As a seeker of truth and health, I have been exposed to many fascinating and exotic remedies, therapies, diets, and healing modalities said to bring ultimate health and liberation from dis-ease. Yet in my questing and testing, I truly never imagined encountering, let alone that I would personally experience, such a medicine as kambo. (Kambo is a cleanse people are talking about – and using. It is a South American practice where the toxin of an Amazonian tree frog is burned into human skin for its purgative effects. It isn’t officially classified as a medicine, but a growing number of people are practicing kambo in small group.)
Kambo is a natural medicine derived from a secretion of the Phyllomedusa bicolor or “Giant Monkey Frog,” native to the Northwestern part of the Amazon Rainforest. Specifically to Colombia, and on the border between Brazil and Peru. This frog secretes a super potent, waxy poison from its skin which repels all predators. The fact that this frog has no predators says a lot about the energetic effects of this medicine. It is connected with the fact that kambo is known to ward off attacks on our immune system, as well as on the energetic and spiritual levels. The venom that the frog secretes is the same medicine called “kambo” that is known for a wide range of health benefits. To obtain the poison, the frogs are gently captured, sung to, and often massaged. In this process, the frogs release the waxy secretion and the shamans scrape it from the skin of the frogs, to later be used in the kambo therapy. The frogs are not harmed or killed in this process and are later released back into the wild.
“Why? “ – you may be thinking, would anyone go to such measures to obtain this medicine? What exactly is so special about this medicine called kambo? Kambo seems to be showing so much potential for healing numerous health issues that there has been an immense amount of research done on kambo since the 1980’s. Some very exciting information was gathered in some of these research projects.
It has been discovered that kambo is one of the strongest natural anti-inflammatory medicines, as well as being one of the most potent antibiotic, antimicrobial, and anesthetic substances found in the world. Some of the research states that kambo is one of the most effective, and strongest ways to naturally strengthen the immune system. In addition to all this, kambo also detoxes the liver, the lymphatic system, and the intestines.
Scientific studies show that kambo frog poison is made up of many peptides that are extremely healing, and strengthening to the human body. Kambo has strong antibiotic properties and strengthens the immune system, while physically destroying pathogenic microorganisms. Recent studies have shown that kambo contains multiple antimicrobial peptides effective against drug-resistant strains of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, parasites and virus. The South American tribes who use kambo, refer to it as a “vaccine”. They believe that by regularly receiving kambo medicine, they are vaccinated against many tropical diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever, leishmaniosis, and more.
Some of the health benefits that research has shown as results of kambo therapy include:
anti-inflammatory effects, reduction of chronic pain, rheumatism, healing to eyesight, treatment of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, depression, migraines, organ diseases, digestive disorders, immune deficiency disorders, cancer, infertility, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, allergies, diabetes, schizophrenia, and more.
So what happens in a kambo healing session? Typically the sessions take place in the morning. The people receiving the kambo medicine will have refrained from eating that morning. A light tea is okay, as long as there is no added milk or sugar. Just before it’s your turn to receive the medicine, you will be asked to drink 3 liters of water. This water will help buffer your system a bit from the intense power of the kambo. Kambo is said to be a “fire medicine” – in essence, kambo is hot, activating, moving, and powerful. The water helps this strong fire medicine enter our body without causing us damage.
Next, the shaman or practitioner will burn several small dots into your skin with the tip of a fire-heated bamboo stick. Often for men the dots will be burned on the upper arm, and for women on the lower leg. To these dots, where the top layer of skin has been removed, the kambo will be applied, along with a bit of water to activate it. Those receiving the medicine will be encouraged to continue drinking more water. Within a few moments, the effects of the kambo can usually be felt. It may feel like heat racing through the body. The heart rate may increase. You may sweat, feel dizzy, nauseous, hot, or a wide array of other reactions to the medicine. Some people experience a temporary swelling of their face, hands, and/or lips.
Depending on the person administering the kambo and the tradition they come from, they may be singing traditional spirit songs and practicing shamanic healing during the process of the kambo therapy. After a few minutes, the purging most likely will begin. The purging is the release of the water, along with the fluids and bile that the kambo medicine has stimulated into cleansing from the body. After the purging, each person is guided to lie down to recover for 10 – 15 minutes. The entire process from drinking the water to recovery time is typically no more than one hour. After the recovery time, typical immediate effects can include heightened senses, increase in mental clarity and energy, uplifted mood, positive feelings, euphoria, decreased stress, and more. Most people are fine to travel, drive, work, eat, and other normal activities after a kambo session.
Beyond the physical effects of kambo, there are some interesting energetic and spiritual effects that many people familiar with kambo can attest to. It is believed that kambo has the ability to help cut away parts of our lives that have found us “stuck”, unhappy, addicted, and/or destructive. There are numerous cases of nearly effortless ability to stop a dependency or habit with a substance such as tobacco or alcohol, end a toxic relationship, leave an unfulfilling job, or change parts of one’s life that have been keeping the person in an unhappy or unproductive state.
Kambo can offer us insights as to what we have been doing in our lives that is not working for us. When we allow kambo to also guide us and teach us as to how we can make changes in our lives, it can be like the turbo power we need to blast to our next level of health and success. It is recommended to receive at least 3 sessions of kambo in one moon cycle (28 days) to receive the deeper spiritual effects of kambo, as well as the vaccine effects touted by the tribes who are keepers of this medicine.
I experienced profound changes in my life when I participated in several traditional kambo healing sessions. I initially went to learn more, to experience the medicine in a traditional way, and to receive some of the powerful health benefits kambo is said to offer. During my initial experiences with kambo which took place over 3 weeks and 9 kambo sessions, I felt as though layers were being shed. Layers that had clouded parts of my vision, weighed on me, and caused me to be “held back” in parts of my life. During those 3 weeks, I was inspired to eat even healthier than I normally do. I wanted more and more fresh, vibrant greens. I drank more water. I practiced yoga more regularly. I also slept better and had profound dreams. I felt inspired to create art, and spend more time in nature. I became clearer with where I needed to invest my energy. Unhealthy habits seemed to effortlessly and quickly fade. The results I experienced went deep, and have had lasting effects.
I became a complete “convert” to the healing abilities of kambo. So much so that I am committed to helping organize shamans to come and offer this tradition to people who feel they are ready for kambo. I have witnessed inspiring results in many of the other people who I have known to receive kambo. I watched people quit smoking, take better care of themselves, leave unhealthy relationships, take steps to move towards their dreams, start focused healing programs, and more. I know others who healed skin infections, digestive issues, addictions, sleep disorders, vision problems, migraines, cancer, diabetes, schizophrenia, and more with kambo. I have even witnessed children and pets benefiting from the healing potential of kambo.
I have spent many years researching, studying, experimenting, and practicing many methods of natural healing. This has led me to numerous diets, herbal and bodywork therapies, detoxification methods, fasting, and more. Through these studies and experiments, I have worked in healing clinics, healed myself of several serious health issues – including advanced stage 4 cancer. I have assisted and observed profound healing in many other people. Yet I have been most fascinated with, and inspired by the results I have seen come from traditional indigenous healing methods from around the world, and most specifically from the rain forests of the Americas.
The sacred healing ceremonies, the plant medicines, shamanic methods for healing, and the fascinating natural medicines such as kambo, have shaken my perceptions and understanding of natural medicines and the potential for deep, transformative healing. Kambo is by far one of the most effective, inspiring, and powerful natural medicines I have had the honor to experience. I definitely recommend kambo to anyone who is interested in making major changes in their health, and in their life. Be sure that the person offering kambo is a genuine practitioner or shaman, trained and initiated in authentic tradition.
“Kambo circulates in the heart. Our shaman said that when we take Kambo, 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 they take the Kambo, it brings a ‘green light’ which opens its ways, making things easier” – from Kambo, Spirit of the Shamanurn
To learn more about kambo sessions in Costa Rica, and other sacred medicines and indigenous ceremonies, please contact Zahrah at [email protected]
Zahrah is a professional practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, a herbalist, a health and wellness guide, an enthusiast of plant medicines and ancient indigenous wisdom. She helps lead sacred cacao ceremonies with the Mystic Heart Sacred Cacao Tribe. Zahrah is also a writer, a dancer, and a lover of all of the arts, nature, spirituality, and natural healing. Zahrah resides in Costa Rica year round.
WRITTEN BY: Zahrah
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