Book Review: Jungle Medicine (Citron Bay, 2001)

Book review: Jungle Medicine. A pharmacist journeys deep into the primal Amazon jungle in search for that which heals beyond conventional medicine.

| November/December 2001

The book Jungle Medicine tells the story of how a pharmacist travels to the primal Amazon jungle and discovers how to infuse medicine for the body with spirit for the soul.

Book Review: Jungle Medicine (Citron Bay, 2001)

From a small heartland town, a pharmacist journeys deep into the primal Amazon jungle in search for that which heals beyond conventional medicine. There she apprentices to a jungle shaman who takes her to the ragged edge of her sanity as he reveals to her the mysteries of healing. Emerging as a shamana, Connie Grauds brings us a new spirited medicine . . . one that infuses medicine for the body with spirit for the soul.

Grauds, one of Herbs for Health’s editorial advisers, started her career as a Western-trained HMO pharmacist. Her story is a remarkable journey of the spirit—one that takes the reader deep into the heart of the Amazon.

When Grauds was in her early forties, nearly twenty years into her pharmacy career, her life began to crumble around her. She was completely disillusioned with her work, her marriage fell apart, and she learned she had thyroid cancer. Grauds also developed carpal tunnel syndrome, which eventually forced her to quit her job. All of these events caused Grauds to “ . . . [fall] into a profound despair, a spiritual crisis that no conventional therapy and no prescription in my pharmaceutical bag of miracle drugs could cure.”

Through, as she writes, “a series of seemingly random events,” Grauds ended up in the Amazon rain forest near Iquitos, Peru. She became an apprentice for shaman don Antonio, who became a profound healer for Grauds as well.

In the Amazon, Grauds’ ideas about the limitations of Western medicine became more clear. After her first day there, she knew she wanted more. “Now, after twenty-four hours with don Antonio, I felt more certain than ever that I, too, wanted to become a shaman, whatever that meant,” she writes. As time went on, Grauds found that the apprenticeship heightened her ability to communicate directly with plants. She learned that a jungle shaman’s mysterious healing practices are a blend of medicine and spirit and that shamans are experts on the healing properties of the jungle’s rich plant medicines. She discovered that shamans have an intimate relationship with the healing spirits of nature, especially the plant spirits.

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