One Spirit Medicine

Ancient Ways to Ultimate Wellness, by Alberto Villoldo Ph.D. (Hardcover Edition)

Page Contents

About this Book
About the Author
Sample Chapter

About this Book

Today our minds, our emotions, our relationships, and our bodies are out of kilter. We know it, but we tend to ignore it until something brings us up short—a worrying diagnosis, a broken relationship, or simply an inability to function harmoniously in everyday life. When things are a little off, we read a self-help book. When they’re really bad, we bring in oncologists to address cancer, neurologists to repair the brain, psychologists to help us understand our family of origin. But this fragmented approach to health is merely a stopgap. To truly heal, we need to return to the original recipe for wellness discovered by shamans millennia ago. One Spirit Medicine.

Through One Spirit Medicine, the shamans found that the could grow a new body that allowed them to live in extraordinary health. They learned how to switch off the ‘death clock’ inside every cell, and turn on the ‘immortality’ genes that reside in password-protected regions of our DNA. Cancer, dementia, and heart disease were rare. The shamans of old were truly masters of prevention.

Drawing on more than 25 years of experience as a medical anthropologist—as well as his own journey back from the edge of death—acclaimed shamanic teacher Alberto Villoldo shows you how to detoxify the brain and gut with super foods; use techniques for working with our luminous energy fields to heal your body; and follow the ancient path of the medicine wheel to shed disempowering stories from the past and pave the way for rebirth.

Using the principles and practices in this book, you can feel better in a few days, begin to clear your mind and heal your brain in a week, and in six weeks be on your way to a new body—one that heals rapidly, retains its youthful vitality, and keeps you connected to Spirit, to the earth, and to a renewed sense of purpose in your life.

—From: Inlay

About the Author

Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D. has trained as a psychologist and medical anthropologist, and has studied the healing practices of the Amazon and the Andean shamans. Dr. Villoldo directs the Four Winds Society, where he trains individuals in the US and Europe in the practice of shamanic energy medicine. He is the founder of the Light Body School, which has campuses in New York, California, Miami, and Germany. He directs the Center for Energy Medicine in Chile, where he investigates and practices the neuroscience of enlightenment. Dr. Villoldo has written numerous best-selling books, including Shaman, Healer, Sage, The Four Insights, Courageous Dreaming, and Power Up Your Brain. Website:

—From: Inlay

Dr. Alberto Villoldo


is a unique book that combines nutritional science with the author’s famed method of shamanic energy healing. It is, like all other books by Dr. Villoldo (most of which I have reviewed) equally the exciting account of an unusual personal journey. I found it much more captivating to read as the numerous other books on nutrition I have reviewed here. And Dr. Villoldo’s detox plan and recipe is really the most easy one ever published, and the most effective. As it is really so important, I will quote it here entirely from page 51 of the book:

Menu for Detoxing

If you’re not sure what to eat during your detox, here are some suggestions for meals and snacks:

  • First Breakfast (7 A.M.): Green juice. Recipe: 6 small leaves of Kale, 2 leaves of collard greens, 1/2 cucumber, 2 stalks of celery, 1/2 inch ginger, 1/2 lemon (peeled), 1/2 green apple. Drink about 8 ounces. No coffee or tea. Drink plenty of water with the meal and throughout the day—a total of 8 glasses at least.
  • Second Breakfast (10 A.M.): Porteins and fats of your choice. Eggs, goat cheese, avocado, smoked fish, and nuts are all great options.
  • Lunch: Green salad or a large serving of vegetables steamed or sautéed in vegetable broth. Use healthy oils and herbs and spices for flavor. Combine with a handful of seeds or nuts, an avocado, or a serving of smoked salmon, wild-caught fish, quinoa, or lean, organic, grass-fed meat. Fruit of your choice.
  • Afternoon Snack: Nuts, seeds, avocado mashed with spices and herbs, a small salad, or green juice.
  • Dinner (finish by 6. P.M.): Same as lunch.

You can drink green tea throughout the day. Green tea contains minimal caffeine but many antioxidants, and can switch on cellular detox pathways.

Dr. Alberto Villoldo

Medicine of the Shamans

(Chapter One)


Today our minds, our emotions, our relationships, and our bodies are out of kilter. We know it, but we tend to ignore it until something brings us up short — a worrying diagnosis, a broken relationship, or simply an inability to function harmoniously in everyday life. When things are a little off, we read a self-help book. When they’re really bad, we bring in oncologists to address cancer, neurologists to repair the brain, psychologists to help us understand our family of origin. But this fragmented approach to health is merely a stopgap. To truly heal, we need to return to the original recipe for wellness discovered by shamans millennia ago. One Spirit Medicine.

In the West we have a disease-care system, and medicine recognizes thousands of ailments and myriad remedies. One Spirit Medicine, on the other hand, is a health-care system that identifies only one ailment and one cure. The ailment is alienation from our feelings, from our bodies, from the earth, and from Spirit. The cure is the experience of primeval Oneness with all, which restores inner harmony and facilitates recovery from all maladies, regardless of origin.

We all want our health span—the length of time we’re in optimal health—to equal our life span. One Spirit Medicine is designed to ensure us optimal wellness by addressing the root cause of physical, mental, and emotional suffering rather than just treating the symptoms. The words health and healing come from the Old English haelen, the root of whole and holy. As your whole system comes into balance, your food will stop poisoning you, your body will begin to repair and heal naturally, your relationships will cease to be emotional battlegrounds, and your sense of separation from nature and Spirit will dissolve.

At the heart of One Spirit Medicine is an age-old practice called the vision quest, a carefully choreographed encounter with nature and the invisible world. Through fasting and meditation, a vision quest awakens the body’s self-repair and regeneration systems and reconnects you to Spirit and your own deepest purpose. In the traditional cultures where I trained as a shaman, it is customary to seek vision in the wilderness. But the experience of One Spirit can take place anywhere—even in your garden or a big city park.

In rare instances, the encounter with Spirit is spontaneous, a bolt from the blue. But for most of us, receiving One Spirit Medicine is a process that requires careful preparation over time. Otherwise, the experience will most likely be fleeting—a sudden flash of insight or revelation, maybe a good story to tell over dinner with friends, but nothing lasting that will transform your life. Laying the groundwork for transformation requires both physical and spiritual action.

Preparing the Brain for One Spirit Medicine

In order to benefit from One Spirit Medicine, we need to prime the brain. Today’s over caffeinated, staccato, I-want-it-now lifestyle keeps us in a constant state of stress. We need to be weaned off the stress hormones that promote a fight-or-flight mind-set and start producing the brain chemicals that create health, serenity, and joy. The process begins with detoxification—ridding the brain of deadly toxins and reducing the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The superfoods then repair the region in the brain responsible for learning, and help the pineal gland manufacture DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, a psychedelic compound that has been referred to as ‘the spirit molecule.’ DMT allows us to experience a state of Oneness and connection to all that meditators frequently report.

Physical preparation for One Spirit Medicine also involves switching to a diet rich in phytonutrients—plant nutrients. Used for healing since the Paleolithic age, phytonutrients not only help us repair and prime the brain but also create extraordinary states of health. These plants are loaded with genetic modifiers that switch on more than 500 genes that create health and switch off more than 200 genes that create disease. Phytonutrients restore our neurochemical balance, allowing us to begin treating ourselves and our loved ones according to our best intentions.

This exchange of the toxic for the nourishing, of the deadly for the life-giving, is essential to recovering our health and attaining optimal well-being. You can’t heal your emotions if your brain is toxic from mercury or lead poisoning, or your mind is careening unstoppably because your brain has been damaged by childhood trauma or pesticides in your food. Ridding yourself of environmental toxins is essential to restoring physical and mental health. Another key for priming yourself physically to receive One Spirit Medicine is repairing your micro biome—the 600-plus species of beneficial bacteria living in your mouth, skin, and gut. One Spirit Medicine will help you repair your brain and body by switching on the longevity genes and returning the alchemical laboratory of the brain to its task of producing the bliss molecules that bring us closer to Spirit and nature.

Preparing the Mind for One Spirit Medicine

To experience One Spirit Medicine, you don’t need to shake a rattle or beat a drum as shamans of old did, thought doing so may help prepare your mind in the same way that putting a costume or makeup helps an actor get into character. What you will need to do is quiet your too-busy mind, distracted by the rucklus of civilization, and return it to the wild. By returning to the wild I don’t mean going to Yosemite Park or the Canadian Rockies but returning to your wild, undomesticated self—to who you are stipped of the trappings of roles and expectations, e-mails and To Do lists, the authentic you at your core. You will meet your infinite nature in the stillness of your inner world.

Superfoods and neuro-nutrients bring about changes in your brain that set you up for an extraordinary experience of higher consciousness, while mental preparation helps you let go of limiting beliefs and toxic behaviors. As you free yourself of outmoded stories about your past, One Spirit Medicine can infuse your being like a stady IV drip of healthy nutrients.

If you’ve attended my workshops or traveled with me to visit shamans in the Amazon or the Andes, you may be familiar with some of the ideas presented in this book. You may feel, therefore, that you’re ready to experience One Spirit Medicine now, without any further work. But have you really done all the necessary physical and spiritual preparation? Even if you’ve been on a vision quest—or on many of them—each time is a brand-new experience, an opportunity to go deeper into your encounter with Spirit. Shamans always prepare themselves carefully to work with the extraordinary energies of the invisible world in order to create and sustain health and well-being.

Benefits of One Spirit Medicine

After you’ve taken One Spirit Medicine, you will find it easier to dance between the visible, physical world of the senses and everyday tasks, and the invisible world of Spirit. You will be like the graceful jaguar, the balancing force of the rain forest who serves as an intermediary between the seen and the unseen worlds as it journeys beyond death into eternity.

Whether you’re suffering from a lifestyle-related disease, or you’re physically, mentally, or emotionally drained by the demands of your life, One Spirit Medicine can help you feel better and develop a renewed sense of purpose. If you’re willing to repair the alchemical laboratory inside your brain, you can fix health problems before they manifest in your body and experience wellness at every level of your being.

At the core of One Spirit Medicine is the idea that how we perceive the world ‘out there’ is a projection of internal maps that shape our beliefs and guide how we think, feel, and behave. Stored as neural networks in the brain, these maps are the unconscious programs that drive our experience of life and the state of our health. We want to change the maps that consider a 50 percent chance of Alzheimer’s a normal part of aging after 85, or rampant cancer and cardiovascular disease ‘normal.’ The key to optimum health is to upgrade the unconscious maps and limiting beliefs that have been driving us to a toxic lifestyle and relationships.

Years ago I asked an old man in the Amazon rain forest what he did to avoid the diseases of old age. ‘Simple,’ he replied, ‘Live a long and healthy life.’ I laughed and said he had not understood the question: I wanted to avoid the diseases of old age. He smiled and repeated the same answer.

Today I understand what he meant. The practices that are an everyday part of the ancient shamanic way all support a long and healthy life. The super-nutrients described in this book can turn on the dormant antioxidant mechanisms in every cell, quench free-radical activity in the brain, and switch on the latent longevity genes that prevent the illnesses associated with old age. The spiritual teachings of the medicine whel help us shed debilitating and disempowering stories from the past that keep us reliving old traumas and the health history of our ancestors. And the vision quest supports us in finding new guiding myths to help us heal body and mind, and recover our passion.

One Spirit Medicine is part of a new wellness model that doesn’t rely on medication to fix physical problems or mood imbalances. Unlike many pharmaceutical and over-the-counter remedies, the medicine of the shamans carries no side effects or warning written in fine print. It will not cause dependency. You will not have to beg your physician to write a prescription for it, or argue with your pharmacist over whether or not your prescription renewal has been approved.

In the West, we’re accustomed to looking to doctors and experts to guide us in our healing, growth, and learning. Our schools, businesses, religions, and government are hierarchical. In the Amazon, however, there are no levels of management between us and Spirit. The shaman—the wise old man or woman—is honored as a healer but is not regarded as superior to other members of the village. The shaman is simply skilled facilitator who interacts with both the visible and invisible worlds to help restore balance to body, mind, and soul.

The message of One Spirit Medicine is that you don’t need to track down a shaman to find Spirit, or look outside yourself to find health. You only have to look within. That’s where you will receive One Spirit Medicine.

The old man in the Amazon was right after all.