Herbs

Lady in a Wide Brim Hat with Hands Around Lavender Bush
Lavender (Photo Taken by Geraint Smith)

An herb is any plant used as a food, flavoring, medicine, or perfume. At SASC we have been exploring the potential of medicinal herbs as an alternative, high-value crop. Such crops include yerba mansa, cota, and osha. Lavender currently thrives at the farm on a substantial plot.


SASC at Alcalde Publications

Technical Papers

  • RR770_Lavender Cultivator Trial Results for North Central New Mexico
    Two cultivars of Lavandula angustifolia Mill. ('Compacta' and 'Hidcote') and four cultivars of Lavandula x intermedia ('Emerisa', 'Grosso', 'Provence', and 'Super') were planted from 4-inch (10.2 cm) commercially obtained nursery stock in a randomized complete block design on June 24, 2002, at the New Mexico State University Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde.


Additional NMSU Publications

Technical Publications

  • RR758_Cultivation of Anemopsis Californica
    Under Small Scale Grower Conditions in Northern New Mexico. Anemopsis californica (Nutt.) Hook. & Arn. in the family Saururaceae (Benson, 1959) is an herbaceous perennial with reputed medicinal properties native to riparian habitats of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Called by various names including yerba del manso, manso, yerba mansa, lizard-tail, and swamp root (Kress, 2006), it has traditionally been and continues to be used for medicinal and antiseptic purposes by indigenous and Hispanic cultures in its geographic range.


Journal Articles & External Publications

  • Abstract of " Risk Management Education in Southwest Medicinal Herb Production
    and Marketing in New Mexico: Assessing Grower and Potential Grower Outcomes after a Two-Day Workshop". Abstract: A risk management educational program to help small-scale farmers of native medicinal herbs of the U.S. Southwest (SWH) was conducted. Topics included: balancing culture and commerce, species identification, value-added production methods, quality control and marketing, and financial planning. Participants were re-contacted 6 months later to assess follow-through. Only five participants applied risk management principles to their growing operation. Respondents indicated that the workshop series improved their understanding of managing risks associated with growing SWH, but the study highlighted differences between (1) existing specialty crop growers who are able to transition to producing SWH and (2) individuals only curious about SWH but not likely to grow these crops commercially. **Please note that the full article is only available through Taylor and Francis Group**
  • HortTechnology, Vol. 9, No. 4, p. 681-686, October-December 1999:
    "Costs and Returns of Growing Selected Medicinal Herbs in New Mexico Indicate Positive Return to Land and Risk Likely". Cost and return estimates are presented for selected medicinal herbs grown in a plant-spacing study at two sites in New Mexico. The selected herbs were echinacea [Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench], valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.), and yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica Nutt.). Significant returns to land and risk were observed in the crops grown at the closest plant spacing, 12 inches (30 cm). Return to land and risk after two growing seasons from echinacea was estimated for a 10-acre (4-ha) farm to be $16,093/acre ($39,750/ha) in Las Cruces and $14,612/acre ($36,092/ ha) in Alcalde. Authors: Constance L. Falk, Hildegard van Voorthuizen, Marisa M. Wall, Steven J. Guldan, Charles A. Martin, and Kathryn M. Kleitz
  • HortTechnology, Vol. 13, No. 4, p. 631-636, October-December 2003:
    "Yield Potential of Selected Medicinal Herbs Grown at Three Plant Spacings in New Mexico". Field studies were conducted to determine the production potential of echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), valerian (Valeriana officinalis), mullein (Verbascum thapsus) and yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) medicinal herbs at two sites in New Mexico. Las Cruces, N.M., is at an elevation of 3,891 ft (1,186 m) and has an average of 220 frost free days per year, whereas Alcalde, N.M., is at an elevation of 5,719 ft (1,743 m) and averages 152 frost-free days per year. Data were collected on growth rates, fresh yield, and dry yield for the herbs grown at each site. Authors: Kathryn M. Kleitz, Marisa M. Wall, Constance L. Falk, Charles A. Martin, Steven J. Guldan, and Marta D. Remmenga.
  • HortTechnology, Vol. 18, No. 1, p. 116-121, January-March 2008:
    "Stand Establishment and Yield Potential of Organically Grown Seeded and Transplanted Medicinal Herbs". Field studies were conducted in 1995 and 1996 at Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Alcalde, New Mexico, to compare direct seeding to transplanting for stand establishment and yield estimates of calendula (Calendula officinalis), catnip (Nepeta cataria), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), and globemallow (Sphaeralcea spp.). Calendula established well from seed or transplants at both sites. Transplanting increased establishment of lemon balm, catnip, stinging nettle, and globemallow. Transplanting versus direct seeding medicinal herbs has the potential to substantially increase stand establishment and yield in New Mexico, particularly in the more northern and cooler part of the state. Authors: Kathryn M. Kleitz, Marisa M. Wall, Constance L. Falk, Charles A. Martin, Marta D. Remmenga, and Steven J. Guldan.


Additional Links

  • Southwest Medicinal Herbs
    This tutorial is an intensive training program on managing technical, financial and intangible risks associated with native herb production and herbal enterprises. Topics include: cultural sensitivity to native herb commercialization, Indo-Hispano herb enterprise development and management, value-added herb product development, native herb species identification, marketing and quality control, financial risk management, and native herb production models.
  • NMSU YouTube Videos
    Go to NMSU YouTube Videos (nested in Related Links) for videos that demonstrate herb production.