On a warm October afternoon in 2021, roughly 40 personnel from Oregon forest agencies, area tribes, and conservation groups, including the Long Tom Watershed Council, gathered on the Andrew Reasoner Wildlife Preserve outside Eugene. Among them were a dozen Native American firefighter trainees who had spent the week learning the essentials of wildfire suppression. That the culmination of their training would be the deliberate burning of an eight-acre parcel of land might strike some as contrary, even outrageous. As a former National Park Ranger who served as a firefighter in the early 90s, this certainly flew in the face of the training I’d received.
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.
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!
You already know that Mountain Rose Herbs is a purveyor of organic herbs, essential oils, teas, and exceptional botanical offerings. And you’ve probably read that we are serious about putting people, plants, and planet before profit with everything we do: from supporting sustainable agriculture to encouraging employee volunteerism. What you may not have known is that in 2018 these values led us to become an Oregon Benefit Company.
We believe that the traditional definition of a corporation is outdated and does not align with our commitment to creating a healthy community for all. Our stakeholders are the growers, customers, employees, and ecosystems that sustain our business. That’s why we’re always seeking new ways to redefine the role of business in the world!
Our Oregon Benefit Company legal, corporate designation states that Mountain Rose Herbs provides “a general public benefit” by making a positive impact on society and the environment through ethical business practices and operations.
On this episode of Plant Stories on Herbal Radio, we had the opportunity to speak with the acclaimed and enthralling herbalist, Richo Cech. We dive deep into Richo’s life and passions, discussing everything from his seed-seeking adventures in Africa, to captivating stories of how he grew Strictly Medicinal Seeds from the ground up (pun-intended).
Richo Cech started his professional work as an archaeologist and ethnobotanist in East Africa. Upon his return to the United States in 1978, he began cultivating and saving the seed of medicinal plants. Over the years, his gardens have become the basis for Strictly Medicinal Seeds, growers of organic, open pollinated and GMO-free seed and plants of medicinal herbs, culinary herbs, succulents, trees, and garden vegetables. Richo and his family produce a popular, bi-yearly, hand-illustrated seed catalog that provides access to this collection of common, quirky, eclectic, and bizarre seeds and plants. Richo is author of “Making Plant Medicine” (2000), “Growing At-Risk Medicinal Herbs” (2002), and “Growing Plant Medicine” (2009).
Richo has botanized in China and Africa, resulting in the introduction of many new and exciting medicinal herb species to gardeners throughout the world.
We’ve been loving our recent plant walks with Shana Lipner Grover of Sage Country Herbs. We were lucky that she spent some time with one of our favorite herbs: mallow (Althaea officinalis).
Like other members of the Malvaceae family, mallow is a demulcent that is rich in mucilage, so it’s both hydrating and soothing. Our mucosal membranes must be moist to be healthy. A tea made from mallow is not only good for a dry, irritated throat, it also encourages and triggers the secretion of important mucus in the rest of the body at the same time: so as the mallow tea soothes your throat, it also triggers similar action in the sinuses, eyes, digestive tract, bladder, and more! And, because that essential mucus carries immune antibodies, it helps bring those antibodies where they’re needed.
Gentle, tasty mallow is a phenomenally effective herbal ally. Listen in to learn more about mallow and other Malvaceae family demulcents!
With so many options on the shelf at the grocery store, not to mention the enormous number of food selections from online sources, it is difficult to know that the food we eat is nutritious, delicious, and free of unwanted pesticides or preservatives. We see a lot of hype around one certification or another, with new standards being presented to us all the time. How do we know that the food we put on the table supports the health of our families, communities, and the planet?
Organic certification is Mountain Rose Herbs’ go-to standard for ensuring that our herbal offerings are grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, GMO seed stock, or irradiation. However, truth be told, there can be a lot of variation in the quality of offerings from brands displaying an organic certification. Because we sell predominately organic certified products, we rely on industry partners like The Cornucopia Institute, as well as rigorous in-house testing for quality and purity, to ensure that the herbs and spices we provide enhance the lives of our customers.
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
We are so pleased to feature another interview with our friend Lucretia VanDyke. On Herbal Radio, we have learned about Lucretia’s upbringing and what led her to work with plants, but we have never gotten to learn what plants she loves and why. In this Plant Stories episode, Lucretia talks about her favorite edible plants of New Orleans and the significance they played in her upbringing that began her herbalism journey.
With a journey that began when she was a little girl mixing herbs, mud, and roots on her grandparents’ farm, Lucretia VanDyke has had a lifelong connection to the plants. She has been in the wellness industry for over twenty-five years. Her quest for knowledge and storytelling has led her all over the world to learn about remedies, traditions, and ceremonies from indigenous healers.
One of the foremost experts on Southern folk healing arts, Lucretia integrates rituals, plant spirit meditation, holistic food/herbal medicine, and ancestor reverence into people’s practices.
Lucretia has worked and trained with many internationally known spa and skin care companies. She is a holistic educator, speaker, herbalist, sacred sexologist, ceremonialist, spiritual coach, intuitive energy practitioner, diviner, author, and world traveler. Lucretia brings her vivacious spirit and her message of ancestral connection in herbal practices to inspire others to embrace their unique relationship with the plants. Teaching herbal classes, cooking, storytelling, and foraging in the woods learning native medicine charges her soul.
Lucretia’s book African American Herbalism: A Practical Guide to Healing Plants and Folk Traditions is now available through Mountain Rose Herbs: https://mountainroseherbs.com/african-american-herbalism