What’s the Deal with Kambo and Frog Medicine?

Healing rituals such as Kambo are mostly found in South America. The species gets its name from the giant monkey frog, or Phyllomedusa bicolor.

This substance is secreted by the frog as a defense mechanism to kill or subdue animals that try to eat it. Humans, on the other hand, apply the substance to their bodies for its supposed health benefits.

What do people use it for?

Native Americans used the kambo for stamina and hunting skill enhancement.

Shamans and naturopathic practitioners still use it today to cleanse the body of toxins and treat a variety of ailments.

Despite the lack of research, kambo proponents claim that it can help with a variety of conditions, including:

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

What’s the process like?

You should start the process by drinking a liter of water or cassava soup.

The second step involves the practitioner using a burning stick to create small burns on the skin, causing blisters to form. After the blistered skin is scraped off, the Kambo is applied directly to the wounds.

Upon entering the wound, Kambo rushes into the lymphatic system and bloodstream, where it scans the body for problems. In most cases, nausea occurs immediately after entering the wound.

The person will be given water or tea once the effects of the toxins have begun to fade in order to flush out the toxins and rehydrate them.

What are the effects?

The side effects of Kambo are quite unpleasant. Heat and redness are usually the first symptoms.

Other effects quickly follow, including:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • dizziness
  • heart palpitations
  • feeling of a lump in the throat
  • trouble swallowing
  • swelling of the lips, eyelids, or face
  • loss of bladder control

The severity of symptoms varies widely.

Does it actually work?

There are a number of people who’ve reported good results after doing a kambo ceremony, but there is little scientific evidence to support these claims.

Several effects of kambo have been documented by scientists, including brain cell stimulation and blood vessel dilation. Existing research, however, does not support the health benefits of kambo.

Are there any risks?

It has also been associated with several serious side effects and complications that are considered part of the ritual, along with its intense and very unpleasant effects.

The following are possible risks associated with using kambo:

  • severe and prolonged vomiting and diarrhea
  • dehydration
  • muscle spasms and cramps
  • convulsions
  • jaundice
  • confusion
  • scarring

According to reports, Kambo can also cause toxic hepatitis, organ failure, and death.

You may be more likely to experience serious side effects if you have certain underlying health conditions. You should avoid taking kambo if you have:

  • cardiovascular conditions
  • a history of stroke or brain hemorrhage
  • aneurism
  • blood clots
  • mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and psychosis
  • low blood pressure
  • epilepsy
  • Addison’s disease

Those who are pregnant or nursing, as well as children, shouldn’t use Kambo.

Is it legal?

Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor any other health organization regulates Kambo. As a result, no oversight is provided on the product’s quality or contaminants.

Would it be possible to minimize the risk if I wanted to try it?

It is poisonous to eat kambo. It can cause some very intense and unpredictable symptoms, so it’s not recommended for use.

Nevertheless, if you still want to give it a try, there are some important steps you can take to reduce your chances of having a bad experience.

The only practitioners who should administer kambo are highly experienced.

If you’re considering participating in a kambo ritual, talk with your doctor first. You should pay particular attention if you have a health condition or take prescription medications.

The following are some other factors to consider:

  • How much water you drink matters. Before kambo, drink one liter of water and after, drink up to 1.5 liters of tea or water. There has been a link between drinking too much water while using kambo and a condition known as a syndrome of an inappropriate antidiuretic hormone.
  • Start with a low dose.
  • The best way to gauge your response to kambo is to start with a small dose. Also, higher doses are associated with more severe and longer lasting adverse effects.
  • Don’t combine kambo with other substances.
  • During the same session, kambo should not be combined with other substances. Ayahuasca, Colorado River toad secretions, and jurema are included in this group.
  • Get kambo from a reputable source. Using an experienced practitioner is another reason why it is so important? To prevent contamination. There has at least been one known instance of sticks coated with egg yolk and sold as kambo. Other reports have indicated that imported herbal products are contaminated with heavy metals.

The bottom line

The Kambo cleanse has gained popularity in North America and Europe despite the lack of scientific evidence to support the health claims associated with the ritual.

Knowing the potential risks and dangers, including illness and death, is crucial, as is taking precautions to reduce the risk of serious complications.