Known as the Giant Green Monkey Tree Frog in the West, the waxy secretion from this Amazonian amphibian carries the reputation for being one of the most powerful natural ways to modulate and strengthen the immune system.
Traditionally, Kambo is used to ensure hunting success - increasing strength, energy, endurance, and heightening the senses. It's used as a general jungle medicine to treat snake bites, malaria, infections, pathogens and fever.
And it's also used to clear away "panema" - loosely translating to heavy, negative energy; as if a dense raincloud was constantly hanging around.
Alongside indigenous use, many thousands of people around the globe are recognizing Kambo as being a multi-dimensional healing medicine for a wide variety of illnesses and challenges across all levels of being:
The physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual.
Once upon a time, many moons ago, a medicine man known as Kampu tried desperately to cure his tribes people who were incredibly sick.
He used all kinds of medicinal herbs but nothing was helping, so he journeyed deep into the forest to receive guidance from Ayahuasca, a sacred visionary plant medicine.
It was here that Kampu was visited by a spirit guardian, who delicately carried a frog in her hands. She taught him about the healing properties of this frog, including how to use its secretion to cure his ailing tribe.
After returning with this profound knowledge and wisdom, he was able use the secretion to rid his people of their illnesses.
It is said that after Kampu's death, his spirit lived on in the frog, becoming a protector and guardian of the forest, while gifting the people with the ability to continue using this powerful healing medicine.
In the right setting, Kambo offers us opportunities to realign and recalibrate to deeper levels of health, wellness, virtues, values, heart, and spirit.
The secretion contains numerous bioactive peptides which trigger beneficial bodily responses conducive to deep powerful healing.
On a physical level, Kambo initiates a potent detoxification and cleansing process, helping those who suffer from chronic fatigue, chronic pain, inflammation, recurrent infections, alcohol and drug addictions, fertility issues, thyroid problems, heavy metal poisoning, fungal issues, lyme disease, HIV, herpes, candida, gut problems, high blood pressure, cancers, parkinsons disease, and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Aside from targeting specific health conditions, people report benefits when it comes to improved cognitive health, clarity of mind, heightened awareness, overcoming limiting beliefs, increased focus and a sharpening of the senses.
On the emotional level, Kambo helps to clear anxiety, depression and stress, releasing past traumas, issues and emotional baggage, enhancing resilience to stress and fatigue, while boosting our overall mood and well-being.
When it comes to energetics and spirituality, Kambo helps to cleanse our energy field and rebalance our chakras. It can initiate a deeper connection to ourselves, to others, and to the natural world around us; bringing more clarity to our virtues, values, and even our life path, while gifting us the opportunity to tap into more peace, stillness, and wisdom within.
We could look at Kambo from the scientific side, assessing the various peptides and their physiological response on the body, or, from the metaphysical side, looking at how it works holistically and energetically. Either way, Kambo seems to know exactly how and where to navigate within our individual systems, with each experience being unique in it's own way.
The safest way to administer Kambo is through the skin, into the lymphatic system. A special stick or vine is used to burn small "gates" onto the very top layer of skin; akin to a very mild blister. This blistered skin is carefully removed, leaving a small opening.
A small wooden stick which contains the dried secretion is reconstituted with water, and divided into small points. Approximately 10-15 minutes IMMEDIATELY prior to having the medicine applied, a reasonable amount of water is consumed, which helps with the purging process and helps mitigate some of the heat rise in the body.
The Kambo secretion is then applied onto the small burn sites. This allows the medicine to enter the body via the lymphatic system, where the effects are felt almost immediately.
Traditionally, men have the medicine applied to their upper left arm or chest, while women typically have it placed on their lower right leg.
Kambo treatments can also incorporate the chakra system, as well as auricular (ear) and meridian points. The type of treatment will depend on first time experience, subsequent treatments, and what one is wishing to work on.
Sensations are generally intense and uncomfortable. While they come on fast, they're relatively short lived, generally passing within 20 - 45 minutes.
A warmth and flushing of the skin is the first thing most people feel, with an increase in heart rate, as well as growing pressure in the head and upper body. As the medicine continues to circulate, people may experience slight swelling, dizziness, shaking, trembling, tingling, sweating, nausea, pain, cathartic release, purging, defecation and even fainting.
While fainting may sound disconcerting, it's a completely normal process in the context of working with Kambo. The physiological reason behind fainting is because of the temporary reduction in blood pressure, however it doesn’t just stop there. It’s likely that there are energetic processes at play, with the system potentially needing to ‘reboot’ to allow for larger actions like a discharge of dense heavy energy, or subconscious trauma release to occur.
The purging process is certainly encouraged and for the most part an inherent physiological response, allowing and aiding the body to release what isn’t serving us – physically, emotionally, mentally and energetically.
It can come in a number of different ways – from the top end, the bottom end, and as mentioned, through profuse sweating, shaking, crying, or any other kind of cathartic release. In some instances however, it doesn’t come at all. Whatever the case, the purging process is a process to embrace. We don't view it as being sick. Instead, we view it as getting well.
In saying all of that, there are never any guarantees in the discomfort one may experience, with people occasionally reporting deep states of calm meditation, alongside feelings of euphoria and bliss.
Either way, it’s important to rest up to let the full potential for Kambo’s mind-body-spirit healing power to unfold. The subsequent days after a treatment is when people generally begin to feel the real benefits of Kambo, feeling clean, clear, rejuvenated and energised. For some, the after-effects are more subtle.
There are a number of people that will however experience a herxheimer response, also known as a "healing crisis", in the days following their treatment. This is a short term detoxification reaction to the body clearing out large amounts of toxins.
If you’re knowingly, or unknowingly, carrying a latent illness, it’s entirely possible for the symptoms of this illness to bubble up to the surface, so that your body can continue to do it's work, clearing out whatever needs to be removed from the system.
As with any kind of transformational work, integration – the period of time after the actual experience, is one of the most important aspects of the process. If you’re going back to an unhealthy lifestyle, the benefits won’t be as pronounced. The key here is to work in conjunction with these medicines; taking the necessary steps to align to deeper levels of health, wellness, virtues, values, heart and spirit.
Over the past three decades, research has been conducted on the various peptides in this secretion, uncovering the healing potential for a range of physical illnesses, lending credence to the wealth of anecdotal reports.
The first person to analyse Kambo in a lab was an Italian Scientist by the name of Vittorio Erspamer; the same man who first discovered the neurotransmitter Serotonin, and was twice nominated for a Nobel Prize.
In 1986, Erspamer concluded that Phyllomedusa Bicolor – the Kambo frog, contained a “fantastic chemical cocktail with potential medical applications, unequalled by any other amphibian...”
Rapé is a traditional Amazonian powdered snuff, made from a combination of leaves, seeds, bark, herbs, spices, oils, flowers and ash. Consisting of various medicinal plants, roots and trees, the base generally consists of 'mapacho', or Amazonian tobacco (Nicotiana Rustica).
Unlike the abuse of tobacco in the Western world, many indigenous people consider tobacco to be one of the most sacred and revered of all plant medicines. With sincere intention, it can be used by itself, or as an adjunct with other healing medicines, such as Kambo.
Breathing is momentarily suspended while the snuff is blown by the facilitator through both nostrils, using a small pipe typically made from bamboo or bone. The powder isn't sniffed back into the throat, and doesn't reach the lungs; rather, it sits high in the nasal cavity while the receiver has the opportunity to drop into meditation and stillness, connecting with the energy of the medicine.
Rapé may induce heightened awareness, mental focus, clarity, deeper meditation, cleansing, grounding, emotional and energetic release, spiritual insight, opening of the heart, as well as clearing headaches, sinus problems, and connecting with the healing spirits of the forest.
When given during the middle of a Kambo treatment, Rapé is used to facilitate the release of blockages and encourage the purging process.
Sananga is a traditional Amazonian eye medicine, made from the shredded root of a rain-forest shrub.
On a physical level, these liquid eye drops have been used in the treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, conjunctivitis, dry and red eyes, eye infections, sinusitis and chronic headaches. It has been known to sharpen one's vision, improving colour perception and image definition, giving the environment greater texture and depth.
After the initial discomfort of having a drop of Sananga placed in each eye, this medicine helps to induce a sense of calm and stillness, with the feeling of being grounded and centered, as well as clearing and refreshing the eyes.
It's also known to help clear dense energies and open the third eye; allowing the heightened capacity of vision not only on a physical level, but a metaphysical level, as well as helping to keep one balanced emotionally, mentally, energetically and spiritually.
Known in Spanish as Sangre de Drago, this dark red viscous sap is extracted from the South American tree, Croton Lechleri. Natives have used it for centuries to heal cuts, scratches, abrasions, lacerations, stings, rashes, insect bites, ulcers, gastritis and diarrhoea.
This medicinal resin is applied to the open wounds once Kambo's secretion has been removed; acting as a protective bandage, sealing the openings on the skin, reducing scarring, and accelerating the healing process.
Modern research has backed up indigenous wisdom once again, with many studies revealing Dragons Bloods analgesic, antioxidant, inflammatory modulating and wound healing properties.
The well-known YouTuber, 'Your Mate Tom', asked us to be a part of his educational documentary on the exploration of Kambo as a healing modality.
This short film documents his live-experience with the Amazonian frog medicine, Kambo, in sacred ceremony.
Phenomenal work by Tom in compiling and editing all the footage!
The lovely folk over at The Yoga Lunchbox invited us to write up a little article to introduce their Yogic community to the Amazonian frog medicine Kambo.
The blending of Amazonian medicine with Indian philosophy. Nice. We live in a day and age where we’re blessed enough to have a big melting pot of practices, knowledge, and wisdom from all over the globe, guiding us - both individually and collectively - towards reconnection.
Reconnection to ourselves, community and the natural world around us.