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Ever heard of kambo? This traditional medicine comes from deep in the Amazon jungle and has long been used there by locals. What makes kambo unique is that it comes from a frog! This special little animal secretes a substance from its glands, and you can give your body and consciousness a big whack with that. Don't ask us how the locals ever found out about it... But we can tell you all about why and how people use kambo. Read here what kambo is, what effects it has and which people can benefit from it.

What exactly is kambo?

Kambo, as mentioned, is a mind-altering drug, which comes from the glands of the Phyllomedusa Bicolor frog. This Amazonian inhabitant is actually poisonous, so you would normally prefer to stay far away from it. The frog only secretes kambo when it feels threatened. This is therefore the reason why kambo ceremonies are criticised: because the frogs are exposed to stress, so they excrete their poisonous goodness. However, after collecting the kambo, they are released and can continue living undisturbed.

The effects of kambo

The effects of kambo cannot necessarily be called pleasant. For instance, most users feel downright sick or miserable. Vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, excessive sweating and shivering are well-known symptoms. Also, your heart can go wild. The reason people take kambo despite these uncomfortable effects is that it is seen as an ultimate cleansing ritual: the ultimate detox of body and mind. You rid your body and soul of negative energy and make room for new, positive energy. For this reason, you regularly see kambo on the programme for an Ayahuasca session; out with the old, in with the new.

There are more specific reasons why people want to use this frog poison instead of a detox cure. For instance, it is advised to be used for addiction problems, trauma, depression or health issues. Yet there is only anecdotal evidence for this and no scientific support. The claim that kambo would be a powerful healer is another reason why it is such a controversial substance. After all, it is used without the guidance of a medical specialist. Also, its long-term effects are not yet clear. There are even some studies that show that the stuff can actually be harmful to your health; for instance, it can put considerable strain on your organs.

Kambo ceremony: what to expect

A kambo ceremony is surrounded by traditions and rituals, such as prayers, music and chanting. It is performed by a shaman. This could be a medicine man from or in the Amazon, or just an experienced spiritual Dutchman around your corner. Such a ceremony almost always takes place in a group setting, with a lot of attention to atmosphere, comfort, energy and light. Which is nice when you feel so miserable! Furthermore, such a ceremony usually starts with saying an intention. In other words: what is your reason for participating in this ritual? This is an important part of many spiritual ceremonies. It gives you direction during the journey that follows, during the session itself and afterwards.

In a typical kambo ceremony, holes are burned into your upper arm, after which the frog poison is applied to it. To do this, this poison is first dried into a powder. After a few minutes, it starts working. After an hour you are sober again, but a full ceremony can last up to 3 hours because of all the rituals.

Want to take part in a kambo ceremony? Then you don't have to go into the Amazon. In fact, it can also be done in our own little country. Apply the tips from our earlier article on finding a suitable mushroom or truffle ceremony to find a reliable kambo shaman.