|Andrew Weil, best-selling author and natural-health pioneer, was born in Philadelphia in 1942. He received an A.B. degree in biology (botany) from Harvard in 1964, and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1968. Initially, Weil's fascination with the miraculous healing powers of the human body drove him to pursue biology and medicine. He came to believe that, if nurtured properly, the human body has the ability to heal itself. Thus he became disillusioned with the rules of Western medicine, which promoted chemical intervention and disregarded any connections between the mind and body. His dissatisfaction with his conventional clinical training led him to explore non-Western cultures' concepts of natural health and mind-body interactions. Believing his discoveries would be helpful to Western populations, Weil began to write informative books about the healing arts. His first work, THE NATURAL MIND, was published after he completed his medical internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco and worked one year at the National Institute of Mental Health. Between 1971 and '75, his position as a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs allowed him to travel to South America and Africa, where he accumulated information about medicinal plants and natural remedies used to treat diseases. Between 1971 and 1984, while on the research staff of the Harvard Botanical Museum, Weil conducted research on psychoactive plants. He has continued to write about natural healing practices. Many of these works, such as EATING WELL FOR OPTIMUM HEALTH, EIGHT WEEKS TO OPTIMUM HEALTH, and SPONTANEOUS HEALING, became national bestsellers, catapulting Weil into the heart of health-guru fame.