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.