of pressure to elicit different effects on the body.
Although guasha is used to treat complex bodily issues, one wonderful way to experience this age-old art is a gentle facial guasha. We’re excited that our friend, herbalist, and East Asian Medicine practitioner, Jiling Lin, has a new blog with all the information we need to do facial guasha at home!
Here we are again in the dog days of summer. We all know how important it is at this time of year to pay extra attention to our hydration and wellness. When the days and nights are too hot and your whole body is screaming for something cold and refreshing, herbal extracts and herbal syrups are an easy, delicious way to whip up nutritive, beat-the-heat fizzy drinks at a moments notice. The base of these “functional fizzies” is the same—with just ice, lime juice, and a carbonated water of your choice, you can mix and match simple syrups, herbal extracts, and herbal syrups to get exactly the flavors and wellness boost you need. We’ve got 3 delicious fizzy drink recipes to get you started: a Strawberry Aphrodite Fizz and Gingery Hibiscus Fizz with Ultra Elder extract, and a Gingery Green Tea Fizz with ashwagandha and cinnamon extracts. Keep your favorite simple syrups, extracts, and herbal syrups on hand to make the best summer refreshers.
When the thermometer starts pushing up into the 90s, my good attitude takes a corresponding nosedive. As a Western Oregon pluviophile, I prefer my summer heat in small doses, preferably bookended by big cooling rain storms. So here we are in the annual dog days of summer when the days and nights are too hot, there do not appear to be any rainstorms on the horizon, and my whole self is on a 24/7 quest to pretty much always have something cold, hydrating, and nourishing in my hand to refresh my body and soul. Not only does this wonder-beverage need to be a delicious vehicle to support deep hydration and body and mind wellness, but it also has to be easy to whip up at a moment’s notice. Fortunately, I am married to a talented mixologist. When the weather gets hot, he makes sure to have all the ingredients on hand for easy beat-the-heat carbonated drinks that include herbal extracts and syrups for an added wellness boost.
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?
Join herbalists Jiling Lin, Erika Galentin, and Camille Freeman for a lively Tea Talks Roundtable discussion on Nurturing the Herbal Practitioner.
• some of the challenges that come with running an herbal practice
• how to create a work cadence that’s realistic in the long run
• establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life
• how to run an herbal practice that feels ethically aligned, and sustains you
• how we can feel supported and connected as herbal practitioners– and continue growing and evolving as people and clinicians
• the role of the herbalist in modern life
• …and more!
In June of 2023, we embarked on a journey to meet with one of our farm partners in Wazuka, Japan. After a long and exciting travel day, we arrived in the bustling city of Osaka.
Our old friend, Masashi, welcomed us with excitement and an eagerness to share the 350-year-old tea plantation with us. We loaded into his sedan and headed for the misty hills of Wazuka. We first toured the fields where we learned about the growing, shading, inspecting, and harvesting of the fresh and vibrant green leaves. From there we got a behind-the-scenes look at how these organic tea leaves are turned into the vibrant powder we know and love. After fully experiencing the tea planation and all of the heartfelt work that went into making this fine tea powder, we were invited to take part in a traditional matcha tea ceremony.
Having worked with this farmer for over a decade, it was an honor to connect with him in a way that celebrated his culture and to recognize the people that grow and process this special tea for the world to enjoy.
Enjoy a cup of ceremonial matcha: https://mountainroseherbs.com/matcha-tea
Try matcha with a traditional whisk and spoon: https://mountainroseherbs.com/matcha-set