What is the Kambo Frog?
The Kambo frog is a poisonous amphibian indigenous to the Amazon region, which includes Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia. The green frog is the largest species of the Hylidae family. Its scales and milk glands are made up of a potent poison that keeps predators away. The poison is a mix of bio-active peptides that work as both an analgesic and antibiotic, and is also referred to as Sapo.
While the use of the frog’s secretion has been used by native Amazonian tribes for centuries, its multitude of health benefits have recently become more recognized in Western medicine.
Even though you can’t receive a Kambo treatment through a medical practitioner, there are experienced and licensed Shamans in the U.S. and other modernized countries that can perform the ritual.
Why Would Anyone Want to Ingest Poison Knowingly?
Indigenous tribes did not only ingest the Kambo frog’s poison for its health benefits. Tribe members viewed the frog as a spiritual animal, whose secretions provide health, strength, prosperity, and happiness. As one would expect, a ceremony involving the frog in its original habitat is much more spiritually-oriented than doing it at a clinic here in America.
Despite originating as a spiritual practice, the benefits of Kambo frog poison are supported by research. For example, the amino acids of the poison have been found to influence gastrointestinal muscle activation and blood circulation. Studies have also found that the poison affects the adrenal cortex and the pituitary gland of the brain which can help reduce chronic migraines, depression, hormonal imbalances, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain, infections, and even addiction.
What Is the Process?
While the ancient ceremonies were far more extensive, newer practitioners leading the current rituals continue some of the original traditions.
Typically, the ceremonies commence as follows: A group of people (usually no larger than eight) will meet at a location that is both tranquil and minimalistic. Though Kambo usually doesn’t cause hallucinations, some claim to experience visualizations. Thus, it’s important that the participants feel safe and calm. People are asked to consume a few liters of water before the administering of the poison because bodily excretion is very common. Then the practitioner will burn the upper arm with a hot stick to create three superficial lesions on the skin’s surface where the poison will be administered. Though the poison of the frog can be extracted from its glands, usually it will be collected through its scales. The process causes no harm to the frog.
Once the poison has entered the lymphatic system, the person undergoes an intense rush that almost immediately causes a purging sensation. Though every participant’s experience is different, it is prevalent for a person to go in and out of consciousness, have intense body temperature changes, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some describe the experience as “the worst hangover ever.” There are usually a few experienced technicians that supervise the participants to help the process move as seamlessly as possible. The entire experience lasts between two to four hours.
What Happens Afterward?
A person that has undergone Kambo poisoning usually doesn’t feel normal for the rest of the day. However, the next morning people describe feelings of elation and pure bliss. The senses are magnified, causing a heightened sense of sight and smell. People describe feeling like they have a new body, like their aches and pains have subsided, or they can run faster and sleep deeper than ever before.
To be fair, the aftermath of a Kambo trip would probably be similar to being poisoned by anything. When the body fends off any outside antigen, it’s natural reaction is to purge and increase body temperature to expel the poison. In doing so, the endocrine and lymphatic system ramps up production to help protect itself. This cleansing effect might create false feelings of euphoria but probably won’t last more than a few days because the body will eventually return to homeostasis.
Proponents of Kambo cleansing encourage individuals to undergo a cleanse at least once a month to optimize the effects and prolong the benefits.
Most people who have undergone this process claim it is worth doing. Even though this has been practiced for centuries, you are ultimately poisoning your body, and that is never 100% safe. If this process sounds like something you are interested in, do your research first. There are plenty of resources out there to help you make an informed decision.