Hesselink JMK (2018) Kambo and its Multitude of Biological Effects: Adverse Events or Pharmacological Effects?. Int Arch Clin Pharmacol 4:017.


© 2018 Hesselink JMK, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

RESEARCH ARTICLE | OPEN ACCESSDOI: 10.23937/2572-3987.1510017

Kambo and its Multitude of Biological Effects: Adverse Events or Pharmacological Effects?

Jan M Keppel Hesselink1,2*

1Department of Health, University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany

2Institute for Neuropathic Pain, Bosch en Duin, The Netherlands



Kambo is the name of a secretion of a tropical frog, the Phyllomedusa bicolor or giant leaf frog from the Amazonian forest, which has been used for centuries by local tribes to enhance their hunter skills. Its first tribal use was described in 1925, and included the first effects after administration of the secretion: nausea and vomiting. Since the end of last century Kambo is introduced in Europe and the USA as a 'healing' intervention to cleanse the bodily systems, it is regarded as a 'detox' intervention.


We reviewed all available literature related to adverse events and pharmacological effects of the active peptides in Kambo.


The secretion of the frog consists a number of bioactive peptides and within few minutes after intake, nausea, vomiting, facial edema, palpitations and hypotension can occur. In the pharmacological and medical literature, these are reported as transient adverse events, although in essence the reactions are purely pharmacological.

We will present and discuss its adverse events, the pharmacological basis of these events and present contra-indications and recommendations for safe use.