Frequently Asked Questions
What is Kambo?
Kambo is a non-psychoactive traditional amazonian medicine used in ceremony that is derived from the Giant Monkey Frog (Also called Giant Green Leaf Frog), or Phyllomedusa bicolour. Kambo comes from the frog’s skin secretion and is carefully collected without harm to the frog. The secretion is applied through superficial burns made into the skin. The immediate effects bring on nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, light-headedness and other symptoms for about 20 minutes, but afterwards users report amazing health improvements for a variety of conditions, both physical and spiritual. Kambo is used to address a large spectrum of physical and emotional issues both in traditional and modern day application.
Where did Kambo come from?
The use of Kambo originated in the Amazon jungle by several groups of indigenous South American peoples. It was first discovered by the western world in 1986 by Peter Gorman, and investigative journalist that had been spending time with a native a tribe called the Matses.
Kambo or sapo as some call it, was initially utilized as a medicine to aid the hunters of the tribe, giving them increased endurance, stamina, visual acuity, increased hearing ability, a reduced need for food and water, and to mask their human scent to better sneak up on animals. It was often used in conjunction with a snuff called Nu-Nu to bring them visions of where their next successful hunt would be. It was also applied to women and children to treat various ailments such as malaria, parasites, snake bites and “panema” or bad luck.
What is Kambo useful for?
Since Kambo’s discovery by westerners, many have found it to be a potent and effective medicine for a variety of different ailments such as depression, arthritis, Lyme disease, infections, fatigue, pain, digestive complaints, autoimmune conditions, substance dependency, emotional trauma and the list goes on….
Some call it a miracle cure for almost any condition. The “sweat” that the frog secretes is full of scientifically studied peptides, some of which stimulate endogenous opioid receptors in a unique way. The Kambo peptides have potent effects on the gastrointestinal system, vascular system, and immune system. They appear to work synergistically with eachother to have immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, and rebalancing effects. Some peptides have potent antibiotic and anticancerous activity, while others have profound effect on the vagus nerve and hypothalamas-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA).
Many consider Kambo a detoxification intervention, as purging through vomiting can be an effective way to eliminate old bile that has been saturated with fat-soluble environmental toxins. For some, it is considered purely a physical healing intervention and peptide therapy. Users also report profound spiritual and psychological effects from Kambo, despite the non-hallucinogenic nature of it.
Is Kambo Helpful for Lyme Disease?
While Kambo as a whole medicine has not been studied or approved by the FDA for the treatment of any disease, including Lyme disease, there is substantial anecdotal evidence for it’s usefulness in improving health outcomes for those diagnosed with Lyme disease. Given the potent antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory activity of the peptides, and the curious ability for Kambo to release stored trauma and emotional pain trapped in the body, Kambo often facilitates profound improvement in symptoms and health status. I would personally say from my own experience with Lyme and Lyme clients, that Kambo is one of the most powerful interventions available today for those suffering from lyme disease. Many report gaining traction in an upward spiral of regaining health in a way that no other modality was able to provide.
Is Kambo Toxic?
None of the peptides have been identified as toxic to mammalian cells. They are however potently toxic to bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites, making it a great full spectrum antibiotic. There is no know toxicity to the liver, kidneys or brain.
How Many Sessions Do I Need?
The amount of sessions one may need is largely dependent on the individuals health, and their goal in taking Kambo. Kambo is most effective when done in a series. For any chronic health issue, doing several treatments in a short amount of time is ideal to get the upper hand on things like bacteria, inflammation, or detoxification. Some people like to do a 3 day in a row cleanse. For others with health challenges, it may be better to do 3 weeks in a row, with a week in between to give them time to recover and properly detox. Some people find that a couple times a year is good maintenance for them. Some people do it once and never do it again. It really is up to the individual.
If you are trying to accomplish a goal with this medicine, such as get relief from depression, or clear an emotional trauma, I highly suggest committing to at least 3 sessions The first session is often an introduction to the frogs spirit. I always say it is like soaking dirty dishes before cleaning them off. Sometimes you have some old, hard and crusty gunk that needs to be softened a bit before fully cleaning it out. The 2nd session, people tend to have the most catharsis and release. By the third session people tend to get better at navigating the experience and surrendering to it, bringing the arc of their journey to completion by moving through the experience with mastery and grace.
It’s absolutely okay to do Kambo once simply to try it, but I encourage those with an intention to give it atleast 3 sessions minimum.
What does it feel like when you take Kambo?
There are a variety of physical sensations that you may or may not experience in a Kambo session. Kambo is a fairly quick experience. Usually only lasting 20-30 minutes, you’re typically over the hardest part of it in no time. First, superficial burns are made to the skin, just removing the top layer to expose the lymphatic tissue. The re-hydrated frog secretion in then applied to the burns. Shortly after application of the medicine, your heart will pound harder and faster. A rushing feeling can occur. You’ll experience a hot flushing sensation similar to a niacin flush. You may feel a pressure build up in your head.
Then the nausea will come on. Purging through vomiting is an important part of the experience as it allows you to remove physical and energetic toxicity. You may have to use the restroom, have shaking, sweating, emotional releases or heavy mucus production. These are all normal physiological responses. The effects last 20-30 minutes. Once the process is over, you will rest and be able to safely drive home after the ceremony ends.
Depending on the individuals health, the after-effects can vary tremendously. If you are relatively healthy, you will likely experience increased energy, better mood, reduced need for food or water, reduced pain, more motivation, improved clarity, feeling of peace and wellbeing, etc. If you have a chronic illness such as lyme disease, fatigue, candida overgrowth, or an autoimmune condition, you may experience a heavy detox. Something called “die-off” or herxheimer reaction can cause fatigue, achiness, or irritability while you’re detoxing. Because Kambo is such a potent antibiotic, it kills a number of pathogenic bacteria that live in your body, causing them to burst open and release their biotoxins. Die-off symptoms can last anywhere from 2-8 days. If you experience die-off, it’s usually a sign that you needed this medicine. Generally after the die off phase, the person will feel better than before they took the Kambo.
Kambo is not hallucinogenic or psychoactive like other amazonian medicines such as Ayahuasca, Toe or Mapacho. There is a strong spiritual component to it, however. Many people receive clarity, have emotional releases, have old memories bubble up, and experience uncanny synchronicities.. While Kambo is not hallucinogenic, it is certainly mind expansive in a very unique way, unlike any other substance.
What is the ceremony like?
Typically a ceremony starts with an individual consultation where we talk about your goals for during and after the ceremony. We then use that to choose the location of points and dosage. A ceremonial opening prayer is made to open up the space. We then have the opportunity to experience rapeh and sananga prior to the Kambo. When ready to move onto the Kambo, the burns are made, and then the individual drinks 1-1.5 liters of water. The points are applied, and the experience is accompanied by singing, rattling, smudging with sage and palo santo, musical instruments, drumming and words of encouragement throughout the process. After your process is complete there will be a ceremony closing prayer. Private sessions often take about 2-2.5 hours from arrival to completion, and group sessions usually are 2.5-3 hours.
Is Kambo Safe?
Despite the extreme physical reaction, Kambo is actually a very safe procedure if done properly under supervision by an qualified practitioner. There are some people who should not receive kambo including those with certain heart conditions, who are pregnant or breastfeeding, received chemotherapy in the last 6 weeks, have had an aneurysm or stroke, are on immunosuppressant drugs for an organ transplant, have a severe psychiatric condition such as schizophrenia or history of psychosis.
Those who have done Toad medicine or 5-Meo-DMT in the last 4 weeks should take precaution around doing Kambo. Severe reactions have been observed in some participants. It is best to wait 4-6 weeks after doing Toad or 5MEO before doing Kambo.
It is also not recommended
Are the Frogs Harmed in this Process?
No, the frog is treated with utmost respect and compassion when harvesting the secretion. Kambo is collected from wild caught frogs living in their native amazonian jungle habitat. Some speculate that the frogs diet of insects play an important role in the potency and properties of the secretion.
In the traditional method, the frogs limbs are gently tied spreading it’s arms and legs in a cross-like fashion and the frog is sang to and delicately stroked on the back to provoke the frog to sweat the secretions from it’s skin. The indigenous tribes believe that if you harm the frog in any way, it’s spirit will be angered and not provide healing. After collection, the frog is then released back into its wild habitat. Often times, the frogs will be marked with an ink that wears off in about a week, so that if a frog is caught with an ink mark, they know it has not had enough time to replenish it’s supply and to collect it too frequently would give it a disadvantage at defending its self against predators.
The medicine I use is sourced directly from a Matses group outside of Iquitos, Peru and is received in person. It is ethically sourced from people and land that I have spent time with. The frogs are treated very kindly and are not over harvested. By purchasing these sticks of medicine, we are directly supporting the Matsés and empowering them to continue living in the jungle and keeping their cultural traditions alive. Medicine Frog Kambo gives money directly to Matses tribal members to pay for medical bills, vitamins for the children, cooking equipment, and other supplies for their village. Each Kambo ceremony with Medicine Frog Kambo helps conserve our precious Amazon rainforest and the people who are there to protect it.
Is there any scientific research on Kambo?
Medicine Frog Kambo is pioneering the field of human Kambo research. You can learn more about our research projects here.
We have also made an extensive list of scientific papers on Kambo and its peptides that is available to the public.
View list of Kambo scientific papers.
Here are a couple you can view here below.
- Phyllomedusa bicolor skin secretion and the Kambô ritual.
- Pharmacological studies of ‘sapo’ from the frog Phyllomedusa bicolor skin: a drug used by the Peruvian Matses Indians in shamanic hunting practices.
- Antitumor and angiostatic peptides from frog skin secretions.
- A consistent nomenclature of antimicrobial peptides isolated from frogs of the subfamily Phyllomedusinae.
- Frog secretions and hunting magic in the upper Amazon: identification of a peptide that interacts with an adenosine receptor.
- Isolation of dermatoxin from frog skin, an antibacterial peptide encoded by a novel member of the dermaseptin genes family.
- Deltorphins: a family of naturally occurring peptides with high affinity and selectivity for delta opioid binding sites.
- Production and purification of a novel antibiotic peptide, adenoregulin, from a recombinant Escherichia coli.
- Comparison of expression of monomeric and multimeric adenoregulin genes in Escherichia coli and Pichia pastorias.
- Antitumor and angiostatic activities of the antimicrobial peptide dermaseptin B2.
- Synthesis and pharmacology of halogenated δ-opioid-selective [d-Ala(2)]deltorphin II peptide analogues