Christian Rätsch Portrait

Christian Raetsch, Ph. D. (born 1957)

is a world-renowned anthroplogist and ethnopharmacologist who specializes in the shamanic uses of plants for spiritual as well as medicinal purposes. He studied Mesoamerican languages and cultures and anthropology at the University of Hamburg and spent, altogether, three years of fieldwork among the Lacandone Indians in Chiapas, Mexico, being the only European fluent in their language. He then received a fellowship from the German academic service for foreign research (DAAD) to realize his doctoral thesis on healing spells and incantations of the Lacandone-Maya at the University of Hamburg, Germany.

In addition to his work in Mexico, his numerous fieldworks have included research in Thailand, Bali, the Seychelles, as well as a long-term study (18 years) on shamanism in Nepal combined with expeditions to Korea and the Peruvian and Columbian Amazon. He also was a scientific anthropological advisor for expeditions organized by German magazines such as "GEO" and "Spektrum der Wissenschaften" / (Spectrum of Sciences).

Before becoming a full-time author and internationally renowned lecturer, Rätsch worked as professor of anthropology at the University of Bremen and served as consultant advisor for many German museums. Because of his extensive collection of shells, fossils, artifacts and entheopharmacological items, he has had numerous museum expositions on these topics in Germany as well as in Japan.

He is author of numerous articles and more than 40 books, including The Gateway to Inner Space, Plants of Love, Marijuana Medicine,The Dictionary of Sacred Plants and the renowned standard work Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants (recently being published by Inner Traditions, Vermont). He is also coauthor of Witchcraft Medicine, Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas and is editor of the Yearbook of Ethnomedicine and the Study of Consciousness. A former member of the board of advisors of the European College for the Study of Consciousness (ECSC) and former president of the Association of Ethnomedicine, he lives in Hamburg, Germany.