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Medicinal Herbs for Commerce

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The Medicinal Herbs for Commerce project has ended now, but it aimed to provide North Carolina farmers an opportunity to explore the economic feasibility of medicinal herb production. As conventional crops like tobacco became less viable, some of our farmers began growing and marketing herbs for the natural products industry, an industry that was expected to reach $200 billion by 2008. Our program enabled North Carolina growers to be at the helm of this exciting trend. The project was part of the NC Specialty Crops Program, a cooperative program between the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State University and the Marketing Division of the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It operated out of NC State University’s Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, North Carolina. Dr. Jeanine Davis, Associate Professor of Horticultural Science, Extension Specialist, and N.C. Specialty Crops Program Coordinator, served as the Project Director. The resources from this project are still relevant and are updated from time to time.

Learn more about the Medicinal Herbs for Commerce project.

Want to grow medicinal herbs?

STEP 1: Introduction

  • What is a medicinal herb?
  • What is the medicinal herb industry like?

STEP 2: Evaluating Your Resources and Personal Considerations

  • Land and physical resources
  • Other land considerations
  • How do you want to market?
  • Financial considerations

STEP 3: Planning

  • Have a Business Plan
  • Marketing Your Product

STEP 4: How to Grow Medicinal Herbs

  • Do You Want to Grow Organic?
  • Site Selection and Field Preparation
  • Seed and Rootstock Sourcing
  • Planting and Growing
  • Pest Control
  • Harvest the Bounty
  • Post-Harvest Handling
  • Specific Herb Production Information

STEP 5: Growing Your Success

  • Stay Informed
  • Networking

Glossary of Terms

Printable pdf versions:

  1. STEP 1: Introduction
  2. STEP 2: Evaluating Your Resources
  3. STEP 3: Planning
  4. STEP 4: How to grow medicinal herbs
  5. STEP 5: Growing Your Success

Project funders included:

  • NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission
  • Golden Leaf Foundation
  • NC Rural Economic Development Center
  • NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
  • NC State University Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development Grant

Jeanine Davis, NC Alternative Crops & Organics Program, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University. Updated 6/19/2022.