The description of plants as a herb generally refers to a group of plants that have been exploited by humans for their Aromatic, Culinary or Medicinal uses.
The Oxford Dictionary describes a herb as “any non-woody seed bearing plant with leaves, seeds or flowers used for flavouring, medicine or scent”.
Other than being used extensively as flavouring in food, many herbs today are being produced for the valuable oils in their flowers and leaves. The flowers and foliage are distilled to extract essential oils that are used in aromatherapy, for medicinal purposes and in the food industry as flavourings in beverages and foods.
One of the most lucrative markets for some of these oils is the perfume industry where returns to producers can be very lucrative.
In this series, SouthAfrica.co.za will deal with the most popular commercially produced herbs for their use as culinary and medicinal additives.
While SouthAfrica.co.za have tried to provide an accurate production guideline for each herb, its production and uses, we advise that when deciding to invest in a commercial herb production operation, it is best to also involve the services of the closest extension officer or specialist to assist with your planning and the implementation of your farming enterprise.