Over the years, I’ve found the Llewellyn Herbal Almanac to be one of the most practical and useful annuals they publish. Dubbed “herbs for cooking & crafts, health & beauty, growing & gathering, history, myth & lore” this volume lives up to its promise.


Like many of Llewellyn’s annuals, several of the contributors are published authors (like Elizabeth Barrette, Susan Pesznecker, Ellen Dugan, and Lisa Mc Sherry) or are long-time contributors (Dallas Jennifer Cobb, and Susun Weed). But there are several newcomers who hold their own with the others: Kaaren Christ and Danny Pharr in particular.


The essays are just the right length and completely practical. In the first section, Growing and Gathering Herbs, I especially liked reading about bringing the outdoors in (“Plantscaping” by Alice DeVille) and container gardening (“The Herb Way to Container Gardening” by Misty Kuceris). In the second section, Culinary Herbs, Pesznecker’s “Cordial Craft” and “Indian Herbs for Curries” by Chandra Moira Beal were outstanding. The two articles by Lisa Mc Sherry (both in the Herbs for Health section) were particularly great: the first offered herbal remedies for quitting smoking and the other a new way to look at love potions (an often controversial topic).


The entire Herbs for Beauty section is simply perfect. This is three articles, Kaaren Christ’s “Herbal Beauty Baths” Sue J. Morris’ “Craft Your Own Organic Body Lotions,” and “Head to Toe Beauty” by Elizabeth Barrette. Herb Crafts offers some strong articles, notably Ellen Dugan’s “Crafting Wreaths” and Laurel Ruefner’s “Beyond Pine-scented Cones.” Closing out the annual in the Herb History, Myth and Lore section, I especially enjoyed Amy Martin’s article, “Holy Smoke: Beyond the Smudge Stick.”


I enjoyed this annual immensely: Highly recommended.


~review by Luisa Martinez


Editor: Sharon Leah

Llewellyn Publications, 2009

pp. 312, $9.99