What is Kambo?

Kambo is a poisonous waxy secretion coming from a Giant Green Monkey Tree Frog that lives in the rainforests of the Upper Amazon who’s scientific name is Phyllomedusa Bicolor.

Historical information:

Kambo has been used by different Amazonian tribes in Brazil and Peru with traditions that date back thousands of years. In these tribes, Kambo is used by men, women, and young adults of all ages and for a variety of reasons. Traditionally, Kambo was used in three ways:

  • To cleanse, strengthen, and energize the minds and bodies of hunters

  • As a medicine for treating malaria, fever, infections, snake bites, and more

  • To clear away dark or negative energy known as “panema”

The only known restriction of Kambo in the world is the prohibition of advertising its medicinal and therapeutic benefits in Brazil due to intellectual property rights set fourth by the Katukina tribe. To be clear, Kambo is legal.

Harvesting Kambo:

Giant Green Monkey Tree Frogs are nocturnal and live in tall trees near rainforest waterways. They are harvested shortly after dawn by Indians who sing to imitate the frog’s song to lure the frogs down from the upper canopy of the trees. They are then carefully tied by strings into an X shape where they can be milked. When done ethically, the frogs are only milked for their first secretion. This is the best practice because the first secretion is usually the most potent and it also allows the frogs to keep sufficient amounts of their poison to defend themselves in the wild. The strings that are used to constrain the frog leave a tiny white line around each leg. These are then used as an indicator to prevent the frog from being harvested again, until it fades, which is approximately two to three months. The frogs are treated with the utmost respect and are never harmed during the milking process. The secretions are applied to small bamboo sticks and are left to dry, at which point, they are ready to be used.

I’m grateful that I know where my Kambo comes from, how it’s harvested, and how the (Matses) tribe is compensated for their partnership with the association that I’m a part of - the IAKP.

Kambo science:

It has been scientifically proven that Kambo contains a unique and highly complex combination of Bioactive Peptides. Peptides are compounds that are formed by linking one or more amino acids in a chain which are connected by special bonds. Bioactive means this particular amino acid chain performs a specific biological function that has a positive impact on the human body. Since these are natural substances that our bodies recognize, the peptides are able to freely enter our body and work at the cellular level. The peptides that have been identified in Kambo thus far include:

  • Phyllocaerulein

  • Phyllokinin

  • Phyllomedusin

  • Phyllolitorin, [Leu8] Phyllolitorin, Rohdei-Litorin

  • Dermorphin

  • Tryptophyllins

  • Dermaseptin

  • Deltorphin

Research-based articles on these peptides can be found here.

What can Kambo help with?

So far, more than 70 patents have been taken out on Kambo peptides so it’s pretty clear the pharmaceutical industry is looking to capitalize on what Kambo uniquely offers us. Kambo has a wide-range of applications where it can be helpful. Here is a shortlist (in no particular order):

  • To provide mental clarity and focus

  • To alleviate physical pain stemming from injuries, surgeries, and emotional trauma

  • To help relieve severe depression and anxiety

  • As a natural remedy for serious health conditions like Cancer

  • For chronic health conditions such as fatigue, Thyroid conditions, Arthritis, Rheumatism, and recurring migraines

  • Can be used as a primary or additional treatment for infertility, viral and fungal conditions, repairing the immune system after chemotherapy, as a major detox, and on addictions

  • Long-term treatments are used for HIV, Diabetes, Genital Herpes, Lyme Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and much more

The spirit of Kambo:

Similar to entheogens, Kambo carries its spirit and intelligence with it from which we receive. Terrence McKenna called this process the exchange of exopheromones between one species to another. While this isn’t scientifically proven anyone who has taken Ayahuasca, San Pedro, Psilocybin and the like can attest to this theory to a certain degree. Kambo isn’t a hallucinogenic however, when receiving a large amount of Kambo, one may receive visions and feel connected to the energy of Kambo. During this time (and up to a number of days after a ceremony) we are usually “shown” how to make certain changes in our life to improve our overall state of well-being.


I received my Kambo certification from the International Association of Kambo Practitioners (IAKP) in September 2018 as part of their training in Costa Rica. My teachers were master practitioners Ginny Rutherford and Tomasz Zaremba with support by Natascha Berg and Kellie Holly-wood.

My IAKP profile can be reviewed here.

For more information on Kambo, please feel free to explore the IAKP website.

Vincent Fiore