Updated: Jan 3
You’ve heard the age-old adage – fail to prepare, prepare to fail, and this timeless wisdom is no different when to comes to smashing the Kambo detox.
Firstly, for those that don’t know, Kambo is a natural poisonous secretion from the Giant Monkey Frog. In traditional indigenous rituals it has been used to bring about profound physical, emotional and spiritual clearing and detoxification. As well as purifying the body, it may help to treat various health conditions.
Kambo has originally been performed in many South American countries, where a shamanic healer conducts the ceremony. As with other plant medicines, respect for the nature of the cleanse manifests as enthusiasm for both the preparation and after-care plan.
1. Check you do not have any contraindications
Easily one of the most crucial steps before taking the cleanse is to check that you are suitable in the first place. Kambo is a powerful medicine and those that should not be taking part in a ceremony for safety reasons include:
Pregnant or expecting mothers
Anyone currently breastfeeding
If you have taken 5-meo-DMT or Bufo in the last 4 weeks
Have previous medical history of stroke, blood clots, aneurysms, DVT, Addison’s disease, any heart conditions or heart surgery
If you are taking low blood pressure medication, have had chemotherapy within the last month, are on immunosuppressants for organ transplantation
Anyone under 18 years of age
Be sure to report any medications or supplements you are taking regularly, even if they are herbal. It is best not to take any health supplements the day of the ceremony, as they will likely just be purged from the system.
You should avoid 5-HTP or melatonin for at least 3 days prior to your session as these could interact with the Kambo medicine. If you are asthmatic you should bring your inhaler with you and should you be menstruating, be aware that it can increase flow for up to 24 hours.
2. Find a reputable practitioner
Only an experienced practitioner should administer Kambo and this is not something that should be attempted on your own at home.
Look for centres that are qualified enough to be offering training, have worked closely with Kambo’s indigenous origins, and practice in an ethical and sustainable way.
Practitioners should be able to hold space in a compassionate, mature and responsible way. There should be an appropriate screening process and proper preparation protocols.
3. Know what to expect
Small burns will be made to the skin with incense to help it blister. This is so that the very top surface layer can be removed without bleeding, allowing Kambo access to the lymphatic system.
Kambo is NEVER to be ingested orally as this could be fatal. Everyone responds slightly differently but most people report hot flushes to the face, dizziness, vomiting, increased heart rate and mild tingling and swelling which are all a normal part of the process. Your body will thank you for the temporary discomfort!
Although Kambo is non-psychoactive, there are countless anecdotes of profound insight and healing from the process.
4. Hydration hydration hydration
Although you should not drink excessive amounts of water prior to your ceremony, it is important to ensure that you do not get dehydrated during the purge. Coconut water is a great source of natural electrolytes, which helps the body hold onto hydration.
Water, herbal tea with honey and salt added to water all come recommended, however you should avoid caffeinated or sugary drinks such as coffee and juice the morning of the ceremony.
About 15 minutes before the ceremony begins, you are asked to drink around 1.5L of water to assist with the purging process and help move toxins out of the body. However, drinking copious amounts of water in the days leading up to the ceremony can dilute the body’s electrolyte concentrations and cause an imbalance which could lead to hypernatremia. So go easy on yourself and take small sips throughout the day.
The ‘dieta’ or diet is just as important as drinking, but instead of stocking up, it’s recommended that you fast for at least 8 hours prior to a ceremony. This is why ceremonies are easiest in the morning, where you can fast overnight. However if your Kambo session is planned for an evening, you should eat a light vegetarian breakfast and avoid snacking after 10am.
Although not crucial, to reduce the amount of toxins in the body, you should try to eat clean as far as possible. That means avoiding alcohol, dairy, sugar and spicy foods for a few days beforehand. Salt is fine as this will help the body to retain water. You should also avoid street drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Sexual fasting can be helpful to preserve Qi energy but is not mandatory.
6. Get plenty of sleep
Kambo is known as an ‘ordeal medicine’ for a reason, the purging process can really take it out of you. Make sure you get as much rest as possible the night before your ceremony and don’t stay up dancing the night away. The more will power and energy you can muster to remove bile from the body, the better.
It is good to keep fit and active before and after your Kambo session, to help engage circulation and boost the body’s detoxification process. Many users report enhanced physical performance in the days following a Kambo session, as well as feelings of vitality and strength.
8. Set your intentions
Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to explore Kambo – whether it’s solely the physiological immune boosting properties, deep cleansing, spiritual insight or a mix of all 3.
Whatever your motivations, these 3 questions can help to solidify your intentions before a ceremony for grounding and incentive:
Of that which is no longer serving me, what am I ready to release?
What am I ready to bring more of into my life?
How will I apply these insights from here on out?
There is science-backed evidence to support the mental and emotional benefits of intention setting and ritual in formulating new habits and achieving goals. The power is within you.
9. What to bring to the Ceremony
If your Kambo centre does not provide the following, you will need:
1 gallon of water, it should be room-temperature and it is best that you don’t bring alkaline or distilled water
Cup for drinking
Comfortable clothing that allows easy access to treatment areas of choice (usually back, ankles or arms)
Clean clothes to change into in case there is any mess
Hair tie to hold long hair
It is recommended that contact lenses are removed
Do not wear any dangling jewellery
Plenty of kitchen roll
10. Have a meditation practice and mantras
When the experience hits peak intensity, it can be helpful to have a grounding meditation or mantra to revert to, to tame the chatter of the monkey mind. Use your breath to anchor you to the present, release resistance and surrender to the experience.
A mantra could be positive affirmations, which help to re-align focus and deepen the sense of trusting yourself, your body, and the medicine. Perhaps try flipping perspective on its head and instead of seeing the process as painful and difficult, begging it to stop, drop into a place of gratitude for the immense healing that is taking place.
Kambo works in synergy with you – your body, your mind, your emotions. Focusing on how you react to the experience and acknowledging that each purge is allowing you to enter a powerful state of being, can help you to fully embrace this unique and sacred process.
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P.S If you're interested in learning more about how to heal with Kambo frog medicine, check out the link below for details on our upcoming training courses.