What is Kambô?
Kambô is one of the most extraordinary natural healing gifts available to humanity. Kambô is a resinous secretion from one of the largest Hylid frogs known as the Giant Waxy Monkey Tree Frog, scientifically known as Phyllomedusa Bicolor. Its secretion is not a sweat nor a poison in the sense that it alone is not capable of causing death or illness. Larger than the size of a mans fist with no predictors, they live and thrive 20 – 50 metres up in the jungle canopy.
The Frog is found in abundance across the Upper Amazon rain-forest areas of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, French Guiana, Suriname and Venezuela. The secretion is also called Sapo, Dow-kiet, Hunting magic, Ordeal medicine, “Vaccine of the forest” or “Guardian of the Leaf”. In the Amazon, it is regarded as a medicine however this should not be confused with the western definition of a medicine. Kambô is not a medicine and those that administer it are practitioners and not doctors. Indigenous tribes have used Kambô for centuries, for a variety of different reasons.
Amazonian tribes take Kambô before hunting to ensure greater success. It heightens their senses, strengthens and energizes, allowing hunters to run faster with more stamina, without needing as much food, water, or sleep. It’s frequently used as a jungle medicine to treat snake bites, malaria, infections, and fever. Interestingly it’s also used to clear ‘Panema’ – a word that loosely translates to negative energy, dark energy, or bad luck. Like all of nature, the Kambô frog is revered by the tribes so it is returned to the jungle unharmed after the collection.
Over the course of three decades, scientists have shown that the Kambô secretion contains a unique and highly complex chemical cocktail of bio-active peptides beneficial to the human body. It is alleged that over 70 patents have been lodged, but so far, none of these single isolated peptide extracts has come close to this healing medicine in it’s entirety in nature.
Kambô is known to be one of strongest natural ways to fortify the immune system, and one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic and anesthetic substances.
The IUCN database continually lists the Kambo frog 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.
Benefits of Kambô
Many thousands of people around the globe are experiencing the potency of Kambô and recognising it’s potential as being a multi-faceted healing modality useful for a wide variety of illnesses and challenges; physically, emotionally, mentally, energetically and spiritually.
The main ailments people are known to seek Kambô out for are: depression/apathy, addictions, recurrent infections, allergies, chronic pain, inflammatory diseases of all varieties, heavy or painful periods, candidiasis, insomnia, a deep lymphatic cleanse, general detox… the list is endless. The results range from nothing visible to miraculous. The modality will go where it’s needed, and what you get is not always what you thought you wanted or needed.
Many report increased energy, decreased pain, recovered sleep patterns, greater stamina, the clearing up of skin conditions/infections etc.. Kambô works holistically, appearing to innately understand the role of emotions and repressed trauma in creating physical disease. In general, many people report clearing emotional baggage, letting go of past traumas and issues, clarity of mind, heightened awareness and focus, resilience to stress and fatigue, getting sick less, an increased sense of energy and well-being, enhanced mood, and even bringing more clarity to one’s life path.
People have even had varying degrees of success treating various health conditions, such as lyme disease, parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid conditions, fungal conditions, and addictions.
The immediate benefits people report are:
- Grounding those stressed from a goal orientated tech-transfixed lifestyle so they can be more centred, present and connected in their life.
- Releases repressed emotions hidden, sometimes for decades.
What Happens During a Kambô Treatment
To administer the Kambô, the dried secretion is reconstituted using water. It resembles a small ball of wasabi when prepared. Small burns are lightly made on the skin and the top layer is scraped off, revealing the shiny wet lymph below. This is the highway into the bodies lymphatic system, our immune hub.
The secretion is applied onto this opening, or “point” as it is called, and rapidly disseminates throughout the body causing changes in blood pressure, temperature, smooth muscle contraction, tear production and much more. Sensations are somewhat intense and uncomfortable, and while they come on fast, they’re short lived, generally passing within 20 – 40 minutes.
A warmth and flushing of the skin is the first thing most people feel, with an increase in heart rate, as well as growing pressure in the head and upper body. As the medicine continues to circulate, people may experience slight swelling, dizziness, shaking, trembling, tingling, sweating, nausea, pain, a general bodily discomfort, and even fainting.
There are no guarantees in what one may experience in a session, with people occasionally reporting deep states of calm meditation, alongside feelings of euphoria and bliss.
During the experience, Kambô is scanning and navigating it’s way around the body, finding and cleaning up toxins and dense energies. It removes them through the process of purging – the primary mechanism that Kambô clears unwanted energy/toxins from the body. After this process, people generally feel energised or completely exhausted. Regardless, it’s recommended to rest so the full healing potential of Kambô can take effect.
The subsequent days after a treatment is when people begin to feel the real benefits of Kambô, feeling clean, clear, rejuvenated and energised. For some, the after-effects are more subtle and harder to notice.
There are those that will however experience a “herxheimer” (a short term detoxification reaction) response in the days following their treatment as the body clears out large amounts of toxins.
If you’re knowingly, or unknowingly, carrying a latent illness, it’s entirely possible for the symptoms of this illness to bubble up to the surface, so that Kambô can continue to do it’s work, clearing out whatever needs to be removed from the system.
Kambo is a heart medicine and has the energetic effect of bringing the recipient back to their centre and back to alignment
Each ceremony is a truly visceral event, a commitment to experiencing your reality in the NOW. Kambô is without a doubt an initiatory experience, (something lacking our societies today), with the energy of the Warrior at its core.
Who Should Not Take Kambô & Contraindications
Kambô is very safe when given by a properly trained practitioner. However there are some conditions for which Kambô is contraindicated. This is not an exhaustive list. Suitability for Kambo may occasionally depend on the constitution of the person receiving Kambo. It is important to consult a properly trained and skilled practitioner if you have any concerns prior to treatment to ensure that Kambô is suitable and safe for you to work with.
Those who we contraindicate include:
- People who are under 18 years of age.
- People who have had a stroke.
- People who have serious heart problems.
- People who have had a brain hemorrhage.
- People who have aneurysms or blood clots.
- People who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
- People who are taking medication for low blood pressure.
- People who lack the mental capacity to make their own decision to take Kambô.
- People who have serious mental health problems (excluding depression, PTSD and anxiety)
- People who are taking immune-suppressants for organ transplant.
- People with Addison’s disease.
- People with current and severe epilepsy.
- People who are recovering from a major surgical procedure. (recent hernia op included)
- Women who are pregnant or suspect they may be so.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding babies under the age of 6 months old.
- People who have taken Bufo Alvarius (toad medicine) in the last 6-8 weeks prior to Kambô.
- Kambô should NOT be applied to animals.
Cautions & Considerations
Extra caution is required in the following cases, It’s important to disclose any of these prior to your session:
- People with active drug or alcohol addictions.
- People taking slimming, serotonin and/or sleeping supplements.
- People taking immune-suppressants for auto-immune disorders.
- People who have been fasting/water-fasting for 7 days before (or after) Kambô.
- People who plan to use a sauna (FIR or other) or practice hot yoga 3 days before (or after) Kambô.
- People who have had enemas, colonics, liver flushes or any water based detox 3 days before (or after) taking Kambô.
- People who have been using distilled water for detox/fasting.
It’s also important to disclose any of the following prior to session:
- If you’re taking or have recently stopped taking any medications.
- If you’re taking or have recently stopped taking any diet/slimming pills.
- If you’re regularly taking anti-diuretic medication or sports drinks.
- If you have ever been, or are currently bulimic or anorexic.
- If you’re epileptic. A care taker will be required.
- If you have abnormally high or low blood pressure.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have any chronic or serious health issues.
- If you have asthma.
- If you have diabetes. (type I or type II)
Preparing for a Kambô Treatment
While there are certain things to avoid and practical aspects to adhere to in the time leading up to ceremony, there are also things to reflect upon and contemplate.
What are your intentions for the session? Why do you feel called to Kambô? What are you looking to release, and what are you looking to bring in? Does the reason you’re coming to ceremony revolve around the physical, emotional, mental, energetic or spiritual?
The frog is the great revealer, and it’s likely that the frog will eventually seek out, find, and uproot any unprocessed issues that have been buried within.
Kambô can be an incredibly intense experience. It can be helpful to focus on your breath, and let your breathing be your anchor during your treatment. This will be discussed in person prior to starting the session.
Regarding the more practical aspects:
- Do not drink large amounts of water or fluid on the morning of your Kambô treatment.
- Do not attempt any sort of water or dry fast 7 days before/after Kambô.
- Do not begin any colonics, enemas, water based detox, liver flushes, or sweat lodge 3 days before/after Kambô.
- Do not take recreational drugs or drink alcohol 24-48 hours before/after Kambô.
- Do not eat any food 12 hours before Kambô. It’s important to fast for these 12 hours immediately prior to a Kambô treatment to ensure the stomach is empty.
- Do not drink coffee on the morning of your treatment. Caffeine stimulates the system.
- Remove tight, restrictive jewellery before your Kambô treatment, due to the potential swelling of extremeties.
- Try to make little to no plans for the remainder of your day after your treatment. You may need to rest and recuperate.
- You can drink a hot tea on the morning of your Kambô treatment, and sip on small amounts of water. Do not add honey. This can disturb your electrolyte balance.
- Stop all fluid intake 2 hours prior to your Kambô treatment.
- Do not consume distilled water in the 2 days leading up to your treatment.
- (You will be required to drink approx 2L of water 10-15 minutes immediately before your Kambô is applied, as part of the purging process. This is why it’s important to avoid drinking excessive water beforehand, thus avoiding an electrolyte imbalance, which could potentially lead to hyponatremia ie dangerously low sodium levels)
If you are unsure about any of the preparation protocols, or have questions or concerns, please get in touch and ask prior to ceremony.
What do I bring to a treatment?
- Loose, comfortable, non-restrictive clothing.
- If you have a sarong, this is a good choice incase you get hot or need to remove aspects of clothing for Kambô applications.
- A blanket, shawl, or something warm for resting afterwards.
- A yoga mat to lay down on.
- A Hair clip band or elastic to tie up long hair. Contact lens’s should be removed.
- People with asthma should bring their inhaler with them (as a precautionary measure).
- Bring a pen and a notebook, if you wish for jotting down notes afterwards.
- Last but not least, please bring your willingness and trust the Great Kambô process!
Why it is important to go to a trained Practitioner?
The application of Kambo requires skill, knowledge, experience, integrity, responsibility, mindfulness and a deep understanding of this sacred and powerful Amazonian medicine. A trained practitioner will know where, how much and how to treat you, if at all. They will have been trained in techniques that enable them to assess this. In the unlikely event that there is a problem, they will know how to deal with this, but they are also trained to minimise the possibility of problems and never go beyond the limits of their ability. Your safety is paramount at all times.
During the Kambo treatment there is a transfer of energy from the practitioner to you. The trained practitioner will understand how this process works and how to ensure that only clean and positive energy is passed on to you.
Trained practitioners will have learnt techniques to enable them to make the access points on the skin, with the minimum of discomfort and scarring. They will also understand the different types of points that are suitable for different parts of the body.
As a properly trained and experienced practitioners I will enable you to make the most of your Kambo experience on a physical, spiritual, emotional and energetic level.
Is Kambô safe?
Although Kambô is very safe when responsibly administered by a knowledgeable, skilled and experienced practitioner, there are just some people that aren’t fit to work with this modality. As an IAKP trained Kambô Practitioner, I follow the IAKP Code of Ethics & Professional Practice, and am primarily concerned with the safety and welfare of all those who receive Kambô.
Due to the contraindications, cautions and considerations, it’s extremely important for all people to disclose any current or historical health issues prior to taking Kambô, to ensure you are suited to this amazonian “medicine”.
The above critical to ensure the utmost safety for all who take Kambô, and to avoid un necessary accidents and mistakes from those with contraindications who should not have been taking Kambô in the first place.
Is Kambô legal?
As of 2018, there is no prohibition against the use of Kambô anywhere in the world. Kambô is not an illegal substance. This is one of the reasons why Kambô is such an incredibly healing tool in our current day and age.
Do the Kambô burn marks scar?
At the end of each Kambô treatment, the burn marks are dressed with a natural medicinal tree sap called Sangre de Drago. Also known as Dragon’s Blood, this liquid forms a protective bandage over the tiny burn marks when dried; helping to close wounds, stop infection, accelerate healing, and reduce scarring.
The burn marks will fade in time, but depending on your skin type and colour, you may have small circular visible scars. These Kambô markings are often seen as a badge of honour, but for those who are concerned, Kambô can be applied to a suitable body position to reduce visibility.
Is Kambô a Psychedelic / Hallucinogenic?
Kambô is not in any way psychedelic or a 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 Kambô 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 the frog harmed during the process?
The frog is not harmed during the process of collecting this resin. The indigenous peoples view the frog as a sacred animal and it is revered in their cultures.
The Kambô Frog 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.
May I drive after a Kambô treatment?
Yes: You might be a little tired or exhausted after your treatment, but once you’ve had a short rest, you’ll be fine to drive.
Can I take my medication on the day of a Kambô 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. To ensure your safety, please let me know and we can discuss this further.
If I have not worked with you before we’ll have a brief phone call so that I can get to know you a little better prior to the session. This will also allow me to make sure this modality will be of benefit to you at this time.
Individual sessions are available in my private venue or in your own home. This proves a direct and focused healing experience with the Practitioner and the Medicine.
Group Healing Circles are also a great way to enjoy the benefits of the modality. It can be a profound communal experience to sit with the Kambô Medicine alongside others. New friendship are often made and existing bonds strengthened.
If inspired you can take that first step by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be sent more information about the session and an online questionnaire to be filled out in advance.
I will then ascertain that I can provide a safe experience for you.
Group Healing ceremonies are also held on a monthly basis.
If you have any queries about the modality or the process, please do not hesitate to ask. It is vitally important that everyone comes to this process feeling fully safe and informed.
I currently reside the Middle East but travel extensively world wide.
The Science behind Kambô
Italian Scientist Vittorio Erspamer of the University of Rome (twice nominated for the Nobel prize) wrote that the Kambo secretion contains a “fantastic chemical cocktail with potential medical applications, unequaled by any other amphibian”.
The Kambo peptides discovered by Prof Erspamer trigger a variety of beneficial chemical reactions in the human body. Kambo has the ability, unlike many other natural and pharmaceutical substances, to cross the blood-brain barrier, enabling it to reach deep into the body and bring support to otherwise difficult to treat areas.
So far, researchers have found nine bio- active (meaning that they perform specific functions in the body) peptides that have a potent effect on the gastrointestinal muscles, gastric and pancreatic secretions, blood circulation, and on the stimulation of the adrenal cortex and pituitary gland.
Human cells open up to the beneficial properties of Kambo unlike many substances that are filtered and eliminated by the body’s highly intelligent defense system.
These peptides perform hormone-like tasks while others provide support to vital cellular processes. Some of these peptides detox and clean out the cells, others have a potent effect on the gastrointestinal muscles, gastric and pancreatic secretions, blood circulation, and on the stimulation of the adrenal cortex and pituitary gland.
Since 1966, many peptides in the Kambô secretion have been isolated, characterized and synthesized. As a testimony to its medicinal properties there are supposedly more than 70 Kambô patents registered in the pharmaceutical world, mainly in the United States. Kambo peptide research is currently being carried out with regards to the following realms:
Depression, Migraines, Blood circulation problems, Vascular insufficiency, Cancer, Organ diseases, Skin and eyes issues, Fertility problems, Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), Hepatitis, Cancer, Brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
It is important to note that there is currently no peer-reviewed papers that prove the peptides in Kambo can help any of these conditions.
However Kambo practitioners have much anecdotal evidence that Kambo does help people greatly, but for the sake of protecting Kambo it is best not to make medical claims until we have solid science to back up such claims.
Should you wish to investigate these remarkable peptides, here is a list of the main families of bio-active peptides identified in the Kambô secretion so far and include:
Phyllomedusin – such as tachykinins (which also act as neuropeptides) – produce contraction at the smooth muscle level and increase secretions of the entire gastrointestinal tract such as the salivary glands, stomach, small and large intestine, pancreas and gallbladder. These are the main parts responsible for the deep purge produced by the administration of Kambô.
Phyllokinin and Phyllomedusins – both are potent vasodilators, increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier both for their own access as well as for that of other active peptides. Within this family are the medusins, which also have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
Caeruleins and Sauvagines – They are peptides with chains of 40 amino acids with myotropic properties on the smooth muscles, producing a contraction of the colon and urinary bladder. They produce a drop in blood pressure accompanied by tachycardia. They stimulate the adrenal cortex and pituitary gland, contributing to greater sensory perception and increased resistance. Both peptides possess a great analgesic power, contributing to the increase of physical strength, the capacity to confront physical pain, stress, disease and diminish the symptoms of fatigue. In the medical field this family of peptides contributes to improved digestion and has analgesic properties against pain in renal colic, pain due to peripheral vascular insufficiency and tumour pain.
Dermorphin and deltorphin – These are small peptides composed of 7 amino acids. They are selective agonists of the opiate delta receptors, 4000 times more potent than morphine and 40 times more than the endogenous endorphins.
Adenoregulins – discovered in the 90s by John Daly’s team at the National Institute of Health in the United States. Adenoregulin works on the human body through the adenosine receptors, a fundamental component throughout all human cellular fuel. These receptors may offer a target for the treatment of depression, stroke and cognitive loss diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and also Parkinson’s.
Antimicrobial peptides: Dermaseptins, including adenoregulins (with 33 amino acids), plasticins and philloseptins form part of a family of a broad spectrum of antimicrobial peptides involved in the defence of frogs’ bare skin against microbial invasion. These are the first vertebrate peptides that show lethal effects against filamentous fungi responsible for severe opportunistic infections which accompany the immunodeficiency syndrome and the use of immunosuppressive agents. They also show lethal effects against a broad spectrum of bacteria both large+ and large-, fungi, yeasts and protozoa. Several years of research carried out at the University of Paris have shown that peptides Dermaseptin B2 and B3 are effective in killing certain types of cancer cells. Research at Queens University in Belfast recently won a prestigious award for his ground-breaking work with cancer and Kambô. Its action mechanism is produced by inhibiting the angiogenesis of tumour cells, with selective cytotoxicity for these cells.
Bradykinins – such as phyllokinins and tryptophilins. They are peptides with structure and properties similar to human bradykinin. They are important sources of scientific study as they are hypotensive and due to producing vasodilation, contraction of the non-vascular smooth muscle, increase vascular permeability, also related to the mechanism of inflammatory pain.
Bombesins – these peptides stimulate the secretion of hydrochloric acid by acting on the G cells of the stomach, regardless of the pH of the medium. They also increase pancreatic secretion, intestinal myoelectric activity and smooth muscle contractibility.
Ceruleins – Stimulate gastric, bile and pancreatic secretions, and certain smooth muscle. They could be used in the paralytic ileus and as a diagnostic medium in pancreatic dysfunction.
Tryptophilins – are neuropeptides consisting of 4 to 14 amino acids, which are opening up new perspectives on how the human brain works.
“These biopeptides have aroused a great deal of scientific interest and many of them have been successfully synthesized in the laboratory and patented.But so far, none of these molecules have been used in clinical practice. Research on the components of Kambô continues to evolve to find clinical applications in the world of medicine and pharmacology, and in the study of new action mechanisms in our human biology.
For thousands of years, Amazonian tribes have been using and benefiting from this chemical cocktail according to their ancestral traditions, their intuition. Now it is up to us, above our rational and scientific culture, and accompanied and supported by it, to take advantage of this gift of nature and obtain all its benefits, beyond what we can be demonstrated by the multitude of pharmacological experiments carried out in scientific laboratories.” Rosa Sanchis Pharmacist.