Kambo is a healing ritual pioneered and performed by indigenous tribes of the Amazon River Basin. Utilizing skin secretions (i.e., venom) from the Amazonian Giant Monkey Frog, Kambo helps detoxify the body, treat many various health conditions and facilitate visionary experiences by preparing the user for spiritual contact. .
Because it borrows the spirit and medicine of this little amphibian, Kambo (and other frog-derived ceremonies such as Bufo) are often referred to as “Frog Medicine”. Although the entire ritual process is often referred to as Kambo, the venom collected from the frog and used for the ritual is, itself also called Kambo. There is essentially no distinction between the venom and the ritual in which it is administered. And “Frog Medicine” is often used interchangeably for both.
Why Frog Venom?
It may seem strange to “treat” the body with venom, but bear in mind that many modern pharmaceutical therapies were developed… and many are still directly derived… from similar sources.
Ziconotide, a non-addictive alternative to morphine used to treat chronic pain disorders, is derived from the venom of the cone snail.
The ACE Inhibitor Captopril, indispensable for treating high blood pressure, was derived from the venom of the Brazilian Pit Viper.
The Southeastern Pygmy Rattlesnake and the Saw Scaled Viper have both given us life-saving anticoagulants used to treat heart attack and a range of other clot-related disorders.
Exenatide, one of the leading treatments for Type 2 Diabetes, is derived from the venom of the Gila monster.
Reptilase, Defibrase, and Vivostat all come from the Andean Pit Viper.
And these are just the synthetic medications that have been approved by the FDA to date. Sea anemones are being studied for the treatment of autoimmune disorders. Scorpions and fire-bellied toads are showing promise in diagnostic imaging for tumors. And many other venom-based drugs are currently under clinical investigation.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, venom shows more medical promise for a wider range of treatments than any other naturally occurring compound because, unlike plant-based or synthetic drugs, venom is a highly selective compound. Evolution makes a venom as selective and powerful as possible to be as effective as possible. Like a key in a lock, most venom compounds have evolved to attack a single particular target, and generally, it won’t hit any other target with the same affinity. For this reason, a selective compound is more desirable as a therapeutic treatment because it is tightly targeted, farm more potent, and less likely to cause undesired side effects.
How About Kambo?
When venoms are used to make medicine, it’s the toxins that are synthesized (not the venoms themselves). Any given venom many contain up to 100 peptides, each of which must be individually structurally identified and then studied to reveal the relevant receptors on human cells.
Kambo is special in that it utilizes the whole venom. So, rather than singling out one particular peptide for one singular target, Kambo provides a broad spectrum of highly selective compounds that target a wide range of individual systems in the body synergistically. And is one of the only venom’s currently understood to do so safely.*
Thus, the body is enticed to purge lingering toxins from the liver, kidneys, gut, and lymphatic system by one peptide… while other bioactive components work to heal the brain, gut, joints, cells; reduce inflammation; boost the immune system; clear stagnant emotional stressors; and purify the spirit.
Those who are familiar with Frog Medicine believe it has healing and cleansing power that touches the soul as well as the body and mind. And so, while some would go to a Kambo ceremony strictly for physical healing, others engage with this powerful ritual to purge emotional trauma, retrieve lost pieces of their souls and connect more deeply with themselves, their world and the god of their understanding. It has been observed that those who take part in a Kambo ritual report that frog medicine improves stamina, increases mental and emotional clarity, promotes spiritual unity and understanding, and cures a variety of ailments that modern medicine still struggles to understand and cure. So, perhaps Kambo will be next on the growing list of venom-based medication. But, for now… and for those who value natural remedies over synthetic drugs… this ancient and time-honoured ritual is and will continue to be at our gift from the Frog Spirit.
*Please Note: In order to be considered “safe” Kambo MUST be administered properly, under the direct supervision of an experienced practitioner/facilitator.