Is Kambo safe?
Although Kambo is very safe when responsibly administered by a knowledgeable, skilled and experienced practitioner, there are just some people that aren’t a good fit when working with this medicine. The list of contraindications, cautions and considerations (as well as how to prepare and what to bring) must be thoroughly read before participating in a ceremony.
It's also extremely important for all people to disclose any current or historical health issues, alongside any medications that are being taken, prior to working with Kambo. All medical information is confidential.
Is Kambo legal?
Luckily for us, no prohibition against the use of Kambo currently exists anywhere in the world. Kambo is not an illegal substance. With a growing number of professionally trained Kambo Practitioners around the globe, this is one traditional sacred medicine that can still be accessed by many people without the underlying concern of breaking the law.
Do the Kambo burn marks scar?
At the end of each Kambo treatment, the burn marks are dressed with a natural medicinal tree sap called Sangre de Drago, aso known as Dragon's Blood. When dried, this liquid forms a protective bandage over the burn marks; helping to seal wounds, stop infection, accelerate healing, and reduce scarring.
The burn marks will fade in time, but depending on your skin type, tiny circular scars will be visible to some extent. These Kambo markings are often seen as a badge of honour, but for those who are concerned, Kambo can be applied to a suitable body position to reduce visibility.
How many sessions should/could I have?
Depending on what someones intentions and health condition are, this will play a part in the number and frequency of treatments.
Some feel that a one off session is all that they need at the time and return for single treatments as a “tune-up” in the weeks or months following. Others may benefit from a short intensive burst of treatments to target specific issues and intentions. This could be several times over the course of a week or two, three times over a lunar cycle, or otherwise.
When making contact about working with these medicines, further discussion can be had about the number and frequency of subsequent sessions.
Is Kambo a Psychedelic / Hallucinogenic?
While it’s often talked about and used by those with an interest in psychedelic medicine, such as one of it’s jungle counterparts - Ayahuasca, Kambo itself is not a psychedelic or hallucinogenic substance.
There are those who have a strong connection to the world of spirit, or might be neurologically wired to access non-ordinary states of consciousness with more ease, so while Kambo is not a psychedelic, it’s not entirely unheard of for some people to experience the sense of ‘journeying’ with the spirit of the frog.
Is Kambo really a poison?
Articles and videos continue to pop up in reference to undertaking this ‘frog poison cleanse’. The word venom and toxin also come up every now and then.
Firstly, a venom is a poisonous substance introduced into the system by injection, typically by fangs or a stinger (think spiders, snakes, scorpions). So Kambo is absolutely not a venom.
When it comes to be referenced as a poison or a toxin, this is a complex topic that comes down to semantics. The word poison and toxin carry the connotation of being harmful to the body, and nothing has been found in the Kambo secretion that suggests that the body identifies it as being a harmful poison or toxin.
In fact, Kambo is made up of bioactive peptides, which the body identifies as if it made these chemicals itself.
It’s suggested that the frog uses its milky secretion as protection against predators, such as snakes, which is where the poison/toxin reference may stem from. In 2014, BBC released a clip where David Attenborough suggests the frog actually applies its secretion as a protective barrier from the sun.
Yep, froggy sunscreen!
The word poison tends to be a little more striking and sensationalist for news headlines, but gives Kambo a misleading reputation. In general, using the word secretion is much more appropriate than using the words poison or toxin. Especially in the context of using Kambo as a traditional healing medicine, without the connotation and assumption of it being dangerous or harmful.
Is the frog harmed during the collection process?
There are various ways of collecting the secretion from the frog. Some are considered ethical, and some aren’t.
Traditionally, the frogs are called out of the forest in the dark of the night by mimicking their songs. To collect the secretion, straw strings are gently tied to each leg, spreading the frog into an X shape, where the secretion can be carefully scraped off and dried onto small sticks.
Other methods include cutting off a branch that the frog is resting on and collecting the secretion without over-handling the frog. Sometimes the frogs toes are massaged to help release it's secretion, and sometimes, in unethical cases, tiny sticks are used to irritate the frogs nasal cavities so that it releases it’s secretion.
When properly collected, the least amount of irritation is undertaken, with only the first lot of secretion is taken. This ensures the medicine is strong, and that the frog has plenty of secretion left incase it needs to defend itself against predators.
While the frogs are passive when handled, and aren't dangerous or defensive, even being known to come back the following days when the tribesmen call them out by singing their songs, it’s arguable that there is discomfort and irritation to some of the frogs during the collection process. It’s important that your practitioner knows where their medicine is coming from, and whether it is considered ethically harvested and fair trade.
It’s also important to recognise that many indigenous people working with this medicine have a strong connection to the seen and unseen energies of the Earth and beyond, including the animals spirits, plant spirits and spirits of the land. To do unnecessary harm to the frog, is to step into a disharmonious relationship with the land and the world of spirits. Angering the spirits means bad luck to the community.
Kambo is in the IUCNs 'least concern' category when it comes to being endangered. Their population is widely distributed across the Upper Amazon, with their only current threat being deforestation and destruction of their natural habitat.
Will I be fine to drive after a Kambo treatment?
Absolutely. You might be a little tired or exhausted after your treatment, but with a short rest, you'll be fine to drive.
Can I take my medication on the day of a Kambo ceremony?
If you're taking medication of any sort, it's important to let me know what you're taking and why you're taking it, prior to your treatment. To ensure your safety, please let me know and we can discuss this further. Remember, all medical information is confidential.
I'm menstruating. Can I still work with Kambo?
No problems here. It's helpful to note though that if you're menstruating at the time of your treatment, Kambo is likely to cause your flow to increase for 24 to 36 hours, due to it's vasodilation properties.