Medicinal Herbs of California is the first statewide field guide to more than 70 common medicinal plants of California. This vital addition to the California naturalist’s shelf will introduce readers to the principles of herbal remedies, history and roots in native cultures, scientific information, and how to find and incorporate medicinal plants into daily life. Inside you’ll find:
Lanny Kaufer has been leading Herb Walks in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties since 1976, educating scores of locals and visitors on the flora of the area with a focus on herbs that can be used for food and medicine. As an herbal educator, Lanny also leads workshops and presentations throughout the Ojai-Ventura-Santa Barbara area on the edible and medicinal uses of California plants. Lanny lives in Ojai, California, with his wife Rondia.
Lanny earned a biology degree at the University of California where he completed independent studies in naturopathic medicine under physiology professor Dr. Henry Hilgard.
Lanny is a faculty member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at California State University, Channel Islands. He served as chief consultant on medicinal plants for the redesign of the Swimmer Medicinal Garden in Playa Vista. Lanny actively shares his work online through his website (HerbWalks.com), newsletter, and social media.
This well-researched and fact-filled guide goes further than most to dive into phytochemistry. It explains the inner workings of plant medicine, such as how manzanita’s (Arctostaphylos spp.) arbutin becomes antiseptic in the urinary tract. Most of the 70 herbs are Southern California natives, with a few venturing more northerly. I like the inclusion of traditional and modern uses identified by the tribe that uses them. Ideas of wild plant experts such as Michael Moore and Greg Tilford are shared while many misconceptions corrected. The 30 recipes are for edibles, although there is no instruction for medicine making. There are many harvesting tips incorporating conservation. I only wish the photos were sharper since they highlight interesting aspects of the plants. Kaufer is a biologist and naturopath, who gives herb walks.