Acate' (kambo) frog Medicine
What is Kambo?
Kambo, known as Acate' ("Ah-Kah-Tay") to the Matses tribe, and sapo by others, comes from the secretions of the giant, green, phyllomedusa bicolor tree frog that dwells high in the trees of the Amazon rainforest. The secretions seep through the skin of the frog and serve as a natural immune defense, as well as a protective mechanism from potential predators.
Indigenous tribes in Peru, Colombia and Brazil use kambo as a medicine for building immunity, preventing and healing illnesses, and clearing “panema,” stagnant or negative energies from the body. It may also used before going hunting, as kambo brings clarity and focus to the mind and senses.
The medicine is collected by catching the frog, usually the tribe will make frog calls that sound like barking, and the frog will respond, and they will locate it in its tree. To harvest the medicine, the frog is gently tied by each of its wrists so it is extended, and then sung too as its belly is tickled and toes are massaged. This entices its secretions to come out, which are gently scraped off with a stick to be transferred to another stick or directly onto the person. The frog is extremely flexible, so being extended does not harm her. After collection, she will be released back into the wild, and her secretions and energy will be replenished by 3 days.
How does kambo work in the body?
Kambo is a highly intelligent medicine.
It enters your body through the burn and travels through the lymphatic fluid, purging toxins on its way to the bloodstream. At first this is most felt in the head and lymph nodes. As it travels to the cardiovascular system the heart begins to pound as the blood cells vasodilate (they expand and allow blood to flow more easily). The peptides within kambo begin to flood the body, clearing the cells of debris through the detoxifying organ systems of the body. The blood pressure drops as the process finishes in the cardiovascular system and begins to rebalance itself, having moved through the heart, collecting oxygen, and transported oxygenated blood to the brain. This process is what can cause lightheadedness.
Meanwhile, the organs are purging toxins, the intestines are being cleared of gas, sweat comes through the pores, the stomach may feel discomfort and the urge to vomit increases.
In essence, kambo cleans out what is not meant to be there, physically,
mentally, and spiritually. It is a purgative because certain peptides in the secretions will cause the body to release toxicity and bile via vomiting, bowel movements, emotional release, shaking, sweating & more.
Kambo secretions are full of peptides, which are already naturally present in the human body for every bodily system and assist in maintaining homeostasis. However, when we have illness, injuries, trauma, powerful emotional experiences, life changes, etc., sometimes certain peptides cease doing their job properly. When kambo enters the body, it floods the body with peptides, and replenishes the peptides in the places where our natural ones have not been functioning properly. This allows the body to begin to heal itself, naturally!
This is why it is one of the most powerful healing medicines on the planet. Kambo is one of the strongest, natural ways to empower your immune system!
It is legal, and generally a safe medicine for almost everyone.
Is kambo psychoactive?
Yes. Kambo, although not psychedelic, it can be a very psychoactive experience for some, and is very much a physical experience.
If a medicine is psychoactive, it means that it interacts with the function of the nervous system, altering mood, perception, cognitive functions and behavior.
However, some people do dive into some very interpersonal and cosmic spaces in the midst of being with the medicine, but it is not hallucinogenic or an entheogen.
What are the benefits of kambo?
Immunity, clarity, increased energy and stamina, beneficial for overall health, treats a variety of physical ailments, and cleanses the emotional and energetic body. It is a powerful assistant for emotional release, letting go, and healing the heart, body, mind, and spirit.
Can you take kambo if you don’t have any present prevailing ailments?
Yes! Kambo boosts your immune system, and is a powerful ally in fending off illness and disease. It balances your body and regulates & resets your natural rhythms, (such as your sleep patterns or menstrual cycle).
It can remove stagnant energy from the body and clear mental chatter. It is a wonderful medicine to take for an overall reset & cleanse for body, mind, and spirit.
What are peptides?
Peptides are short chain amino acids linked by peptide bonds. They are found within the secretions of the frog and can be thought of as keys to the receptive
locks in the human body. They are essential for our cellular health.
Here are some of their properties:
-One of the strongest natural antibiotics on the planet
-Anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial
-Analgesic (reduces or eliminates pain)
-Fights infections against a variety of bacteria such as fungi, yeasts, and protozoa, candida
-Powerful for healing addictions (alcohol, drugs, unwanted habits, disorders, etc)
-Assists in eliminating parasites (physical and energetic)
-Heavy metal detox
-Supports brain function by regulating release of neurotransmitters
-Increases energy and diminishes fatigue
-Increases sensory reception and awareness
-Assists your capacity to confront pain, stress, and disease
-Stimulates gastric, bile, and pancreatic secretions (commonly, people purge bile out of their system)
-4000x more powerful than morphine
-A broad spectrum treatment for brain diseases, organ diseases, eye and ear problems, fertility issues, cancer, herpes, hepatitis, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, PTSD, candida, fibromyalgia, anxiety, migraines, and more.
How is kambo administered?
Indigenous tribes each have slightly different processes for working with kambo, however, it is always applied through points burned on the skin.
“Points," "gates," or tiny dots, are created by burning off the top layer of the skin using a thin vine. Then the dried secretions of the frog are scraped off a stick, mixed with saliva or water to activate it, and quickly put onto the points. This may seem bizarre, but this is done so that the medicine enters your lymphatic system.
The placement of the points varies from person to person depending on the need or desire of the individual. Most commonly, the points are distributed on the upper arms, as this is closer to the heart and the medicine will move through the body more quickly. Usually, an individual may receive 2 -7 points.
Before the medicine is put onto the points, it is important to be hydrated
and you will usually be asked to drink water or juice.
How long does it take for the medicine to activate?
You can usually feel it begin to start working immediately as the first point is applied, or within the first 5 minutes.
What is the process like?
Once kambo has been applied to the points on your skin, it takes action quickly. Typically, you will experience increased heart rate, heat in the head and body, sweating, and feel flushed in the face.
It is normal to feel a bit dizzy, nauseous, or swell in the face. Kambo will move through the rest of the body, and you will most likely need to vomit, have a bowel movement, or other means of release. Sometimes people cough, cry, moan, release emotions, shake, sweat, or all of the above. It is possible for vision to briefly go dark, or even faint; although this sounds scary, most people who faint find the experience rewarding.
After the initial experience and purge, which typically lasts anywhere from 15-35 minutes, kambo will continue to gently clean your body. Sometimes people want to lay down and relax, others want to dance, walk or move about. The experience can bring up a lot of emotion to process and it can be helpful to take some quiet time in nature to integrate or take time for self care. Some people feel amazing afterwards, others need a day of rejuvenation. The experience is unique to every individual and what they are going through. Probably 90% of the time participants feel blissful at the end of ceremony.
A loving disclaimer: kambo can be a challenging experience. It is also incredibly rewarding and beautiful. In indigenous cultures, purging is seen as a means of “getting well,” and seen as positive means of healing. It is true. Kambo is a catalyst for assisting your intelligent body to release what no longer serves you, from illness, pain, sadness, heartbreak, trauma, grief, anger, negativity, addictions, you name it. This is a warrior medicine, it makes you vulnerable, and as you make it through and let go of what is necessary, you will discover so much beauty and strength within yourself. The reward of clarity and peace of mind, and the blissful state you may experience at the end is worth it.
And, some people do have more of a euphoric or relaxing experience. Every time you take kambo it is bound to be different than the time before. Even if we are doing well physically, there are always new emotional experiences being accumulated, integrated and processed in our lives that kambo will assist us to explore, feel, and move through.
Will my burn wounds leave a scar?
Yes and no. Some people scar more easily than others. After treatment to lessen the appearance of scars you may put vitamin E oil on the burn to help fade it and cocoa butter/oil as well. Lavender essential oil is also beneficial for healing burns.
Sangre de grado, a tree sap resin from the Amazon is typically applied to the wounds after ceremony. It seals the wounds by acting as a natural scab for the healing process and is antimicrobial.
How many sessions should you have?
One ceremony is incredibly beneficial for a peptide immune and health boost, and to cleanse and rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.
If you are working with a specific health issue or addiction, or deep inner process, it may be more beneficial for you to receive multiple sessions regularly. It is said that the inoculation of the medicine fully integrates into the body in three ceremonies. Some say within one moon cycle. This will offer you maximum immune benefits. There is also a beautiful process with three ceremonies, as each ceremony allows for different layers to be released and moved through, and more peptides for replenishment. Depending on what you are experiencing in your life, one ceremony may be sufficient, or you may need more than three.
Who should not take kambo? And precautions.
Kambo is not suitable for those who have heart or blood pressure problems, or seizures.
Kambo is not suitable for those who have a fever or are too weak from an illness, or someone having an aggressive viral outbreak.
Pregnant women, or mamas who are breastfeeding babies under 6 months of age.
If you have taken toad medicine (bufo/ 5-meo-dmt) it is necessary to wait at least 6 weeks before having kambo. However, you can have kambo before bufo.
If you are on pharmaceutical medicines it is ideal to take at least a day off the medicine before sitting with kambo. Specifically, blood pressure medication, some anticonvulsants, MAOI's, and benzodiazepines.
Although kambo is not dangerous for menstruating women, it is preferable to wait until after menstruation, or the final days of your cycle to sit with the medicine. You are already in your own ceremony during this time, and the medicine may have more intensity because it lowers your blood pressure and it can be a more difficult experience overall.
If you are sunburned, it will decrease the effectiveness of the treatment as kambo's peptides will focus on clearing the heat from the body rather than other physical ailments.
How to prepare for kambo ceremony?
Be clear about your intention of sitting with this medicine. Take some time to journal, rest, and nourish yourself. Knowing what your intention is, your prayer, and what you are hoping to shift in your life can be very beneficial during your ceremony. Kambo will replenish your system, and as with any medicine, you must be the one willing to let go, to make the changes, and work with the medicine to reap the most benefits. YOU hold the power, always!
Ideally it is best to be fasted for 6-8 hours before kambo because in the likely event of purging by vomiting, you don't want to be vomiting up undigested food.
Kambo can be taken any time of day, the mornings are often ideal because you are fasted and then you have the day to digest the experience and rest.
The day before, it is helpful to eat a clean diet and have electrolytes, avoiding high sodium processed foods.
Herbs can interact with the peptides in kambo, so for the most potent session, avoid herbs from 6-12 hours before.
I recommend drinking coconut water and hydrating well the morning of ceremony; having some juice is okay as well.
A clean and healthy diet will be beneficial, but the truth is there is not a strict diet protocol for kambo.
If you are taking medications, it is advised to stop them at least one day in advance.
After ceremony it is advised to listen to your body, you may need to rest and take it easy, or you may feel energized enough to hike a mountain. Either way, take time to integrate your experience in a soothing home environment or in nature. Eat nourishing and healthy foods, have some electrolytes; coconut water, fruit, and vegetable broth are wonderful options. Take a bath, journal, take time to be with yourself. After kambo even if you are not aware, your sensitivity is heightened, so be mindful about who and where you are sharing your energy. I highly suggest planning your day so you have no obligations after your ceremony. Kambo is a powerful sacred medicine, and it will continue to work on your body throughout the rest of the day and the days that follow. Honor it, and yourself, by taking time to just be.
Other medicines sometimes used with kambo
Rapeh (pronounced ha-pay), is a snuff made by tribes in the Amazon that is administered up the nose for physical and energetic clearing. Tobacco is usually one of the main ingredients, and there are many blends with other plants used for specific purposes. This can be helpful before kambo because of its clearing and grounding effects and may assist with stuck purges.
Sananga is a medicine extracted from the roots of a jungle shrub and are administered as eyedrops in the eyes for clearing vision, the mind, and detoxing the eyes. There are a variety of plants used for treatment of the eyes in South and Central America which may be called sananga. The Sananga that is associated with kambo is specifically from the tabernaemontana sananho bush of Brazil.
These medicines are not necessary for kambo ceremony, however, they all work incredibly well together & can be supportive in the movement of stagnant energy and cleansing the body and mind.
What is my approach to serving the medicine?
I serve the medicine as I have learned from the lineage of the Matses, which I believe to be the safest and most productive way to receive kambo. This method uses saliva to activate the medicine, which from my experience, makes it more potent so you need less points, and the medicine learns your DNA before it even enters your body.
(In the Amazon, the person serving will use their own saliva, and the medicine is mixed on a stick. For the purpose of hygiene, I mix the medicine with the saliva of the person receiving on a spoon.)
I will have you drink some water or papaya juice before the medicine is applied.
The Matses traditionally drink a beverage they make out of yucca root or some sort of fruit juice.
If it is your first time receiving the medicine, I will apply one point first and see your reaction to the medicine before applying more.
***Please note, if you ever have a practitioner who wants to give you a plethora of points and wants you to drink so much water you feel you may be sick, this is not safe. Drinking too much water depletes you of your electrolytes and can flood your cells, which can cause damage to the brain. There is no need to be receiving 10-20 or more points. Clean medicine will do its job with 2-7 points.***
How have I learned to serve kambo?
I personally have learned to serve kambo from the lineage of the Matses tribe in Peru. I am a westerner who is grateful to be of service to this medicine in a different environment, (unless I am being of service in the jungle of course.) I offer kambo honoring the lineage in which it came, while also integrating the other tools I have learned along my journey, and the service of integrating an indigenous medicine into a western world.
I first studied with Boa Cowee who has been in and out of the Amazon studying plants and working with medicines and tribes for the past 20 years. My journey to the Amazon to meet and catch the frogs and extract their medicine led me to meet my teacher Johnny Java, a Peruvian man of the lineages Kichwa and Matses, a humble and knowledgable man I am so fortunate to learn from. I also visited the Ibama tribe, a branch of the Matses in the jungle and experienced receiving medicine from them. I also met and journeyed with my friend Caitlin Thompson in the jungle who is a teacher, practitioner and one of the leading scientists who study kambo, and I continue to learn from her as she uncovers new information on how to integrate this medicine into the ailments of western society.
I have been immersed in Amazonian and Andean healing modalities for many years, living in the jungle & working with the plants. This has brought me a great understanding of the intelligence of earth medicines and ways to navigate energy beyond the physical realms. And, it is a humbling, never ending lifelong journey of exploration I am dedicated to and honored to be a part of!
What are ceremonies like with me?
My ceremonies begin with connecting with you about your intention and your health, and opening the space together in prayer. I will discuss with you what you may experience with the medicine and we will decide where you will receive your points. Once the medicine is applied, I trust in its intelligence, I am there to hold space for your process, assisting with medicine songs, herbs/incense, gentle guidance, and assisting physically only when necessary.
I truly believe that it is YOU who holds the power in your process of transformation. Nothing can transform unless YOU believe it is possible and YOU are willing! Of course with kambo, once it is applied, there is no going back. And if you trust in yourself and the medicine, and harness your inner strength, you will be sure to have a potent experience. And I will be there to hold you in your process, no matter what comes up, with loving presence, to the best of my ability.
In my home I offer a gong and crystal bowl sound bath with sananga at the end of ceremony. Then you have time to rest until you feel ready to integrate and drive home.
I look forward to serving you and am grateful to be of service to this incredible, beautiful medicine.
Energetic exchange for Kambo Ceremony
$150.00 - $222.00
Special sliding scale price for Taos locals
I offer a sliding scale because our session time may range from 1-3 hours, please give what feels right for you based on the time spent together. Although the medicine, once activated does not take so long, our conversations, preparation, and rest period that follows are all part of the energetic exchange.
If you are not able to cover the cost of the ceremony, and the medicine calls to you, please reach out and we can discuss alternative options, I want to do my best to make sure this medicine is available to everyone.
With love, Fatua