About Kambo

Ancestral Medicines: Kambo

Kambo is a healing ritual used mainly in South America. The shamanic use of kambo is a tradition amongst several different tribes in the Brazillian Amazon, who use some form of kambo in either their hunting or healing practices. The word “kambo” comes from the Kaxinawá people, but other indigenous communities have their own word for the frog secretion.

Each Amazonian culture has unique values and beliefs that they place upon kambo. In a very general sense, some scholars report that kambo is used to purge “bad principals” from the body. This “purge” often inspires a very severe bout of vomiting, which thereby expels bad principals and reinvigorates the participant with good health.

Kambo 2

What is Kambo

Kambo is named after the poisonous secretions of the giant monkey frog Phyllomedusa bicolor. These bright green giant monkey frogs that live in the Amazon secrete a poisonous waxy substance as a defense mechanism to kill or subdue animals that try to eat it. This is what’s used in a Kambo ceremony.

Research has shown that this substance is loaded with all kinds of powerful biopeptides, and in a Kambo ceremony the substance is applied to the body for its alleged health benefits. One of the peptides interacts with the body’s own opiate receptors, so it can help pain. The ceremony itself may also create a calming effect.

Uses of Kambo

Indigenous people have used kambo for centuries to ward off bad luck and heal and cleanse the body by strengthening its natural defenses. It is also said to improve hunting skills and increase stamina.

These days naturopathic practitioners and shamans still use it for cleansing the body of toxins, as well as treating numerous health conditions. Despite a lack of research, proponents of kambo believe it can help with a range of conditions, including:

• addiction   • Alzheimer’s disease   •anxiety   •cancer   •chronic pain   •depression   •diabetes   •hepatitis   •HIV and AIDS   •infections   •infertility   •rheumatism   •vascular conditions

For those living with a mental illness like depression or addiction, there are times you may think you would try anything (including kambo) to feel better. Traditional treatments like prescription medicine or behavioral therapy may stop being effective or don’t always work. In those cases, people start looking at alternative options, such as kambo therapy

The Experience


Preparation For A Kambo Ceremony

Prep is similar to that for any entheogenic ceremony - eat clean, avoid meats and processed fried foods, and spend some time thinking about your intentions. On the day of the ceremony, your stomach should be empty, so it is a good idea to fast for at least 8 hours beforehand.

The First Minute

The experience is intense and fast. Normally within a minute or so, a person will start feeling the effects: an increased heart rate and/or a warm flush of heat in the upper body and face. Some may feel dizzy or spaced out, while others have slight tingling on their skin.

To many people it feels like the kambo is racing through your body, scanning for issues, then going directly to that place to work on that area.

The Next Five to Twenty Minutes

According to some people familiar with the experience, Kambo is a tool that teaches us to surrender and relax into uncomfortableness, and to let go of what we are holding onto that’s no longer beneficial. Afterwards, many people report a sense of calm.

After a few more minutes, many people feel some nausea or a stomach ache. At that point, some people throw up and/or some use the toilet. The purging is thought to eliminate physical, emotional, and energetic toxins. Usually the experience is over in 20 to 30 minutes.

After The Ceremony

After the dots of kambo are removed, the spots are dressed with natural tree sap to help them heal fast and stay infection-free. Most people recover and are back to normal within an hour or a little longer. Common advice is to relax, eat a healthy meal, and tune into what you’re feeling. As far as the burn marks go, they heal and fade over time. Depending on skin type and color, you may experience some marking.