Last week seemed to become “Herb Week” at my house. The boxes of dried plants I found at my backdoor made both me and my pantry very happy.
I had a lot of questions on my Facebook Page about what herbs and spices I order and where I order them from, so I thought y’all might like a detailed look into my herbal kitchen.
This 25 pound box came from Mountain Rose Herbs – one of my favorite places to order my herbs and spices.
I’ve ordered from them for a few years now and usually do one large order every spring to re-stock the pantry shelves and get ready for the summer skin care needs and the falls immune boosting needs.
Tips for ordering
- Find a friend that would also like to order. The shipping can get pricey ($35.00 this time, but it was a heavy order!) and it’s nice to be able to split bags of herbs as well.
- Figure out an approximate amount of spices or herbs you’ll go through in a 6-12 month time frame. Their quality is great and everything I’ve ordered from MRH has been really fresh, fragrant, and flavorful. The longer you store your herbs and spices, the less fragrant and flavorful they will be. So don’t order all the basil you’ll use for the next decade.
- Check the store containers you have at home and don’t order more than you need. Seriously. My very first order I bought a full pound of basil, oregano, and an obscene amount of bay leaves. I did not realize that my little containers in the cupboard had only a half ounce or so in them, so I had enough basil and oregano for like…two years. I still have bay leaves and they actually need to be tossed out for fresher leaves. So even though it seems cheaper – don’t order more than you need.
- Double check your order before submitting to make sure you’ve got ground spices when you want ground, or whole, or minced, or whatever you want – make sure that’s what you ordered.
My recent order from Mountain Rose Herbs:
- Seasoning Salt – we use this on burgers, potatoes, steaks….basically a better version of the Lawry’s seasoning salt that Todd used to have me buy.
- Chili Powder Blend – one of my favorite chili powders! This has a much stronger flavor than the ones sold in most stores, not spicier, just stronger, so you use much less.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice – a great tasting spice for flavoring pumpkin pie, baked oatmeal, etc.
- Basil Leaf – one of my top nine “must have” herbs! If I can put basil in it, I do.
- Cumin Seed Powder – another necessity in our house for tacos, chilis, and soups.
- Paprika Powder – a good spice to have around for our mexican dishes.
- Smoked Paprika Powder – never tried this one before, but I have a few recipes that are calling for it.
- Minced Garlic- I use this one, it seems, almost daily! And the consistency is great, not cut to large, but not ground.
- Minced Onion – where the garlic goes, the onion goes, and again it’s not cut to large or small.
- Cinnamon Sticks (sweet) – I thought I ordered it ground….and while I do use sticks occasionally, I definitely don’t need 8oz of them! (as a side note – get “true cinnamon“, not Cassia – we’ll talk about that very soon)
- Oregano – again – one of my favorites and used almost daily. And so much more flavor than the old stuff at the stores.
- Cacao Powder, raw – this goes in the “because I can” category. It’s tasty, raw, and fair trade – you can’t get better than that!
I also ordered a few different medicinal herbs.
- Nettle Leaf – great for liver cleansing and I use it often in my teas. Also anti-inflammatory and helps to lower blood pressure.
- Rosehips – I add these to most of my teas are an immune booster because of their vitamin C content.
- Chamomile – for a calming tea, and it has chemicals that are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic.
- Milk Thistle – a really good healer and cleanser of the liver.
- Calendula Flowers – perfect for skin preparations, this herb helps to heal the skin, promote collagen production, and treat infections.
- Plantain – another great one for skin cuts and rashes as well as bug bites because of its antibacterial, and anti inflammatory properties.
I also ordered:
- Spice Jars – I was desperately tired of my mix and match jars in the cupboard – most of them reused store containers.
- Evening Primrose Oil – I bought it for skin use – as a moisturizer. (it works miracles on the bumps on your arms)
- Glycerine – I plan on using this to make some beauty products and liquid soap.
- Castile Soap – a non scented soap for natural cleaning and personal hygiene products.
- 4oz Tincture Bottles – love these bottles with the dropper in them – great for tinctures.
My bulk herb order from The Bulk Herb Store.
I’ve been a lurking fan of the Bulk Herb Store for some time, paging through their catalog, searching their site, and finally placed my first order.
I was not disappointed.
The quality of the herbs is phenomenal, the order came very quickly, and it was free shipping.
Beginner’s Tool Kit
I started with this one since it contained a lot of the herb mixes I was wanting to try and they offer it at a steep discount compared to buying them all separately. It includes:
- Snooze Tincture – this mix comes with all the herbs you need to make your own tincture. (mine is currently in the cupboard steeping!) It’s supposed to help calm a person during stressful situations and allow for better sleep.
- Less-Stress Herba Smoothie Mix – these herba smoothie mixes are a great way to get in medicinal herbs without swallowing a bunch of pills.
- Cough Tea – we’ve already been using this one as it seems everyone in my family but me, has come down with a bit of a cold/cough. It’s tasty and has definitely seemed to help in the expectorant area.
- Double-E Immune Booster – an herbal mix that includes elderberry and echinacea, I’ve used it as a tea and will also make a tincture for use in the fall/winter season.
- Red Rooibos Spice Chai Tea – a great tasting, naturally decaffeinated tea. I found another brand in the stores this last winter and really enjoyed the change from a black tea chai. I love having a jar of this on my counter!
- Peppermint Leaf – I’ll be finding some new uses for peppermint I’m sure, as it came with quite the large bag. I usually just use it to flavor other teas, so if you have some recommendations – let me know.
- Rise and Shine Tea – I’ve been drinking this tea in the mornings and it is delicious. I’ve noticed good energy without the spike and drop of coffee.
“ImLife is a combination of nine different herbs containing natural antibiotic properties to help boost the immune system and fight infections. “
I’ve got this one sitting in the cupboard as well, steeping for another week or so before I strain it out.
Liver Cleanse Tincture
“The Liver Tincture is a combination of herbs that purify the blood, are high anti-oxidants, nourishes the livers, help with liver enlargement, help to rebuild the liver, helps with detoxing and the stress it has on the body, helps to level the hormones, stimulates your digestive system and more.”
This murky looking tincture is quite strong. It’ll put some hair on your chest for sure – or give you some bragging rights at least. But while you can add cleansing foods to your diet, and take herbal teas, a tincture is going to go right to your liver – bringing the herbs with it. So when you’re specifically looking to cleanse the liver, this is a great option. (and you can add the tincture to water to reduce the strong flavor)
Beeswax – this is for adding to my herbal salves and chapsticks to thicken them up, making the oil more of a solid.
Strainer – already used quite a few times, this strainer will be perfect for putting my tinctures into those little bottles and I’ve grabbed it while making tea as well.
My new apothecary all set up!
*I’ve also been asked about the jars I used – some are mason jars, the sealed jars with the flip-up tops are from Ikea (they have 3 sizes – I love them!), and the two large, square ones on the bottom are from Target. And the bottom shelf has almond flour, popcorn, rice, oats, and sugar. I’ve since moved all of these into the closet and cabinets in order to keep them in darkness and preserve their delicate properties.
*Some herbs and herbal mixes are not safe for pregnancy and therefore you should also use caution when trying to conceive as well. Please read the full information before purchasing.
*Links are affiliate links, thank you so much for your support as you purchase items to better your own health.
We love MRH too. One of the things I love most are their pretty labels. The labels peel off the bag very nicely and fit around the canning jars that we use to store herbs. This makes for easy labeling and nice looking storage.
It was herb week last week at my house too, not because I ordered a bunch, but because I was busy busy busy doing herbal research, as it is a new world for me. I am currently drinking red clover tea and taking EPO, because we have been TTC for 8 cycles.
I came across some info the other night saying St. John’s Wort and Gingko is really bad for male fertility. My husband has been on both for about a year-ish. Have you heard anything about this?? I was so bummed because that could be our fertility issue perhaps. He stopped taking it as of 2 days ago. Do you have any clue when the effects will stop and we can have a chance at this?
@Lisa, The herb books on my shelf didn’t mention anything about St John’s Wort, but with a quick google search I did notice that there are a few cautions against using it.
One thing to look at is where the info comes from – much of it was on MD type sites – where they caution against the use of all/most herbs.
But then again, most all herbs (when used medicinally) shouldn’t be used in the long term either as they may begin to cause undesirable symptoms and I am quite cautious on herbal use while trying to conceive and during pregnancy.
Depending on the herb and the symptoms it may have caused, it could take days to months. Usually, when we’re talking about sperm, drastic changes can take place within just a couple of months.
@donielle, Thanks for your reply! I never thought about being bad for long term. I’m a little worried now, but he has stopped taking it and hopefully we see results (positive test) sooner than later!!
Shirley @ gfe
What a great post, Donielle! I’ll share with others and will look forward to part 2. 🙂
Life [Comma] Etc
Goodness gracious! It’s like you reached into my head and pulled out the very post I didnt know I desperately needed to read… thanks so much for the info!
Thanks for this! Most of those spices we buy at Sprouts- I know they aren’t in Michigan but if you are ever in AZ, TX or CA (or a few other states I think) try to find one. They have an awesome bulk herbs/spices section.
If St John’s Wort affects male fertility we’re in trouble. I know it can affect the function of some hormonal birth control but I’ve never heard that it can affect males as well.
@Stacy, I can’t find any concrete, yes or no on the St John’s Wort, but I do know that it’s best when only taken in the short term as a boost until other changes can be made.
One of my favorite ways to use smoked paprika is on hard boiled eggs instead of salt. Delish.
Awesome spice collection! I love seeing another natural mama (though I wasn’t as natural when I was trying to get preggo and went the IVF route) as enthused as I am about herbs and spices.
I made that same mistake during my first order last year with Mountain Rose Herbs – I ordered WAY too much Tumeric and am still going through the bag after a year, and we use Tumeric quite liberally in this household!
Lately I’ve been getting smaller packages of herbs to try from http://maisonterre.net/ and am having so much fun with herbs and spices in my food, beverages and body care products. They offer 1 oz packages so I don’t get all caught up in spending too much money and not using all the herbs I buy just to get the discount, LOL!