Evidence To Support Claims for Kambo

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

Jan M Keppel Hesselink, DOI: 10.23937/2572-3987.1510017  ISSN: 2572-3987

International Archives of Clinical Pharmacology, Volume 4 | Issue 1

In Kambo there are many peptides, which can have important contributions in the clinic, such as the analgesic effects of dermorphin or caerulein and the antibiotic effects is some other bioactive peptides.


Pharmacological Data on Phyllokinin

A Anastasi, G Bertaccini, V Erspamer

From the Institute of Pharmacology, University of Parma, Parma, and the Institute for Basic Research,
Farmitalia S.p.A., Milan, Italy

This paper describes some of the pharmacological actions of natural and synthetic
phyllokinin in comparison with synthetic bradykinyl-isoleucyl-tyrosine and with
synthetic bradykinin.


Frog secretions and hunting magic in the Upper Amazon: Identification of a peptide that interacts with an adenosine receptor

John W. Daly, Janet Caceres, Roger W. Moni, Fabian Gusovsky, Malcolm Moos Jr, Kenneth B. Seamont, Katharine Milton and Charles W Myers

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 89, pp. 10960-10963, November 1992.

This frog’s skin secretion, which the Indians introduce into the body through fresh burns, is rich in peptides. These include vasoactive peptides, opioid peptides, and a peptide that we have named adenoregulin, with the sequence GLWSKIKEVGKEAAKAAAKAAGKAALGAVSEAV as determined from
mass spectrometry and Edman degradation. The natural peptide may contain a D amino acid residue, since it is not identical in chromatographic properties to the synthetic peptide. 


Deltorphins A family of naturally occurring peptides with high affinity and selectivity for 6 opioid binding sites

Vittorio Erspamer, Lucia Negri, Giuliana Falconieri Erspamer, Cinzia Severini, Rosa Luisa Potenza, Pietro Melchiorri, Rita Corsi, Cinzia Severini, Donatella Barra, Maurizio Simmaco and Gunther Kreils.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 86, pp. 5188-5192, July 1989.

Two deltorphins with the sequence Tyr-Ala-Phe-Asp(or Glu)-Val-Val-Gly-NH2 have been isolated from skin extracts of PhyUomedusa bicolor.  The alanine in position 2 is in the D configuration. These peptides, [D-Ala2]deltorphins I and II, show an even higher affinity for 6 receptors than the previously characterized deltorphin, which contains D-methionine as the second amino acid.


Dermorphin-related peptides from the skin of Phyllomedusa bicolor and their amidated analogs activate two ,u opioid receptor subtypes that modulate antinociception and catalepsy in the rat

Lucia Negri, Giuliana Falconieri Erspamer, Cinzia Severinit, Rosa Luisa Potenza, Pietro Melchiorri, and Vittorio Erspamer.

Institute of Pharmacology, University La Sapienza, 00185 Rome, Italy; and Institute of Neurobiology, National Research Council, 00185 Rome, Italy

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 89, pp. 7203-7207, August 1992.  Accepted: 5 May 2010.

Three naturally occurring dermorphin-like peptides from the skin of the frog PhyUomedusa bicolor, the related carboxyl-terminal amides, and some substituted analogs were synthesized, their binding profiles to opioid receptors were determined, and their biological activities were studied in isolated organ preparations and intact animals.


Anti-tumor and Angiostatic Activities of the Antimicrobial Peptide Dermaseptin B2

Hanneke van Zoggel, Gilles Carpentier, Celia Dos Santos, Yamina Hamma-Kourbali, Jose Courty,
Mohamed Amiche, Jean Delbe.

Laboratoire de Recherche sur la Croissance Cellulaire, la Re paration et la Regeneration Tissulaires, Universite Paris Est – Creteil, France.

Vittorio Erspamer findings, this genus has been reported as a ‘‘treasure store’’ of bioactive peptides, and several groups focus their research on these species. From 1966 to 2009, more than 200 peptide sequences from different Phyllomedusa species were deposited in UniProt and other databases.


Antimicrobial peptides from Phyllomedusa frogs – from biomolecular diversity to potential nanotechnologic medical applications

Leonardo de Azevedo Calderon • Alexandre de Almeida E. Silva • Pietro Ciancaglini • Rodrigo Guerino Stabeli

Centro de Estudos de Biomoleculas Aplicadas a Medicina, Universida de Federal de Rondonia (UNIR), Porto Velho, Brazil.

Amino acids, 2010, Vol.40 (1), p.29-49.  Accepted: 5 May 2010, DOI 10.1007/s00726-010-0622-3

For every new anuran species studied new peptides are found, with homologies to hormones, neurotransmitters, antimicrobials, and several other peptides with unknown biological activity. From Vittorio Erspamer findings, this genus has been reported as a treasure store of bioactive peptides, and several groups focus their research on these species.


Kambo: A Traditional Remedy

International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service


A traditional remedy in the Amazon, kambo is the common name in South America used to refer the skin secretions from the Phyllomedusa bicolor, a tree frog that inhabits certain parts of the Amazon rainforest. The secretions are characteristic of the Phillomedusa family and have been traditionally used as a medicine by indigenous tribes, such as the Katukina, Yawanawa, Cashinahua and Matses.


1. Erspamer V, Erspamer GF, Severini C, Potenza RL, Barra D, Mignogna G, Bianchi A. 1993. Pharmacological studies of ‘sapo’ from the frog Phyllomedusa bicolor skin: a drug used by the Peruvian Matses Indians in shamanic hunting practices. Toxicon. 31(9):1099-111.

2.  Vouldoukis I, Shai Y, Nicolas P, Mor A. 1996. Broad spectrum antibiotic activity of the skin-PYY. FEBS Lett. 380(3):237-40.

3.  Pogorzelska J, Łapiński TW. 2017. Toxic hepatitis caused by the excretions of the Phyllomedusa bicolor frog – a case report. Clin Exp Hepatol. 3(1): 33–34.

4. Aquila I, Gratteri S, Sacco MA, Fineschi V, Magi S, Castaldo P, Viscomi G, Amoroso S, Ricci P. 2017. The Biological Effects of Kambo: Is There a Relationship Between its Administration and Sudden Death? J Forensic Sci. Sep 8. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.13641.

5. Labate BC, de Lima EC. 2014. Medical Drug or Shamanic Power Plant: The Uses of Kambô in Brazil. Ponto Urbe [Online], 15. doi: 10.4000/pontourbe.2384

6. de Morais R, Lanaro R, Barbosa IL, Santos MJ, Cunha KF, Hernandes VV, Tessaro EP, Gomes CS, Eberlin MN, Costa JL. (2017). Ayahuasca and kambo intoxication after alternative natural therapy for depression, confirmed by mass spectrometry. Forensic Toxicology.  doi: 10.1007/s11419-017-0394-5.


Additional References

(1)  Daly JW, Caceres J, Moni RW, Gusovsky F, Moos M Jr, Seamon KB, Milton K, Myers CW. 1992. Frog secretions and hunting magic in the upper Amazon: identification of a peptide that interacts with an adenosine receptor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.89(22):10960–10963.

(2)  den Brave PS, Bruins E, Bronkhorst MWGA. 2014. Phyllomedusa bicolor skin secretion and the Kambô ritual. J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis.20:40.

(3)  Erspamer V, Melchiorri P, Falconieri-Erspamer G, Negri L, Corsi R, Severini C, et al. 1989. Deltorphins: a family of naturally occurring peptides with high affinity and selectivity for delta opioid binding sites. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.86(13):5188–92.

(4)  Lacombe C, Cifuentes-Diaz C, Dunia I, Auber-Thomay M, Nicolas P, Amiche M. 2000. Peptide secretion in the cutaneous glands of South American tree frog Phyllomedusa bicolor: an ultrastructural study. Eur J Cell Biol,79(9):631–641.

(5)  Leban V, Kozelj G, Brvar M. 2016. The syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion after giant leaf frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) venom exposure. 120:107-9.


International Association of Kambo Practitioners


Kambo is a secretion from one of the largest Hylid frogs known as the Giant Green Monkey Tree Frog. Its scientific name is Phyllomedusa Bicolor. The secretion is not a sweat nor a poison in the sense that it alone is not capable of causing death or illness. In the Amazon, it is regarded as a medicine however this should not be confused with the western definition of a medicine. Kambo is not a medicine and those that administer it are practitioners and not doctors.


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