Doing It: Naughty by Nature
Outside Magazine
by Brad Wetzler
Photo of Chris Kilham by Russ Quackenbush“These botanicals help keep me healthy and strong, which is great, because this line of work is very demanding.” -Chris Kilham, Outside

Looking to rachet up your mojo, sans synthetics? University of Massachusetts explorer in residence Chris Kilham, 52, has spent 25 years traveling the world to study native uses of medicinal plants. Despite having zero formal training in botany, the plucky adventurer and author—known to fans of his herbal guides and travelogues as the Medicine Hunter—has become a leading promoter of alternative healing. For his 13th book, (Griffin, $13), due in bookstores in October, Kilham traveled from Siberia to the Amazon to experience firsthand the uplifting power of ten easily purchased botanical "remedies."

So what are "hot plants"?
KILHAM: Natural agents that enhance sexual experience. They increase sensitivity and make sex more urgent. Men get better erections. Women benefit, too. Your orgasms are like Chinese New Year fireworks.

Testing them must make for some interesting experiences.
Believe me, I've wound up obsessively horny in every remote place I've been. I've woken up with a raging erection on every continent. But sex with strangers is not without its hazards, so sometimes I travel with a partner.

Given the success of drugs like Viagra, why should anyone consider herbs?
If you can use a plant and not an alien substance, that's a good option. These plants deliver the goods—otherwise they wouldn't be used after thousands of years. Plus, they're cheap.

Do you have a favorite hot plant?
Tongkat ali, from the Malaysian rainforest. It's one of the most powerful aphrodisiacal plants on earth. Animals eating tongkat ali copulate three to four times more frequently than normal.

If you're taking all these enhancers, you must be randy 24/7.
Well, I'm used to being charged up, so it doesn't feel like I'm just bug-eyed all the time. These botanicals help keep me healthy and strong, which is great, because this line of work is very demanding. You start early. You finish late. It's always go, go, go.

Photo by Russ Quackenbush

September 2004