Chris Kilham

Chris Kilham ( is a medicine hunter, author, educator and TV personality who promotes natural, plant-based medicines and sustainable global trade that supports indigenous cultures. He has conducted medicinal plant research in more than 45 countries and lectures worldwide about holistic wellness and botanical medicines. Chris works with companies to develop and popularize traditional plant-based food and medicinal products—including kava, maca, rhodiola, schisandra, tamanu oil, cat’s claw, dragon’s blood, ayahuasca and hundreds of others—into market successes. The New York Times calls Chris “part David Attenborough, part Indiana Jones.”

Chris has traveled more than 4 million miles in his work bridging worlds, regularly sharing information about other cultures through presentations and media and advocating for traditional botanical medicines, including psychoactive and psychedelic plant medicines such as ayahuasca and cannabis. He’s been featured in The New York Times, Outside Magazine, Psychology Today, LA Weekly, and Newsweek, and appeared on CNN, NBC Nightly News, The Dr. Oz Show, ABC Good Morning America, ABC Nightline, ABC 20/20and many other top-tier media venues. He has written 14 books, including The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook, Psyche Delicacies, and The Five Tibetans, which has been published in more than 28 languages.

Chris’ work with psychoactive and psychedelic plants combines his decades of experience as a yoga teacher with his deep involvement in South American shamanism. He is recognized as a chief in Vanuatu, South Pacific, is known as “Maxipe” (black vulture) by the Macuxi indians, and has lived with and visited dozens of native tribes in Amazonia. Since 1994 he has studied with shamans in Brazil, Peru and North America, participating in hundreds of ceremonies with and without ingesting ceremonial psychoactive drugs including ayahuasca, San Pedro cactus, peyote, coca, sacred mushrooms, and tobacco. He is the founder of The Ayahuasca Test Pilots, a collaboration of individuals who engage in ceremonial ayahuasca journeying with skilled shamans.  An ordained minister, Chris officiates at cannabis weddings and last year performed perhaps the first-ever cannabis soplar, an Amazonian tradition in which shamans blow clouds of tobacco smoke over and around “passengers” to bless and protect them. Chris lives and works in Massachusetts with his wife and business partner, cultural activist and psychedelic feminist Zoe Helene, who often travels with him.

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