Dr. Christian Rätsch is a renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist specialising in the shamanic uses of plants for spiritual and medicinal purposes. He studied Mesoamerican languages, cultures and anthropology at the University of Hamburg and spent time among the Lacandone Indians in Chiapas, Mexico, being the only European fluent in their language. He then completed his doctoral thesis on healing spells and incantations of the Lacandone-Maya at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He has conducted research in Thailand, Bali, the Seychelles, and an 18 year study on shamanism in Nepal with expeditions to Korea and the Peruvian and Columbian Amazon.
Before becoming a full-time author and internationally renowned lecturer, Rätsch worked as professor of anthropology at the University of Bremen. He is author of numerous articles and more than 40 books, including the renowned standard work Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants. 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.