Kambo: Choosing Frog Sweat over a Flu Shot

Once the sticky secretion was applied onto the superficial burns in my upper arm, I began to feel the potent effects almost immediately. I sat upright breathing deep and focusing my attention inward while praying for harmonious healing. My heart raced as if frantically pumping itself. I felt flushed and strangely possessed as my face swelled. I could feel the frog’s peptide-rich sweat surge warmly through my cramped abdomen. Waves of bizarre energy rippled upward and before I knew what was happening, intense nausea set in. My body collapsed over the bucket and I began to purge.

Kambo (or sapo) comes from the sweat of the giant Amazonian tree frog. It has been known as a miracle cure, the “ultimate detox,” a “molecular electric shock,” “the vaccine of the forest,” and an “extremely powerful way to reach and treat disease.” Once the kambo is applied to the small, dotted burn wound, the waxy substance eases into the lymphatic system, significantly enhancing immunity with its rich array of neuropeptides. The body temp rises just enough to allow bacteria and viruses to die off. It’s even believed to eliminate heavy, subtler energies and keep the senses heightened long after a session.

“Scientific studies over three decades have shown that the (kambo) secretions consist of many amino acids (peptides) that are proven to stimulate healing and be genuinely beneficial to the health of the body. Research at the University of Paris in France has revealed that kambo is effective in destroying cancer cells. Kambo also has one of the world’s strongest combination of naturally occurring antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anaesthetic properties.”

I was in total agony. Stubborn and uncomfortable, I half resisted to more internal cleansing before fully surrendering into the pink vessel below my puffed face. Repulsive bile spewed from the depths of my guts. I vomited repeatedly with greater satisfaction following each spell. Dry heaving, spit and disgusting, un-ladylike sounds exited my mouth. My eyes watered, snot dripped from my nose. I was faintly aware of my gasps for air as I clenched my stomach. I made the decision to partake in the medicine believing it might offer a boost in immunity, full-bodied purification and increased clarity. But as it worked its way through my system, I wanted to escape the self-induced misery.

“Kambô is believed to be one of the world’s strongest natural antibiotics and remains the most natural and direct way to strengthen and protect the human immune system.”

Although quite intense, the distress didn’t last long. Once I was well enough, the facilitator removed the glob of Amazonian medicine from my burns and I was left to rest. Spent and tender, I laid on a cushion with my eyes closed. I was flushed with genuine gratitude as a sweet calm washed over me. A wee pool of tears collected in my eyes as I congratulated myself for getting through the rough part. Feeling more centered, I tuned into the soothing live music played to support the brave participants. Pleasant aromas of sage and incense wafted through the high vibrational room.

“Kambo triggers a variety of beneficial chemical reactions in the human body. It has the ability, unlike many other natural and pharmaceutical substances, to cross the blood-brain barrier, enabling it to reach deep into the body and bring support to otherwise difficult to treat areas.” ~Vittorio Erspamer

The ceremony began with the knowledgeable, accommodating and encouraging facilitator explaining the process of from where the kambo had come and what to expect. Specific tribes of the jungle, such as the Matses of Brazil, sing to the frogs to lure them from the trees where they are captured temporarily. Only a small percentage of the venomous secretion is collected ethically and carefully. The frogs are shown respect and honored as healing beings. Purchasing this medicine, which the tribes believe should be available to all, helps them sustain their local communities without being bought by corrupt corporations. What’s interesting is that the frogs don’t produce this particular sweat in captivity, preventing it from being taken advantage of by greedy pharmaceutical companies.

“The Matsés are in a way gatekeepers as their continuous efforts to stand up against the devastating oil business and loggers also protects the still uncontacted tribes that live beyond their lands and who do not receive the protection they desperately need. The Matsés tribe is strengthened as this cooperative allows for the financial means necessary for the production of their own educational material. ” ~Caminho da Luz

Our intimate group of strangers introduced ourselves, shared our intentions and prepared our bodies with a lot of lukewarm water to assist in the purge. Each participant received the medicine individually at different times. The ceremony was a rare opportunity in a safe, warm-hearted environment.

The first earthy medicine we received was rapé (pronounced ha-peh in Brazil). This powdered mixture of tobacco often includes the alkaline ashes of other medicinal herbs. It’s recognized as a sacred plant to cleanse people and ceremonial spaces, to sharpen the mind, balance left and right brain hemispheres, center, calm and/or stimulate and detoxify energetic fields. The snuff was blown up each nostril. It stung like a bitch as if hot ants were  having a dance party in my brain. The sensations subsided quickly and resulted in a lot of nose blowing and salivating. The ritual definitely provided some much-needed grounding and possible support in opening the third eye.

“Rapé is sacred and legal medicine from the indigenous people of the Forest. It is said to heighten the awareness and the senses, clear and align your mind and instinct, help promote cleansing of the body and soul. It is usually made of a variety of tobacco leaf powder and other herbs and ash trees ground into a fine, aromatic powder that is blown through the nostrils.” ~Queen of the Forest

I opt out of the popular flu shot. I’m more in favor of natural healing, enthralled by the phenomenal multitude of medicinal plants and animal elixirs. I’m amused by my courageous choice to apply frog sweat into minor burns rather than trust a typical Western approach. I’m drawn to and fascinated by organic, holistic options for wellness.

Initially I felt weak after the experience but much lighter overall. The following day I woke up earlier than usual in a cheery, ready-to-face-the-world mood. I’m curious to feel what long-lasting effects with which the frog blesses me. It wasn’t the most glamorous process but it was definitely a humbling one. In devotion to Nature, I bow to Her plethora of fantastic remedies and long to learn more of Her mysteries.

“Healing rites and ceremonies are powerful opportunities to expand our perception, explore and understand our own innermost power, and help us discover our unique gifts.”~Caminho da Luz

“Kambo was initially utilized as a medicine to aid the hunters of the tribe, giving them increased endurance, stamina, visual acuity, increased hearing ability, a reduced need for food and water, and to mask their human scent to better sneak up on animals. Users report amazing health improvements for a variety of conditions, both physical and spiritual.”





Lattanzi, Giovanni. “Kambô: Scientific Research and Healing Treatments”

Bolshaw Gomes, Marcelo. “Kambo, The spirit of the Shaman”

Harry Sumnall, professor at Liverpool John Moores University






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