Everything from chronic ailments to anxiety and despair is said to be helped by Kambo, the new toxic frog fluid wellness detox. But where does the hype end and the science begin, as with other wellness trends?
Acupuncturist Tom Ingegno sat in a bean bag-like chair in front of Baltimore shamans Charlotte and Undrea around a year ago. They smoked mapacho, a Brazilian tobacco commonly used in ayahuasca ceremonies and other healing rites, while burning sage and incense.
Ingegno was no stranger to alternative medicine as an acupuncturist, and he had met Undrea, also known as Dre, through his profession years before. He wanted to try something new after dealing with his mental health in confinement. So he requested if they could help him purge his negative feelings by injecting Kambo, a toxic fluid produced by the South American giant monkey frog, also known as the giant leaf frog, directly into open wounds on his chest.
Dre and Charlotte made him drink a gallon of water first. Dre then used a small twig to burn 9 small dots into Ingegno’s chest after removing his shirt. Then, in each area, a small bit of dried frog poison was placed. The burns were sealed and disinfected with dragon’s blood resin (dragon’s blood is a substance found naturally in plants that has been used in traditional medicine to cure wounds).
Ingegno was overcome by a warm sensation and instinctively reached for a bucket. He started vomiting violently for around 15 minutes. As Ingegno recovered, he and Dre discussed Kambo’s origins, which can be traced back to a Brazilian tribe called the Kaxinawá.
Tradition says that the village became ill and after various medicines failed, a medicine man named Kampu went into the jungle to consume ayahuasca and brainstorm ideas. A female spirit emerged, carrying a frog and instructing him on how to use it. The tribe utilized it as a “vaccine” to deal with sickness, bad luck, and to improve their hunting abilities from then on.
While the first reported tribal use of Kambo was in 1925, today’s users use it primarily for psychological disorders and other chronic health problems that conventional remedies may not be able to adequately address.
Does it work?
Ingegno claims he felt more energized and less sad right away after taking the supplement. In the months that followed, he tried Kambo two more times and saw that the violent vomiting had lessened. In fact, due to the growing popularity of “frog medicine,” he claims the most difficult part was finding an open slot to schedule follow-up sessions.
Kambo is currently an unregulated, unscheduled, and technically legal narcotic in the United States, making it easier to obtain than mushrooms or ayahuasca, yet have no hallucinogenic or intoxicating effects.
I think people are turning to Kambo because it works for things that many conventional medical treatments fail to treat. Proponents of Kambo claim that the frog fluids can heal everything from anxiety and sadness to Alzheimer’s disease—though none of this has been shown in .
The high concentration of bioactive neuropeptides discovered in Kambo is attributed to potential advantages by Kambo lovers and the occasional scientist, but researchers believe it’s also what causes such a dramatic reaction.
Neuropeptides are amino acid-based chemical messengers in the body that are larger than neurotransmitters. They aid in the regulation of a variety of activities, including cognition, blood pressure, metabolism, pain, and stress, as well as the immune system and brain protection. Thus, proponents of Kambo ascribe the substance’s extensive effects to its high concentration of neuropeptides.
Many experts still see Kambo as a poison that can cause dehydration as a result of violent bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, as well as convulsions, seizures, and even jaundice. There have been reports of mortality as a result of Kambo in extreme cases. As a result, the chemical, also known as phyllomedusa bicolor in the medical profession, was recently prohibited and classified as a schedule 10 poison in Australia, the country’s most dangerous drug classification.
We don’t know for sure what the future of Kambo is, but it definitely falls under the category of alternative medicine that feels trendy these days.
Read on to find out if cannabis can really prevent COVID-19.
Photo via The Microdosing Life