Seeking the Medicine – Colombia, Nov. 2014 – Itinerary, Packing List, Plants List

The Itinerary: We leave From JFK Airport Thursday am to Cali, Colombia. We will stay for several days at a friends ashram, then take a bus to Pasto, Colombia. From there we will meet a guide Sebastian who speaks very good English and will translate for us. From there we will stock up, have a meal, and travel to a small village of Valle de Sibundoy in Putomayo called San Francisco. From there we will meet and work with Taita Domingo Cuatindiyo; an artist, activist, and ayahuasquero who our good friend has studied and stayed with. We will drink and do ceremony with him as many days as is called. If we are able within the time there we will ask Sebastian to take us hiking into the rainforest, he knows the area well. While with these teachers I will ask to film with them and go on plant walks to learn whatever I can of plants. I have also been given botanical lists of plants (See Below) , and it is apparently also the rainy season so mushrooms should be in abundance that I will document and photograph as well as ask any locals of their knowledge about them.

Health Care:  It seems malaria and yellow fever are low in putomayo area, but govt websites say to be careful. For these issues, prevention and application during earliest stages detectable, I have 16 oz (enough for 2 people) of a formula that I made. It is a good general antiviral, and antibacterial, but also specific toward malaria or yellow fever. It consists of Sida acuta, olive leaf, Artemesia annua, burdock root, and redroot. I also have a small medical kit containing some band-aids, gauze, cotton swabs, and salve, with essential oils of lavender and peppermint, as well as lots of my home made bug spray – this will be a good test. I also have foraging know how which will be interesting to see how it expands during my time there – Examples such as any evergreen sap for cuts or fungal infections, wild papaya leaves as a tea for intestinal issues (plus the seeds of the fruits), as well I will be seeking teachers while there to broaden any level of foraging and herbalism applications of wild plants. I hope to be able to film this and provide clips on my website, facebook, and Instagram.

The other concern while traveling to Colombia is the FARC – this is a militant guerilla group in certain areas. As I have been told they don’t kidnap westerners and are much more interested in drug trade issues with the government. There are no known issues with tourists and the FARC in the last few years, and supposedly they live on the coast.

Gear: I will be bringing a hammock with mosquito net, water filter and 32 oz stainless steel water bottle (can be used to boil water), firestarter, clothes for 70 degree days, rain pants and rain jacket, and get rain boots there if it decides to be a rainy week when we are in the forest. Otherwise I have simple hiking shoes. I will try to film and take photos on my smartphone, with a solar charger as well as extra rechargeable batteries; hopefully this can make some quality filming with very special medicine teachers, as the time is right.

If you are interested to help these journeys become better documented, better preserved, and more interactive, please consider helping the mission of return to nature by making any donation through paypal to

Here is a video of Taita Domingo speaking for the forest

And his art work:

Plants List (Huge thanks to Timothy Lane):

“I made a general list, mostly of species utilized for fruit. These species I encountered in northern Ecuador, and around Bogota Colombia. Many were planted by humans, but several are also found wild (or feral).”

Various types of citrus

Manihot esculenta (Tapioca)

Babaco (Vasconcella × heilbornii)

Guava (Psidium guajava)

Persea americana (Avocado)

Selenicereus megalanthus (vining cactus with yellow ‘dragonfruits’)

Carludovica palmata (Panama Hat Palm)

Monstera deliciosa (“Ceriman”)

Coffea arabica (Coffee)

Eugenia stipitata (Araza)

Syzygium paniculatum

Annona cherimola (Cherimoya)

Musa velutina (bright magenta self-peeling banana full of seeds)

Musa / Bananas of all sorts.

Quararibea coddata / Matisia cordata (“Sapote del Monte” / “Chupa Chupa”)

Syzygium samarangense (Pera roja)

Bunchosia argentea

Phyllanthus acidus

Carica papaya

Theobroma cacao

Annona muricata

Annona squamosa

Annona reticulata

Annona glabra

Spondias purpurea (“Ciruela” or hog-plums)

Spondias dulcis

Pouteria sapota (“Mamey Sapote”)

Pouteria sp.

Tropaeolum tuberosum (Mashua / Anu)

Oxalis tuberosus (“Oca”)

Sechium edule (Chayote)

Passiflora resticulata

Passiflora quadrulangaris

Passiflora tarminiana / P. mollissima (banana passionfruit)

Passiflora edulis

Passiflora foetida

Passiflora capsularis (bright pink fruit, splits open naturally)

Inga edulis (long thin beans)

Inga vera (small, blocky, fuzzy brown beans)

Inga spectibilis (very wide beans)

Prunus salicifolia (Capulin cherry — much like wild black cherry)

Juglans neotropica (tropical black walnut — looks almost identical to our Juglans nigra)

Sambucus peruvianus (Elderberry Tree)

Clavija sp. (“Mongon”) – more of a mid-elevation rainforest species.

Solanum muricatum (pepino melon)

Solanum betaceum (tree tomato) – “Tamarillo”

Solanum quitoense  – “Naranjilla”

Rubus rosifolius (rose-leaf raspberry)

Rubus niveus (“mora” / blackberry)

Rubus urticifolius (nettle-leaved raspberry)

Margaritaria nobilis (riversides, near water — very sour when green/underripe)

Bixa orellana (“Achiote” / Annato)

Physalis peruvianus

Physalis angulata

several other Physalis not ID’d but edible

Many of the common weedy species are familiar:

Phytolacca rivinoides (longer berry raceme, smaller leaves)

Portulaca oleracea  / Purslande (“Verdolaga”)



Plantago species

Erechtites (burnweeds)

Sonchus (Sow Thistles)

Bidens (Beggar’s Ticks)



Wild mustard/brassica types.

You may see a few wild tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)

Various other Solanums.

+ Alibizia saman (Raintree) – (edible pod pulp).

Yaje: Baniseriopsis capii

Tetrapterys methystica

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About Dan

Dan De Lion is an earth herbalist, forager, musician, and teacher. He teaches through Return to Nature, providing classes, lectures, and seminars on wild food foraging, mushroom identification, herbal medicine making, as well as primitive and survival skills with a focus on wild foods and forest medicines. He also incorporates the philosophies of yoga, alchemy, meditation, and mysticism into his classes, lectures, and seminars and brings a deep rooted indigenous medicine perspective of practicing intuition with plants, in a systematic and earth-based way – Check out more at
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1 Response to Seeking the Medicine – Colombia, Nov. 2014 – Itinerary, Packing List, Plants List

  1. Dan says:

    Indigenous medicine teachers from the amazon.. Check out Mark Plotkins great book called “tales of a Shamans Apprentice” as well as his ted talk:

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