Study Herbs by Distance Learning
There are 30 lessons that cover the topic of herbs in detail. Learn more about propagation, management and much more...
There are 30 lessons as follows:
2. Overview of Herb Varieties
3. Soils & Nutrition
4. Herb Culture
5. Propagation Techniques
6. Pests & Disease Control
7. Harvesting Herbs
8. Processing Herbs
9. Using Herbs: Herb Crafts
10. Using Herbs: Herbs for Cooking
11. Using Herbs: Medicinal Herbs
12. Herb Farming
12. Herb Garden Design
14. Constructing a Herb Garden
15. Managing a Herb Nursery
18. Lamiaceae Herbs
20. The Asteraceae (Compositae) Herbs
21. The Apiaceae Family
22. Other Herbs
23. Topiary & Hedges
24. Producing Herb Products A
35. Producing Herb Products B
26. Producing Herb Products C
27. Marketing in the Herb Industry
28. Budgeting & Business Planning
29. Workforce Design & Management
30. Major Research Project
Enrolment Fee does not include exam fees
Herbs can be easy to grow, in the right climate; but achieving a high quality crop, may be far more involved. There are many different types of herbs; and they do vary in their cultural requirements; and their ability to produce foliage or flowers (both quality and quantity).
The oils, or other chemicals, found in the flowers or foliage, are what gives these plants their intrinsic value, and optimising both the quality and quantity of those oils is often the key to achieving the most profitable crop.
Indications of quality might be:
- How attractive are the flowers or foliage.
- Are the plant tissues marked, damaged or blemished (eg. Containing insects, partially eaten, marked by disease –eg caused by moisture)
- How pure is the oil. Some flowers contain more “contaminant oils” than others. eg. If there is virtually no camphor oil in a lavender, the oils can be much more valuable for the perfume industry
Factors that may need considering are:
- How much is produced per hectare.
- What is the quantity of "waste" in the harvest
- How big are the flower heads produced
- How long are the flower stalks
- How often can the plant be harvested.
Understanding the Chemistry of Oil
Usually a herb has a mixture of different oils in it's tissues; and the ratio of those different types of oil to each other can vary from one variety to another.
With Lavender, for example it's oil is mostly made up of:
- an acetic ester called Linalyl acetate (approx. 40%) and
- a terpene alcohol, called Linol (around 30%)
Linalyl acetate has a fruity sweet aroma that contributes heavily to the unique scent and anti microbial properties of lavender oil.
Other components in the Lavender oil can include cineol, pinene, limonene, borneol, rosmanic acid, tannins and other things.
Herbal teas can be made simply; by pouring boiling or near boiling water over fresh or dried herb leaves. Here are some that are relatively popular.
Lemon Balm Tea (Melissa officinalis)
This is a very old and traditional tea from Europe. In England, a few lavender flowers are sometimes added for additional flavour. A little rosemary, spearmint or cloves may also be added. Balm tea may be sweetened or spiced to adjust the taste.
Bergamot Tea (Monarda Didyma)
Bergamot (Bee Balm) was used by the American Indians and early colonists. Flowers and leaves can be used for a citrus flavoured tea. This is not the same bergamot used in Earl Grey tea in which oil from the rind of the bergamot orange is extracted and blended with the tea, but it has a similar fragrance.
Chamomile Tea (Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile has remained one of the most popular teas in the world for centuries. It is made from the flowers of chamomile in any of several ways:
a) With a little grated ginger over the steeping brew.
b) With fennel - 2 parts chamomile flowers to 1 part fennel seed.
c) Pure chamomile tea served cold.
d) Pure chamomile tea served with honey, lemon or orange.
Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) which is also known as chamomile is a medicinal herb but it has a bitter taste. Matricaria recutita is sweet and pleasant by comparison and much better in teas.
Lemon Verbena Tea (Aloysia triphylla)
Lemon verbena has a lovely and delicate lemon flavour. You only need use 5 or 6 leaves per teacup. Drink it hot or cold. Orange verbena is also available.
Peppermint Tea (Mentha x Peperita)
May be served as straight peppermint tea or flavoured by adding honey, alfalfa, clover flowers, linden flowers, or others.
Rosemary Tea (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary tea was recommended centuries ago by Arabian physicians for digestive problems. Lemon, honey or a few lavender flowers may be added to flavour.
Backhousia Tea (Backhousia citriodora)
The leaves of this native Australian tree are a rich source of the oil 'citrol' which can be used fresh or dried for making lemon teas. The leaves are actually preferred by many Asians for making lemon tea - rather than traditional lemon grass. It will grow in a wide range of conditions but prefers a frost-free subtropical climate.
Serving Herbal Tea
Serving the tea the correct way is, in some places, considered an art itself. The flavour of a tea can vary according to:
- Whether the teapot is warm or cold.
- How long the tea is left to draw before serving.
- How quickly after serving the cup is drunk.
- How much herbal material is placed in the teapot.
- The stage of growth of the herb material when it is harvested.
- The quality of water used.
- Whether herb material is fresh or dried.
Connoisseurs usually follow the rules below:
- Warm the teapot first.
- Add one teaspoon of tea per person and one for the pot.
- Allow to stand for 3 minutes then serve.
- Use fresh (non-chlorinated water)
- Never allow tea to stand very long before drinking
- Never use milk as this can affect the pure flavour of the tea.
Making a Career out of Herbs
have been cultivated by man for thousands of years; both farmed for the
products they can provide (eg. cut flowers, perfumes, medicines,
culinary products), and used as a landscaping plant in our gardens.
This course provides a foundation for a great diversity of career
options; from nurseryman to farmer and landscaper to product
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