Botanical Empress

Kambo Therapy: Everything You Need to Know

I know you’ve heard of kissing frogs (You know… the ones that will turn into a prince). You’ve probably also heard of licking frogs (some people do it for psychedelic trips). But have you heard of burning your skin to put frog secretions in it to heal your body? No? Well then, I am pleased to introduce you to Kambo. 

The Legend 

Not a lot of people would consider frog secretions to be a healing medicine. The story goes, many years ago deep in the rainforest, there was a tribe called the Kaxinawa. The people of the tribe were very sick. The shaman had tried everything to heal them but nothing was working. One day he decided to do Ayahuasca and ask the spirits for guidance on how to help his people. That’s when he was given the information about the Kambo frog (waxy monkey tree frog). After he healed his people, news traveled to other tribes, and they came to learn about frog medicine. When the shaman passed away, it is said his spirit went into the frogs, and that he grants good health to those who protect the rainforest. 

Once the news of the medicine got to brazil it spread all around the world. It is now used and studied by many today. 

Experiences with Kambo 

The tribes of the rainforest had first used Kambo to treat illness. Now the tribes use it before a hunt. It is said to help with purifying the body. Increasing alertness, luck, stamina, physical strength, sexual strength, and increasing hunting ability. It is also said to help with snake venom (though there have been no studies done to prove this). 

The Kambo experience is initially uncomfortable. But many people have said the after-effects are amazing. Reporting effects such as an increase in energy, decrease in depression and anxiety, strengthing and clarity of the mind, a feeling of calmness or relief, cured of addiction, cured of parasites, decrease in inflammation, even some reports about being cured of cancer, and healing spiritually or from emotional trauma. 

Traditional practitioners say it can cleanse the body and soul, help with infertility problems and bring good luck to hunts. They believe it will expel bad spirits from your body that causes symptoms of depression, illness, laziness, and bad luck.

The collection 

The shamans will only collect Kambo the morning after it rains in the amazon. They use a special call that they call a “song” to find the frogs. They call out with their song and the frogs respond. Once the nest is found the shaman will either climb or shake the tree to get the frogs out of it. Kambo frogs are regarded as sacred and are never harmed during the process. The same frog can even be used again after a short waiting period. 

Next, the frog is tied in an x formation, limbs outstretched, and the shaman gently presses on the frog and scrapes the secretion from the Kambo frog’s back and legs. 

After that, the poison must be mixed with water or saliva to be used. 

The Ritual 

The aim is the purification of the body. The whole process takes about 2-4 hours. 

A strict diet must be followed beforehand. No red meat, dairy, processed food, or spicy food, can be consumed before you take Kambo. On the day of the Kambo ceremony, it is advised that you avoid all salt and limit caffeine as well. 

You are supposed to fast at least 8- 10 hours before, making sure your stomach is empty. The shaman will instruct you to drink 1-2 liters of water before he gets started. Next, he will create 4-6 small burns on the skin with an incense stick or piece of wood. 

Once you have consumed the water, the shaman will apply the Kambo to one of the burns. He will wait a few minutes to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction, and then he will apply it to the rest of the burns. 

5-10 minutes after the Kambo is applied you will start to feel warm or hot and uncomfortable. Your heart will start racing and you may feel some dizziness. 

After about 10 minutes nausea and vomiting will start. You will also experience abdominal pain and maybe some diarrhea. A bucket or a place for you to purge is provided. 

Then you will vomit for about 15 minutes. 

After you will feel as if you have just been on a long journey. Your body will be drained. 

The shaman will help you lay down and it’s said a feeling of calmness will rush over you. The relief you feel in your mind and body has been reported to last up to 6 hours.

You should spend the rest of the day resting and not do anything strenuous. If you need to use the bathroom or move, someone will help you. The poison of the Kambo frog contains high amounts of peptides. These peptides are mostly vasodilators. It causes your veins to open up allowing your blood to flow more freely. Because of this, too much movement could result in dizziness, a drop in blood pressure, and fainting. So it’s best to take it easy the next couple of days after your Kambo experience. No running a marathon. 

The Science 

Lots of studies have been done on Kambo since it became popular. 

The poison of the waxy tree frog contains a high level of peptides. These peptides are responsible for what you feel during and after your experience with Kambo. 

Phyllomedusin: A powerful Vasodilator. It increases the secretions of the gastrointestinal tract. Phyllokinin: Posses anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Also a Vasodilator. 

Phylloaerulien: Drops blood pressures and modifies the body’s ability to thermoregulate. Stimulates the body’s pituitary and adrenal cortex, allowing for better sensory perception. This peptide also has pain-relieving properties. It is the peptide responsible for vomiting, nausea, and sweating as well. 

Dermorphin: Produces a pain-relieving effect up to 40x stronger than morphine. 

Dermaseptin: Lethal against fungi, protozoa, bacteria, yeasts, and research has shown its effectiveness in killing certain cancer cells. 


Deaths have been reported from Kambo. It is advised that if you have serious heart conditions, have had a stroke, are pregnant or breastfeeding, have epilepsy, blood clots, aneurysms, or have had major surgery in the last 8 weeks, then you should not take Kambo. This is not a full list of those who shouldn’t take Kambo and it’s advised you talk to your practitioner about your health conditions honestly before doing so.

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