It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that natural and organic foods and supplements are on the rise, and for good reason: More and more information continues to emerge regarding how harmful many of the synthetic ingredients and chemicals contained within the foods on our supermarket shelves are. For this reason, people are turning to organically sourced foods and health supplements to keep everything as close to nature as possible.
One of the most popular fields within this “organic movement” is the use of essential oils. For those who may not know, essential oils are highly concentrated oils that have been derived from various plant material (e.g., leaves, stems, roots, bark, etc.), and are typically very potent when used without any type of diluting agent.
These essential oils are commonly used to address all kinds of physical, emotional and even spiritual conditions, either to help heal some type of ailment or accentuate certain natural functions (e.g., concentration, memory, mood, libido, etc.).
There are dozens of companies that manufacture essential oil-based products, either as pure oils or as ingredients in other health, beauty, home, and personal care items. One such company that recently caught my attention is Mountain Rose Herbs.
Basic History Of The Company, Mountain Rose Herbs
Headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, Mountain Rose Herbs was founded in 1987 by Rosemary Gladstar, a professor at the California School of Herbal Studies. What began as a humble herb retail shop soon turned into a mail order enterprise, and eventually the business was purchased by a family friend named Julie Bailey, who was a wilderness guide, teaching herbalist and avid gardner.
Initially Julie ran the Mountain Rose Herbs business out of her home in California, developing several signature products along the way including face creams, teas and aroma sprays. During the mid-to-late nineties, Julie began to see a need for raising awareness about responsible growing and harvesting of wild plants, and this passion eventually took the form of a set of stringent guidelines and standards for ethical wild herb harvesting.
After a few more key figures came on board (including Shawn Donnille, their first web developer), Mountain Rose Herbs relocated to rural Oregon in order to be in closer proximity to the company’s growers, wild harvesters, farm operations, and processors.
Fast-forward to today, and Mountain Rose Herbs not only operates a thriving web-based e-commerce herb store, but they have also opened up their first ever brick-and-mortar store, known as Mountain Rose Herbs Mercantile. This neat little outfit sells a wide array of natural and organic products including herbs, spices, essential oils, teas, aromatherapy aids, bath and body items, and various home goods as well.
For the purposes of this review, however, I’m going to focus mainly on the essential oils aspect of their product offerings.
Product Quality Of Mountain Rose Herbs
If there was one thing that really stood out to me as I was doing my research on Mountain Rose Herbs, it was their vigorous commitment to maintaining organic growing, harvesting and production processes. They describe themselves as being “passionately organic”, and they encourage their customers to be the same way as well.
Mountain Rose Herbs has earned the much-coveted Certified Organic designation, which in a nutshell means that they are flat serious about every aspect of their agricultural processes. This also means that their essential oils are 100% pure through the use of careful steam distillation, and they are not cut or diluted with any other agents. Not only are their products treated with this careful emphasis on all-natural processes, but they also use sustainable packaging to minimize waste.
Price Range Of Mountain Rose Herbs Products
Like most essential oil retailers, Mountain Rose Herbs oils typically range from 1/3 oz. (10ml) to 1 oz. (30ml) bottles, and their prices can vary greatly depending upon the type of plant the oils have been derived from. This makes sense, because not all plants are created (or harvested) equal, and some plants are far more labor-intensive than others to grow and harvest, especially if you’re attempting to adhere to stringent organic standards throughout the entire process.
While it would be an overkill to try and list all of the product prices here, suffice it to say that their prices range from around $5 to $180, depending upon the type of plant that’s being utilized to make the oil.
Range Of Mountain Rose Herbs Products
This is perhaps the most impressive aspect of the research I’ve performed on Mountain Rose Herbs: they have an extensive, very diverse range of products that I haven’t really seen matched by any of the other essential oil companies I’ve looked at. For example, almost every essential oil company has the “standard fare” oils such as lavender and eucalyptus, but I haven’t seen too many companies that offer rarities such as Scotch Pine essential oil, Pennyroyal essential oil or even Lovage Leaf essential oil.
Mountain Rose Herbs not only carries these unique oils, but dozens of others that are fairly unique. How about Western Red Cedar essential oil, Pink Pepper essential oil or Davana essential oil? It seems as if their product development team basically has the philosophy that if it grows out of the ground, it can be converted into an essential oil!
This is not a slam against them; as a matter of fact, I find it awesome that they have expanded the boundaries in terms of which plants can be a source material for essential oil extraction. It kind of reminds me of the brilliance of George Washington Carver, who figured out over 300 different uses for the peanut. But before I get off on too much of a tangent, let me just say that this company gets good marks in my book for having one of the most thorough and diverse essential oil product lines I have ever seen.
Having some background in websites myself, I probably have a more critical eye when it comes to website design and usability. In other words, I don’t just give companies a “pass” if their site isn’t up to snuff.
I can say that the Mountain Rose Herbs website passes muster in my mind, as it is a well-designed site that utilizes vibrant and attractive pictures to help guide users to different product sections. They have a good balance of images and text – i.e. not being too heavy on one or the other – and their site is easily navigable based on common sense design principles.
What I really appreciated about the site was that they thought to include thorough detail about each essential oil they have for sale, with product descriptions that include parts of the plant used, aroma, note classification, extraction method, cool trivia about the plant, and even a “Blends Well With” section to help you pair certain essential oils together for even more herbal awesomeness.
Yet another element of the Mountain Rose Herbs website that I really liked was its “mom and pop store” feel, which in my opinion makes it a little more personable.
They have an entire “Meet the Staff” page that shows you pictures and bios of their employees, and they also offer a “Contact Us” page that provides a phone number, fax number, physical address and email address for customer inquiries. The company also offers customers the option to pick up their order in person from the corporate headquarters in Eugene, Oregon.
All in all, I would say that Mountain Rose Herbs has positioned itself as a unique retailer of essential oils (along with other organic products), because they are known as an industry leader in sustainable growing and harvesting practices, while still being able to maintain a “hometown” feel.
You won’t have any problems finding practically any essential oil you can think of, and their commitment to eco-friendly business practices is definitely worth noting in terms of their product quality.