The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor’s Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine


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by Joseph Tafur MD

From the Publisher: Western medicine has not been particularly successful at getting people relief from conditions like depression, chronic pain, migraine headaches, addiction, and PTSD. Dr. Tafur helps us to understand why. Because these and others are diseases deeply connected with the state of our emotional bodies. Too often, the Western medical approach fails to address the emotional dimension of illness. This is where traditional plant medicines, with their ability to alter consciousness and open channels of communication to our emotions, offer so much promise. The stories shared here demonstrate the astonishing—mystical, colorful, metaphysical—effects of ayahuasca and Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine. Follow Dr. Tafur through the Amazon jungle as he develops a breakthrough understanding of how psychoactive plants interact with the complex network that connects our minds and hearts to our physical anatomy. What Dr. Tafur presents here is nothing short of a paradigm shift for modern medicine, where sacred plants, used properly in ceremony, take their place as important tools in the doctor’s medicine chest, offering the missing elements of emotional and spiritual healing that have eluded us for so long.

Praise for the Book: “This book makes a strong case for the synergetic fusion of modern and traditional medicine to create a newer, more powerful paradigm that recognizes the primacy of the human mind in healing. This partnership of the two, he shows, is especially powerful in the treatment of conditions long considered to be beyond the reach of conventional medicine.” — Dennis J. McKenna, PhD Assistant Professor, Center for Spirituality & Healing, University of Minnesota author of The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss: My Life with Terence McKenna

“Much has been written in recent years about ayahuasca, the Amazonian brew that evokes visions and insights. Less has been written about its healing potentials, but Joe Tafur, M.D., has filled the void with his remarkable book. Dr. Tafur provides an authoritative explanation for ayahuasca’s cures by drawing on data from neuroscience, psychology, and what is known about mind/body interactions. He also candidly points out the brew’s dangers and limitations, noting that ayahuasca is no panacea. The importance of this book cannot be underestimated; the suggestions given for medicine, psychotherapy, and spiritual awakening could transform institutions and societies as well as individuals and their families.” — Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University. Co-author of Demystifying Shamans And Their World

About the Author: Dr. Joe Tafur is a Colombian-American family physician raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Throughout his medical career he has been an integrative medicine activist. As part of his exploration into holistic healthcare, he spent two years in academic research at the University of California, San Diego, department of psychiatry in a lab focused on mind-body medicine. After his research fellowship, over a period of six years, he lived and worked in the Peruvian Amazon at the traditional healing center Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual. There he worked closely with master Shipibo shaman Ricardo Amaringo and trained in Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine. At the center, Dr. Tafur completed traditional apprenticeship in ayahuasca shamanism. During those years at Nihue Rao, he assisted hundreds of individuals from all over the world as they went through traditional healing with Amazonian plant medicines and ayahuasca ceremony. He is both doctor and shaman. Dr. Tafur is committed to healing work and to education. He is passionate about bridging the worlds of medical science and spiritual healing, and hopes to promote this work through lectures and educational programs. With his brother Mario and friends, he has founded the non-profit organization Modern Spirit, which focuses on demonstrating the value of spiritual healing in modern healthcare through, among other avenues, educational programs for healthcare practitioners. If you are interested in supporting this work or having Dr. Tafur consult with your organization, please visit their website Dr. Tafur’s independent work is further described at his personal website

ISBN-10: 0998609501    –    ISBN-13: 978-0998609508

Additional information

Weight 16 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 0.65 in