“Working together with Amaringo, Tafur is helping to chart a course that just might be the future of medicine.” - Chris Kilham, Finding Healing Through an Ancient Amazonian Brew

Dr. Joe Tafur
Nihue Rao
Medical Doctor, Founding Partner of Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual
Psychoneuroimmunology, Integrative Medicine, Family Medicine, Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine


Dr. Joe Tafur is an integrative minded Family Physician and founding partner of Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual. He is Colombian-American from Arizona, studied biology at UCLA, then Med School at UCSD, completed Family Medicine Residency at UCLA, then went on to do a post-doc in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD, studying low-intensity light therapy and, simultaneously, Psychoneuroimmunology.

Dr. Tafur has been working in and around integrative medicine throughout and after his medical training, working on a variety of academic and community activities with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Yoga Practitioners and Energy Healers. He has been studying Traditional Shipibo Plant Medicine for the past five years and is now apprenticing under Ricardo Amaringo at the Nihue Rao center. His primary interest at this time is in spiritual healing and in working to integrate practices like Amazonian shamanism and other traditional approaches with modern healthcare.

The Fellowship of the River

Dr. Tafur’s new book, The Fellowship of the River, explores his extensive experience with ayahuasca and traditional medicine in the Amazon Rainforest. During his intensive work at the Peruvian healing center Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual, Dr. Tafur studied Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine (TAPM) and Shipibo shamanism under master ayahuasquero Ricardo Amaringo. At the center, he learned how shamanic approaches can help to heal modern health problems like anxiety, depression, PTSD, migraine headaches, and digestive problems.

Dr. Tafur continues to work in both allopathic and shamanic medicine, and is focused on connecting the worlds of academic medicine and spiritual healing. In his years at Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual, he collected a number of integrative case studies from which he developed his theories about bridging modern medical understanding and the profound world of shamanic healing. Woven into the stories of his Amazonian adventures, Dr. Tafur has summarized these theories in his thought provoking new book The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor's Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine.