The Origins of Kambo
In the heart of the Amazon, there lives a tribe of indigenous people called the
Kaxinawá. Legend has it that many tribesmen had fallen ill and the medicine man, Kampu, tried all known remedies to heal his people without success. In his desperation, he turned to a sacred plant medicine for help. It was during an Ayahuasca ceremony that Kampu received vital knowledge from the Grandmother. Kampu was told to seek out a particular frog, amongst hundreds of species of frogs in the Amazon basin. He was shown how to access a milky secretion from the frog’s glands and shown the method to apply it to the human body for use as a potent remedy. After the ceremony, Kampu returned to the village where he used his newfound knowledge to finally cure the members of his tribe. After Kampu died, the tribe believes he lives on through the frog. The name Kambo originates from Kampu.
Still today, several Amazonian tribes utilize Kambo and remain healthy and vital, resolving the health issues that are prevalent in their communities. The powerful healing available in the Kambo secretion allows us to interact with some of the most sacred medicine on our planet today. In this, we are working directly with the intelligence of nature, a force that has always tended humanity and all of life so perfectly.
About the Kambo Frog
The Giant Tree Monkey Frog, known as the Phyllomedusa Bicolor, is found throughout the Amazon rainforest of northern Bolivia, western and northern Brazil, southeastern Colombia, eastern Peru, southern and eastern Venezuela, and the Guianas. The Phyllomedusa Bicolor is a nocturnal, arboreal frog. After mating, the female and male frogs construct a leaf nest above forest pools. The eggs are laid on these enormous leafs and hatch from the nests. As the tadpoles fall into the water, they continue their development into adulthood. Peak reproduction occurs during the rainy season although the frogs are said to reproduce throughout the year.
Concerns for the frogs extinction are unnecessary as the IUCN endangered species database lists them in the category of “Least Concern”. Extinction is occurring as a result of the loss of habitat and the failure of governments to protect the natural and human resources in the Amazonian region.
According to the National Cancer Institute, more than two-thirds of all medicines found to have cancer-fighting properties come from rainforest plants. Some 120 prescription drugs sold worldwide today are derived directly from these forests. There are over 100 pharmaceutical companies and several government agencies looking to the rainforest for cures for AIDS, cancer, and many other diseases. The Kambo frogs consume bark, leaves, flowers, roots and insects as their primary diet. Its secretion is loaded with huge stores of raw, unadulterated medicine provided by nature through its forests and jungles. It’s no wonder the Kambo inoculation imparts such powerful healing benefit when applied to humans.
Safe and Ethical Harvesting of Kambo
Kambo frogs are nocturnal and can be found in trees near the Igarapés – rainforest waterways, where they gather to sing and announce the rain. At dawn, the tribe’s Shaman will imitate the frog’s song to locate them in the trees. The frogs are easy to handle, likely because they have no predators resulting from their potent secretion. Once caught, the frogs are then carefully tied by the legs in order for the Shaman to access the milky liquid. Occasionally, a female Shaman will massage the toes to encourage the secretion, a portion of which is then carefully removed and dried on small sticks.
Some of the secretion must remain with the frog in order to ensure its survival in the wild. After the harvest is complete, the frog is returned to its natural habitat unharmed. When Kambo is harvested by responsible members of the tribe, the frog is treated with the utmost care and respect as the Indians believe that to harm the frog will bring on negative consequences. When the liquid is collected in this manner, it is considered ethically harvested. It is a matter of fair trade that the great tribes of the Amazon be paid a fair price for their work. This assists in the support of their communities and assures the continuity of this great healing tradition and of the people who have protected and gifted us this knowledge. These tribal communities maintain their traditional lifestyles and some tribes have yet to be encountered by modern man. Protecting these communities is to guard a great and relatively obscure cultural, spiritual and ecological heritage. For this reason, I return a percentage of each Kambo treatment to the tribe.
Traditional Uses of Kambo
The uses of Kambo differ amongst various tribes, however, a common thread revolves around lifting Panema. Panema is an indigenous term for dark, heavy or negative energies that can include bad luck, illness, depression, laziness, lack of clarity and simply feeling lost. Panema is something that blocks progress in a person’s life. Lifting this dark cloud is one of the main reasons the tribal members use Kambo. Kambo is also used for Hunting Magic because it enhances vigor, speed and endurance and makes the hunter invisible to their prey by temporarily eliminating the human scent. Medicinal uses of Kambo amongst the Amazonian tribes include the most common illnesses in their environment, such as:
- snake bites