Where does Kambo Medicine come from?
Kambo frogs are found high in trees near the Igarapes (rainforest waterways) where they gather to sing and announce the rain. They are generally harvested at dawn by the Indians who also sing and imitate the frogs’ song. The frogs are very passive and do not react negatively when picked up, possibly because they have no predators. The frogs are carefully tied by each leg with straw string into an X shape. Sometimes the shaman will massage the toes to encourage the secretion which is then carefully scraped off and dried on small sticks.
After it is released, the frog returns to its habitat none the worse for wear. The strings leave a tiny white line on each leg which stops anyone from harvesting the frog again until has faded, which takes about 2-3 months. The frog is never harmed but rather sacred and treated with utmost care and respect as the people believe that to harm the frog will anger the animal spirits that they live so close with. Kambo collected this way is considered 100% ethically harvested.
Kambo frogs that are held in laboratory environments, squeezed or harmed in any way during the harvesting process are not considered to be ethically harvested.
What Is Kambo Used For?
The use of Kambo differs amongst tribes but the main indigenous uses revolve around lifting Panema – an indigenous name for dark or negative energy and for Hunting Magic – they believe it their speed and energy during hunting and that it makes the hunter invisible by temporarily eliminating their human odour. There are many ways they use it medicinally too, including: malaria, snake bites, fevers, infections, fertility problems, to cleanse, detox and strengthen the mind and body, to increase energy and stamina and to reduce pain.
Outside of the forest, Kambo has been the subject of nearly three decades of medical research. As with venoms from snakes and scorpions, researchers believe that Kambo will open up a new world of treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Pain, Cancer, HIV, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, Depression, Vascular problems, Hepatitis, Diabetes, Rheumatism, Arthritis, Addictions and much, much more. Their work consists of attempting to identify, isolate and reproduce the incredible and unique chemical cocktail that Kambo is. It contains dozens of Peptides (short chains of amino acids), some of them bioactive which means they have an affinity and selectivity for binding with receptor sites in humans (A receptor is like a lock that, when opened with the right key—the bioactive peptide—triggers specific chemical reactions in the body). The peptide families represented in Kambo include bradykinins (phyllokinin), tachykinins (phyllomedusin), caerulein, sauvagine, tryptophyllins, dermorphins, deltorphins and bombesins. Recent studies have shown that Kambo contains multiple antimicrobial peptides effective against drug resistant strains of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, parasites and virus, providing opportunities for the development of new and more efficient nanotechnological-based therapies for treating infectious diseases. Several years of ongoing research by the University of Paris have shown Kambo to be super effective at killing cancer cells and Queens University in Belfast recently won a prestigious award for their ground breaking work with cancer and frog secretions.
Kambo is one of the strongest natural anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antimicrobial and anaesthetic substances found in the world and one of the strongest, natural ways to strengthen the immune system. It also detoxes the liver and the intestines so it’s a powerful cleanser. Immediate and short term effects include enhanced mood, alertness, clarity, focus, energy and increased resistance to stress, tiredness, hunger and thirst. The mind becomes still, you feel lighter and everything becomes easier to manage. In the longer term, Kambo empowers the immune system, rousing the body’s defence systems to their natural functions so that existing health problems are improved or resolved and future ones are less likely to occur. In spiritual terms, Kambo works in a mystical fashion as a light that opens the way, helping us to overcome obstacles and release blockages on an emotional level. It clears our energy field and realigns the chakras enabling us to break negative habits and live and think more naturally.
Despite the billions of pounds/euros and dollars being poured into researching and developing mainstream synthetic medication from Phyllomedusa Bicolour frog secretions, no one has yet managed to reproduce the original! Kambo in its original, natural form is a holistic treatment that works on the mind, body, energy and spirit at all levels in ways that we don’t completely understand yet. The native peoples of the Amazon are quite right to use the word ‘magic’ when describing this substance.
What does a Kambo Treatment cost?
Charges for treatment are not regulated by the IAKP. Each practitioner is free to decide what to charge based on their experience, expertise and prevailing conditions of the country they are working in, however excessive charging is discouraged to allow maximum access to this medicine. This means that you will find large variations in treatment costs around the world. Obviously treatments will be cheaper in those countries where Kambo is freely available and more expensive in those where it is not. Costs may also vary if you take Kambo in a retreat centre or from a practitioner who is travelling and working in a country where there is no other available properly trained practitioner. Be aware that there may be a difference between what an untrained person will charge and what a trained practitioner will charge. Someone who is offering Kambo for free, to experiment on you or for donations may not have any training or confidence in their skills. You may also find the opposite though so ask questions before you decide to go ahead.
Is Kambo Safe?
Kambo is 100% safe in the right hands. It’s true that there have been accidents in the past and that people have died but the number is very small and the circumstances of these deaths have shown that Kambo should not have been given to them because of their pre-existing health conditions. This applies to all medicines, natural or pharmaceutical, there are always contraindications. Not only is it important for the person giving Kambo to understand these contraindications but it is also important for people taking Kambo to disclose all there health issues to the practitioner. In this way, we can ensure that no more mistakes happen. Kambo is not for everyone. Also be aware that if you are travelling in South America and seek out a remote tribe to take Kambo with, that they may not have full knowledge of western health conditions so be very careful in these situations.
What happens during a Kambo treatment?
Kambo is intense but fast. The unpleasant effects are strong and immediate but over within 30 - 40 minutes. The dried Kambo is mixed with a small amount of water and divided into small dots. Then small points called gates are placed into the surface of the skin. The points are approximately 1/8” across but can be smaller or slightly larger depending on the treatment. The top thin layer of skin is blistered with a hot stick and the skin is peeled off to expose the epidermis underneath – this is similar to when you have a blister and the skin rubs off. There is no blood. The number and position of the points varies from person to person depending on individual needs. If you have a series of treatments in the same session, the same points are reused. The small dots of Kambo are applied to the points. This is the only way to take Kambo – it is not safe to ingest it, snort it or to introduce it into the blood stream directly. The Kambo enters directly into the Lymphatic System so the effect is very fast. Most people experience a warm to hot flush on the upper body and face along with increased heart rate. At this point, different people will react in different ways. Some will feel dizzy, foggy or spaced out; the occasional person will shake or even faint. Some people have swollen lips or face and slight skin tingling. The Kambo will be racing around your body, scanning it for problems and then going directly to work on those areas. You may experience a throbbing or burning sensation in those areas for a short while. Some people may feel some abdominal discomfort and need to defecate. Once the Kambo has cleaned the body you will purge all the toxins out. This purging process works on a physical and emotional level. You may feel tired at this point and need to rest. Within a short time – usually an hour or so you will feel much better and you can drink and eat normally. Within a day or so, depending on your state of health, you will start to feel the real benefits.
Is Kambo a hallucinogenic?
Kambo is not psychoactive even when taken regularly. There are some old reports of Indians experiencing hallucinations with Kambo but this is probably when it is taken in extremely large quantities e.g. 10 times in a night and used in conjunction with an hallucinogenic snuff. Kambo can produce a very short altered state of reality in some people and many people receive insights and messages about living a healthier life during these few minutes.
Will I get permanent scarring?
The burn marks will heal and fade with time but depending on your skin colour and type you may always have small visible scars. Most people see their Kambo scars as a badge of honour. The same points can be reused after 2- 3 months. After the dots of Kambo are removed, the points are dressed with a natural tree sap. This helps them to heal faster and ensures they stay free from infection until they scab naturally.
Information courtesy of IAKP
What is Kambo?
Kambo is a secretion from one of the largest Hylid frogs known as the Giant Green Monkey Tree Frog. Its scientific name is Phyllomedusa Bicolor. The frog is nocturnal and arboreal and due to the fact that it has no natural predators is found in abundance across the Upper Amazon rainforest areas of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, French Guiana, Suriname and Venezuela.
They are large frogs, the male bodies being between 9-10 cm and the females 11-12cm. The dorsum is a vibrant green and the belly a creamy white. They have dark spots on the chest, flank and legs. Reproduction occurs throughout the year, peaking between November and May. They construct hanging nests from folded leaves 1-3metres above ponds and streams. The females deposit a gelatinous mass containing their eggs into these nests. Theirs is the largest spawn found amongst arboreal frogs of the Amazon. A single spawn contains on average 1000 eggs from which tadpoles emerge within 11-14 days. The IUCN database lists them in the ‘Least Concern’ category in view of their wide distribution and large population. The only known threats to this species of frog at the moment are spawn predation and the potential destruction of their habitat.
An Italian scientist, Vittorio Erspamer of the University of Rome was the first person to analyse Kambo in a laboratory. In 1986, he wrote that it contains a ‘fantastic chemical cocktail with potential medical applications, unequalled by any other amphibian’. The chemicals that he referred to were Peptides. The peptides studied by Erspamer have become essential to characterize the functional role of opioid receptors. He was twice nominated for a Nobel Prize and was also the person who first discovered Serotonin. Several peptides have since been isolated from the secretion and several have been synthesised. Currently there are over 70 Kambo patents lodged, mainly in the USA.
Now, the popularity and use of Kambo as a natural medicine is spreading worldwide. As the scientific and medical research into the secretion of the Phyllomedusa Bicolor grows, skilled practitioners are also developing new ways to work with this powerful substance from the Amazonian Rain Forest which allows it to be accessible to almost everyone in a safe and manageable way. Not only do we now have a number of different traditional ways to take Kambo but we can also work with the Meridians, the Chakras, Nadis and Marma Points and even the ears – Auricular Kambo. Added to this, there are also techniques to allow people to take Kambo in a way that is gentler on their system but still allows them to enjoy the maximum benefits. Kambo is totally safe when given by a properly trained practitioner however there are some conditions for which Kambo is contraindicated, including:
Have serious heart problems.
Are on medication for low blood pressure.
Have had a stroke.
Have had a brain haemorrhage.
Have had aneurisms or blood clots.
Lack the mental capacity to make the decision to take Kambo.
Have serious mental health problems excluding depression, PTSD and anxiety.
Are undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy or for 4 weeks afterwards.
Take immune-suppressants for organ transplant.
Have Addison’s Disease
Have current and severe Epilepsy
Are recovering from a major surgical procedure
Are pregnant or maybe so or are breast-feeding a child under 6 months old
This is not an exhaustive list so it’s important to consult a properly trained and skilled practitioner if you have any serious health issue. Sometimes it depends on the stage of a disease or the constitution of the person receiving Kambo.