Mountain Rose Herbs Review

Avatar for TNI Editorial Team
dr jennifer hughes

Medically reviewed by:
Dr. Jenny Hughes, MD

This post contains links through which we may earn a small commission should you make a purchase from a brand. This in no way affects our ability to objectively critique the products and brands we review.

Evidence Based Research To fulfill our commitment to bringing our audience accurate and insightful content, our expert writers and medical reviewers rely on carefully curated research.
Read Our Editorial Policy

SHARE

A veteran herbal product market leader with nothing to hide, Mountain Rose Herbs earns an overall score of A for their superior quality standards (including lab testing), huge catalog, competitive value, and more.

Our Rating:

A

» Rating Methodology

×

Our Rating Methodology

We determined this rating by evaluating the following factors:

  • Quality: A-
  • Transparency: A-
  • Website Experience: A
  • Customer Service: A
  • Value: A
  • Brand Value: A+
Learn about our Editorial Policy

Welcome to our Mountain Rose Herbs Review!

As buzzy and sometimes cheaply exploited label-slappers like “organic” and “fair trade” begin to show their wear, we have been on a search to find an herbal product company that models the true meaning of these terms.

After speaking with Mountain Rose Herbs CEO Shawn Donnille at Natural Health Products Expo West 2022, we were piqued, and after completing a comprehensive Mountain Rose Herbs review, we are all but convinced of the 35-year-old brand’s importance in today’s herbal product landscape.

If you’re looking for effective and wellness-affirming herbal products backed by a transparent and ethically sound company, we recommend Mountain Rose Herbs, who earned an overall grade of A in our comprehensive Mountain Rose Herbs review.

Lavender Essential Oil
  • A staple for its versatility, lavender essential oil is believed to promote calmness and positive mood.

  • Mountain Rose Herbs’ lavender oil is completely organic, and comes in four sizes.

  • Sourced from Lavandula angustifolia flowers in Bulgaria.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros
  • Ethical and transparent sourcing and manufacturing
  • Excellent value for the quality
  • Huge product catalog
  • Bolder and more potent herbs, spices, essential oils, and teas
  • Cons
  • Won’t pay return shipping or refund partially used products
  • QR code confusion (more below)
mountain rose herbs expo west 2022 booth

Steeped In Rich History: The Mountain Rose Herbs Origin Story

Between our conversations with Shawn at the expo and in a subsequent interview, we learned that Mountain Rose Herbs has become America’s largest retailer of certified organic herbal products in the country since its founding in 1987, amassing a colossal selection of more than 10,000 SKUs. 

We simply have too much history to cover in 35 years of the company’s evolution, so we will dispense with the usual storytelling format and hit you with the major bullet points, which are paraphrased below from Shawn’s input and the company website: 

  • 1987: Mountain Rose Herbs founded by Rosemary Gladstar of the California School of Herbal Studies to provide her students with herbs for their education.
  • Early-mid 1990s: Mountain Rose Herbs strengthens its stance on ethical wild harvesting, incorporating more stringent guidelines.
  • 1999-2000: Shawn Donnille works his way up from the warehouse to management, adopting an organic-only policy, obtaining organic certification, and creating the company’s first website shortly after. The company continues to grow.
  • Early 2000s: Shawn is promoted to co-owner alongside herbalist Julie Bailey, and the pair moved the company to Oregon, where their farming and processing operations were (and still are) located.
  • 2010: Mountain Rose Herbs upgrades to a significantly larger facility in Eugene, Oregon, where it remains. They achieved fair trade certification this same year, and rolled out their first line of herbal extract tinctures.
  • 2016: The first Mountain Rose Herbs store is opened in downtown Eugene.
  • 2020: Shawn, who had retired in 2015, reprised his role to revitalize the company (after they had their first down year), restoring the growth trajectory to a healthy 8-12% thereafter.

Even this mouthful leaves out several major milestones, but you get the point, which is that Mountain Rose Herbs was an organic herbal product business way, way before it was cool.

As a self-proclaimed member of the “prove it” generation, Shawn describes the motivation behind Mountain Rose Herbs’ philosophy as a call for higher accountability.

“Everyone needs to ask hard, pointed questions to every business they purchase from,” said Shawn, a theme that plays out again and again in how the business approaches their customers.

Everyone needs to ask hard, pointed questions to every business they purchase from.

Shawn Donnille, CEO

Our Mountain Rose Herbs Review

Every brand we review is scored using these six universal criteria (Mountain Rose Herbs’ scores included):

  • Quality (A-)
  • Transparency (A-)
  • Website Experience (A)
  • Customer Service (A)
  • Value (A)
  • Brand Value (A+)

Mountain Rose Herbs received an overall grade of A for their superior sourcing and quality standards, extensive certifications, environmental activism, industry disruption, and more.

As always, we will start with quality.

Quality

Summary:

Grade: A

The focus on organic ingredients, close supply chain oversight, in-house (as well as third-party) testing capabilities, and end product quality of Mountain Rose Herbs products have qualified them for a “not so easy” A.

More than the effectiveness and taste/smell/feel of the product, we also prioritize sourcing methodology, packaging, certifications, and other factors that impact both end product quality itself and the consistency of product quality levels. 

Mountain Rose Herbs products are certified organic and fair trade, and when they contain more than one ingredient, the well-balanced formulations remain untouched by anything artificial.

They were the first herbal product company to have an in-house lab, even before GMP (good manufacturing practice) standards were a thing, and they own or directly partner with farms in the US, Canada, India, Egypt, and other countries for maximum oversight over the product.

Though we still awarded Mountain Rose Herbs well-deserved credit for their lab (especially considering how long they have used it), we did make a deduction because the QR codes on packaging don’t bring you to lab reports—only to a search engine results page for the lot number associated with the code.

However, when Shawn learned we scanned a code, he clarified that “It is a code for our warehouse operations and fulfillment center,” which mitigates the issue somewhat (still a bit confusing).

Overall, Mountain Rose Herbs has said no to the shortcuts at every junction, positioning themselves as a highly legitimate and quality-focused brand, which is why we give them an A.

Their catalog is far too large for us to display in full or even close to it, but here’s a small snippet of what you can expect when browsing the Mountain Rose Herbs site.

Mountain Rose Herbs Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Products

Mountain Rose Herbs offers more than a hundred essential oil blends, pure extracts, roll-on essential oils, and diffusers.

Aromatherapy product subcategories include hydrosols and flower waters, aromatherapy sprays, natural perfumes and oils, burnables, and natural candles.

All of their botanical extracts are sourced from farms that use organic methods.

Citrus Blend Essential Oil
  • Mountain Rose Herbs crafts this slightly bitter, fruit-scented oil in small batches.

  • Every organic tincture is made with cold-pressed essential oils from organic sweet oranges, organic mandarins, organic lemons, and organic lime peels.

  • Popular uses include body care recipes, deodorants, perfumes, colognes, and more.

Herbs, Spices and Culinary Delights

Mountain Rose Herbs offers an extensive range of bulk herbs and spices, mushrooms, seaweeds, smoking blends, seasoning blends, and sprouting seeds.

Their herbal smoking blend is completely tobacco and nicotine free, and their seasoning blends are made from organically grown, freshly harvested ingredients.

For those who like to grow their own herbs for seasoning, you can do so any time of year with Mountain Rose Herbs’ selection of sprouting seeds, which includes alfalfa, broccoli, daikon radish, rambo radish, red clover, and spicy sprouting seed blends.

Cumin Seed Powder
  • Description

    Mountain Rose Herbs grinds this bold and fragrant spice from the Cuminum cymium plant.

  • Cumin is a spice that is well-known in countries such as Mexico and India, and in areas such as the Middle East, that has been used for generations in traditional curry mixes, cuisines, and sauces.

Teas, Health Products, and Bath/Body

Teas available at Mountain Rose Herbs include herbal teas, flavored teas, black/green/white teas, chai, mate, red, and rooibos.

Health products include pure as well as blended herbal extracts, capsules, syrups and elixirs, throat sprays, and lozenges.

Bath and body products include facial and hair care products, herbal products for babies and children, herbal oils, and salves.

Dream Tea
  • This tea features an all-organic blend of peppermint leaf, chamomile flower, damiana leaf, and several more herbal ingredients.

  • We enjoyed the minty, floral flavor, and felt a sense of calmness when drinking before bed.

  • Speaking of, it’s caffeine free, so we recommend drinking at night (as it is meant to stimulate vivid dreams).

Home Goods, Containers, and Books/Education

Finally, Mountain Rose Herbs also sells kitchen tools, herbal seeds, pet care products, jars, tins, plastic bottles, and books on a wide range of herbal education topics.

The Family Guide To Aromatherapy
  • Published in 2019 by clinical herbalist Erika Galentin, this comprehensive guide to aromatherapy keeps safety as a top priority.

  • The book contains a wide variety of recipes to calm, energize, or heal.

  • We recommend this book for any newbies to aromatherapy looking for safe and simple recipes.

Transparency

Summary:

Grade: A-

Everything we wanted to see as far as the brand philosophy, supply chain structure, product information, and more was readily available on the Mountain Rose Herbs site, but misdirecting QR codes and the multi-step lab report viewing process resulted in a deduction.

Openly sharing key insights about your brand, your philosophy, and how and where your products are made—beyond providing front-end convenience for browsing customers—signals a level of honesty and integrity shared by the best brands in the industry.

As for their brand story, philosophy, and product/supply chain information, Mountain Rose Herbs is undoubtedly one of the most transparent brands we have reviewed, offering far more than the one or two proverbial snippets for each of these key content areas.

The site clearly displays their certifications, where their ingredients come from, how they are grown, cultivated, and manufactured, and a solid background of the brand itself, including several mentions of key leaders.

As mentioned, Mountain Rose Herbs has an in-house lab, where they test their products for E. coli, residual solvents, and salmonella, but they also partner with third-party labs when testing for heavy metals and other contaminants.

After a medium-sized deduction for the issue of QR codes not sending scanners to lab reports, they still score an A- for transparency in our Mountain Rose Herbs review. 

mountain rose herbs tea at expo west 2022 booth

Website Experience

Summary:

Grade: A

Learned herbal product shoppers and day-one newbies alike have plenty of resources to peruse on the Mountain Rose Herbs site that will expand their knowledge, and the shopping experience is smooth and intuitive despite the humongous selection.

We reward brands credit in this category for how easy and intuitive they make the ecommerce experience, as well as the depth and accessibility of beginner-friendly content resources (“What is X,” X 101,” blogs, guides, etc.).

Especially considering the massive wealth of products the site is charged with organizing and presenting to visitors, we were impressed with how easy it is to simply click the down arrow on the “shop” link from the home page, quickly view categories and subcategories, and jump into one with a second click.

Once in a category, you can also use the “quick view” feature to see a sort of pop-up window of the product’s basic specs (and purchase if you’re ready), while still having the option to click through and access the full product page.

Product pages are extensively but succinctly populated with helpful content, fluidly designed, and sensibly arranged as far as the ordering and positioning of buttons and drop-down boxes.

The site runs on mobile devices with no noticeable bugs or formatting issues, and in both cases (mobile and PC), adding items to your cart and checking out are smooth and simple.

As mentioned, the amount of supporting content (podcasts, a list of their favorite herbal schools, a blog, and more) in the form of their Herbal Education portal is more than befitting of a top-tier brand website.

Overall, there’s very little to knock as far as the site experience goes, hence their grade of an A for website experience in our Mountain Rose Herbs review. 

Customer Service

Summary:

Grade: A

We received prompt and accurate responses from both support services we used, and though the shipping and return policies could be more flexible and accommodating, they still support a pro-consumer mentality.

How many support services the brand offers, how accommodating and responsive these services are, and the flexibility/fairness of shipping and return policies are all fair game when we grade this category.

Mountain Rose Herbs has phone, live chat, and email support services, which is our standard for a full score as far as availability goes.

We emailed customer support on a Friday afternoon, hearing back from their support team on Saturday morning with an in-depth response to our question (about allergen safety).

The service provided was equally prompt and accommodating when we called, which involved holding for about three minutes before connecting with a human being who answered our question accurately.

Also, site visitors must submit a document request in order to view a certificate of analysis from the testing laboratory—a safety net for the QR code issue that softened that deduction—and when we did, the response was almost immediate.

The shipping and return policies are fair, but not as flexible or generous as some others (Mountain Rose Herbs won’t pay return shipping or refund partially used products, for example), for whom we reserve about 10% of the grade for this issue.

Especially considering how easy it was for us to quickly connect with human customer service agents at this larger company, our general impression of their customer service is overwhelmingly positive, hence the A. 

Value

Summary:

Grade: A

Mountain Rose Herbs convincingly outvalues herbal product sellers of similar quality levels, even beating typically cheaper department stores like Walmart in many price comparisons.

With consideration for the various differences between these sellers in sourcing, product quality, and other fundamental factors, we compared the price of ten Mountain Rose Herbs, Walmart, Whole Foods, and Penzey’s products to provide a general framework for our assessment.

Here are the ten products:

  • Allspice
  • Cacao Powder
  • Cilantro Leaf
  • Fennel Seed
  • Onion Powder
  • Cinnamon Leaf Extract
  • Peppermint Essential Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • St. John’s Wort Essential Oil
  • Tarragon Essential Oil

In these weight-balanced comparisons, Mountain Rose Herbs had the cheapest option five times, beating Walmart by one. 

Scanning the rest of the Mountain Rose Herbs catalog also revealed a fairly small amount of overpriced outliers, strengthening our confidence that our smaller comparison was indicative of all their products.

If it were Whole Foods and not Walmart trailing Mountain Rose Herbs slightly in our price comparison, we would be arguing that Mountain Rose Herbs products are moderately priced, but considering the quality gap, it’s definitely an A for value.

mountain rose herbs expo west 2022

Brand Value

Summary:

Grade: A+

For their major, positive influence as pioneers in the herbal product industry, leading sustainability standards, and diligent philanthropy work, we have to give Mountain Rose Herbs the highest grade for brand value.

Finally, this is where we take a broader look at how the reviewed brand has impacted their industry (and any outside communities), which can encompass many factors, including, but not limited to:

  • Product innovation
  • Industry knowledge and influence
  • Industry disruption 
  • Philanthropy/Activism Efforts
  • Sustainability

Considering the lengthy herbal education and experience pedigrees of Shawn and other brand leaders—and the fact that they put this to use educating their consumers while running the biggest herbal shop in the business—we award Mountain Rose Herbs a solid chunk of credit for their industry knowledge and experience.

The long-established focus on ethical harvesting and sustainability, including the hiring of a sustainability coordinator to “build relationships locally and land restoration projects,” as Shawn informed us, also bode very well for Mountain Rose Herbs’ perceived brand value.

Adding on their regular support of roughly two dozen life-affirming causes and institutions, we had to make it an A+ for brand value.

Our Experience

For this Mountain Rose Herbs review, our team of testers received about a dozen products, including Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils, spices, herbs, topical creams, tea, and aromatherapy products, that we sampled over a period of several weeks.

Every product arrived undamaged in succinctly labeled packaging, which provided all the usual specs you’d want to know (ingredients, nutrition facts, etc.) in addition to QR codes for lab report access.

However, the QR codes would direct us to search result pages that have nothing to do with the testing results for the products; they would simply display searches for the lot number, producing random results from different websites. 

Most noticeable for their potency and clear-cut quality were the seasonings and herbs, (celery salt and cumin, to name a couple) which consistently outperformed their grocery store alternatives.

The topical products were non-greasy and pleasantly fragrant, and the Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils were hardly discernible from those you would buy at a higher-end health food store.

Once the infuser was dusted off (what can we say, bags are easier), we found the teas to be significantly bolder in flavor than bagged tea.

Overall, our experience with Mountain Rose Products was representative of a higher tier of product and brand quality. 

FAQs About Mountain Rose Herbs

Where is Mountain Rose Herbs located?

Eugene, Oregon is home to both the Mountain Rose Herbs headquarters and their brick-and-mortar location. 

Who owns Mountain Rose Herbs?

Shawn Donnille is CEO and owner of Mountain Rose Herbs.

Are all Mountain Rose Herbs products organic?

The vast majority of Mountain Rose Herbs products are organic, but when they are not, they are either grown without chemicals or wild harvested. 

Can I return a Mountain Rose Herbs product?

Mountain Rose Herbs customers can send their products back within 30 days of receipt for any reason.

Are Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils pure?

Every Mountain Rose Herbs essential oil is 100% pure.

Final Thoughts

As a 35-year-veteran in the herbal product industry, Mountain Rose Herbs has maintained its position as the largest herbal product retailer in the US by sticking to stubborn standards of integrity and quality, namely their organic-only policy and ethical harvesting policies. 

Their commitment to educating and engaging their customers has been unwavering since day one—“We exist here to educate and entertain our people while telling compelling stories,” said Shawn. 

We exist here to educate and entertain our people while telling compelling stories.

Shawn Donnille, CEO

Their products are consistently superior to competitors—often at a lower price—and Mountain Rose Herbs is highly transparent with their audience as it regards the most important parts of their business.

Their customer service team was prompt and professional in answering our questions, and their shipping and return policies are fair, but not necessarily the most generous.

We found it very easy to browse, learn about, and buy products from the Mountain Rose Herbs website, which provided ample information for newbies to herbal products.

For these reasons and more, we award Mountain Rose Herbs an overall grade of A and will recommend their products to others. 

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *