Chris Kilham - The Medicine Hunter
- Friday, 09 January 2009
It doesn’t happen often when you come across someone who inspires you to the point that you want to join them on their next journey for making this world a better place. Chris Kilham, or better known as, The Medicine Hunter, was this someone for me. I hope one day I can join him on one of his extraordinary trips and learn directly from the indigenous people Chris meets.
Naturally Savvy Guide, Andrea Donsky:What inspired you to become The Medicine Hunter?
Chris Kilham: 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. 2009 is my 15th year doing this for a living along with lecturing worldwide on the topic of plants.
Andrea Donsky: How does being in the natural products industry extend to your daily lifestyle?
Chris Kilham: 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.
Andrea Donsky: Do you believe that there is a cure for a large number of diseases that exists in the world today?
Chris Kilham: We have to be careful out there. I have ultimately resolved persistent issues with botanicals but I will take an antibiotic when it is critical. I use Manuka and Tamanu oil along with other proven essential oils that are antiviral and antibacterial when I need them. I have treated many native people with unresolved skin issues successfully. Cancer is the most feared of all the diseases because the environmental toxins are so numerous. We know certain lifestyle changes can help to prevent it. Raw fruits and veggies and high antioxidant food lower the risks if someone is packing those types of things into their body.
One of my favorite things to eat is Tabasco sauce as it helps to reduce bacteria in the body. The science on that is very real.
Andrea Donsky: Do you believe there is a “Pharmaceutical Conspiracy”? Is it true that because Pharmaceutical companies cannot receive patents for herbal medicine, they don’t get involved in finding cures for certain diseases?
Chris Kilham: The conspiracy theorists aren’t thorough enough. It is absolutely true that Pharmaceutical companies don’t get involved in herbal medicine because it can’t be patented.
The pharmaceutical industry is so dominant. About 300,000 American’s die from the proper use of over the counter prescription drugs every year. As it turns out, pharmaceutical medicine isn’t for prevention.
There is no drug that does what Hawthorne does for the heart. It is proven in human clinical studies to enhance all parameters of heart health. You can drastically, radically reduce all kinds of bad heart issues by taking high quality Hawthorne products. The same goes for Anxiety. Xanax users can get far better results and more sense of personal stability with Holy Basil and Rhodiola Rosea – it’s good for everybody. In fact, it’s the great of the greats.
Andrea Donsky: How can one find out if there are any known interactions between the medication they are taking and herbal medicine?
Chris Kilham: The American Botanical Council is a foremost information center in the world. They are a great resource for botanical information. They put out a steady stream of the science on herbal medicine.
Andrea Donsky: How do you and Zoe maintain balance in your life?
Chris Kilham: I’ve been practicing yoga daily for about 40 years now. It is my constant companion for keeping me balanced and fit. That’s been the big thing for me in my life. I also love to walk. Zoe and I do yoga and take walks together. We try to be active people. We meditate together in the evenings.
I also have a great admiration for different psychoactive plants and their uses. By this I mean, Inquiring into the spiritual dimensions of cultures. I participate in types of ceremonies such as the use of Ayahuasca. It is very rejuvenating for me.
Andrea Donsky: You are very blessed to be able to do this.
Chris Kilham: It is a total privilege. It makes me responsible to live up to the potential of the work. I grew up in the media and have been extremely fortunate to have done a ton of TV and radio and be able to get these messages out to so many people through so many diverse media outlets.
Andrea Donsky: Talk to me about ‘Sustainability’, ‘Fair Wages’ and your Charity work.
Chris Kilham: I was just with my business partner Sergio in Peru and we have been working for the last 10 years with Maca growers up in the Highlands. Sergio and I have been able to implement projects in the communities we go to. We just finished setting up the first free internet cafe. These people haven’t been connected to anything but the Andes and the trout lakes and now they can go online and see what “New York City” is or what “tigers” are. We even implemented a free dental clinic in a small community in the Andes.
We pay between 3 and 6x the price for Maca in the Andes but we do that because it is fair for the growers. This is for their wages and we are on the more extreme end of fairness. We will supply school supplies for all the children in a town of 450 kids. Being unable to afford supplies is embarrassing for them and it inhibits their learning. I have been fortunate to have received money from clients to be able to do this charity work and keep it going.