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Qualification - Certificate In Herbs

Course CodeVHT014
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

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...


Course Structure:

There are 30 lessons as follows:

1. Introduction

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

16. Lavenders

17. Mints

18. Lamiaceae Herbs

19. Garlic

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

Growing Herbs

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
Harvest Quantity
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
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:
  1. Warm the teapot first.
  2. Add one teaspoon of tea per person and one for the pot.
  3. Allow to stand for 3 minutes then serve.
  4. Use fresh (non-chlorinated water)
  5. Never allow tea to stand very long before drinking
  6. Never use milk as this can affect the pure flavour of the tea.
Making a Career out of Herbs
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 manufacturer.

Meet some of our academics

Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
Adriana Fraser Businesswoman, writer, teacher, consultant, horticulturist and sustainable living expert for more than 30 years. Adriana has worked with ACS for over 30 years. She has contributed to dozens of books(including Australia's national Grass Roots Magazine) since the early 1980's and continues to be actively involved as a contributor to Home Grown magazine and other publications. Adriana has a Cert.Child Care., Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert in Assessment and Training., Cert.Hort., Adv.Dip.Hort.
Yvonne SharpeRHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.

Check out our eBooks

Starting a BusinessThinking of starting your own business? Many businesses fail, but this doesn’t need to happen! This is a concise, easy to read ebook which alerts you to all of the things that commonly make a difference to business success or failure. Seven chapters include: A Reality Check, The Product or Service, Managing a Business, How to Find Customers, How to Make a Sale, Delivering the Product or Service and Pitfalls to Avoid. 51 pages
Starting a Nursery or Herb FarmThis is both a guide to “how to propagate plants” as well as an exploration of the possibility of starting a small nursery or herb business that could eventually grow into a blossoming business! It's often amazing how much can be produced, and the profit that can be made from a few hundred square meters of land. Since it was first published by “Grass Roots” in 1981, we have lost count of the hundreds of people who have told us how this book kicked off a successful business or career for them. 63 pages
HerbsHerbs are fascinating plants, mystical and romantic. They have a rich history dating back centuries. Used by monks, apothecaries and ‘witches’ in the past, herbs are undergoing a revival in interest. They are easy to grow, scented, culinary and medicinal plants. In a formal herb garden or peppered throughout the garden, herbs rarely fail! Find out how they are used as medicines, for cooking, perfumes and more. This book has nine chapters covering the following topics: an introduction to herbs, cultivation, propagation, pest and diseases, herb gardens, an A-Z plant directory, using herbs, features for herb gardens, herbs in pots - 113 colour photos 61 pages
Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsHome grown produce somehow has a special quality. Some say it tastes better, others believe it is just healthier. And there is no doubt it is cheaper! Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegies and herbs you have just gathered for the evening meal will be on the table within an hour or two of harvest, can be an exciting and satisfying experience.