Kambo is the popular name by which traditional medicine extracted from a species of Amazon frog is known.Used as a traditional remedy in the Amazon, Kambo is the common name used in South America to refer to the skin secretions of Phyllomedusa bicolor, a tree frog that inhabits certain parts of the Amazon rainforest.
Traditionally, the purpose of this practice is to induce a deep cleansing of body and soul, to cure the panema (which could be translated as “bad luck”), to give strength and to cure other diseases.This is a medicine that operates in the physiology of the organism, and also in the kingdom that is beyond matter, that is, the soul. Kambo is considered an entity or spirit that is responsible for the healing process.
The frog is treated with respect and is never hurt because, according to Amazonian beliefs, harming it would anger the animal spirit and, therefore, would not produce healing. After extraction, the frog is released back into the forest.
The application of Kambo secretion is done by inflicting a superficial wound on the individual’s skin with a burnt stick (traditionally known as titica) and placing the rehydrated secretion on the burn, which appears as a point the size of a green pea on the skin.
The effect of the substance depends on the number of points. A common minimum dose comprises between 3 and 5 points, but the number can vary greatly depending on the user’s needs.
Applying Kambo on a fresh wound, it is absorbed subcutaneously and enter the lymphatic system. Within a few moments an acute physiological response manifests, usually characterized by an increase in heart rate, sweating, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. The acute effect is attributed to the presence of peptides (amino acid chains) that last several minutes before fading away. After the effects disappear, Kambo medicine leaves the individual with a feeling of greater strength, sensory awareness and mental clarity. The peptides present in the Kambo do not produce any psychoactive effect.