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Kambo is supposedly named for the legendary pajé (or medicine man) Kampu. This ancestral shaman is said to have learned about the medicine from a forest spirit in the Amazon, having exhausted all other means to heal his sickly tribe. According to the Kaxinawá, the spirit of Kampu lives on in the giant monkey frog, continuing to heal any who seek it.

Whatever the mythical origin, kambo has long been used by indigenous Pano-speaking groups in the Amazon, including the Katukina, Asháninka, Yaminawá, and Matsés (or Mayoruna).


Traditional uses include: eliminating toxins, increasing strength and stamina and dispersing negative energy.. In the rainforest, kambo is used as a hunting aid, reducing the need for food and water and minimizing the human scent. 

Kambo treatment

The immediate effects of kambo are intense and unpleasant but short-lived, usually lasting no more than 30-40 minutes. They include a feverish rise in temperature, sweating, shivers, and dizziness as the heart rate becomes rapid—possibly reaching more than 190 beats per minute. The blood pressure may rise or fall dramatically, accompanied by an increased awareness of the veins and arteries. Many people report a tingling or burning sensation like electricity that starts from the points and spreads through the body. Some may also feel a dissociative or drunken high.

Overwhelming nausea is generally unavoidable with kambo and purging is likely—either by vomiting, defecation, or both. Other effects include a feeling of pressure in the head, neck, and torso, stomach pain, inflammation of the throat, dry mouth, blurred vision (or temporary blindness), difficulty moving, and numb, swollen lips and tongue.

After these initial effects have worn off and the heart rate has returned to normal, it may be necessary to rest. Some fall into a dreamless sleep, while others make strange animal noises.

Your experience may feel enhanced following the kambo purge. You may feel great physical strength, sharpened senses, and heightened mental alertness. Desirable after-effects like these may take a day to materialize or they could be immediate. They also tend to include a consistently elevated mood, increased physical and mental energy, decreased stress, and enhanced focus.


Kambo is best taken on an empty stomach, bladder, and bowels. It’s advisable to avoid solid food, and especially salt, for 8-10 hours beforehand. Alcohol should also be avoided for 24-48 hours before application.


Kambo is frequently offered alongside ayahuasca, ibogaine, 5-MeO-DMT, and other plant medicines for holistic treatment.[45] According to practitioners, the secretion “resets” the body, not only by strengthening the immune system but also through distinct psycho-spiritual benefits.[46]

Panema—a Panoan term used by the Katukina and others—describes a negative energy that gathers over time.[1][2] Traditionally visualized as a kind of dense grey cloud or aura[47], panema is blamed for bad luck, depression, laziness, irritation, and other adverse states. For many, kambo serves this purpose.

Outside of traditional contexts, the dissipation of panema is framed in terms of “clearing the pain body,” “realigning the chakras,” or reorganizing personal psychology.[46][47] The purge itself may be felt as an expulsion of bad thoughts, habits, negative personality traits, or persistent life problems.

A profoundly transformational tool, kambo is known to increase compassion, courage, emotional stability, and personal sovereignty.[48] Some users feel more “real” or “solid” after kambo application—less in their heads and more in their bodies. Frustration, anger, and anxiety also tend to clear. These positive changes may last several days or several months, depending on the application and the person receiving it.[26]

Kambo may also help to overcome a fear of dying. According to one practitioner, terminally ill patients have claimed to see “the other side” during their experience, returning with a newfound serenity about death.[11]


One of kambo’s most exciting potential medical applications is the treatment of cancer. Dermaseptin B2 has been shown to inhibit cancer cell (human prostatic adenocarcinoma) growth by more than 90%.[31] This peptide penetrates cells and works by necrosis (active destruction) and not apoptosis (normal or programmed cell death).[32]

Dermaseptins, including adenoregulin, are powerful antibiotics.[33][34][35][36] Found to be rapidly and irreversibly effective against a range of parasitic microorganisms, they’re also entirely non-toxic to mammalian cells.[13] Combined with their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, peptides in kambo are especially promising for conditions like Cryptococcal meningitis in patients with late-stage HIV.[37] Among the pathogens killed by dermaseptin B2 are the filamentous fungi that opportunistically infect AIDS patients.[38] With the emergence and spread of highly resistant pathogenic bacteria, novel antibiotics such as these are becoming critical.

Since adenoregulin affects the binding of agonists to adenosine receptors—instrumental in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier[39]—it may be useful in the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and strokes.[3] Anecdotal evidence supports kambo’s use in depression treatment, anxiety, and addiction.[30][40][11]

There’s also compelling anecdotal evidence for kambo’s effectiveness in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). According to one sufferer, the secretion completely eliminates CFS symptoms when taken regularly.[41]

The deltorphins and dermorphin present in kambo have analgesic effects comparable to the body’s own pain response of beta-endorphin release.[3][8] They’re also stronger than morphine without the same level of respiratory depression[42], tolerance potential, and withdrawal symptoms.

Phyllokinin may be useful in the treatment of hypertension, having been shown to lower blood pressure more effectively than other polypeptides.[43]

Other conditions that may benefit from kambo include chronic pain[44], Parkinson’s disease, vascular problems, hepatitis, diabetes, rheumatism, and arthritis.[20]



Peptides are notoriously difficult to test for.[50] Dermorphin, for instance, which has become an illicit performance enhancer for racehorses, can only be detected by specialist labs.[51] Although kambo contains opioid receptor agonists, it doesn’t contain any opiates. It is therefore extremely unlikely to be detected in a drug test.


The unpleasant effects of kambo can feel endless for those experiencing them. There may also be a feeling of drunkenness or dissociation. For the most part, however, kambo is not psychoactive.


Kambo is relatively safe when properly applied to healthy individuals. However, it is likely unsafe for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with heart problems, and patients either recovering from surgery or taking immuno-suppressants for organ transplant. It should also be avoided by chemo- and radiotherapy patients, including those planning to start treatment within four weeks. 


Yes—although kambo scars fade over time, they won’t disappear completely. Aftercare balms such as sangre de drago may help to improve their appearance. Alternatively, the same points can be used within 2-3 months of the previous application.


The only safe way to administer kambo appears to be via skin burns, but the specifics tend to vary between practitioners. In the caboclo kambo initiation, for instance, the medicine is traditionally applied at the new moon of three consecutive months—each time increasing in dosage. Kambo may also be double- or triple-dosed within a single session.


There’s very little information on microdosing with kambo, but some consider it dangerous. Purging (i.e. with large doses) is thought essential for releasing toxins.[23]


Frequent users build up a tolerance to kambo. Some Katukina men take more than 100 points at a time.[57] Anecdotal reports suggest that sananga and ibogaine can reverse the tolerance effect.[58]


Kambo can be taken with Ayahuasca and certain psychoactive snuffs, including nu-nu and rapé, as well as ibogaine.

The safety of combining kambo with other substances is not entirely known, but alcohol should be avoided. It’s also recommended to avoid recreational drugs for at least three days after kambo has been applied.[47]


Kambo is often used in conjunction with ayahuasca because advance purging helps to optimize absorption. Depending on your health and personal desire - you will have an opportunity to do a kambo cleanse during Shamballa Ayahuasca retreats. If You are interested please contact us or read more about one of our retreats


[1] Gomes, M. B. (2008). Kambô, The Spirit of the Shaman.

[2] Labate, B. C., de Lima, E. C. (2014). Medical Drug or Shamanic Power Plant: The Uses of Kambô in Brazil. Ponto Urbe, 15.

[3] Gorman, P. (1993). Making Magic. OMNI.

[4] Labate, B. C. (2012). The Shaman Who Turned Into a Frog: a Promise of Patented Medicine. Erowid.

[5] Labate, B. C., Jungaberle, H. (Eds.). (2011). The Internationalization of Ayahuasca. Zürich: LIT Verlag Münster.

[6] Milton, K. (1994). No Pain, No Game. Natural History.

[7] Daly, J. et al. (1992). Frog secretions and hunting magic in the upper Amazon: Identification of peptide that interacts with an adenosine receptor. Pharmacology, 89, 10960-10963.

[8] Erspamer, V. et al. (1993). Pharmacological Studies of ‘Sapo’ from the Frog Phyllomedusa bicolor Skin: A Drug Used by the Peruvian Matses Indians in Shamanic Hunting Practices. Toxicon, 31, 9: 1099-1111.

[9] Lattanzi, G. (nd.). Kambô: Scientific Research and Healing Treatments.

[10] Prada, P. (2006). Poisonous Tree Frog Could Bring Wealth to Tribe in Brazilian Amazon. The New York Times.

[11] Sumpter, L. (2015). Kambô: Nature’s Vaccine For The Mind And Body.

[12] IAKP. Find a Practitioner.

[13] Calderon, L. A., Silva, A. A. E., Ciancaglini, P., Stábeli, R. G. (2010). Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs: from biomolecular diversity to potential nanotechnologic medical applications. Amino Acids.

[14] Den Brave, P. S., Bruins, E., Bronkhorst, M. W. G. (2014). Phyllomedusa bicolor skin secretion and the Kambô ritual. Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases, 20.

[15] Douglas, S. D., Leeman, S. E., Barrett, J., Dombrowsky, E., Heyward, C. Y., Remeshwar, P. (2014). Tachykinin receptors, introduction. IUPHAR/BPS Guide to PHARMACOLOGY.

[16] Grammatopoulos, D. K., Chrousos, G. P. (2002). Functional characteristics of CRH receptors and potential clinical applications of CRH-receptor antagonists. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, 13(10), 436-444.

[17] Erspamer, V. et al. (1989). Deltorphins: a family of naturally occurring peptides with high affinity and selectivity for delta opioid binding sites. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 86(13), 5188-92.

[18] Negri, L., Erspamer, G. F., Severini, C., Potenza, R. L., Melchiorri, P., Erspamer, V. (1992). Dermorphin-related peptides from the skin of Phyllomedusa bicolor and their amidated analogs activate two ,u opioid receptor subtypes that modulate antinociception and catalepsy in the rat. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 89, 7203-7207.

[19] Joanna, P., Łapiński, T. W. (2017). Toxic hepatitis caused by the excretions of the Phyllomedusa bicolor frog – a case reportby the excretions of the Phyllomedusa bicolor frog – a case report. Clinical and Experimental Hepatology, 3(1), 33-34.

[20] IAKP. Kambo Q & A.

[21] Murgency. (2016). Still Alive: An Experience with Phyllomedusa bicolor (Kambo) (ID 103731). Erowid.

[22] Psychedelic Times Staff. (2017). Five Methods to Reduce Overall Risk When Taking Kambo. Psychedelic Times.

[23] Topic: New ways of Administering Kambo (Other than via Skin Burns).

[24] de Lima, E. C., Labate, B. C. (2012). Kambo: From the Forests of Acre to the Urban Centers. Erowid.

[25] Davis, E. (2010). The Bad Shaman’s Sapo. Erowid.

[26] KamboCleanse. Testimonials.

[27] Vice Staff. (2009). Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia: The Sapo Diaries.

[28] Varner-Miller, B. (2014). Frogs Psychedelic Effect in the Amazon. Liberty Voice.

[29] Viva Kambo. Frog medicine.

[30] Daly, M. (2016). The Brits Using Amazonian Frog Poison to Fight Depression and Alcohol Abuse. Vice.

[31] van Zoggel, H. et al. (2012). Antitumor and angiostatic peptides from frog skin secretions. Amino Acids, 42(1), 385-95.

[32] van Zoggel, H. et al. (2012). Antitumor and Angiostatic Activities of the Antimicrobial Peptide Dermaseptin B2. PLoS ONE, 7(9), e44351.

[33] Amiche, M., Ladram, A., Nicolas, P. (2008). A consistent nomenclature of antimicrobial peptides isolated from frogs of the subfamily Phyllomedusinae. Peptides, 29(11), 2074-82.

[34] Amiche, M., Seon, A. A., Wroblewski, H., Nicolas, P. (2000). Isolation of dermatoxin from frog skin, an antibacterial peptide encoded by a novel member of the dermaseptin genes family. European Journal of Biochemistry, 267(14), 4583-92.

[35] Zhou, Y. X., Cao, W., Luo, Q. P., Ma, Y. S., Wang, J. Z., Wei, D. Z. (2005). Production and purification of a novel antibiotic peptide, adenoregulin, from a recombinant Escherichia coli. Biotechnology Letters, 27(10), 725-30.

[36] Zhou, Y., Cao, W., Wang, J., Ma, Y., Wei, D. (2005). Comparison of expression of monomeric and multimeric adenoregulin genes in Escherichia coli and Pichia pastorias. Protein and Peptide Letters, 12(4), 349-55.

[37] Mandal, S. M., Roy, A., Ghosh, A. K., Hazra, T. K., Basak, A., Franco, O. L. (2014). Challenges and future prospects of antibiotic therapy: from peptides to phages utilization. Frontiers in Pharmacology.

[38] Mor, A., Amiche, M., Nicolas, P. (1994). Structure, synthesis, and activity of dermaseptin b, a novel vertebrate defensive peptide from frog skin: relationship with adenoregulin. Biochemistry, 33(21), 6642-50.

[39] Carman, A. J., Mills, J. H., Krenz, A., Kim, D., Bynoe, M. S. (2011). Adenosine receptor signaling modulates permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(37), 13272-13280.

[40] Psychedelic Times Staff. (2016). How Kambo’s Physical and Spiritual Properties Reduce Pain and Treat Addiction. Psychedelic Times.
[41] Phoenix Rising. From Bedbound to Fit and Able in 14 Days: Effects of the Amazonian Medicine Kambo on a CFS Patient.

[42] Negri, L., Lattanzi, R., Tabacco, F., Melchiorri, P. (1998). Respiratory and cardiovascular e€ects of the m-opioid receptor agonist [Lys7]dermorphin in awake rats. British Journal of Pharmacology, 124, 345-355.

[43] Anastasi, A., Bertaccini, G., Erspamer, V. (1966). PHARMACOLOGICAL DATA ON PHYLLOKININ (BRADYKINYL-ISOLEUCYL-TYROSINE O-SULPHATE) AND BRADYKINYL-ISOLEUCYL-TYROSINE. British Journal of Pharmacology and Chemotherapy, 27, 479-485.

[44] Shivani Fox. (2011). Kambo – Frog Medicine from the Amazon.

[45] The Holistic Sanctuary. Holistic Drug Rehabs.

[46] Ketler, A. (2016). Kambo: Can Poison from a Frog Fix Your Health Challenges? Collective Evolution.

[47] Annu Tara. What is Kambo?

[48] Thoricatha, W. (2017). Way of the Frog Medicine: Interview with Master Kambo Practitioner Simon Scott. Psychedelic Times.

[49] IAKP. About IAKP.

[50] Yosufzai, R., Horne, B. (2013). Peptides almost impossible to detect in testing. Stuff.

[51] Bogdanich, W., Ruiz, R. R. (2012). Turning to Frogs for Illegal Aid in Horse Races. The New York Times.

[52] Reptile Rapture. Bicolor Waxy Monkey Tree Frog Caresheet.

[53] PetHelpful. (2014). How to Care for the Giant Waxy Monkey Tree Frog.

[54] Topic: Raising the Phyllomedusa Bicolor.

[55] DMT Nexus. Kambo frog medicine.

[56] KamboCleanse. (2015). A Kambo Frog Sweating Poison.

[57] Topic: How do the Katukina do so many dots?

[58] Topic: Kambo tolerance.

[59] Psychedelic Times Staff. (2016). Four Ways Kambo Can Enhance the Effectiveness of Ayahuasca Treatments. Psychedelic Times.

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