I never predicted that I would one day find myself sitting in a Kambo ceremony. The idea of having poisonous frog secretion (Kambo) applied to a burn on my leg was one I could never have imagined.
But that’s how life works.
Life shifts and causes you to rethink the way you view the world. Rumi once recognized that unlearning is the highest form of learning.
So with a completely open mind and a vast year of unlearning, I found myself deep-diving online as to what Kambo was and why it seemed like the right thing for me to do.
What exactly is Kambo?
The origins of Kambo:
Several tribes have used Kambo for thousands of years, and many stories and legends exist as to how each tribe came to use this medicine. Despite the different variations of origin stories, one fact remains the same many south American countries’ indigenous tribes depend on the magical healing properties of the skin secretions of a tree frog.
Kambo is a non-psychoactive traditional Amazonian medicine derived from the Giant Monkey Frog, Phyllomedusa Bicolor. The indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest have used this magical frog medicine as an alternative medicine for thousands of years, as I mentioned previously.
Kambo comes from the frog’s skin secretion, a waxy substance that is carefully collected without harm to the frog. The Kambo frog poison is applied through a number of small burns made onto the skin with a small Kambo stick typically made of palo santo. The immediate adverse effects could be nausea, vomiting, elevated heart rate, diarrhea, sweating, shortness of breath, lite-headedness, and other symptoms. After using Kambo, participants report amazing mental clarity and many health improvements for various conditions, both physical and spiritual.
Kambo has been known to treat the following Health Conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cancer and treatment of cancer cells
- Chronic pain
- Blood Circulation problems
- Chronic fatigue
- Autoimmune diseases
- Improve Immune system and function
Although there is little scientific information to back up the claims, they’re many successes and healing stories. I believe that since Kambo is more of a spiritual and energetic medicine, it’s hard for traditional medicine to get a grasp on its power.
The pull of the purging of emotional wounds caused me to consider trying Kambo. For much of my life, I have played small and never seemed to muster the courage to step forward and be “seen.”
I wanted to change that somehow. I feel called to help others and share my light with the world. But my fear and insecurities continually held me back.
That is why I felt called to try Kambo for myself.
What to Expect in a Kambo Ceremony?
Kambo can be done on a one-time basis or, as my practitioner Julie Larson recommends, a three-session cleanse.
During my first time, I was equally parts anxious and excited. I had researched and talked with Julie before, but I was unsure how my body would react. Purging is a big part of how the medicine works, which was in the back of my mind as a concern.
Julie has a beautiful, nurturing energy, and I immediately felt at ease as I nestled onto the yoga chair and mat she had set up.
We chatted about my intentions and what I wanted Kambo to do for me. These energetic medicines are much more powerful when you are clear with your intentions. I wanted to let go and heal my relationships with any limiting beliefs I still clung to.
As we sat down, Julie pulled an oracle card to guide my experience. This is a deeply personal part of the Kambo ritual. I about cried when she read the meaning of the card pulled. It was what my soul needed to hear.
Before applying the Kambo, a burn needs to be created so that the medicine can go directly into the lymphatic system.
Julie used a wooden stick made of Palo alto and pressed a circular burn onto my skin. In my first Kambo medicine session, she did four burns.
Yes, the burns hurt. But it was quick, and the physical pain passed quickly. Then the secretion is applied to the burns.
The best way I can explain what happened next is to remember the scene in Spiderman (the older ones with Toby McGuire) where he gets bit by the spider. He can “see” the poison traveling throughout his body and changing it. That’s kind of what it felt like. I could feel the medicine moving throughout my body and renewing and regenerating as it went along. It was one of the most surreal sensations I have ever felt.
My body went from being super hot, then super cold. And then I vomited a lot. Thankfully Julie is well prepared and has a bucket and tissues ready to go.
The whole process took about 2 hours, and although I felt pretty ill during the session, I felt fine to drive home.
I slept the rest of the afternoon and was super tired.
The next day I felt super healthy and full of energy like a weight had been lifted, and my body’s “factory settings” had been restored. I went back for two more sessions, and the process was similar each time. I could not stop shaking the second time, and my body was infused with energy. The third and final time, I again vomited a lot.
Each Kambo treatment session seemed to renew my soul and my physical body. I became more alert, more focused, more secure in my direction in life.
I am a healthy person, so physically, not much has changed. I continue to be healthy with even more energy.
Where I felt the difference was internally and emotionally. Although Kambo is not hallucinogenic or psychoactive like other Spiritual Amazonian medicines such as Ayahuasca, it has a strong spiritual component. I felt cleared and cleansed of past traumas my body had held onto. Dark memories that had a weight to them seemed to dissolve and not have the same hold on me.
For me, Kambo was what I needed. It helped me push past a lot of what I had carried for so long. It renewed my body and my soul. One of the crazy “side effects” is that my relationship with food is different. I no longer feel controlled by it. Foods that I used to have little control over no longer have the same pull on me.
It’s been a couple of months since my last “session,” and I still feel the wonder of how my body and life have changed due to the gift from a little Amazonian frog. I will forever be grateful for its gift (secretions).
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I plan on going back for sessions as needed. Which I am sure my body will let me know.
That’s the crazy thing about the word, never. It is nebulous and can change as we shift and evolve ourselves. So if you find yourself saying, never stop and ask yourself why, be open, be curious. You might stumble upon precisely what you need.
If you are local to Utah – I cannot recommend Julie Larson enough! She is amazing.
If you are outside of Utah, you can find a member of the International Association of Kambo Practitioners in your area on this website.
After my original posting of this article in January of 2021, I have received several questions, so I have added a formal FAQ to answer all your questions.
The short answer is no, but the Kambo Application process is intense and needs to be applied by a properly trained practitioner who is aware of and can look for side effects beyond the normal range of side effects. This is a potent poisonous substance, and so the use of Kambo should not be taken lightly.
Depending on your health and size, four to six small dots are typically made with small sticks.
You can complete one session or a series of three for a full detox. Julie, my practitioner, recommends completely three sessions within 28 days.
You will need to fast before your treatment session. It is recommended that you drink electrolyte drinks the morning of your healing ritual. You will want to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes, a blanket, a pillow, and plenty of water. 2 liters of water are recommended to drink during the ceremony.
Although it can be found online for purchase, it is a good idea not to apply your own Kambo without proper training.
It is recommended not to do more than once a month after your initial Kambo treatments. But always work with your practitioner to discuss what is right for you.