1. Scope and Nature of Commercial Herb Product Industries
- Running An Herbal-Based Business
- Brief History of Herbal Crafts and products
- Properties of Herbs
- What are Herbs?
- Beneficial Properties of Herbs
- Overview of Herbal Products
- Herbal Teas
- Herbal Tinctures
- Culinary Products and Edibles
- Herbal Vinegars
- Herbal Oils
- Herbal Honeys
- Herb Salts
- Essential Oils
- Herbal Liniments
- Herbal Baths
- Fresh Herbs
- Bath bombs
- Pot Pourris
- Pressed Herb Crafts
2. The Raw Products
- Harvesting Herbs
- Post-Harvest Processing
- Preserving, Storing, and/or Treating Herbs
- Drying Herbs
- Boiling and Steaming
- Baking or Roasting
- Freezing Herbs
- Essential Oils
- Extracting Essential Oil
- Hydrosols and Floral Waters
- Steam Distillation
- Process of steam distillation:
- Chemical compounds in herbs
- Primary Metabolites
- Secondary Metabolites
- Nitrogen-containing compounds
- How chemical compounds in herbs affect human senses
- How processing can affect chemical compounds in herbs
- Choosing the Correct Herbal Solvent
3. Skin Care and Cosmetics
- Working with Allergies and Sensitivities
- Natural Preservatives
- Using Essential Oils
- Containers and Storage
- Applications of Herbal Products in skin care
- Layered Lavender Flower Water
- Clarifying Toner
- Herb-Scented Water
- Rose Cold Cream
- Lavender and Lemon Eucalyptus Lotion
- Body Lotion
- Oil Cleanser
- Lip Balm
- Lip Scrub
- Shea Butter Lip Balm
- Clay Face Masks
- Lavender Salve
- Herbal Facial Steam
4. Personal Hygiene Products
- Growing Herbs at Home
- Purchasing High Quality Products Online
- Selecting the Right Herbs
- Blending Scents
- Keeping Notes
- Applications of herbal products in personal hygiene products
- Lavender Bath Elixir
- Scented Bath Lotions
- Bath Perfumes
- Lavender and Chamomile Wash Balls
- Herbal Soap
- Hair Rinse
- Scented Lavender Water
- Sage Gargles
- Botanical Mouth Wash
- Rose Tooth Powder
- Toothbrushes of Liquorice Root
- Herbal Aftershave
- Herbal Toothpaste
- Nail Strengthening Oil
- Nail Oil
- Fragrant Body Powder
- Vinegar Rinse
- Herbal Rinse
- Aloe Gel Conditioner
- Neutral Henna Conditioner: Treatment to Strengthen Hair, and Control Dandruff and Excess Oiliness
- Citrus Energy Bath
- Herbal Body wash
- Salt Scrub
5. Health and Wellbeing Products
- Harvesting herbs for medicinal use
- Different Applications
- Bitter Tonics
- How to Make Herbal Decoctions
- How to Make Herbal Ointments
- Calendula Ointment
- How to Make Herbal infusions
- How to Make Tinctures
- How to Make Herbal Poultices
- Syrups Made with Tinctures
- How aromatherapy works
- Absorption Through Inhalation
- Absorption Through the Skin
- Food Grade Ingredients and Storage
- Permits and Licensing
- Unusual Products, Flavour Profiles
- Adding Flavour to Herbal Food Products
- Markets and Places to Sell
- Herbal Food Product Applications
- Herbal Teas
- Herb Vinegars
- Herb Infused Oil
- Herb Butters
- Herb Cheeses
- Herb Salt
- Herb Scented Sugar
- Herb Honey
- Herb Confectionery
- Peppermint Cream
- Herb Biscuits
- Savoury Herb Muffins
- Candle making
- Whitening Crystals
- Mixing Herbs
- Moist Potpourri
- Dry Potpourri
- Various Potpourri Recipes
- Rose Sandalwood Sachet
- Clove Pink Sachet
- Lemon Verbena Sachet
- Mint Sachet
- Verbena Sachet
- Geranium Citrus Sachet
- Herb Pillows
- Rosemary Herb Pillow
- Mint and Lemon Pillow
- Lemon Verbena Pillow
- Hops Sleep Pillow
- Floral herb pillow
- Tussie Mussies
- Herbal Paper
- Lavender Letters
8. Products for Homes or Workplaces
- Expressing Citrus Oils
- Herbal Cleaning Products
- Lavender Furniture Cream
- Herbal Fabric Softener
- Surface Spray Cleaner (Non-Porous Surfaces)
- All-purpose Surface Spray Cleaner
- Herbal Dishwashing Tablets
- Herbal Insect Repellents
- Clove Pomanders
- Rose Bud Pomander
- Garlic Spray
- Other Sprays
- Moth Repelling Sachets
- Insect Repellent Oil
- Scented clothes hangers
9. Packaging, Handling, Storage and Presentation
- Annual Herbs
- Perennial Herbs
- Post-Harvest Handling and Storage
- Storage Conditions
- Relative Humidity
- Atmospheric Composition
- Preservation Methods
- Processing Equipment
- Packaging Herbs
- Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)
- Packaging Herbal Products
- Packaging Materials
- Food Packaging
- Examples of Food Product Packaging
- Examples of Other Herbal Product Packaging
10. Making Good Business Choices
- Developing a Business Plan
- Points of Difference
- Developing the Product
- Branding, Design, and Labelling
- Business Types
- Cottage Businesses
- Herbal Farm or Nursery — Businesses that Grow Herbs
- Herbal Product Manufacturer — Businesses that Process and Manufacture Products
- Different types of refrigerators
- General Logistics & planning a delivery schedule
- Businesses That Retail Products
- Risk Management
- Claims and Therapeutic ClaimsPlease note: Each lesson culminates in an assignment submitted to the academy, marked by your tutor and returned with relevant suggestions, comments, and extra reading.
RUNNING AN HERBAL-BASED BUSINESS
There are many different herbal products on the market, from the dried oregano added to a simmering spaghetti sauce, through to the lavender wheat pillow used on aching muscles at the end of a long run.
The beauty of these products is that many are traditionally handcrafted, based on industries that have been around for hundreds of years – meaning that they are very much industries that are accessible to people starting a business, or those simply interested in monetising an interest.
Indeed, several products lend themselves well to farmers markets and online sales. This means they can begin as smaller, low-cost businesses that can be scaled as sales increase.
Smaller herbal-based businesses generally focus on a specific sector of the market, such that the end products may fall into any of the following categories:
- Edible products – teas, dried herbs for cooking, sweets, etc.
- Hygiene and cleaning products – deodorants, shampoos, soap, toothpaste, household cleaners, etc.
- Cosmetics – perfumes, moisturisers, face wash, talcum powders, facial masks, sun lotions, etc.
- Craft products – dyes & colourings (for fabric, paints), fixatives, sachets/pot pourri, etc.
- Therapeutic and health products – intended for wellbeing and general health, though these cannot be sold in place of medicinal products or as having medicinal value
- Other – insect repellents, natural pesticides for the garden, fruit, and vegetable washes, etc.
The business may expand later but a single focus is generally best when starting out. Note, however, that an exception to this is when categories are closely related, e.g., hygiene products may do well with cosmetic and beauty products, while some craft and home décor products may pair well with cleaning products.
Before starting up, it is essential to spend time defining the market. For instance, herbal cosmetic and skincare products for older women will likely use different ingredients to those for younger women; products targeting people with specific skincare concerns, such as acne or allergies, will require different formulations altogether.
Similarly, craft products intended for use with children will need to follow much stricter safety regulations than those intended for use by the average adult. Different markets will also bring different laws and regulations into play, so clearly defining the market and product type ahead of time will help the new business owner/producer ensure they plan, then meet, all relevant standards.
Once there is a clear idea in place for the product and the market – e.g., younger men with acne who require a gentle shaving balm – it becomes easier to think about the best herbs for the products. This step may require significant research, so it’s best to start early. This is especially important because the herbal producer must balance:
- The benefits of herbs included
- Cost of sourcing herbs/ingredients
- Type of raw herbal ingredient included, e.g., fresh herb, essential oil, hydrosol
- Any preservative needs
- Potential contraindications with other herbs, particularly those that may be used by people within the target market.
Smaller businesses also benefit from forging strong relationships whenever possible. This means that while finding essential oils for products online may be the best and most cost-effective solution, talking to local producers for other natural ingredients may be more beneficial, especially if the business can then include a “locally made” or local artisanal label and create a cooperative sales relationship.
Some herbal businesses also grow some of their ingredients – e.g., the flowers and herbs for making pot pourri are grown and dried on site.
It is important to note that while this may work when the business is small, it may be necessary to move to a supplier when the business grows to keep up with ingredient supply, particularly if the picking and drying of herbs becomes quite labour-intensive.
There are also general production concerns for the new herbal producer. Some local and state governments require commercial licensing for the premises where products are made, meaning it is important to check this ahead of time. Depending on location, different kinds of insurance may also be required.
Again, check local laws and regulations. These can often be found via small business or better business bureaus, or by calling the local council for the area.
BRIEF HISTORY OF HERBAL CRAFTS AND PRODUCTS
Herbal crafts and products date back to ancient times; indeed, some of the first written documents are lists of plants that were considered useful by their civilisations. These include documents from Sumeria, which is among the first written languages known to humanity.
Depending on the place and era, herbs were used in cooking to help promote health or recovery, in teas, or in more direct applications through salves, poultices, and more. There is much writing about the use of herbs in medicine – including herbal prescriptions – and Pliny’s pharmacopeia is considered one of the foundations of medical treatment using drug therapies today.
Herbal crafts and products once penetrated all aspects of daily life. Herbs were the initial pesticides, with specialised plantings not only protecting beds and crops, but sachets, waters, and bunches used to keep pests from the inside; some herbs, like hyssop, were used around the house and even strewn on the floor to help keep pests away.
Hyssop was also used as an oil for ridding people of lice. Yet these herbs also brought comfort to people in their homes with fragrance, the way air fresheners and diffusers do today.
Herbal sachets were hung among clothes to keep pests away, but also to bring sweetness to the fabric, in closets and chests of drawers, and pot pourri was popular in parts of Europe, and scented candles were used to help freshen rooms, particularly where someone had been sick.
Similarly, tonics and waters were used to help bring sleep, energy, or address illness, prescribed by both doctors and everyday householders, from the grandmother recommending ginger for nausea to the doctor giving willow for pain.
Poultices, where the herb is crushed and applied to the skin, then often held in place with fabric or bread, were used to draw infection, or reduce pain or fever; compresses, where the fabric is soaked with a tea or tincture, were used in a similar fashion.
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