WHAT IS KAMBO?
Kambo , also called Sapo or ‘frog poison’, is a natural non-psychedelic medicine made from the secretions of the Giant Monkey Tree Frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) and is used to treat a variety of ailments. It is best known for its natural antibiotic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties but is also used to address infections, depression, blood circulation, to relieve pain and to boost the immune system. It acts a strong detoxification process and helps clear the body of energy blockages. Its use originated in the Northwestern Amazon in Columbia, Brazil and Peru but Kambo use has been growing in popularity in the West alongside other ancient medicines such as Ayahuasca and Iboga.
Kambo is an excellent way to prepare the mind and body for the effects of ayahuasca. It is said the purging process experienced during Kambo can help reduce the amount of purging in the ayahuasca ceremonies. It also helps clear the energy and prepare the mind for the psychological effects of ayahuasca. The connection between Kambo and Ayahuasca is special – being that the spirit of ayahuasca is what, according to legend, brought about the knowledge of Kambo use and its incredible benefits.
The Origins of Kambo Discovery and Use
There are many legends about the origins of Kambo use, but the most widely accepted story comes from Brazil.
According to Kaxinawa legend, the local village fell dangerously ill to an unknown disease. The village Shaman, Kampu, tried every known medicinal herb and remedy to cure them but none were effective in providing relief from their illness.
In desparation Kampu sought guidance from the medicine ayahuasca. While in the forest and under the guidance of the sacred medicine, he was visited by the Great Spirit who presented him with the frog and gave him the knowledge to cure his village. The divine spirit then taught him how to extract a white secretion and apply it to his village.
Kampu returned and did as he was instructed, curing his village of their ailment. After Kampu’s death, it is said his spirit entered the frog and remains there today to help aid and protect the people of the forest.
Kambo continues to be used through the Amazon to aid in overall health, strength and immunity. The hunters of the village often use Kambo before the hunt because of Kambo’s ability to heighten eyesight, hearing, and strength which all lead to a more keen ability to located prey. It is used to cleanse the body of many illnesses –especially those specific to the region such as malaria and certain insect bites.
Kambo is applied to superficial burns to the skin. The burns are made using a small stick to the top layer of the skin on the shoulder. Cold water is applied and the top layer of burnt skin is removed to expose the deeper layer underneath. The Kambo is then applied in ‘points’ to the burns. How many points you will receive is determined by the practitioner but generally 2-5 points are applied. At New Life Ayahuasca, we start off with 1 point to see how each individual reacts to the medicine and gauge the level of sensitivity to determine how many additional points will be added. Participants are asked to sit in a comfortable upright position through out the entire process which lasts around 20-30 minutes.
Physical and Emotional Responses to Kambo
Kambo has a very strong on the body both physically and energetically.
The effects can be felt immediately after all the points are applied, usually within 30 seconds to 2 minutes. The first physical sensation is typically heat at the application site which will spread throughout the body. The face will get flushed and some participants experience a slight swelling of through throat, lips, and face. Often a tingly, electric or pins and needles sensation can be felt in the hands and feet. Pressure will be felt on the body as if gravity has been turned up, but it is important not to collapse and to remain seated upright with the spine and neck aligned. A change in hearing and a feeling of pressure on the head can be felt, and all these symptoms together will lead to a feeling of nausea – this is where the purge begins.
The stomach will be full of water and ready for the purge. The vomiting usually begins within 5 minutes of the points being applied. The vomiting can be quite difficult, often making breathing restricted and difficult. This is all normal and will pass. Some people may feel the need to go to the bathroom, this is normal, and another way the medicine may make you purge. Get up slowly, Kambo can make the blood pressure drop and cause you to become lightheaded and dizzy. The cycle of purging will continue until the effects of the medicine subside and the body no longer has the desire to eliminate. The whole process will last about 20-30 minutes.
Our practitioner will determine when it is okay for the medicine to come off and will ask that you stay sitting upright for about 5 additional minutes while the Kambo finishes working in your body. From there, you may lay down, eat, have some tea or whatever feels good. The rest of the day is usually pretty low energy and spent relaxing.
Kambo is a purging process – physically and emotionally. Most often it is in the form of vomiting, but can also come by diarrhea, sweating, crying, laughing, moaning, and yelling. All of these things are encouraged. The purge is about the release. Physical release -cleansing of the liver, stomach, intestines, and stimulation of the endocrine glands. Emotional release – letting go of emotions, removal of energy blockages, and realignment of the chakras and meridians of the body.
Most people report heightened senses – sight, smell, taste, touch – and an extreme clarity and calmness of mind. The effects on the body are total detoxification and cleansing, stimulation of the endocrine glands and boosted energy/endurance. Psychological benefits include a sense of peace, absence of depression and agitation, and energy re-alignment.