CEREMONIAL AYAHUASCA AND PLANT MEDICINES
WHAT TO EXPECT
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.
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. According to practitioners, the secretion “resets” the body, not only by strengthening the immune system but also through distinct psycho-spiritual benefits.
Panema—a Panoan term used by the Katukina and others—describes a negative energy that gathers over time. Traditionally visualized as a kind of dense grey cloud or aura, 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. 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. 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.
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.
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%. This peptide penetrates cells and works by necrosis (active destruction) and not apoptosis (normal or programmed cell death).
Dermaseptins, including adenoregulin, are powerful antibiotics. Found to be rapidly and irreversibly effective against a range of parasitic microorganisms, they’re also entirely non-toxic to mammalian cells. 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. Among the pathogens killed by dermaseptin B2 are the filamentous fungi that opportunistically infect AIDS patients. 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—it may be useful in the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and strokes. Anecdotal evidence supports kambo’s use in depression treatment, anxiety, and addiction.
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.
The deltorphins and dermorphin present in kambo have analgesic effects comparable to the body’s own pain response of beta-endorphin release. They’re also stronger than morphine without the same level of respiratory depression, 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.
Other conditions that may benefit from kambo include chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, vascular problems, hepatitis, diabetes, rheumatism, and arthritis.
CAN IT BE DETECTED IN A DRUG TEST?
Peptides are notoriously difficult to test for. Dermorphin, for instance, which has become an illicit performance enhancer for racehorses, can only be detected by specialist labs. Although kambo contains opioid receptor agonists, it doesn’t contain any opiates. It is therefore extremely unlikely to be detected in a drug test.
WILL IT MAKE ME CRAZY?
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.
ARE THERE RISKS?
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.
WILL IT LEAVE SCARS?
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.
WHAT IS THE SAFEST WAY TO TAKE KAMBO?
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.
CAN I USE KAMBO TO MICRODOSE?
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.
DOES IT PRODUCE TOLERANCE?
Frequent users build up a tolerance to kambo. Some Katukina men take more than 100 points at a time. Anecdotal reports suggest that sananga and ibogaine can reverse the tolerance effect.
CAN I MIX IT WITH OTHER DRUGS?
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.
KAMBO AND AYAHUASCA
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
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