13) What is Sapo Frog Medicine?

Kambo, also known as “frog medicine” or “sapo”, is the venom secreted by the bright green Giant Leaf or Giant Monkey Frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) native to the rainforest regions of several South American countries. Widely sought after by indigenous tribes for its purification of the physical and non-physical aspects of both the mind and body. Once captured, locals carefully and respectfully tie them by all fours to provoke secretion of the venom. After quickly scraping the waxy venom off the frog’s back and legs, they release it back into the wild unharmed. This frog secretion is then dried and stored where it keeps for over a year.

It is applied via small burns on the skin to provide a path to the lymphatic system allowing the venom to quickly get to work. Kambo induces an intense physical purge, the short-lived effects can be very unpleasant for those who have not been raised in the Amazon where the indigenous traditionally use it to remove “panema” (dark energy clouding a person’s aura) and to enhance connections to other medicines, in particular ayahuasca, allowing it to work at a deeper level in addition to cleansing and detoxing the body and spirit.

Western science has established that dozens of bioactive peptides in the venom bind to human cell receptors stimulating production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Some are vasodilators that increase permeability across the blood-brain barrier, while others regulate dopamine, serotonin, and a host of neurotransmitters in the brain related to mental health. Other Kambo peptides interact with the pituitary gland-adrenal axis and help mediate stress, anxiety, and depression. Most people eventually come to notice real benefits in the days following a Kambo ceremony, where elevated mood, increased clarity and focus, and feelings of vitality are commonplace

Indigenous peoples commonly use Kambo to boost fertility, cleanse the body and soul, and to increase both strength and endurance on hunts.Proponents claim the medicine can support ailments such as chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV, Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers, chronic pain, depression,, hepatitis and addiction supported by several published studies of subjective benefits. Sapo gained initial interest of medical researchers in the 1950’s. By the 1980’s, researchers were filing patents on the peptides in this strange medicine. Today as many as 70 patents exist.

Much of the scientific knowledge we have in the west is due to Italian scientist Vittorio Erspamer. He spent much of his career studying peptides like dermaseptin, dermorphin, and deltorphin. In 1986, he claimed that kambo has a “fantastic chemical cocktail with potential medical applications, unequaled by any other amphibian.”

A study at the University of Paris in 2012 found the peptide Dermaseptin B2 found in Kambo to be effective at killing certain types of cancer cells. Researchers demonstrated that “Drs B2’ inhibits the proliferation and colony formation of various human tumor cell types, and the proliferation and capillary formation of endothelial cells in vitro. Kambo is also one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antimicrobial, and anesthetic substances found in nature, as it’s thought to strengthen the immune system and detoxes both the liver and the GI tract.