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Kambo

kambo

A bizarre healing ritual called kambo has been sweeping the globe. This traditional Amazonian medicine produces nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other unpleasant symptoms. Despite the discomfort, thousands of people swear by it as a panacea for physical, emotional and spiritual health benefits. Oh, and did we mention it comes from a frog?
 
Once practiced in the jungles of the Amazon, this strange tradition has made its way into the western world. It is sought out by many looking for healing in unconventional places. So is kambo just a dangerous detox fad, or is it a magic bullet intervention? This guide is a rich source of evidence-based information about kambo that will empower you with the facts to decide for yourself.

 


What is Kambo?


Kambo is the traditional Amazonian medicine in which the skin secretion of the Phyllomedusa bicolour frog is applied to superficial burns made on the skin. Within seconds, the substance takes effect, inducing a purgative experience that can be considered physically uncomfortable. The ritual has been performed for hundreds, if not thousands of years by indigenous South American tribes. It is reported to have potent physical and spiritual healing properties.

Phyllomedusa bicolour, also called the Giant Monkey Frog, Giant leaf frog or Giant Waxy Leaf Frog is a large, bright green frog from the Hylidae family of tree frogs native to the Amazon basin. It is notorious for its unique call that sounds similar to the bark of a dog. It has very few predators due to it’s defensive, waxy skin secretion. The frog secretion contains hundreds of peptide molecules as well as alkaloids, and proteins. The kambo is secreted from glands on the frog’s neck, arms and legs. The frog rubs the waxy substance all over its body to protect itself from predators and infectious microbes.

The first recorded eyewitness account of the application of Kambo by a non-native was in 1925 by french missionary Constantin Tastevin who was living among the Kaxinawá tribe. Later, in 1986, anthropologist Peter Gorman became the first westerner known to receive kambo while living with the Mastés. He was able to provide a sample for scientists Vittorio Erspamer and John Daly to analyze.

The folk tale describing the origins of Kambo involves a shaman named Kampu. His entire village was sick, and despite using all of the plant medicines and shamanic techniques at his disposal, he was not able to cure his tribal members. Kampu decided to ask mother ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic plant brew, for help. In his journey, she told him that the cure for his people was from a frog. When Kampu woke up from his psychedelic trance state, he was laying on the floor of the jungle with a Giant Waxy Tree Frog in his hand and knowledge of how to administer the medicine. When he died, it is said that his spirit merged with all of the Phyllomedusa bicolor frogs, which is how “Kampu” the shaman eventually became “Kambo”.

Traditional Use


Also referred to as “sapo”, traditional use of Kambo varies widely between tribes, but the general theme is that Kambo helps to release “bad spirits” or negative energies. Many tribes claim that kambo clears “panema” which is equivalent to a dark cloud of energy, or bad luck. Tribes also often use kambo as medication for treating ailments such as malaria, snake bites and infections.

Tribal groups, such as the Matses would ritualistically take Kambo before multi-day long hunting trips. The medicine would provide them with increased stamina and endurance while reducing their need for food and water. It was also apparently used to reduce the human scent, increase visual acuity, and to increase sensory sensitivity needed to track animals.

In tribal cultures, you do not have to be a shaman to administer Kambo. Anyone can administer it, and it is considered a medicine more than a shamanic practice. There is generally no traditional ceremony around the use of kambo. However, western interest has increased kambo tourism in South America, which has prompted native peoples to create ceremonial rituals around the use of kambo.

In tribal cultures, it is common for women and children to participate in Kambo treatments. There is even anthropological documentation of native peoples giving it to their hunting dogs. Kambo is usually traditionally applied on the lower ankle for women and the upper arm for men.

Modern Use


The popularity of kambo is spreading rapidly through western culture, and many seek it to improve their physical, psychological and spiritual health. The westernization of kambo is a topic of controversy, as non-indigenous practitioners have come under scrutiny for offering kambo ceremonies. Despite a lack of traditional ceremonial practices around the use of kambo, many modern practitioners choose to perform the ritual within a ceremonial context, which although not traditional, arguably adds more value to the experience. Many modern day, westernized practitioners apply kambo to different parts of the body including areas of the spine associated with chakras, acupuncture meridians, and even auricular acupuncture points on the ears.

It is common practice for modern practitioners to combine other agents and modalities into their ceremonies, such as including rapé (a tobacco snuff), sanaga (a botanical eye drop), and things like breathwork, meditation and musical instruments.

What is a Kambo session like?


Every kambo ritual is different and can vary widely between practitioners, individuals, and even between sessions. While there’s no way to truly predict what a kambo experience will be like for someone, most people experience some combination of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, hot flushing, tingling and other uncomfortable sensations.

Acute Effects


Kambo is applied through superficial burns made on the skin, usually made with a hot prick of the Titica vine (Heteropsis flexuosa). Usually, the participant is asked to drink approximately 1-2 liters of water, or a traditional cassava drink before the kambo is applied to ease in the purging process. Once the medicine is applied to the burns, the onset happens very quickly. It takes about 30 seconds to a minute for effects to begin.

Most participants will experience a hot flushing sensation, tingling in their arms, toes, fingers etc, vibrational sensations, increased heart rate, sweating and pressure in their head. Next, feelings of nausea begin to grow. Most participants will vomit as part of the ritual, and about half the time they may need to have a bowel movement. One could consider these symptoms as side effects, but they are accepted as a fundamental part of the kambo experience.

It is common for kambo participants to experience facial swelling due to the vasodilation and constriction happening in the blood vessels of the face. Sometimes there can be some swelling around the throat, but there’s no need to panic, this is not an allergic reaction, and the throat will not close up. Fainting is also quite common, due to lowered blood pressure while using kambo.

The experience can be quite physically uncomfortable, feeling similar to a bad stomach flu. Usually, the kambo points are left on for approximately 20-30 minutes and then removed. Shortly after their removal, the participant will start to come back down to baseline and is able to rest and recover quite quickly. After 45 minutes or so of laying down, people are typically able to drive themselves home safely. Usually, people are in and out of a ceremony within 2-3 hours.

Ceremony


Most western practitioners and some indigenous practitioners offer some sort of ceremonial setting when administering kambo. The structure of the ceremony can vary between practitioners. Some may offer Rapé and Sananga as part of their ceremony. Some may do an intention setting ritual. Some may sing songs or play musical instruments throughout the process. Ceremonies can range from private one-on-one to large groups. Participants can either be administered to one at a time, in segments or all at once. Some ceremonies may offer sharing and integration circles afterwards.

After-effects


The after-effects are the real appeal of doing kambo. In the immediate time after a kambo session, the participant’s face can remain swollen for 1-2 days and they can feel fatigued, achy and wiped out. Usually, the first couple of days after the session, there can be a tremendous amount of detoxification happening.

Participants are likely to experience the herxheimer effect, or “die-off” which is caused by bacteria and viruses dying and bursting open, releasing toxins into the body. If this “die-off” effect occurs, it usually passes within a couple of days.

Once the detox process has passed, users report increased energy, mental clarity, sense of peace and wellbeing, improved mood, reduced anxiety, increased motivation etc. Many people with health conditions experience reduced pain, inflammation, and other symptoms. People with all sorts of physical illnesses report finding relief for months or even years after using kambo for their Lyme disease, autoimmune conditions, depression, fatigue, low immune function, fertility problems, intestinal issues, metabolic disorders, and chronic pain.

Those using kambo for spiritual purposes report clearing negative energy, gaining clarity about self-destructive patterns or behaviors, increased energetic sensitivities, increased emotional awareness, and a strong sense of synchronicity. This new awareness can result in an increased sense of spiritual connection with the world. It can also result in a significant emotional upset as suppressed emotional pain bubbles to the surface. Those who have a history of trauma may find that the kambo brings it up, allowing it to be processed and resolved for good. While this is ultimately a good thing, it can be an uncomfortable process to confront.

Many users feel an intelligent and conscious presence of the frog’s spirit and consider kambo to act as a loving, benevolent guide and teacher. It is quite common for people to make radical life transformations after doing kambo, creating dramatic shifts in their habits, relationships, and perspectives. Kambo is often referred to as an “ordeal medicine” which can create catalyzation for an individual by them going through such an ordeal of a kambo session, plus the disruptive after-effects.

The immediate detox effects and psychological turmoil that one may experience after kambo can be challenging. Nonetheless, users usually report a net benefit in their physical and emotional health in the long term, with effects sustaining for weeks and months after the session.

Is Kambo a Psychedelic?


Kambo is not a hallucinogenic or psychedelic substance. It does contain various peptides that bind to opioid receptors in the brain, so in that sense, it may be considered psychoactive. Generally, people do not experience hallucinations or significantly altered states of consciousness during the process. Likewise, they do not feel inebriated in any way after the experience.

Kambo Benefits


So, you may wonder why on earth would anyone put themselves through this process? Although the Kambo experience is far from enjoyable, the benefits that some receive from the medicine can be miraculous. Kambo is used for a whole host of physical, emotional and spiritual ailments.

Users report many benefits, including:

Improved mood
Reduction in chronic pain
Increased energy and physical stamina
Decrease in Anxiety
Increased motivation
A feeling of inner peace and wellbeing
Stronger immune system
Enhanced cognitive abilities
An increase in clarity for making life decisions
Improved self-awareness
Improved digestion and regularity
Recognition of self-destructive patterns


Potential therapeutic applications for kambo


Kambo seems to be impressively effective for improving many different health conditions. There are a few specific conditions that kambo appears to hold the most potential for treating. While no clinical research has been conducted on the use of kambo as a medicinal agent, there is substantial anecdotal evidence from users for several categories of diseases.

 

Lyme disease and infections


Even though the number of Lyme diagnoses has been increasing rapidly, conventional treatment methods have had low success rates. Many who suffer have sought out kambo as an intervention. Thousands of people with Lyme disease and other chronic ailments such as Epstein-Barr virus, herpes, Babesia and Bartonella infections have made dramatic improvements after using kambo. Their remarkable recovery is likely due in part to the powerful antimicrobial properties of some of the kambo peptides. Peptides are small chains of amino acids found in animals, plants, gunfi and bacteria.They are important for cellular signalling. Kambo contains hundreds of peptide compounds that have biological effects on humans.

Peptides such as Dermaseptin are shown to destroy different types of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa on contact. Antimicrobial peptides like dermaseptin selectively destroy prokaryotes like bacteria without harm or toxicity to animal cells. With Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease-causing bacteria, being so difficult to target with antibiotics, kambo offers a promising alternative. It’s possible that by bypassing the gut, the systemic penetration of the kambo peptides through the bloodstream makes it easier to selectively target pathogenic organisms that may be hiding in tissues where antibiotics cannot reach.

Kambo and autoimmune conditions


Globally, autoimmune diseases are on the rise. This is another population for which conventional medicine does not have great treatment strategies. Autoimmune conditions are quite complex, and often overlap with the presence of things like Lyme disease and other chronic infections. The antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects of the kambo peptides seem to offer substantial improvement in autoimmune condition symptoms. Also, because autoimmune conditions are highly linked to child-hood trauma, using kambo to process unresolved trauma and emotional pain may be one of the ways that it resets deep physiological patterning resulting from being in a chronic stress response.

Kambo for addiction


Kambo has been used successfully by many to treat drug and alcohol addictions, as well as correct other addictive behaviors. Kambo seems especially useful in the disruption of opiate addiction due to its opioid-like peptides deltorphin and dermorphin. These peptides may restore normal opioid receptor function and disrupt or reduce withdrawal effects in those addicted to opiates. There have also been many cases of kambo being used successfully to intervene with smoking, sex, and alcohol addictions.

Because of kambo opioid activity, kambo also has benefits for relieving chronic pain and may help those wishing to avoid prescription painkillers.

Kambo for depression and anxiety


Kambo seems to be beneficial for improving mood and anxiety levels. This is likely due to both physical and psychological effects that contribute to a happy mood. Inflammation and toxins can be a huge contributor to depression and anxiety. Kambo’s ability to physically address some of the biochemical pieces of depression and anxiety can give the participant much relief. Kambo also tends to disrupt the ways that we get stuck in a rut and can help us break loose from our darkness and see things with a new perspective. Many report enhanced mood, sense of ease and feelings of happiness post-kambo.

Kambo risks


Like every medicine and healing modality, nothing is without risks. No treatment is good for everyone, and some people are not good candidates for taking kambo. Because the discovery of kambo by the western world is still very new, we have very little information about the safety, contraindications or long-term effects of taking kambo. Because of this, we are very much in an era where we are the guinea pigs doing the experiments on ourselves.

Safety


While there is still much left to be understood about kambo, it has a remarkably good safety track record considering the thousands of people who have received it. Its safety record is even more impressive when we consider that kambo is often administered by untrained or inexperienced practitioners. One study looking at a data set of 240 sessions reported zero aversive incidents or emergencies. It’s hard to say how often adverse reactions happen without documentation, but it appears to be minimal and likely safer than many socially accepted activities such as skiing, riding horses, and taking pharmaceutical medications.

Water toxicity


In most documented incidences of death or hospitalization associated with kambo, hyponatremia, or water toxicity is actually the cause of illness. Hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when someone has drunk too much water and reduces the number of electrolytes in their body. The dilution of electrolytes causes brain cells to swell with water and burst. The solution to this problem is simply to NOT avoid salt before or after kambo, and not to drink excessive amounts of water.

Your practitioner may instruct you to drink 1-2 liters of water right before the points are applied, but this water is meant to be vomited out. This is one reason why it is important for each person to vomit during their kambo experience before returning home in order to reduce the likelihood of excess water toxicity. Just hydrate normally before and after your session. Some people who aren’t aware of this danger are instructed to “drink lots of water”. Do not do this, just drink regular amounts of water, and drink only 1-2 liters within 10 minutes of your points being applied. If your practitioner isn’t aware of this danger, I suggest choosing a different practitioner. Be sure to ask ahead of time what water-drinking protocols your practitioner follows.

Contraindications


Kambo in the western world is still one big experiment. There is still no concrete data on what conditions are actually contraindicated with kambo. Experienced practitioners and organizations like the International Association of Kambo Practitioners have created guidelines based on their observations to keep people as safe as possible with the limited amount of information we have on kambo.

The following are generally agreed upon contraindications to receiving Kambo

History of heart disease or heart surgery (stents okay)
History of stroke, aneurysm, blood clots or embolism
Have had major surgery within the last 6 weeks
Have received chemotherapy within the last 6 weeks
Are pregnant
History of severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, mania or psychosis
Drug interactions


Very little is known about the pharmacology of how all of the peptides interact with the human body. However, based on practitioners’ experience, kambo seems to be remarkably compatible with many drugs and medications. People on SSRI’s, SNRI’s,  MAOI’s and benzodiazepines appear to be able to safely receive kambo, unlike other healing sacraments such as ayahuasca, or 5-Meo-DMT. Any medications or supplements are generally abstained from for 8 hours before the kambo session and are typically able to be resumed immediately after the session if needed.

As more research and practices come to light, we will likely discover synergistic and dangerous drug interactions with kambo. Extreme caution should be taken given the very scarcity of knowledge we have on the subject.

Psychological health


Because kambo can be somewhat psychologically destabilizing, it has the potential to increase the risk of pushing someone into psychosis or mania. There have been several documented cases of this occurring after the use of kambo. This may be due to an increase in dopamine signalling, inflammatory effects from dying bacteria, or destabilizing one’s psychological state. It is possible that these incidences could be due to excessive dosage.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that low-dose kambo could potentially be used safely with individuals with bipolar disorder by skilled professionals.

Danger due to fainting


The most dangerous aspect of kambo is the likelihood of fainting and hurting oneself. About 10% of people faint, usually while walking to the bathroom. The fainting is due to a drop in blood pressure that can get exacerbated when the person stands up to walk. Luckily, this is easily attenuated by practitioners creating protocols around helping people walk to the bathroom and creating an adequate ceremony space with no sharp objects around. Participants can also crawl on their hands and knees to the bathroom to minimize the likelihood of fainting. If a participant is significantly larger than the practitioner, crawling may be best so that the practitioner doesn’t get hurt trying to hold the larger participant.

Peptide toxicity


Although many refer to kambo as a “poison”, there is very little evidence that it is actually toxic to animal cells. Studies show that dermaseptin, an antimicrobial peptide in kambo, is significantly less toxic to human cells than conventional antibiotics.

One case report provides evidence that kambo may be potentially toxic to the liver. However, the case report has been criticized for the fact that the patient was a chronic alcoholic. It’s possible that any toxic effects on the liver could be due to the burden of detoxifying bacterial and viral debris post-Kambo. More research is needed to draw any conclusions.

Psychological trauma


If an individual is not properly supported before, during and after the kambo experience, it is possible for the experience to be traumatic and cause psychological distress. Some users have participated in ceremonies with negligent practitioners who did not create a safe space for them to feel supported during the process and this resulted in the experience being scary and traumatizing. Others may not have been prepared for the experience and did not fully understand what they were consenting to.

As mentioned previously, kambo can bring up dark emotions and leave us feeling raw, disoriented and confused. If an individual does not have proper support from the practitioner, friends or other professional support to integrate the experience gracefully, it could result in the person feeling overwhelmed, ungrounded and potentially mentally unstable.

Kambo related deaths


There have been a handful of deaths reported in association with kambo.  Most appear to be due to practitioner error, lack of screening for contraindications, and water toxicity. The vast majority of reported incidents seem to have been avoidable by implementing simple safety protocols.

In 2019, a 39-year-old Australian woman died after participating in a kambo ceremony. Some media sources claim she died of a heart attack. Still, no official toxicology or autopsy reports have confirmed this. In contrast, others say she died of hyponatremia due to practitioner negligence.

In 2017, a 42-year-old man was found dead in his home in Italy. The autopsy revealed left ventricular hypertrophy and evidence of a heart attack. Evidently, he was a regular kambo user.

In 2016, a 22-year-old man in Florida died after being administered kambo following an ayahuasca ceremony. He died of hyponatremia due to electrolyte imbalances.

While there are a handful of documented severe kambo medical incidents, death, hospitalization and adverse events appear to be quite rare.

Is Kambo Legal?
Kambo is legal and currently unregulated in virtually every country in the world. This means it is legal to receive and administer kambo. Brazil has some restrictions around who can advertise kambo services, giving intellectual property rights to the indigenous tribes. After the woman died in 2019, Australia is moving towards scheduling kambo as an illegal substance.

Sustainability and ethics


If kambo is harvested properly, the Giant Monkey frogs are unharmed by the process. Kambo is often collected by the indigenous people of the amazon who live in the jungle. They call to the frogs, mimicking their unique bark, leading the frogs to come down from the canopy. The Giant Monkey frogs are then gently tied, sang to and stroked to collect the secretion. Depending on the source of the kambo, most kambo is collected with utmost respect to the frog and only a fraction of their secretion is taken. The frogs are then released back into the wild after the milking process. They usually do not seem to be in any distress and take their time meandering back into the forest at their own pace. Frogs are sometimes marked with ink so that the harvesters know if they catch a frog that still has the ink mark, it has not had enough time to replenish the secretion.

Kambo stick cooperatives ensure that tribes can be empowered by receiving fair trade for their harvested kambo sticks. They also ensure that the money is equally distributed amongst the entire tribe or village. Ask a kambo provider where they source their kambo.

Currently, Phyllomedusa bicolor shows no risk of being threatened or endangered. They have virtually no predators and are very successful in their breeding. Although the use of kambo appears to be sustainable currently, it’s possible that increased popularity may change the picture. Habitat loss is likely a bigger risk to the frog’s stability then ethically harvested kambo.

The Science of Kambo


Over 100 peptide compounds have been identified in Phyllomedusa bicolor secretion along with steroids, alkaloids and proteins. Many show promising evidence of medicinal effects and are being actively explored by pharmaceutical companies. Over 70 patents that exist on peptide analogue variations that are derived from these Giant Monkey Frog based peptides. Despite attempts by drug companies to create patentable versions of the peptides, the naturally occurring peptide forms from the secretion often outperform the synthetic analogues in medical experiments.

Some of the peptides exhibit pain-blocking, anti-tumor, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory effects. Peptides of interest include the dermorphins, deltorphins, dermaseptins, phyllomedusin, phyllokinnin, phyllocaerulein, and sauvagine.

So far there are virtually no studies on the effects of the individual peptides in humans. Some research on the peptides individual have been performed invitro and invivo animal models. There has been no clinical research done on kambo as an intervention in humans with the combined effect of all the peptides.

Synergy between the peptides


While there is some research on how the peptides work individually, there is no research on how they work in combination with one another. Some researchers speculate that some peptides may change the biological effects of other peptides. For example the bradykinin peptides, such as phyllomedusin and phyllokinin, may increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. This could result in other peptides entering into the brain that normally wouldn’t pass the blood-brain barrier if administered individually.

Part of the mystery and the magic of the kambo secretion is the complexity of the interaction of the peptides in the substance with the human body. While companies will likely continue to patent and bring to market drugs that are based on these thes phyllomedusa Bicolour peptides, no lab will ever be able to truly recreate the magnificent intelligence of the frog’s secretion in its entirety. The cocktail of components is worth more than the sum of its parts.

The future of Kambo research


The field of Kambo research is wide open and waiting for scientists to start exploring it. Currently, the only known scientific human studies being conducted on kambo are those by Caitlin Thompson from Medicine Frog Kambo. Future studies are being developed to look at the outcome of psychometric scale scores for mood, emotional wellness and pain.

 

Combining kambo with other substances – risks and synergies


In general, caution should always be practiced when mixing substances or using them in close proximity within one another. While many of kambo’s drug interactions are still unknown, there are a handful of known and potentially dangerous interactions to avoid.

Bufo (5-Meo-DMT)

While it does not happen to everyone, there have been enough incidences of people doing kambo within a short amount of time (4 weeks or less) after having a 5-meo-DMT experience and having an extreme reaction that we should take note. The combination can result in the person experiencing vomiting and reactivations for up to 10 hours. It’s unclear as to why this happens to some people and not others, but as a precaution, you should wait to do kambo until at least 4 weeks after doing 5-Meo-DMT or bufo. It is apparently okay to do kambo and then 5-Meo-DMT or bufo following, but not the opposite.

Ayahuasca
Some tribes have used kambo in conjunction with ayahuasca traditionally.  Many believe that doing kambo before an ayahuasca ceremony can help cleanse the body and make the ayahuasca experience smoother. Doing kambo before ayahuasca has also been said to enhance the psychoactive effects and depth of the ayahuasca experience. If you are going to do kambo before an ayahuasca ceremony, it is recommended that you wait at least 24 hours after taking kambo before drinking ayahuasca. It is not recommended to do kambo the morning of an ayahuasca ceremony, as it can be draining on the body.

Doing kambo shortly after ayahuasca, while a popular activity, has considerably more danger to it. There have been several cases of death and hospitalization when kambo is administered after an ayahuasca ceremony. The reason for this is likely due to the fact that many people adhere to a salt-free ayahuasca diet to prepare for their ceremony, while also depleting their electrolyte balance through purging and dehydration.

One of the most dangerous things is to avoid salt before a kambo session, where you will drink 2 liters of water and purge out more electrolytes. When people run into complications doing kambo after ayahuasca, it is usually caused by hyponatremia or water toxicity/electrolyte deficiency. For this reason, it is recommended only to do kambo before an ayahuasca ceremony, or to wait at least 3 days after ayahuasca before doing kambo.

Ibogaine/ Iboga
There are differing opinions on whether it is safe or ideal to do kambo within close proximity of ibogaine/Iboga. With the risk of cardiac complications due to longer QT intervals in the heart, mixing anything with ibogaine is risky business. Many ibogaine centers for addiction insist that using kambo before or after ibogaine helps their patients significantly by cleansing the body. There have been no documented incidents of harm while combining ibogaine/iboga with kambo, but caution must be taken.

LSD/Mushrooms
There do not seem to be any interactions when LSD or psilocybin mushrooms are taken within the days before or after Kambo. It is unclear if being on one of these substances during a kambo experience would have any effect. Based on LSD and psilocybin mushroom’s safety record and lack of dangerous drug interactions, it is likely safe to consume LSD or mushrooms within close proximity to kambo.

Opiates
It’s unclear if taking opiates before or after Kambo creates any dangerous interactions. Some of kambo’s peptides have a very high affinity for opioid receptor binding, which may interfere or compete with illicit or pharmaceutical opiates such as heroin, morphine, oxycontin, suboxone etc. Opiate-blocking drugs such as naloxone (Narcan) and naltrexone may inhibit some of kambo’s opioid-like peptide effects. If someone is working with kambo to come off of opiates, they should be sure to work with a qualified practitioner who is experienced in addiction and withdrawals.

Supplements
There are no known supplement interactions with kambo, though caution should always be taken with supplements with strong pharmacological activity such as those with opiate, SSRI or MAOI activity. As a precaution, it may be wise to abstain from supplements or herbs such as St. John’s wort, SAM-e, kratom, and nootropic supplements for a couple of days before and after a kambo ceremony.

Choosing a kambo practitioner


Choosing the right practitioner for your needs may be one of the most important pieces of having a positive kambo experience. There are many practitioners with different levels of experience, styles, safety precautions, training and ceremony format. It is important to have a practitioner who creates a sense of safety and competence. There are a number of important questions to ask your practitioner before signing up for a session. Here is a complete guide on How to Choose a Kambo Practitioner. Your life is in their hands, so it’s worth it to research and take your time deciding.

How to get the most out of your kambo experience
While kambo can provide a lot of courage and clarity, personal transformation happens because the individual has worked hard and created intentions around their process. It is important to actively participate in your kambo experience. You must be willing to do the work that is required for personal growth to occur. Preparation, intention setting and integration are all crucial for creating lasting, long-term changes after a kambo ceremony. Reading this more indepth guide on How to Get the Most of Your Kambo Ceremony is recommended.

The best way to stay safe
While there is always a risk when engaging in any activity or medical intervention, many of the risks associated with kambo can be easily mitigated by simple safety protocols and planning.

Below are the best practices for making sure that you stay safe if you decide to participate in a kambo ceremony.

  • Research and select a practitioner with the experience and style of serving that is appropriate for your needs

  • Make sure your practitioner always performs a “test point” and stick to low, conservative doses

  • Do not drink excessive amounts of water before or after your session, and make sure to get plenty of salt and electrolytes to prevent hyponatremia.

  • Make sure you have proper support in place to integrate your experience in a soft and graceful way.

Using kambo as a tool for personal growth


Kambo can be one of our greatest teachers. The potential for personal growth after a kambo session is massive. Going through a kambo experience can help us build confidence to move through life’s challenges. It can teach us the very valuable skill of softening and allowing, instead of fighting and contracting. It can help us cultivate a sense of peace within discomfort. It can bring us back into our bodies after dissociating so that we can arrive in our presence.  It can be a symbol of devotion to ourselves and represent a decision to honor our own healing. It can help us break free of our old, stuck patterning and get a fresh perspective, freeing us from our imprisonment. It can give us the courage to make impactful changes to our lives. It can show us that there is more to the world than we realized, as we marvel at how the sweat of a frog can facilitate such a dramatic transformation.

The future of kambo


Kambo’s popularity is rapidly increasing. With this increased interest in Kambo, there are changes that come. It seems inevitable that kambo will be integrated into mainstream awareness, such as psychedelics have been. The question is, will kambo be integrated in a way that is graceful, respectful, and sustainable? It is possible that with the growth of kambo, comes more reckless practitioners and attempts to self-treat, which may lead to more accidents and ultimately lead to kambo being scheduled as an illegal substance.

It is also hard to say what capacity the frogs have to sustain the extraction of the secretion. Given that creating a synthetic version of kambo seems very difficult and unlikely to happen anytime soon, it’s possible that increasing interest may place strain on the supply of kambo available.

These are all questions that no one has clear answers to. Right now, it is more important than ever to interact with kambo with integrity, discernment and responsibility to ensure that this amazing substance will continue to be available to help those in need for a long time to come.

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Kambo Frog Medicine: Everything You Need to Know. – Medicine Frog Kambo

 

Citations
Aquila, I., Gratteri, S., Sacco, M. A., Fineschi, V., Magi, S., Castaldo, P., Viscomi, G., Amoroso, S., & Ricci, P. (2018). The Biological Effects of Kambo: Is There a Relationship Between its Administration and Sudden Death?. Journal of forensic sciences, 63(3), 965–968. https://doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.13641

Azevedo Calderon, L., Silva, A.A.E., Ciancaglini, P. et al. Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs: from biomolecular diversity to potential nanotechnologic medical applications. Amino Acids 40, 29–49 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-010-0622-3

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