It’s the season for everyone’s favorite autumnal spices. Crisp fall scents and flavors are in our lattes, our pastries, our diffusers, our perfumes, and more. They’re also in one of my favorite Mountain Rose Herbs lotion recipes! Although I love thicker creams and body butters for everyday moisturizing, I like to keep lotion in a pump bottle by the sink to use after hand-washing. This DIY lotion recipe is so easy to make, which means it’s simple to switch up the scent to match the seasons or my current mood. This time of year, it’s all about the satisfying aromas of autumn.
Let’s talk for a moment about shelf life. Although this is a fun and easy way to make lotion, it does not have a preservative and includes water in the form of chamomile hydrosol. This means it’s going to have a shorter shelf life than a product that includes preservatives. Water breeds life, including microbial life, so mold and other bacterial spoilage can become an issue with any formulation that includes water, hydrosols, witch hazel, aloe vera juice, flower waters, milk, etc. Without a broad-spectrum preservative, water-containing emulsions like lotions, hair rinses, room and linen sprays, and cleaning products all need to be made and stored properly to achieve their longest shelf life.
I will admit that I was a latecomer to the pumpkin pie spice trend. I still have not had a pumpkin spice latte, for instance. I have been starting to come around though. My turning point came after I tried one of our very own blog recipes, pumpkin pie spice roasted mixed nuts. Ever since that day, I have felt the undeniable pull towards this seasonal favorite. As the days grow shorter and cooler, the warming spices seem to offer the perfect comfort and sense of wellbeing. Naturally, I wanted to celebrate the arrival of pumpkin spice season this year with a recipe variation!
We have sung praises for chia seed pudding before. It resides in that oh-so-special territory where it is tasty enough to be a dessert and healthy enough to be a fueling breakfast or snack. Chia seeds are high in fiber and rich in brain- and body-loving nutrients like omegas, proteins, and antioxidants; the fact that they naturally create a pudding-like texture is what makes them pure magic. Chia seed pudding is also highly versatile and customizable, and thus, it felt like the perfect canvas to spread a little pumpkin spice joy on.
Typically, pumpkin spice just refers to the spice blend used in pumpkin pie, for this recipe I decided to throw myself fully into the season by adding a bit of pumpkin as well. Happy Autumn!
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.
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?
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
When I’m about to embark on a summer adventure, I always do the final check before walking out the door—keys, wallet, water, and lip balm. Being ill-equipped with any of these staples puts a real damper on my ability to take impromptu diversions on the roads less traveled.
I appreciate the ability to move with fluidity while on my outdoor excursions, but I don’t enjoy it when my lip balm embodies that sentiment, too—I needed a solution to prevent my beloved lip-assistant from melting in my car, backpack, or pocket. And further, I needed my non-melting lip balm to still work effectively! Then I had a light bulb moment; a roll top bottle would work wonderfully for this purpose!
Cocktails and mocktails provide the perfect opportunity to put our favorite botanicals to creative use. Whether mixed with fresh garden herbs, homemade tinctures, or kitchen spices, mixed drinks are a fun and tasty way to enjoy the benefits of herbs and spices—and to apply our love of herbalism.
Oxymels are an herbal extraction of an acid mixed with honey. Usually, when we think about extracting herbal properties with acids, we look to vinegars. But did you know that if you replace the vinegar with a citrus juice like lemon or lime, you still capture the herbal constituents and end up with a drier oxymel that is perfect for summer mocktails?
Our friend Amanda Crooke from the Center for Herbal Studies has kindly shared a simple recipe for a delicious citrus-based lemon-mint oxymel and a lemony, bubbly mocktail that is the perfect refreshing sipper on a hot summer day. We think these are the ideal recipes to get the summer party started!