What is Kambo?

Kambo is the secretion produced by the Amazonian Giant Monkey Tree Frog, Phyllomedusa Bicolor. Kambo has been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years as a multi-faceted traditional healing medicine. With a complex pharmacopoeia of bioactive peptides contained within it’s secretion, Kambo holds immense potential when it comes to addressing many ailments on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.

Many people are feeling called to work with Kambo to help assist them with chronic fatigue, chronic pain, inflammation, recurrent infections, alcohol and drug addictions, anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD, emotional baggage, trauma, fertility issues, thyroid problems, parasitic, bacterial, fungal and pathogenic infections, candida, gut problems, lyme disease, HIV, herpes, hepatitis, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers, autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and much much more.

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 traditional medicine. The list of contraindications, cautions and considerations 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 personal and medical information is confidential.

With the growing popularity of Kambo as a sacred healing traditional medicine, caution and discretion must be exercised when choosing who to work with, both practitioner and participant alike. A small number of accidents and deaths have occurred in the past due to negligence, malpractice, and serving Kambo to those with contraindications and serious pre-existing health conditions. In contrast to the accidents and deaths from Western pharmaceutical medications, the number of Kambo related accidents is infinitesimally small.

Is Kambo Legal?

Kambo is attracting more and more media attention, with it’s legality beginning to shift around the globe. Unfortunately many of us still live in a fear-based and controlling governmental paradigm, where traditional healing medicines with thousands of years of history are condemned, demonized and prohibited due to misunderstanding, cultural conditioning, and a desire to control and preserve the dominant Westernized way of living. This is incredibly problematic and gives rise to many other issues.

Kambo has entered somewhat of a grey-zone in Australia, however with the growing number of professionally trained Kambo Practitioners through the IAKP, it’s impossible to stop people seeking and receiving the healing that they need from traditional healing medicines, such as Kambo.

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, also 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?

Intentions and health conditions will play a part in determining the number and frequency of treatments.

Many people benefit from a short intensive burst of sessions to target specific issues and intentions, followed by maintenance treatments. This could be several times over the course of a week or two, three times over a lunar cycle, or any number of options determined upon discussion. Others 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.

 Specific treatment protocols for specific health conditions can be explored further upon discussion.

 

How long does a session take to complete?

Once Kambo has been applied to the skin, the process generally lasts anywhere from 20-45 minutes. Everyone develops their own unique relationship with Kambo, with the actual process and rest time afterwards differing from person-to-person and experience-to-experience.

 Taking into account several variables, such as prior experience, consultations and discussions before the experience, number of participants, and rest time needed, it’s best to set aside your day to honour the Kambo process and your post-ceremony recovery. If you need to be somewhere afterwards, please discuss with me personally to determine approximate finish times.

From a larger perspective, the Kambo process can take many days, weeks and even months to complete, depending on what Kambo stirs up within each individual and how much integration work is needed post-ceremony.

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?

All kinds of media 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 the intricacies of semantics. The word poison carries 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. The secretion 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! Or perhaps more appropriately, a moisturiser to prevent the skin from drying out.

 

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?

You might be 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. Some medications are contraindicated with Kambo, while others need certain logistical and safety precautions. As a reminder, all personal and 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. Cramping and discomfort can also occur, so it can be helpful to have a hot water bottle or heat pack ready.

Is there any scientific research on Kambo?

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…”