If a year ago someone would have asked me about a Kambo ceremony I would have had no clue what the hell they were talking about. I’d never even heard of a Kambo cleanse until just before my Ayahuasca experience as my Aya buddy informed me she was going to do it to help her prepare for taking Ayahuasca the next day.
As often happens, after that Kambo came up over and over again in conversations I was having with people. Until I gave in to the signs the universe was sending me and I called up my trusted shaman to ask him when I could come to see him for a Kambo ceremony.
If you have found yourself here reading this post you are probably here because you want to know more about Kambo, and/ or you want to learn more about someone else’s personal experience of Kambo.
I am not a medical professional, nor am I a shaman or Kambo practitioner who knows this medicine and its powers inside out. I’m just a blogger who got sick and decided she had nothing to lose but giving a Kambo cleanse a go. I am sharing my personal experience with you, I am in no way giving you medical advice. If you are concerned please talk to a professional.
Okay, now that’s over with, here’s my story…
What is Kambo Medicine
Kambo frog medicine is a ritual that originates from South America where Amazonian tribes use the poisonous excretion from the Phyllomedusa bicolor tree frog to cure illness and disease. Sounds crazy? It kinda is…
Kambo is used to boost your immune system, treat illness, and so many other things. I like to think of it as a hard reset for your body.
The Kambo frogs are actually very docile and are happy to be picked up and handled by humans. They naturally excrete a poisonous substance as a defense mechanism to protect themselves from predators. This substance is collected by members of the Matses tribe who live in the Amazon. Early in the morning, they call to the frogs by singing and imitating their call. When they find them they gently rub off the excretion, and then the frog hops off and goes about its day. The secretion is harvested on wooden sticks that are then left to dry before they get sent where they need to go.
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Things you Need to Know before you do a Kambo Cleanse
It’s intense, like really intense.
But also not half as bad as I thought it was going to be…
It’s over pretty fast. The whole thing was actually over in 10 minutes. Although I still had some swelling for a while after.
Your face swells up like a frog. I don’t know how bad my face got, but I remember looking over at my friend while she was in full Kambo swing and she looked like an 800-year-old woman.
This is my face about 30 minutes after the ceremony.
You have to drink water until you feel like you are going to explode.
You normally do Kambo in the morning as you need to do it on an empty stomach. Don’t do what I did and spend the whole morning gulping water. This just made me pee a lot. Just drink a normal amount of water pre-ceremony to avoid peeing 10 times before it even starts.
If you aren’t able to be sick on your own, the shaman or Kambo practitioner will help you along. This means they will blow smoke in your face for you to inhale, if that doesn’t work they will quite literally stick their fingers down your throat to make you sick, true story I saw it.
If you have a thyroid issue (like me) or low blood pressure you MUST let them know.
Where on your body you get the Kambo can affect how intense it is.
- The leg is much softer (and slower).
- Your back is all about the mind and it is the most intense spot to receive it
- The right arm is for your physical body
- The left arm is for your emotional body
You will likely get some conversation-starting Kambo scars. Mine are pretty faded now, but I did get a lot of questions walking around with my Kambo marks at first.
You should start to prepare for your Kambo cleanse 1-2 weeks before and expect to continue integrating for a few weeks after.
You will need a new toothbrush after the Kambo cleanse as it alters your PH.
There is a good chance you will have some kind of medical ‘crisis’ after the Kambo ceremony. This could be a cold, a skin breakout, or something similar, this is very normal. Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better.
If you are doing a Kambo ceremony as a way of healing illness or disease then you need to think of Kambo as part of a treatment plan, not the entire treatment plan. So be clear about what you want to do after Kambo. For me, I knew I would be starting the AIP diet to help with my autoimmune disease, as well as being militant about my Ayurveda morning routine.
Why I did a Kambo Ceremony
So why did I decide to do Kambo? I have an auto-immune disease called Hashimotos. I’m all for trying alternative treatments to complement the western medicine I have to take daily especially as with Hashimoto’s, medication alone is not nearly enough.
As I’ve already mentioned a friend of mine mentioned doing Kambo the day before we did Ayahuasca in Mexico together. She is a nurse (The Biohacking Nurse) and she mentioned how amazing it is for anyone with an autoimmune disease. This stuck with me and I made a mental note to do more research into it.
Anyway, fast forward a few months, and my post Ayahuasca health high had worn off thanks to the stress of 3 hurricanes and a less than ideal living situation. I knew I was in a hole and I needed help. My energy levels were on the floor, I was napping all the time, my brain fog was preventing me from working, and I was beginning to isolate myself as my speech was becoming more and more difficult.
So there I was, 2 years after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s finally ready to deal with my disease and make some serious life changes. I found Clareminded who agreed to help me bring some yummy Ayurvedic balance back to my life. The first thing she had me implement was a strict morning routine. Which I do religiously, I’ve skipped one morning since I started it. I also started bringing some Ayurvedic food practices into my life and this will get more and more once I’m off the AIP diet.
I also started to listen to a lot of health-focused podcasts which really helped with my mindset. I did all of these things slowly over a 3 week period. Cutting out coffee, dairy, gluten, slowly, slowly.
For me, my Kambo experience was a clean slate. It was my hard reset.
Once I did Kambo, that was it, there was no going back. It was a shortcut to getting rid of all the toxins I’d been putting into my body over my life and starting anew. I talked it through with my Ayurveda practitioner and the shaman and the general consensus was this was a great idea. I also planned to do the Kambo ceremony on the 30th of December, the day after the new moon and the day before the last day of 2020.
The timing was perfect.
My Kambo Experience
It had been on my mind to do Kambo for a while. But To be honest, as much as I wanted the benefits you get from Kambo. The thought of getting frog poison burned into my skin so I’d puke my guts up wasn’t exactly at the top of my to-do list.
So I’d put it on the back burner.
Then I got really sick. No matter what I did I just couldn’t get myself back to health. My energy was so, so low. I was bone tired. And I got illness after illness, coughs, colds, chest infections. Something common when you have Hashimoto’s. Read this to learn more.
As I started to make changes to my mindset and eating habits. I began thinking more and more about Kambo. I knew it was time. So I asked my friend if she would be up for coming with me as she had also been on a health-focused journey too and I knew she had already done Kambo before. I text Ivan the shaman I did Ayahuasca with and told him we wanted to do it on the 30th of December and lucky for us he had a Kambo ceremony at One Breath of Yoga in nearby Puerto Morelos.
We did all the prep we needed to in the week leading up to the Kambo ceremony (see list below). We packed all the things we would need (see list below) and off we went into the jungle!
Every Kambo ceremony is different. And many Kambo healing ceremonies held outside of the Amazon or with a Kambo practitioner rather than a shaman are less spiritual. I did mine with a shaman, so it may be slightly less “woowoo” if you get your Kambo from “Bob” your friendly local Kambo practitioner haha.
When we arrived at the ceremony we all took a seat in a circle around the room while Ivan and his wife Pam set up the ceremony and all of their instruments. Pam gave us a very detailed brief to ensure we were all prepared for the ceremony and what the Kambo frog medicine would do to us. She explained that it is a very intense process so it’s best if we are mentally prepared.
At this point she asked if anyone had a thyroid condition, of course, I raised my hand and told her about my Hashimoto’s. The reason for asking this, and why it is extremely important for you to disclose any thyroid conditions is because the medicine can hit you very very hard. I already knew this and I was prepared for it mentally.
There were 10 of us taking the frog medicine and we did it in pairs, I went last. When it came to my turn I had 3 people watching me closely. Pam had already explained to me that she would burn 2 holes in my right arm for my physical body and 1 in my left arm for my emotional body, but rather than putting medicine into each of the 3 holes, she would do them one at a time to see how I reacted. Only giving me more if I was ok.
But before anyone burns anything into your arm, you have to drink, drink, drink, and then drink some more!
Oh and don’t do what I did and drink a shit ton of water all morning and then have to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes haha. You just need to start drinking 5 minutes before they come to you so the water doesn’t get a chance to go to your kidneys.
You have to drink until it hurts and you feel like you can’t drink another drop without your belly exploding.
Then comes the burning, which is just a surface burn and doesn’t hurt at all.
After the first, I felt the blood rushing to my head, but I was fine. I made eye contact with Pam and nodded for more. She did the second one, same thing, so she added the third. This slowed down the process slightly and made the initial rush much less intense, which I was grateful for.
Although, if I’m honest I was in no way worried about my ability to handle the Kambo, I’m a very spiritual person and I was completely sure that I was safe and protected by the spirits (see told you doing it with a shaman is more woo woo). I know you may be reading this and scoffing, but as with any plant medicine, it’s all spiritual. So if you don’t believe in it then probably either stick to western medicine or go do Ayahuasca and have a chat with Abuelita herself.
Anyway, I digress…
Watching other people go before me I thought to myself, I won’t need to stick my fingers down my throat or get tobacco smoke blown in my face like them, I’ll be able to be sick on cue, no problem.
WRONG. God, it’s awful.
At first, you will probably be sick pretty easily, But then it starts getting a bit harder. Mentally I just wanted a little rest from all the puking, but nope. The poison needs to come out and if you aren’t being sick they are going to blow smoke in your face that you have to inhale to make you sick. It’s nasty. Once you run out of water you have to drink more water, so you can do more puking. They will be watching your puke closely and making sure you get to the good stuff…
What is the good stuff?
Basically, they are looking for fluorescent yellow or green, and/ or foam. Until they see that you have to keep drinking and puking, drinking and puking. You can only stop once they are happy you got it all out and you no longer feel sick.
I’m not going to lie to you, it’s pretty awful. But the good news is that this whole thing only lasts for 5-10 minutes.
Other things that happened to me during the Kambo cleanse…
When the poison starts to move around your body you can feel it.
It felt like every cell in my body was waking up. Everything became more alert.
Then I could feel my face swelling, and I think my ears too. They get you to sit like a frog so it’s easier to be sick, so I legit looked like a frog during Kambo haha. Pam had explained that the water acts like a washing machine, the poison draws out all of the toxins from your body and sends them to your stomach where they mix with the water and you puke them out… nice right?!?
This may all sound crazy to you. But that’s honestly what it felt like, and seeing what was in my bucket at the end…blagh!
But as quickly as you feel sick, you feel better.
The night before the ceremony I’d been freaking myself out watching videos on YouTube of Kambo and I was pretty worried it was going to be awful. But it really wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it was going to be.
Once I was feeling better, I emptied the sick bucket, laughed at my frog face, and forced myself to eat some fruit and a power ball.
And that was it, time to go home!
How I felt After My Kambo Experience
It was the next day when the magic really began. After the Kambo ceremony in Mexico, I went home, cooked a huge pot of vegetable soup in my Instant Pot, and chilled all evening.
The next day I practically sprang out of bed. But the most impressive thing was the mental clarity I felt, especially after months of brain fog. Seriously, I felt like I’d woken up from a nightmare. I’d been sleepwalking around for months and now finally I was awake again.
My mind was sharp and I had laser focus.
Boy did I get some shit done those first post Kambo weeks.
I’m now almost 3 months out and still feeling amazing. I spring out of bed at 6 am each day to do my morning routine. I’ve had no brain fog or other symptoms. I’ve had no issues at all following the AIP diet. No cravings or side effects from the processed food withdrawals.
It’s been incredible, seriously.
I’ve also managed to cut my meds right down. Oh and I’ve lost a lot of weight, not that that was a motivation for doing it, but I’m not complaining.
Reasons to consider doing a Kambo Cleanse
I’m just going to list out some reasons to have a Kambo experience:
- As part of a health kick
- If you need to improve your health
- If you have any kind of illness or disease
- To improve your immunity
- As the ultimate detox
- To get rid of heavy metals in the body
- To improve mental clarity and focus
- To try and reverse food intolerances and allergies
I’m sure there are way more, but these are just a few off the top of my head.
Tips for doing Kambo if you have an Autoimmune disease
Get a referral.
The number one thing I would say to anyone with an autoimmune disease is to listen to your body and do a lot of research before you do anything. The shaman I went to I trust 100%. I’ve done other plant medicine with him before. I made them aware of my condition and they really looked after me. Go off a recommendation of someone with an Autoimmune who had a positive experience.
Even if you are just going to do Kambo for the experience I’d always get a referral.
Thinking of doing Kambo in Mexico?
If you are interested in doing any kind of plant medicine in Mexico then there is one person I recommend contacting. Julia Sammasati is one of the most incredible humans I know and she is doing a lot of incredible things in Mexico right now.
She is building a team of plant medicine practitioners and creating safe spaces for women to use their sacred medicines to heal. From week-long plant medicine retreats to one-off ceremonies. If you want to learn more about Julia’s work watch the video above, go follow her on Instagram, and if you want to speak to her about plant medicine retreats and ceremonies in Mexico then pop your email in this form below and she will be in touch with you very soon.
Don’t play around with your meds.
I chose to come off my meds a few days before and it was maybe a week before I started taking them again. When I did I took ⅓ of what I was taking before. I know my body really well and felt comfortable doing this. Before you do anything, speak to a medical professional.
Do a lot of research
So much of this is mental and emotional. You are purging mental, emotional, and physical things that your body has been accumulating for years. It’s intense and you need to have your head right going into it. It’s fine to feel nervous or apprehensive. But the more positive you are going in the more committed to the whole process you are going to be. This will make the difference in the weeks and months after Kambo.
Think of your Kambo experience as getting a head start
If you are thinking of doing AIP or any other diet, then Kambo is a great way to kick it off. I was waiting for the starvation, cravings, headaches, and other withdrawal symptoms to start. But they never did. I had non.
Mentally I was so focused on how good I felt and wanting to stay that way I wasn’t one bit tempted. I even managed to go to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun and didn’t drink anything but water and had to stick to ceviche and salad all day haha.
Be prepared to go 3 times a year
To get the full benefit you really should do 3 rounds each year. This is to give you the full effect. 1 session and you are good for 6 months.
Kambo Healing Benefits
First off, none of these Kambo experience healing benefits are scientifically proven. Please remember I’m just a blogger, I’m NOT a doctor. My research is speaking to shamans and googling stuff, not actual medical research…
But anyway, these are the BELIEVED benefits of Kambo healing:
- Expulsion of bad thoughts, habits, negative personality traits, or persistent life problems.
- Increase compassion, courage, emotional stability, and personal sovereignty.
- Some users feel more “real” or “solid” after Kambo —less in their heads and more in their bodies.
- Frustration, anger, and anxiety also tend to reduce or dissipate entirely.
- Treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- The deltorphins and dermorphin present in Kambo have analgesic effects comparable to the body’s own pain response of beta-endorphin release.
- Phyllokinin may be useful in the treatment of hypertension, having been shown to lower blood pressure more effectively than other polypeptides.
- Other conditions that may benefit from Kambo include chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, vascular problems, hepatitis, diabetes, rheumatism, and arthritis.
Side Effects of Kambo
I did not experience any of these side effects, but some people do, so it’s worth being aware of them before committing to taking the medicine.
- A rise in temperature, sweating, shivers, and dizziness as the heart rate becomes rapid
- Muscle weakness
- Spasms and cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Short-term memory loss
How to find a Kambo Practitioner
I would always, always, go off a recommendation from a friend. If you can make it to Mexico, send me an email and I’ll put you in touch with Ivan the shaman I work with. Otherwise trawl blog posts, YouTube, Facebook and see what you can find. Speak to people in your local area who have had a Kambo experience and ask for recommendations. Kambo is not illegal, so you are doing nothing wrong asking around for this.
How to Prepare for a Kambo Ceremony
There is a lot of advice on the internet about this. Here’s the thing, you can rock up to Kambo having done no prep and be fine. But it’s going to potentially be much more intense and you might not get as much benefit from it as you would if you had already done some prep.
As a minimum, I’d suggest avoiding these things for 3 days, but ideally, you would start this 2 weeks before. If you can do a juice cleanse for 2-3 days before, do it.
- Sex (at least 24 hours)
But whatever you do, do not eat on the day of your Kambo ceremony, make sure you do it on an empty stomach.
What to bring to a Kambo Ceremony
This is what I brought to my Kambo ceremony in Mexico:
- 4 liters of water ( to drink and have poured over you haha)
- Yoga mat
- Change of clothes (you will get wet)
- Sick bucket (if they don’t provide you with one)
- Tissue paper
- Baby wipes, or rose water (something to refresh your face for after)
- A blanket
Also, wear a top with thin straps so your arms are completely exposed. I recommend wearing a sports bra if you are comfortable doing so. They will likely pour water on you to keep you cool while the medicine is working. So it’s much easier to just be in your bra.
And that’s it! My Kambo experience in Mexico, or anywhere else in the world. If you have any specific questions, feel free to leave me a comment below and I’ll reply when I can.
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