In the past few years, the global alternative medicine industry has witnessed a resurgence of diverse kinds of traditional medicines. One of them is Kambo, which is native to the Amazon basin. Today, just like several other traditional therapies of the Asian and South American extraction, the giant monkey based Kambo medicine is fast-growing popularity across the world, especially in North America and Europe. Also known as phyllomedusa bicolor frog medicine, Kambo is believed to have several highly beneficial medicinal and psycho-spiritual benefits.

So, What Is Kambo Medicine

Kambo is named after the venomous secretion of Phyllomedusa bicolor, popularly known as the giant frog or giant monkey frog. The monkey frog has a unique physical feature of bright green color. It can be found in eastern Peru, northern Brazil, southeastern Columbia as well as certain parts of Bolivia, Guianas, and Venezuela. Naturally, the giant monkey frog releases the substance to protect itself against predators. The released secretion has the ability to either subdue or kill animals that may want to eat the frog. However, the same secreted substance has been serving health and ritual purposes for indigenous people for centuries. The substance is collected from the tree frog and then applied for Kambo cleanse and healing.

How Is Kambo Collected?

Phyllomedusa bicolor or monkey tree frog is usually captured at night by shamans. This is because they make a unique sound that can be easily identified and followed for a catch. Once captured, the Phyllomedusa bicolor (monkey frog) will be tied by the legs as a way of inducing it to secrete a waxy substance from its back and legs. The secreted substance will then be scrapped and collected in a wooden splinter and left to dry. The dry Kambo secretion can remain potent for up to a year. After the secretion, the frog can be released to go back into the wild unharmed.

What is Kambo Used For?

Traditionally, Kambo derived from Phyllomedusa bicolor giant monkey frog is used for a number of psycho-spiritual and medicinal purposes, due to its very powerful purgative effects. It is believed to have the ability to help wade off bad luck, boost stamina, and improve hunting skills. In addition, people use it to purify the body and overcome various health conditions.

Today, it is still being used to rid the body of toxins and cleanse the spirit and mind of negative energies. Among other health conditions, its proponents claim Kambo can be used to treat for the following:

  • Cancer
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Hepatitis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Addiction
  • Infections
  • Rheumatism
  • Migraines
  • Infertility
  • Chronic pain
  • Vascular conditions

How Is Kambo Prepared and Administered?

Shamans can choose to apply the Kambo collected from the giant monkey frog directly or mix it with a little saliva or water to form a green-mustard-kind of paste. It will then be split

into many small portions with each portion having dots shape, around 1/8 in diameter. These small portions are referred to as Kambo points.

Before partaking in the Kambo ceremony, people usually take a large quantity of water (about one or two liters) or cassava soup, as a way of preparing the body for the purification it is about to undergo. Then the shaman will use a burning stick to make small holes on the top layer of the skin. The burned, blistered top layer skin will be removed before applying the prepared Kambo points directly into each of the openings on the skin.

From the induced wound on the skin, the Kambo is then absorbed into the bloodstreams and travels to various parts of the body in search of toxins. Within minutes of administering Kambo, people will begin to feel its effects in the body. Kambo effects come with various unpleasant symptoms, such as sweating, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, muscle contractions, loss of bladder control, and rapid heart rate. Despite the immediate unpleasantness, Kambo remains one of the most sought-after traditional medicines among people of different generations and backgrounds. This is because, for many people, the unpleasantness will eventually lead to a long-lasting, soothing, positive experience.

What Does Kambo Feel Like?

Kambo sequences of effects begin almost immediately after the medicine is applied on the skin and made its way into the bloodstream. The reaction begins with symptoms like redness of the face, a rush of heat, and followed by vomiting and nausea, and dizziness, and swelling of the face – all these within a few minutes after its application. The following is the breakdown of what the immediate and long-lasting effects of Kambo feel like from the moment it is applied on the skin:

Immediate Effects of Kambo

The immediate aftermath and long-term experiences of the Kambo ritual have are two different things entirely. Though very unpleasant and intense, the immediate effect of Kambo is short-lived, as it only lasts for about 5 to 30 minutes before the body starts to regain calmness. However, within a short period, the heart rate gets highly rapid and may reach 190 per beats or more per minute. The impact is significantly felt on both the smooth and blood vessels, and this may cause the blood pressure to rise or fall in an unusual manner. The Kambo ceremony experience has been described by many users as similar to the body’s reaction to acute poisoning.

Intense nausea vomiting is also one of the unavoidable side effects the Kambo is known for. The powerful purgative effects usually lead to vomiting or defecation, or both. Other side effects of this giant leaf bicolor frog medicine may include inflammation of the throat, stomach pain, dry mouth, difficulty moving, blurred vision, swollen tongue and lips, teary eyes, and pressure in the head.

The Kambo Purging

The purging, either by defecation, tears, or nausea vomiting can start as mostly water due to the large quantity of liquid taken beforehand. Once the water has been mostly purged, it is likely to see yellow bile. And after some minutes, the purging may turn from light (more of water) to become more of thick, sweet bile. The experience may vary among different users. After the purging, the points will be carefully removed from the skin by the shaman. And once the points are removed, the effects will most likely vanish making the body recalibrate and regain calmness rapidly.

Purging of Negative Vibes

For instance, the indigenous people believe that Kambo purging is an effective way of getting rid of panema –a kind of negative energy that accumulates in the body over time and causes spiritual diseases. Negative thoughts, depression, laziness, bad luck, and irritation are some of the negative auras associated with panema. So, in the traditional setting, this is one of the reasons why people use Kambo. The purging will help them achieve a higher level of stamina and productivity.

In the modern setting, however, purging of panema is associated with awakening exercise and referred to in different terms, which include clearing the pain body and chakras alignment. Similar to the traditional views, all these terms referred to the purging of negative habits, thoughts, bad traits, and long-standing life problems.

Higher Level of Self Awareness

Kambo is known to increase people’s level of self-awareness, courage, compassion, emotional stability, and personal independence. The Kambo ceremony also helps people reduce or even overcome anger, frustration, and emotional trauma that have accumulated over time. As a result, they become a new, better version of themselves, and these positive vibes may last for months. With that, Kambo users are able to manage their personal life and relationships with others better.

Long-term Effects of Kambo

Kambo has been identified with various beneficial effects on the body and mind. Apart from the treatment of those physical and psychological health conditions listed above, Kambo can help people gain personal growth and self-awareness. It is believed that ritual resets the body in two different ways – by strengthening the body’s natural defenses (immune system) as well as through its unique psycho-spiritual effects.

Is Kambo Psychoactive?

No, Kambo is not psychoactive. While Kambo has the same Amazonian origin and powerful spiritual concept as substances like Ayahuasca and Mapacho, it doesn’t contain psychoactive or hallucinogenic properties as those ones. However, it’s lack of hallucinogenic effects does not in any way reduce its efficacy in increasing self-awareness, personal independence, and emotional stability. Perhaps, this ability to improve people’s open-mindedness and clarity of mind, without first inducing a high, is what distinguishes this powerful medicine from others in the same category.

Health Benefits of Kambo: What Does Research Say?

It is worth noting that there is still a limited body of work on Kambo. However, some scientific facts about this highly powerful Phyllomedusa bicolor-derived Amazonian therapy date back to the 1960s. From various studies, frog phyllomedusa derived Kambo has been identified to be very rich in peptides, among its other medicinal properties.

Since 1966, many of these peptides have been isolated and synthesized. So far, there are sixteen bio-active isolated peptides from Kambo. Peptides are naturally occurring molecules found in every living organism – both plants and animals. They are essential for the general wellbeing and sometimes referred to as a smaller version of proteins, due to their similar roles in the body. The only difference is that while proteins are made of 50 and above amino acids, peptides contain fewer amino acids, ranging from 2 to 50.

The peptides identified in Kambo include adenoregulin, bombesinnona peptide, bombesin, bradykinin, caerulein, deltorphin, neurokinin B, phyllomedusin, phyllocaerulein, phyllolitorin, phyllokinin, sauvagine, preprotachykinin B, ranatachykinin A, urechistachykinin, and T-kinin.


This peptide works on the body by interacting with adenosine receptors, which is a central nervous system neuromodulator that slows down neural activity and helps the body feel calm and sleepy. The adenosine receptors play an important role in one’s mood and may help provide a target for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and certain neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The National Institute of Health discovered adenoregulins in the 90s.

Dermorphin and deltorphin:
Though they are small peptides made of about 7 amino acids, they are very effective in their functions. They are best known for their important role in analgesia as potent opioid delta receptor agonist. Dermorphin and deltorphin are 4000 times more powerful than morphine and 40 times more potent than endogenous morphine.

Caeruleins and Sauvagines:
Are known for their high analgesic power, which contributes to the increase in stamina, the courage to confront physical pain, illness, and stress. They may also help in reducing or dissipating symptoms of fatigue. In addition, they cause a drop in blood pressure and stimulate the pituitary gland and adrenal cortex. This can lead to an increase in sensory perception. Caeruleins and Sauvagines are 40 amino acids peptides.

This is another peptide in Kambo with similar properties and structure to that of bradykinin in the human body. They can help lower the blood pressure and cause contraction of smooth muscle, in the gut and bronchus, and improve vascular permeability. They are also involved in the mechanism of pain.

Phyllokinin and Phyllomedusins:
These two peptides are potent vasodilators, with the ability to increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to help them and other active peptides gain access to various cells in the body.

Is Kambo Legal for Use?

Kambo use is legal in many parts of the world, including the United States and many countries in Europe.  However, it is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So, it is important to get advice from experienced practitioners before taking the medicine as a first-timer. It is also worth noting that the frog phyllomedusa bicolor or giant leaf frog is released unharmed back into the forest.

The Future of Kambo

Biopeptides in Kambo have attracted significant scientific interest and many are already synthesized and patented. Though they are yet to be used in clinical practice, its richness in these molecules suggests that Kambo may be a potential game-changer in the treatment of various illnesses, including terminal ones.

For instance, dermaseptin B2, one of the properties in Kambo have been identified to have the ability to inhibit cancer cell growth by more than 90%. This perhaps is the biggest potential clinical application of Kambo.

Dermaseptins, including adernoregulin, are also popular for their antibiotic effects. With their ability to permeate the blood-brain barrier, these and other peptides in Kambo may one day improve the treatment of cryptococcal meningitis in people with late-stage HIV.

They may also offer help for the treatment of various drug-resistant pathogenic bacteria, which have become a growing concern in the medical sector. As Kambo research evolves across the world, we expect to see many more encouraging discoveries about this age-long traditional medicine.

What You Need to Know Before Taking Kambo

Though Kambo ritual is associated with many side effects, however, being armed with information will help reduce the chances of having a bad experience. You should observe the following when taking Kambo:

– Start with a low dose: Just like other unregulated medicines, it is best to get a low dose of Kambo as a first time user. That will help you get familiar with the ceremony and then choose to either adjust or maintain the dose in subsequent treatments, depending on the reaction.

– Get Kambo from a trusted source

– Don’t take Kambo with other substance