Editor: Micael Fallon
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Publication date: August 2002
Price & More Info: Click Here
In a way, the 2003 Herbal Almanac is probably misnamed. When I think of an almanac, I think of a book full of tables and charts, either tables and charts of encyclopedic information (the World Almanac) or tables and charts full of weather and astrological data (the Old Farmer's Almanac). Except for about 15 pages of Moon sign tables in the back, you will not find any tables in the 2003 Herbal Almanac.
Instead of tables of dry data, you'll find 30 articles full of information on growing and using herbs. This book is divided into six sections, each covering a different area. The first section, "Growing and Gathering Herbs," has five articles including my favorite article of the entire book: "Growing Unusual Herbs in Containers." The second section, "Culinary Herbs," has seven articles on using herbs in food and drink -- complete with many recipes. The next section, "Herbs for Health," has four articles with a stress on Asian techniques. The fourth part of this book, "Herbs for Beauty," also has four articles including one on "Herbal Aphrodisiacs." (You can make your own "herbal viagra." Surprise. Well, at least with this article you won't have to buy any from a spammer.) The fifth section of the 2003 Herbal Almanac is "Herbal Crafts," with four articles including one on herbal papermaking. The last part of the book, "Herb History, Myth, and Magic," has six articles and the moon sign tables mentioned above.
As in years past, many of the articles in this year's Herbal Almanac are written by people in Llewellyn's stable of writers. However, I am happy to see more articles from professional herbalists and gardeners in this issue than I've seen in years past. Articles from these professionals give the book far more solid backbone to build on than previous editions seemed to have. I hope this trend will continue in future editions.
The articles themselves are a very mixed bag, but this is to be expected in an anthology of articles. Only a few made me wonder why paper was wasted on them. The majority were at least interesting and a fair number were both interesting and useful. Given its low price, 2003 Herbal Almanac is a good buy for anyone interested in herbs. A few articles may make you roll your eyes, but the majority are both readable and informative.
Reviewed by Randall