Kambo is a medicine that comes from frog venom, and, for many indigenous cultures in the Amazon, this purgative, immunity-boosting medicine is very important. Known in Portuguese as the “vaccine of the forest,” it’s also gained renown outside of the Amazon as a powerful treatment for chronic pain and drug dependence.
Kambo is powerful medicine and shouldn’t be administered except under the care of an experienced practitioner. A practitioner can help guide you to gain the maximum benefits from a traditional kambo ceremony, helping you to set an intention before the ceremony, ensure proper set and setting during the ceremony, and integrate the experience afterward.
Benefits of Kambo
Research conducted since the 1980s has shown the chemical makeup of kambo to contain short chains of amino acids, known as peptides, that affect gastrointestinal muscles and blood circulation as well as stimulate the adrenal cortex and pituitary gland in the brain. While there are no clinical studies that definitely back up kambo’s efficacy, the properties of kambo peptides make it a promising treatment for the following conditions:
- Blood circulation problems
- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
- Vascular insufficiency
- Organ diseases
- Fertility problems
- Deeply rooted toxins
- Chronic pain
- Addiction to opiate or prescription painkillers (Kambo reduces physical pain, thus helping people kick their addictions to other painkillers)
- Fever and infections
- Negative energies (traditionally known as “panema”)
How Kambo is Administered
In the Amazon, kambo is traditionally collected early in the morning, when the Phyllomedusa bicolor—the giant monkey frog from which the venom is derived—are singing and can easily be found. Without harming them, a shaman scrapes venom from the frog’s skin with a stick. The venom is then administered to a person via small holes that are burned into the top few layers of their skin, usually on the arm. Because of its purging and cleansing properties, kambo is often used as a precursor to an ayahuasca ceremony, which is also used by many of the same tribes.
Undertaking a kambo ceremony can be an intense experience. In addition to burning holes in the top layers of the skin, it can cause a strong reaction in your nervous system, including side effects such as muscle cramps, swelling, vomiting, and a strong emotional reaction which is intense in the moment, but leaves you feeling relaxed after about an hour. While the experience is not for everyone, Kambo’s cleansing effects begin within minutes of administration,and it leaves most people feeling less pain in the days and weeks after treatment.
Proper Conditions for Use
People struggling with opiate addiction should be aware that kambo contains opioid peptides—Dermorphin and Deltorphin, which are both 400 times stronger than morphine—which means there might be a risk of addiction. For that reason, it’s always advised to take kambo with an experienced practitioner, which mitigates that risk and helps ensure a positive experience. By treating this plant medicine with respect, many people experience a powerful cleansing of negative energies, decrease their physical pain, and treat a wide variety of physical and psychospiritual ailments. To learn more about the benefits of kambo, visit the International Association of Kambo Practitioners’ website. For people living the San Francisco Bay area, we plan in the future to offer kambo retreats to gain the benefits of this sacred medicine in a safe and secure setting. If you don’t live in the Bay Area, we can point you toward a reputable practitioner in your region— contact us to learn more.