Editor: Claire Kowalchik &
Trade Paperback, 545 pages
Also available in Hardcover
Publisher: Rodale Press
Publication date: January 1998
Price & More Info: Click Here
Rodale Press has created a North American herbal for modern times. Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs provides detailed information on the aromatic, cosmetic, culinary, craft, medicinal, and ornamental uses of over 140 different herbs. Herbs are presented in alphabetical order with additional articles such as "Growing Herbs," "History of Herbs," and "Teas from Herbs" in the mix. The book has over 200 illustrations. These are mainly line drawings, although there are over 50 color photos.
The medicinal information is up-to-date. While historical folk uses are listed even for herbs now considered quite dangerous, modern knowledge is stressed. The results of modern scientific studies are mentioned where there are any. Unlike many older herbals, with Rodale's you will know what is considered dangerous today and what isn't.
If you are interested in growing your own herbs, each herb's article has a section on its cultivation. This information is mainly aimed at the United States and Canada, however. It will be far less useful if you live elsewhere.
I really like this book and recommend it highly. However, it is not without its faults. While nicely illustrated, I don't think I'd want to try to identify herbs in the wild from many of its illustrations, for example. Nor does Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs cover the magickal uses of herbs. Within these limits, however, it is a wonderful book for anyone who wants to grow and/or use herbs effectively.
Reviewed by Randall