Kambo: TGA Bans Deadly Secretion From Frog Used in Shamanic Rituals


Therapeutic Goods Administration has banned a lethal frog mucous used in performing shamanic rituals in Australia.


(Photo : Getty Images)

Prohibition of Kambo 

In “Kambo” events, the skin of a participant is burned and scraped and the mucous secreted by the South American giant leaf frog also called giant monkey frog is massaged into the injuries. Kambo doesn’t have any medicinal benefit and it can be deadly.

The TGA has placed it in the list of a schedule 10 poison, in the group of substances that is as dangerous as it is to health as to authorize the ban of sale, supply as well as use.

It has been noted that Australians have embraced Kambo rituals from South America’s traditional indigenous ceremonies.

A spokesperson said there were reports of deaths as a result of Kambo usage in ceremonies, and for that reason, it was declared dangerous for human use.

The spokesperson noted: “Use of Kambo typically forms part of a ritualistic ceremony, involving burning of the participant’s skin followed by direct application of the substance to the burned regions.” 

Also Read: Some Female Frogs Have Noise-Erasing Lungs to Restrain Calls Of Other Species

Effects of Kambo

There had been uncommon deaths, together with diarrhoea, liver damage, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache and other adverse effects, the spokesperson added.

The TGA found that there is no evidence that Kambo is of any medical importance.

New South Wales police looked into a local woman’s death after suffering a cardiac arrest when a Kambo ceremony in 2019 was ongoing. Australian practitioners can be seen listed on international “accreditation” sites and one can easily find them online.

Guardian Australia has noticed users claim that Kambo is a natural antibiotic and that cleansing oneself with frog secretion can heal and make the mind stronger, these claims are without evidence. Some say it is a “vaccine”. From the Footages of the ceremony, one can see people vomiting afterwards.

In its submission, the Australian Medical Association was in support of the prohibition, saying it sees Kambo as a “significant health risk”.

The AMA’s submission said: “In addition to its harmful effects both intended and adverse, the act of blistering the skin and applying Kambo to the burnt area risks other health concerns such as infection. 

There is also a risk that using Kambo would prevent a patient from seeing a medical practitioner for their medical condition and delay diagnosis.”


(Photo : Getty Images)

How is the Toxic Mucous Harvested From Frog?

Associate professor Grant Davies who is the South Australian health and community services complaints commissioner issued orders pertaining to the prohibition in 2019 against an Australian couple trading as Two Wolves which is a Body for rendering Kambo services.

Davies said their advice was that the mixture was very dangerous to humans, hoping the TGA prohibition would let individuals know of the danger.

While claims of practitioners are that when Kambo is collected the frog is not harmed, the animal must be stressed before it emits the toxic mucous. They do this by stretching the frog or keeping it close to a fire.

Related Article: Scientists Are Worried at Rising Number of Mysterious Frog Deaths in Australia

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