Chris Kilham (born July 22, 1952) is a medicine hunter, author, educator, and world-traveler researching and promoting plant-based medicines. He is the founder of Medicine Hunter, Inc., and is a Fox News integrative alternative medicine TV personality and columnist. He is the author of 14 books, including The Five Tibetans, Tales from The Medicine Trail, Psyche Delicacies, and Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise. The New York Times has referred to Kilham as “part David Attenborough, part Indiana Jones." Richard Branson writes about Kilham's sustainability work in his book, Screw Business as Usual.
Chris Kilham was born and raised in a family of ministers, broadcast and public speaking professionals. He is the son of Elizabeth Scalise Kilham “Bette Day” (1925-2006) and Gene Kilham (1919-1971). Bette Day was one of the first female on-screen TV talents at Boston’s WBZ-TV and became a popular radio disc jockey during her 43 year broadcasting career. Gene Kilham was also a broadcasting professional and songwriter. His grandfather, Rev. Dr. Victor Scalise graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1932 and spoke for his graduating class and received an award for effective preaching. Kilham’s uncle and first cousin are both Baptist ministers.
Kilham is the founder of Medicine Hunter, Inc. Through Medicine Hunter, Kilham travels to locate native medicinal plants and set up cultivation methods and trade with indigenous peoples. Medicine Hunter, Inc. is sponsored by companies who compensate Kilham for researching and promoting specific plants. Kilham's primary sponsor is Naturex, a French supplier of plant extracts. The Naturex Foundation employs Kilham to establish fair trade with indigenous peoples in the areas in which their plants are grown.
In addition to Naturex, Medicine Hunter Inc. partners with Purity Products, HQ Productions, EuroPharma, Enzymatic Therapy, and Fox News. Kilham appears on Fox News as the "Medicine Hunter" and writes an online column under this same name.
Kilham's wife, Zoe Helene, is an active partner in Medicine Hunter, Inc. Zoe Helene is an artist, environmental activist, sustainability correspondent and interactive media pioneer. Helene travels with Kilham on expeditions and conducts field research on the state of wilderness and wildlife, the arts of indigenous peoples, and women and children’s rights. As partner and 'co-pilot' in Medicine Hunter, Inc., Helene has traveled with Kilham on expeditions to the Peruvian Amazon, Peruvian Andes, Panama, Chile, South Africa, Vanuatu and Aotearoa (New Zealand), where she spent the years 9 to 19. Helene traveled with media on Medicine Hunter expeditions and appeared with Chris Kilham on NBC Nightly News, and in twice in The New York Times. She is mentioned in Reality Sandwich, and Ode Magazine.
Under Medicine Hunter, Inc. and partner companies, Kilham has conducted medicinal research in over 20 countries. He also promotes the following plants as having these properties:
- Maca for energy and libido-boosting effects, fertility, and menopausal symptoms.
- Ayahuasca as an addiction treatment and for personal healing.
- Tamanu oil as a topical healing agent for skin and nerves.
- Rhodiola rosea for reducing cortisol levels, reducing stress, improving mental function, and enhancing libido.
- Tongkat ali as an aphrodisiac and for balancing both male and female hormones.
- Dragon's blood for skin healing and antioxidant properties.
- Acai as superfood and for antioxidant properties.
- Kava for psychoactive qualities, tranquility, and anti-anxiety.
- Cocoa as a "super-food," antioxidant, and a “love drug.”
- Cat's claw for its anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing properties.
Work in Natural Products Industry
From 1985-1990, Kilham was the Vice President of Marketing for Bread and Circus, a natural foods chain bought by Whole Foods in 1992. In 1990, Kilham founded Cowboy Marketing, a consulting firm for the natural foods industry. His book, Cowboy Marketing: How to Shoot from the Hip and Win on the Wild Frontier of Natural Foods Retailing is about his experiences in the natural foods industry.
Role in Cannabis Reform
Kilham is an activist in the movement to legalize marijuana and has written about the topic, including the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and U.S. patent 6.630.507, on several occasions as part of his Fox Health blog. Kilham’s wife and business partner, Zoe Helene, is also a public advocate for the legalization of marijuana.
Voice of Shamanism
Kilham is recognized as a chief in the South Pacific. He researches and promotes psychoactive and psychedelic plants used in traditional shaman rituals, including kava and ayahuasca. He has written a book about the medicinal qualities of psychoactive and psychedelic plants, entitled Psyche Delicacies: Coffee, Chocolate, Chiles, Kava and Cannabis and Why They're Good for You.
Kilham’s Ayahausca Monologues have been described as a “psychedelic TED talk” and “Insightful, funny, wild, and totally real". Chris is the founder of Ayahuasca Test Pilots, a “collaboration of individuals who engage in the ceremonial practice of ayahuasca journeying with skilled shamans”. His wife, Zoe Helene, serves as “Co-Pilot”.
Yoga and Meditation
Kilham is a yoga teacher and conference speaker. His most notable yoga contribution is his book, The Five Tibetans: Five Dynamic Exercises for Health, Energy, and Personal Power, which has been a bestseller for 20 years and translated into 27 languages. Nicki Doane, Deepak Chopra, and Dr. Mehmet Oz are quoted on the book jacket. Kilham has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show teaching Dr. Mehmet Oz the exercises. He has also demonstrated The Five Tibetans on Fox News.
Work with University of Massachusetts
Kilham has taught ethnobotany at University of Massachusetts since 2000. His title there is “Explorer in Residence. ” He leads the Shaman’s Pharmacy Amazon Field Immersion Course, an expedition to primary rainforest in Peru for students from UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and Smith College. Students experience the Amazon while learning about field expedition, sustainability, shamanism, and medicinal plants of the region. Helene travels with and educates the students.
Kilham is the author of fourteen books and numerous publications on medicinal plants, natural products, and yoga, including The Five Tibetans: Five Dynamic Exercises for Health, Energy, and Personal Power and Stalking the Wild Orgasm, which appears as a key character set-up prop in the 1988 movie, Earth Girls Are Easy in the lead role Valerie Gail’s (played by Geena Davis) lingerie drawer.
Kilham’s other books are:
- Hot Plants: Nature’s Proven Sex Boosters for Men and Women. (St. Martin’s Press, September 2004) – ISBN 978-0-312-31539-9
- Psyche Delicacies: Coffee, Chocolate, Chiles, Kava and Cannabis, and Why They’re Good For You. (Rodale Press, 2001) – ISBN 1-57954-347-2
- Tales from The Medicine Trail: Tracking Down the Health Secrets of Shamans, Herbalists, Mystics, Yogis, and Other Healers. (Rodale Press, 2000) – ISBN 1-57954-185-2
- OPC: The Miracle Antioxidant. (Keats Publishing, Jan. 11, 1998) – ISBN 0-87983-842-6
- Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise. (Park Street Press, 1996) – ISBN 0-89281-640-6
- Cowboy Marketing: How to Shoot From the Hip and Win on the Wild Frontier of Natural Foods Retailing. (New Hope Communications, 1993) – ASIN B000E6CS1O
- The Bread & Circus Whole Food Bible: How to Select and Prepare Safe Healthful Foods Without Pesticides or Chemical Additives. (Addison-Wesley, 1991. Revised version: Healing Arts Press, 1996) – ISBN 978-0-89281-626-2
- Inner Power: Secrets from the Tibet and Orient. (Japan Publications, 1988) – ISBN 0-87040-689-2
- In Search Of The New Age: A Humorous Look at an Emerging Culture. (Destiny Books, 1988) – ISBN 978-0-89281-209-7
- Take Charge Of Your Health: Healing with Yogatherapy and Nutrition. (Japan Publications, 1985) – ISBN 0-87040-632-9
- The Complete Shopper's Guide to Natural Foods. (Autumn Press, 1980) – ISBN 0-394-73983-3
Television and Radio Appearances
Kilham is a frequent guest on The Dr. Oz Show with Dr. Mehmet Oz, appearing on at least five occasions from January 2008 to December 2010, and Good Morning America, where he has appeared to discuss herbal remedies, his cocoa sustainability project, and libido boosting plants.
Kilham has appeared as a guest expert on numerous radio and television programs, speaking primarily about medicine hunting, mind/body health and wellness, traditional botanical medicine, sustainability, environmental and cultural preservation and other related topics. Notable appearances include:
- ABC Good Morning America: Cocoa and the Kuna Indians of Panama
- CNN Health News: Peruvian “Hot Plant” May Boost Libido
- PBS Healing Quest: The Power of Herbal Medicine
- PBS Jim Lehrer News Hour: How are World’s Economies Faring?
- ABC 20/20: Sex: Myths, Lies, and Straight Talk
- CNBC Power Lunch
- Oprah Radio: Sex Enhancing Plants and Boost Energy with Adaptogens
- ABC: Good Morning America, Herbal Gold: The Power of Curcumin. September 20, 2011
- FOX: Hunting for Natural Medicine: Malaysia's True Aphrodisiac. May 27, 2011
- FOX: Hunting for Natural Medicine: Maca Root to Energize. May 27, 2011
- "The Medicine Hunter Challenge". Dr. Manny's Notes on Fox News.com. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- Kilham, Chris (1994). The Five Tibetans: Five Dynamic Exercises for Health, Energy, and Personal Power. Healing Arts Press. ISBN 0-89281-450-0.
- Kilham, Chris (2000). Tales from the Medicine Trail: Tracking Down the Secrets of Shamans, Herbalists, Mystics, Yogis, and Other Healers. Rodale Press. ISBN 1-57954-185-2.
- Kilham, Chris (2001). Psyche Delicacies. Rodale Press. ISBN 1-57954-347-2.
- Kilham, Chris (1996). Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise. Park Street Press. ISBN 0-89281-640-6.
- Downie, Andrew (1 January 2008). "On a Remote Path to Cures". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- Branson, Richard (2011). Screw Business as Usual. USA: Penguin Group. pp. 236–240. ISBN 1-59184-434-7.
- "Globe:". Boards.radio-info.com. 2006-03-10. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
- Bulletin of Yale University, The Divinity School. Series 27.11. New Haven. Feb. 15, 1931.
- Somerville Baptist Church description: http://somerville.patch.com/listings/sommerville-community-baptist-church
- Stewart, Kimberly Lord. "Natural Products Jungle-Book". New Hope 360 interview. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- "Zoe Helene Official Site". profession. Retrieved 20 Novemeber 2013.
- Marriage Certificate: Amherst, MA, Reg# 59, Intention# 75, July 23, 2007
- "About Zoe Helene". Medicine Hunter website. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- Downie, Andrew (Jan. 1, 2008). "On a Remote Path to Cures". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- Kilham, Chris. "In search of nature's pharmacy". Magazine article. Ode Magazine. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "Partner Companies". Medicine Hunter website. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "Medicine Hunter". Fox News topics. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- Imperato, Gina. "The Email Prescription". News article May 1999. Fast Company. Retrieved Nov 20, 2013.
- Kitchen, Patricia. "Artistry for the Small Screen". News article September 12, 1999. NEWSDAY. Retrieved Nov 20, 2013.
- Shapley, Deborah. "Dr. E-mail Will See You Now". News article January 1, 2000. MIT Technology Review. Retrieved Nov 20, 2013.
- Shapley, Deborah. "Marrying High Art with High Tech". News article August 9, 1996. Boston Business Journal. Retrieved Nov 20, 2013.
- Roessler, Mark. "The Adventures of Black Vulture and Little Bear". News article Aug. 4, 2011. The Valley Advocate. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Thompson, Anne. "The World's Biggest Pharmacy May Have Short Shelf-life". TV News story Sep. 18, 2008. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Szymasek, Jennifer. "A Medicine Hunter in Peru". News article January, 2008. The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- Downie, Andrew. "On a Remote Path to Cures". News article January, 2008. The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- Kilham, Chris. article November, 2011 "In Search of Nature’s Pharmacy". Ode Magazine. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Kilham, Chris. "In Search of Nature’s Pharmacy". News article Aug. 4, 2011. Ode Magazine. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Kilham, Chris. "In Search of Nature's Pharmacy". Magazine article Mar. 1, 2009. Ode Magazine. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- "Exploring Nature's Pharmacy: A Talk with Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham". Interview. Reality Sandwich. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- "A Medicine Hunter's Hallucinatory Healing Chris Kilham Evolver Ayahuasca Monologues NYC". Interview. Evolver. Retrieved November 2013.
- Mehmet, Oz. "Sex-Enhancing Plants". Radio blog. Oprah Radio. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Hopkinson, Natalie (Oct. 16, 2004). "'Medicine Hunter' Stalks the Wild Libido Booster". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- McDougall, Andrew. "Naturex launches new natural revitalising ingredient fresh from the Amazon". Cosmetics Design Europe. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- Boncampagni, Tatiana (18 April 2003). "Acai Replaces Wheatgrass In Blenders at Juice Bars". Article Apr. 18, 2003 (The Wall Street Journal). Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Kilham, Chris (1996). Kava, Medicine Hunting in Paradise. Park Street Press. ISBN 0-89281-640-6.
- Kilham, Chris (8 February 2011). "Chocolate: The Love Drug and Why It's Good for Your". Fox News. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Kilham, Chris (Spring 2011). "Treasure from the Medicine Trail". LOHAS Journal. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "Peruvian 'hot plant' may boost libido". CNN news segment Nov. 1, 2010 (CNN). Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- "Natural Cures, Part II". Dr. Oz Show.
- "Libido Boosting Plants". Good Morning America segment. ABC News. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- "A Medicine Hunter in Peru". Video (The New York Times). Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- Hopkinson, Natalie (16 October 2004). "'Medicine Hunter' Stalks the Wild Libido Booster". Article Oct. 16, 2004 (Washington Post). Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- "Food Prices Will Rise". Magazine article Oct. 1998. Vegetarian Times. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- "Health Food Supermarkets? Why Yes, It’s Only Natural". New York Times. Jan. 8, 1992. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- Kilham, Chris (1993). Cowboy Marketing: How to Shoot From the Hip and Win on the Wild Frontier of Natural Foods Retailing. New Hope Communications.
- Kilham, Chris (20 April 2011). "Marijuana Compound Treats Multiple Health Issues". Online article (FoxNews.com). Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- Kilham, Chris (9 August 2010). "Patent on Pot". Online article (FoxNews.com). Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- Griggs Lawrence, Robyn. "Is Marijuana Booming Among Boomers?". News article May 16, 2013, 1999. Forbes. Retrieved Nov 2013.
- Ettinger, Jill. "Lessons from the Forests: Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham". Interview. Organic Authority. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- Hutson, Mathew (Article published 09/01/07). "On the Job: Medicine Man". Psychology Today. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- Kilham, Christopher (2001). Psyche Delicacies: Coffee, Chocolate, Chiles, Kava and Cannabis, and Why They’re Good For You. Rodale Press. ISBN 978-1-57954-347-1.
- Kilham, Chris. "Ayahuasca Test Pilots". Medicine Hunter. Retrieved May 2013.
- "Southwest Yoga Conference Presenters". Yoga Conference website biography. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- "Inner Traditions". Medicine Hunter website. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- Kilham, Chris (2011). The Five Tibetans: Five Dynamic Exercises for Health, Energy, and Personal Power 2nd Edition. Healing Arts Press. ISBN 1-59477-444-7.
- Oz, Dr. Mehmet. "The Five Tibetans with Chris Kilham and Dr. Mehmet Oz". TV News story Sep. 18, 2008. The Dr. Oz Show. Retrieved October 2012.
- Oz, Dr. Mehmet. "5 Anti-Aging Yoga Moves". TV News story Sep. 18, 2008. Fox News Nature's Medicine Cabinet. Retrieved October 2012.
- Morse, Steve (July 9, 1981). "CAMBRIDGE'S HIPPIE MEDICINE MAN; WHY CHRIS KILHAM PRACTICES WHAT HE PREACHES". Boston Globe.
- Gagnon, Mathew. "The Shaman's Pharmacy". Article. UMass Amherst. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- Kilham, Chris (1984). Stalking the Wild Orgasm. ACS Publications. ISBN 0917086554.
- Oprah Radio. Boost Energy with Adaptogens. Jan. 1, 2008 http://www.oprah.com/health/Adaptigens
- The Dr. Oz Show. Scents that Heal. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/scents-heal-essential-oils
- The Dr. Oz Show. Natural Cures, Part I and Part II http://www.oprah.com/health/Adaptigens; http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/natural-cures-pt-1
- ABC News Good Morning America. Libido Boosting Plants. Feb. 1, 2010. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/natural-cures-pt-1
- ABC News Good Morning America. Modern Day Medicine Man. Nov. 2, 2008. http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=6167143
- ABC News. Cocoa and the Kuna Indians of Panama. Apr. 4, 2011. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/cocoa-kuna-indians-panama-native-americans-chocolate-production-13402637
- CNN.com. Peruvian 'hot plant' may boost libido. Nov. 1, 2010. http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/health/2010/11/01/pkg.cohen.maca.cnn
- PBS Healing Quest with Judy Brooks and Roy Walkenhorst February 2009. http://www.healingquest.tv/
- PBS News Hour. Sept. 23, 2009. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/video/module.html?mod=0&pkg=23092009&seg=3
- ABC 20/20. Uploaded to YouTube Oct. 24, 2007. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8M72DMaOc0
- CNBC. Uploaded to YouTube Jan. 21, 2008. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Srnz7kyDLFE&feature=related
- Oprah Radio with Dr. Mehmet Oz. March 6, 2007. http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Sex-Enhancing-Plants
- ABC Good Morning America. Herbal Gold: The Power of Curcumin. September 20, 2011. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/herbal-gold-14566725
- Fox News. Hunting for Natural Medicine: Malaysia's True Aphrodisiac. May 27, 2011. http://video.foxnews.com/v/963708937001/hunting-for-natural-medicine/
- Fox News. Hunting for Natural Medicine: Malaysia's True Aphrodisiac. May 27, 2011. http://video.foxnews.com/v/963644914001/hunting-for-maca-root-to-energize/