I first heard about Kambo (aka Kambô) when I was on a yoga retreat in Dharamsala.
On this retreat, I met a very interesting woman from Surinam. As an aside, she told me she had been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. One of her personalities was quite a character; loud, charismatic and very funny.
I noticed that she had strange small and symmetrical marks on her legs just above her ankles. I asked what they were, assuming they were minimalist tattoos, but her answer surprised me and stayed with me which is why I am telling you about it now.
She told me the marks were from Kambo and explained that Kambo is a treatment from the toxic South American Kambo frog used to “reset” the body processes and provide a full chakra “reset”.
This frog is also known as the Giant Tree Frog or the Giant Monkey Frog.
This woman explained that the treatment was a very uncomfortable process where the frothy poisonous saliva of this frog is applied to small burned openings on the body and is absorbed. Fauna lovers will be pleased to hear that the extraction of the saliva apparently does not harm the frog – although I would have imagined the frog needs its Kambo for things such as defending itself against Amazonian snakes and the like. I’ve also seen photos of this extraction taking place where the poor froggy looked pretty annoyed being stretched out like a prisoner receiving torture on the rack so I wonder… I wonder.
The Effects of Kambo
Apparently the effects immediately following treatment are very unpleasant and last around 10 minutes. The person receiving treatment is effectively being poisoned with a controlled dosage of venom. Blood pumps around the body much faster than usual and the patient will often feel very nauseous, faint, experience severe visual disturbance or swell up to resemble the Kambo frog (a humorous idea to me). Then, suddenly, the patient will experience violent rejection to the poison and vomit and get very bad diarrhoea. Slowly the patient will start to recover and within the hour they are ready for normal life. This woman in Dharamsala told me she has the procedure performed twice a year and that after application she always “goes blind” for a few minutes.
Hmm, blind you say?
Doesn’t sound like a healthy idea to me and I doubt I will be trying it anytime soon. But you can’t really knock something without personal experience so who knows, perhaps this does hold some answers despite sounding kind of extreme. I know many who swear by the purported incredible and life-changing healing effects of the hallucinogen Ayahuasca which also causes a strong detox effect, among other things – but that also does not appeal to me. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t good for someone else. You gotta live and let live!
So What Exactly is in Kambo?
The frog saliva contains opiod peptides called Dermorphin and Deltorphin which are significantly stronger than morphine (like thousands of times stronger).
Could it be a Universal Panacea?
Fans of the treatment say it offers anti-inflammatory effects, can heal infections and regulate blood pressure and cure the body of pretty much any imbalance at all. Every major disease and even mood disorders including depression are said to be curable with this treatment. It “blasts” the chakras back into realignment.
It is proclaimed by some to be a universal panacea. There is a Facebook page dedicated to Kambo supporters in Italy and, according to Professor Gomes, scientists around the globe are studying the venom in the hope of finding a cure for cancer. Researchers have been working to patent Dermorfine and Deltorfine with the backing of a major US pharmaceutical company.
A Positive Personal Experience with Kambo
You can read about Shivani Fox’s personal experience with Kambo to manage chronic back pain here. She admits to being initially skeptical about the whole thing which made me more receptive to her story. Her conclusion is that it did have positive effects and she will continue treatments in the future.
The Legend of Kambo
I also came across this comprehensive article called Kambo, The Spirit of the Shaman written by Marcelo Bolshaw Gomes, Professor of Sociology of Comunication, at Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte.
In his article, Professor Gomes states: “Kambô circulates in the heart. Our shaman said that when we take Kambô it makes the heart move accurately, so that things flow, bringing good things to the person. It is as if there was a cloud on the person, preventing the good things to come, then, when it takes the Kambô; it comes a ‘green light’ which opens its ways, making things easier”.
He goes on to recount a Kaxinawá legend whereby a village shaman, under the effect of Ayahuasca, was sent a vision to extract the venom of this frog and how to use it to cure his people. After his death, it became legend that this shaman’s spirit became one with the Kambo frog and his spirit is on a mission to protect the health of the indigenous tribes of South America.
Nice story, but is that all it is?
Have you had an experience with Kambo or know someone who has? Share it here!
Photo: Wayne W G