Nanise’: A Navajo Herbal

Authors: Vernon O. Mayes & Barbara Bayless Lacy
Illustrators: Jack Ahasteen & Jason Chee
Publisher: Five Star Publications
Genre: Nature
ISBN: 978-1-58985-217-4
Pages: 163
Price: $14.99

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A Navajo Reservation set in an approximately 25,000 square mile area covering the northeastern corner of Arizona, the northwestern corner of New Mexico, and a portion of southeastern Utah is home to many plants used by the native population in medicine and ceremony. Many of these grow in elevations above 7,000 feet. Nanise’: A Navajo Herbal catalogs 100 of these plants.

Each plant description includes the common name, the Latin name, and the Navajo name. A description of the plant and its distribution follows. A brief summary of Navajo uses is given, but since these are considered private, they are not detailed. References conclude the entry, and a pen and ink drawing of the plant accompanies the text.

It’s obvious that the authors and illustrators approached this volume with careful research and devotion. Those with a strong interest in botany, with an emphasis on this region and Navajo use and practice, will find this book a valuable resource.

Reviewer: Alice Berger