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Vine of The Soul: Medicine Men, Their Plants and Rituals in the Colombian Amazonia

By Robert F. Raffauf and Richard Evans Schultes

A mystical photographic essay detailing the world of Amazonian sacred, healing plants by one of the pioneering founders of the field of Ethnobotany.


Publication Date: March 19, 2012 ISBN: 9780907791317 Categories: , , Tags: , , , , ,

Robert F. Raffauf


Robert F. Raffauf spent 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry concentrating on the search for novel medicinal agents from natural sources, which included several expeditions to Amazon with Dr. Schultes. He was a fellow of the Linnean Society of London, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Research Associate of the Botanical Museum of Harvard University.

Richard Evans Schultes


Richard Evans Schultes is known as the father of contemporary ethnobotany, he carried out extensive field studies, particularly in the Amazon. He received numerous awards including the Cross of Boyaca, Colombia’s highest honor, and the annual Gold Medal of the World Wildlife Fund. In 1987 he received the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and in 1992 he was awarded the Linnean Gold Medal, the highest award a botanist can receive. Dr. Schultes was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Linnean Society of London, three Latin American Academies, the Academy of India, and the Third World Academy of Sciences.


Vine of the Soul is an exceptional photographic essay accompanied by detailed descriptions of the Amazon Indians’ use of medicinal and other sacred plant substances. Over 160 documentary photos, some of the most significant ever taken on the subject, bring the reader along a journey in which healing with plants is the norm, and ritual and magic play an essential role in everyday life. Richard Evans Schultes, former Director of the Botanical Museum of Harvard University, led an extraordinary life that bridged the worlds of academia and tribal cultures. Carrying out extensive field studies since 1939 as an ethnobotanist and conservationist, Schultes has received acclaim from many sources, including the Cross of Boyacá- Colombia’s highest honor, the Tyler Prize for environmental achievement, the Linnean Gold Medal- the highest prize a botanist can receive, and many more.

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Additional information

Weight 2.0 lbs
Dimensions 10 × 8.5 × .75 in
Pages 0

4 reviews for Vine of The Soul: Medicine Men, Their Plants and Rituals in the Colombian Amazonia

  1. greggw

    Although exploitation of medicinal plants has become a political issue in much of the world during the last decade at a time when there are many serious questions regarding the exploitation of native peoples, it is refreshing to find the essays written with such an obvious respect for the payés, their belief systems, and their extensive knowledge of plants. Schultes conducted his field research in an open and straightforward fashion, taking a direct approach to the communities he worked with, and demonstrating his respect for their customs and beliefs.
    Indigenous Nations Journal, Vol 6, No. 1, Spring 2008

  2. greggw

    Quite simply a masterpiece… Vine of the Sould deserves to be read by everyone interested in rainforests, indigenous peoples, shamanism, hallucinogens, ethnomedicine and conservation.
    – Mark Plotkin, President, Amazon Conservation Team

  3. greggw

    Professors Schultes and Raffauf have collaborated for many years as a multidiscilplinary team, with Ruffauf bringing his vast knowledge and perspectives as a plant chemist to numerous jointly authored papers and books. This latest collaboration brings together and estraordinary amount of information on the ethnobotany and phytochemistry of the plants used by the people of the region, and presents it in a ways that is facinating and inspiring to read.
    —Michael J. Balick, New York Botanical Garden, from the Epilogue

  4. greggw

    We have here a wonderful integration of ethnobotany, chemistry and photography to produce a book that will long be an important historic record of one of the threatened cultures of the world. I hope that readers learning about ayahuasca, the vine of the soul, and other psychoactive drugs discussed here will have their concern heightened for the future fate of the Amazon Indians and their societies.
    —Ghilean T. Prance Garden, Kew, from the Foreword

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