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Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise: The Pursuit of a Natural Alternative to Anti-Anxiety Drugs and Sleeping Pills Paperback – June 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews


"Truly exotic locales can be visited in Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise, Chris Kilhams's odyssey of a medical research mission on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu." (Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover


Join botanical researcher Chris Kilham in the South Seas as he searches for kava, the most effective relaxant and stress-reliever in all of nature. A soothing, safe alternative to dangerous tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antidepressants, kava naturally eases muscular tension and insures deep, refreshing sleep. Kava-based remedies are used by Europe’s largest pharmaceutical companies to treat everything from urinary tract infections to arthritis, as well as nervous disorders of all kinds, but no source of pure, high-quality kava has been available to consumers.

An exploration of the magical relationship between a people, a place, and a plant, Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise takes you on a journey through the mystical legends, outlandish history, and exciting science surrounding kava. Kilham ventures deep into unexplored islands of Vanuatu to set up a kava trade with the natives. Along the way he befriends a Tahitian prince, survives deadly seas in a questionable boat, and discovers powerful varieties of kava completely unknown to the West.With a thorough analysis of kava research, and information on where to find the best kava, Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise is a must-read for those interested in adventure, plant medicines, or the cultures of Oceania.

Chris Kilham has been involved in the field of holistic health as a writer, lecturer, and entrepreneur since 1970. He is the author of many books, including The Five Tibetans, Take Charge of Your Health, and The Whole Food Bible, and is the founder of Cowboy Medicine Expeditions, which specializes in researching and launching products based on plant medicines.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Park Street Press (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892816406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892816408
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

About Chris Kilham (AKA "Christopher S. Kilham", AKA "The Medicine Hunter")

Medicine Hunter

"Part David Attenborough, part Indiana Jones, Mr. Kilham, an ethnobotanist from Massachusetts... scoured remote jungles and highlands for three decades for plants, oils and extracts that can heal." - The New York Times

Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter, author and educator. The founder of Medicine Hunter Inc., Chris has conducted medicinal research in over 30 countries. Chris is The FOX News Medicine Hunter and appears on FOX News Health TV both online and in US and international television markets. He also writes a weekly FOX News Health Column and is on the Medical Advisory Board of The Dr. Oz Show. As Explorer in Residence for Naturex of Avignon, France, Chris conducts medicinal plant research for the largest botanical extraction company in the world. He is also an advisory board member of the Naturex Foundation, which funds community development projects in various countries.

Chris works with companies to develop and popularize traditional plant-based food and medicinal products into market successes. These include kava, maca, rhodiola, schisandra, horny goat weed, catuaba, tamanu oil, herbal beverages and dozens of other plants. He is currently working to build market demand for cat's claw and dragon's blood, both strong medicinal plants from the Amazon rainforest.

Chris is the author of fourteen books, including Hot Plants, The Five Tibetans, Psyche Delicacies, Tales from the Medicine Trail and Kava, Medicine Hunting in Paradise. Chris also writes articles on plant medicines for several publications, and is a contributing columnist for FOX News Health.

"I love adventure! That's why I love teaming up with The Medicine Hunter, Chris Kilham." - Dr. Manny Alverez, Fox News Health

Chris lectures extensively on holistic health and botanical medicines, throughout the United States and the European Union, Hong Kong, Thailand, Dubai, Australia, Peru, Vanuatu and many other countries. Recent appearances include The Vitamin Shoppe, In Cosmetics, American Herbalists Guild, Missouri Botanical Garden, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Medicines of the Earth Symposium, Natural Products EXPO East, Natural Products EXPO West, Southwest Yoga, Midwest Yoga, Plant Teacher's Convergence, University of Massachusetts, Evolvers, Geneva Vitafoods Conference and HBA New York.

As a guest expert, Chris has presented across a wide variety of sectors to companies such as; Coca Cola, Pepsi, Unilever, Pfizer, Roche, Beiersdorf, Avon, L'Oreal, Chanel, Clarens, Body Shop, Royal Canin, GNC, and Whole Foods. He is also a regular advisor to Woman's World, Fox News Health, and various industry and trade publications.

Chris has appeared as a guest expert on over several hundred radio and television programs including news programs on The Dr. Oz Show, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Oprah & Friends, FOX TV, and NPR. He has appeared as a guest on The Dr. Oz Show, and is The Fox News Medicine Hunter. As a TV guest he has spoken about medicine hunting, traditional botanical medicines, nutraceuticals, environmental and cultural preservation and other related topics for a wide variety of audiences. Chris has appeared on over 1500 radio programs and more than 500 TV programs worldwide.

An avid body surfer and adventure traveler, Chris lives and works in Massachusetts with his wife, artist/activist Zoe Helene ( Chris advocates sane drug policy and the shamanic and ritual use of hallucinogens. Chris and Zoe travel the globe on Medicine Hunter expeditions, and work together to promote plant medicines, environmental protection and cultural preservation.

CNN calls Chris "The Indiana Jones of natural medicine."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Phil Lee on January 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book gave me the comfort level and impetus to try Kava as a cure for my chronic insomnia. Previously I read and tried melatonin, with no success. Finally a protracted illness lead me to search again. The author gives enough details on the plant, pharmocology, and ethnobotany. There is eight pages of full references for additional research, if desired.
Went to a local health food store / COOP with the book in hand and had the staff present the different brands of Kava in stock. Finally selected a Kava tincture because a salesperson / user said that this is the best form, compared to powdered root, capsules, and other standardized extracts. He said you will get the fastest and most powerful effects with this tincture, especially since the label said it was extracted from Vanuatu Isl 4-8 yr old roots. He was right on target; the tincture gave a white cloudy mixture when a couple of dropperfuls in 1/3 glass of water. It tasted pretty musty, as expected from reading about the Nakamals, native kava bars!! Got a slight numbing of the tongue too! Fell asleep within 30 minutes and did not wake up for 6 hours, refreshed and alert. The next best thing to being there with the author, who wrote a great story.
My first time using tinctures. Normally I use capsules or try to make a tea out of the bark or root. The book told me of the uselessness of making a tea, as heat destoys the kavalactones.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bean Slap on November 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
I often like to use kava with vanuatu variety being my favorite because it is so powerful. The book is a quick 155 pages of 29 chapters usually not going over 5 pages. The book describes his journey from first using kava in America when it was very relatively unknown to going on a business expedition inspired by his experience to the beautiful South Pacific. Kilham wanted to scout out how viable a kava business could be and make some local contacts. You learn about kava (not in a complicated and detailed overview like a botany class) but from a "lay" person's perspective that you probably wouldn't figure out simply from skimming the internet. He tells you a little background of the area he's visiting and mentions the cultural traditions behind the nakamals (kava bars). I was a little confused because in one area he seems to romantacise gender roles when he says about the practice of women not drinking kava (page 63), "....I could detect no dissonance as a result of the distinctly different roles played by the men and women at the nakamal. In Vanuatu drinking kava is strictly a male activity....In the politically correct U.S. such a distinction would lead to picketing and outrage....We could learn a few things from them." Then he writes on page 77 about how two women went around to all the nakamals on the island and drank kava and proved that women dont take away the inebriating effect of kava. Kilham writes, "There went another archaic myth, shattered by two enthusiastic , determined, liberated Ni-Vanuatu women." Of course this isn't a political book so it's not a big thing, just a dissonants one notices.Read more ›
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 1996
Format: Paperback
We're featuring this book in a section of COCONUT, the Web Guide to the Tropical World. The section is all about kava, and the author's new book comes out at a perfect time, as interest in Kava is growing rapidly all over the world.This book rambles at times, but the story of the author's encounters with a village of ni-Vanuatu people is wonderful and memorable and happily, it forms the bulk of the book.For a full review of Chris Kilham's KAVA book, check out the COCONUT website (which will be making its grand opening in August 1996) at [...] Brian Dear, Editor of "COCONUT"
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