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  1. I travel the world looking for traditional, plant based medicines. I don't discover them. I find traditional remedies and work with indigenous people and establish trade with the countries that have these plants.

  2. On a spiritual journey to the Himalayas one January many years ago I became sicker than I've ever been in my life. Wading across a chilly section of the seemingly pristine Gautam Ganga, a sacred river in the Himalayan foothills, I took a drink of the water. It was bracingly cold and delicious. It was also, apparently, a running stew of potent pathogenic microbes. With that unfortunate act I had picked up the stereotypical tourist's disease, dysentery, a grueling and potentially serious ailment that causes fever, aches, and constant diarrhea. Far from Western hospitals, I had little hope of relief. But with a mixture of local spices, an Ayurvedic doctor healed me. I was so astonished by my experience that I decided to become a professional medicine hunter--one who tracks down non-Western plants that are used as medicines. Here's how a handful of spices changed my life…

  3. In the 60’s, like so many hippies of the time, my friends and I became convinced that “natural is better”. Many of us started to become interested in natural and organic foods, yoga and meditation, so we began to transform ourselves into it and personally, I became fascinated with plants. When I went to college I made my own major – the term “holistic health” didn’t exist – so I studied Mind Body disciplines. That form of study enabled me to study the whole concept deeper. I also developed an insatiable appetite for travel. I wound up working in the natural products industry in different areas including retail and eventually it lead me to learn more about herbs.

    Around circa 94, I was asked to go on a project to China as the official herbal expert. It was hilariously wonderful and it quickly became apparent to me that if I could create projects in countries like China, then I could easily adapt the same principles of the project, to other countries around the world. At the time I was conducting a lot of seminars and I talked a lot about medicinal plants and not too soon after I started, I was contacted by a wealthy businessman to do some work for him. I told him to get into the business of extracting herbs such as “kava”. So he sent me to Vanuatu South Pacific and the business took off from there. 2010 is my 16th year doing this for a living along with lecturing worldwide on the topic of plants.

  4. Media exposure. For example, Dragon’s Blood as having the potential of becoming a high-end facial rejuvenator. If that happens, it will draw attention to other botanicals. It will also generate income. Again, I am an idealist, but a practical one. Trade is the operative principle. When we trade with the local economies in the Amazon, they are not then forced to sell their land to those interests that would cut down the rain forest to raise cattle to satisfy America’s voracious hamburger consumption.

  5. I find out everything I can about the plant's role in the culture and its chain of trade so I can advise companies on how to acquire that plant material in ways that are sustainable and that help the people who do the real hard labor. If you can create market opportunity, then native people won't go off to the cities to become impoverished taxi drivers—and the land will be protected. (from Psychology Today)

  6. The term "herbs" refers to plants or parts of them, including grasses, flowers, berries, seeds, leaves, nuts, stems, stalks and roots, which are used for their therapeutic and health- enhancing properties. Generations of skilled herbal practitioners, researchers and scholars have refined and tested the vast science of herbology, producing thousands of plant-based remedies that are safe and effective. The proper and judicious use of herbs is often successful in the treatment of illness when other, more conventional medicines and methods fail. Herbs can be used to cleanse the bowels, open congested sinuses, help mend broken bones, stimulate the brain, increase libido, ease pain, aid digestion, and a thousand other purposes. Topically, herbs can repair damaged skin, soothe a wound, improve complexion, heal bruises and relieve aching muscles. Herbs demonstrate great versatility for the treatment of a broad variety of health needs.

  7. Herbal medicines are regulated by the FDA. They are safe. We see plenty of cases of a pharmaceutical drug that later turns out to be unsafe. That doesn't happen with herbs.

  8. Some compounds perform the same functions in plants and in the body. Natural antioxidant phenols in plants, for example, protect plant cells from oxidation, and often perform the same function in the human body. Our bodies recognize the substances that occur in plants, and possess sophisticated mechanisms for metabolizing plant materials.

  9. Plant medicines are far and away safer, gentler and better for human health than synthetic drugs. This is so because human beings have co-evolved with plants over the past few million years. We eat plants, drink their juices, ferment and distill libations from them, and consume them in a thousand forms. Ingredients in plants, from carbohydrates, fats and protein to vitamins and minerals, are part of our body composition and chemistry.

  10. Pharma is totally bewildered by this because they are not single molecule drugs. Pharma companies have hired me on occasion but they are not keen on plant based medicines. But people are not waiting for the big pharma to figure it out. They are going out and buying herbal medicines. And many herbal medicine companies are run by scientists who used to work for pharma.

  11. The replacement of herbs with synthetic drugs is a relatively new phenomenon, less than a century old, born largely out of economic opportunities afforded by patent laws. Drug companies can't typically patent commonly used plants, but they can develop patented, proprietary synthetic drugs, often reaping billions in sales. Since the 1940's, chemists employed by pharmaceutical companies have developed novel synthetic molecules which have replaced plant medicines, and are sold both over the counter and by prescription.

  12. Plants can pose a danger to human health. Drink a tea made from oleander leaves or chew a mouthful of foxglove and you'll be dead in a hurry. On the other hand, if you use any of the thousands of healthful herbs that have been utilized as traditional medicines over the past few millennia, in dosage ranges that have been determined by centuries of trial and error, you are likely to benefit without side effects.

  13. As it applies to medicinal plants and products made from them, sustainability involves providing natural resources for human health needs in a manner that supports the health and diversity of the natural environment, and incorporates labor and wage practices that enable all people in the system to flourish. In a sustainable system, all life is supported and allowed to prosper.

  14. Yes. It’s as though we are all in our living rooms watching TV while the kitchen and the bedrooms are on fire!

  15. I’m one of those people who never lost their 60’s values. Eating simple and clean is a major part of my lifestyle and has been for the past 40 or so years. If I’m in Peru in the Andes, it’s easy to eat reasonably natural because they grow their food without chemicals. Eating natural is as essential as breathing clean air and drinking pure water. At home, we eat organic as much as possible. In fact, I wrote a book called The Whole Food Bible. It’s a comprehensive guide to eating organically and naturally. A natural lifestyle can help anybody navigate through this life and help to make it a better world. If someone wants to be more energetic and remain disease-free, then eating organic, exercising, breathing clean air and engaging in healthy lifestyle habits, is what they need to do to survive and profit.

  16. Acai is not a diet miracle. It is a wonderful, amazing-tasting, highly beneficial fruit that gives you energy and makes you feel good. But don’t be bilked by companies that want you to believe it’s the key to slimming. It isn’t. There’s really no need to try to make something more than it is. In the case of acai, this is a superior, nutrient-rich fruit with tremendous antioxidant value. It offers great flavor, and makes you feel good. The harvesting of acai provides a living to a lot of people, and helps to preserve some of the Amazon rainforest. In my mind, that’s more than enough.

  17. While calorie regulation remains the primary means of controlling weight, seven other strategies can help greatly. These means of weight control can be achieved using natural plant-based substances, from various herbal teas to concentrated supplements.

    No single approach to weight control works perfectly. Rather, maintaining proper weight is the result of lifestyle. The seven aspects of weight control here fit into a healthy lifestyle, and are easy to establish as regular daily habits.

    1. Thermogenesis (calorie burning)
    2. Diuresis (shedding water weight)
    3. Appetite suppression (calorie restriction)
    4. Satiety (inducing fullness)
    5. Fat sequestration (fat blocking)
    6. Carbohydrate inhibition (starch blocking)
    7. Glucose modification (reducing fat production)

    These strategies for weight control are not theoretical. Currently, a substantial body of science supports each one. To date nobody has attempted to address all seven in a coordinated manner. Yet doing so will unquestionably result in superior weight maintenance, in conjunction with a healthy diet and moderate exercise.

  18. For your convenience, we have listed some of the products we know and like, from brands we know and trust all on one page. Please visit our Frequently Requested Products page for a list of the most commonly requested products, with links to trusted retailers that carry them.

  19. You can find information on our The Shaman’s Pharmacy (Amazon Field Immersion Course) page.

  20. Street drugs do not promote healing. True healing puts order into the body, mind and spirit with the past, present and future. The visionary plants enable people to experience nature and spiritual states in profound ways. They heal persistent disorders of both physical and mental nature. Properly employed, they can open up new ways of perception, and enable a person to live a more integrated, fulfilled life. These plants are not for everybody, but they are for many. (From Lessons from the Forests, Organic Authority).

  21. Chris is an expert on herbal aphrodisiacs. From the ancient rainforests of Malaysia, to remote mountains in Siberia, the Amazon rainforest and the high plains of Peru, he has scoured the globe in search of effective, sex-enhancing plants. For information about these wonderful plants, visit our special Hot Plants section. You will find direct links to each plant individually, as well as to Chris' book, HOT PLANTS: Nature’s Proven Sex Boosters for Men and Women, and a page showcasing Chris' Hot Plants IN THE MEDIA.

  22. We love Cocoa! We love cocoa so much that we have created a special section about cocoa called Cocoa, Food of The Gods so you can easily will find fun and interesting information about everybody's favorite medicinal plant.

  23. If you are a Woman's World reader, you're in luck! We have created a page on our site to help you find stories that were published in Woman's World. Woman's World writers call upon Chris as an expert in natural medicine and plant medicine. Here are a few of the stories Chris has contributed to recently. You can find direct links on our Woman's World page. Woman's World is a weekly magazine for busy women, with a circulation of 1.6 million readers. It has held the title of most popular newsstand magazine, and continues to be the best-selling women's publication, with sales of 77 million copies in 2004.

  24. In the field of health-oriented media, today’s reigning king is cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr Mehmet Oz. You can find direct links to most of Chris' segments on our The Dr Oz Show page.

  25. On occasion, Chris winds up facing some very weird foods. Customs are different in various cultures, and often foods are strange at best. From fried scorpions to brain ravioli and penis noodle soup, Chris tries them all. You can find direct links to most of Chris' weird food segments on our Weird Foods page.

  26. Chris writes a weekly health column on Fox News Health, as The Medicine Hunter. These articles promote the benefits of plant medicines, and inform readers about both traditional use and scientific evidence. The FOX News Health site gets over one million unique visits daily. You can find direct links to most of Chris' stories on our Medicine Hunter FOX News Heath Column page.

  27. Chris is the FOX News Medicine Hunter and appears on FOX News, online and in the USA and international television markets. This current activity puts Medicine Hunter in position to play an influential role in advancing the conversation about medicinal plants. Chris' TV segments are played all over the country and world on Fox affiliate stations. Click here to watch some of the segments online.

  28. Chris has been a long-time speaker and presenter on yoga and meditation, at venues across the United States. Since 1971 Chris has taught yoga to thousands of people in classes at colleges, universities, dance centers, conferences, hospitals and jails. In his yoga presentations, Chris integrates information and methods of yoga, meditation and the martial arts, to enhance mind/body integration and sexual health, and to promote healthy aging. Chris is the author of a best selling yoga and meditation book called The Five Tibetans.

  29. Originating in the Himalayas, the five yogic exercises known as the Five Tibetans take only a minimum of daily time and effort but dramatically increase physical strength, energy, and suppleness as well as mental acuity. The Five Tibetans has established itself as a classic among yoga practitioners and teachers alike. In this new edition the author shares his own positive experiences from more than 30 years’ devotion to the practice, even during his extensive worldwide travels, and explores the spiritual benefits of the Five Tibetans as well as the profound impact the practice has on health, longevity, and healthy aging.

    Please visit our The Five Tibetans page for more information.

  30. Companies of all different kinds, pharmaceutical, cosmetic,food, nutritional, invite me in to speak with them about how various plants and their extracts can be worked into products of all types, from beverages to skin creams. So part of this work has to do with understanding each of those market sectors, and knowing what will turn them on, as a result of knowing what is out there. I do a great deal of work for the French extraction company Naturex. If not for their funding, I wouldn't be able to do even a quarter of the field work I enjoy. Many of the companies I visit are Naturex customers. Sometimes we start projects that take years to come to fruition.

  31. I am grateful beyond any ability to describe. The work I do is a total privilege, and I feel that it confers a certain responsibility to make things happen. I believe in this. Helping to inform people about natural remedies, and working with native people all over the world, is this most amazing thing. I am deeply honored for it all.

  32. In this medicine hunting work, I identify traditional remedies that we simply either do not know, or do not know enough. My first big victory was with kava in 1995. The root of the plant is a spectacular relaxant and anti-anxiety aid. I scored a huge victory with kava, with the support and help of many others, and got Wall St Jrnl, ABC 20/20, and a slew of high-profile stories, and the kava industry went from a tiny local phenomenon to a sprawling global endeavor. I was thrilled to be in the thick of that, and most importantly made loads of friends in Vanuatu, South Pacific. Kava was the turning point. It changed the entire trajectory of my career.

  33. Losing 35 pounds due to violent, bone-cracking diarrhea is scary. Once several of us nearly lost our lives at sea in a tiny boat. That was scary. Some road trips, like the cab ride from Damascus to Beirut, are horrifically scary. Snake-infested places are scary. But fortunately, the rest of the benefits of travel completely overwhelm those minor inconveniences. You can find scary. Walking on fire, something I did for years in the South Pacific, is so scary it's laughable.

  34. I faithfully watched Wild Kingdom, and I watched many episodes of the first-ever travel TV show, hosted by a guy named Cowboy Joe Woods. He is forgotten now, but he was the first to put footage of pygmies on TV. I saw that, and was blown away. I ate up the Tarzan movies, and anything else in the jungle. Basically I was ready to go. But the real burning drive to travel my life away developed years later.

  35. My dad was a serious Type I diabetic, so western medicine was the rule in our house. But my parents taught me a lot about the role of diet in health, because my father had to eat very carefully. That proved a tremendous influence on my life and career.

  36. At age fifteen I traveled to the interior jungle part of Puerto Rico on a school project. There I hiked in a small rainforest, experienced tropical life, and pretty much lost my marbles over it. I knew right then and there that I wanted to travel heavily. A couple of years later I went on an herb walk with a somewhat popular herbalist named Ben Charles Harris. We wandered in the next town from where I grew up, and he identified about fifty or more medicinal plants and told us what they were for. These were plants I had seen my whole life, running around in the fields and forests of New England. I was hooked after that.