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Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences: Processes of Symbolic Healing and Ecotherapy

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A healing ritual has emerged in the West, based on the appropriation of elements from an indigenous Amazonian ritual involving a psychoactive secretion from the skin of a tree frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) called Kambo. Kambo contains a plethora of bioactive peptides. It is applied via a heat-induced blister, referred to as a vaccination. The administration of Kambo leads to a quick onset of nausea, vomiting and a number of autonomic symptoms, including edema in the face (frog-face), palpitations and hypotension. These physiological effects of Kambo are analyzed as supporting therapeutic processes based in symbolic and transpersonal healing dynamics. Kambo induces a profound parasympathetic state with an intense internal orientation that evokes a number of physiological and emotional processes. This neoshamanistic ritual therapy uses these reactions to engage symbolic healing processes where intense physiological changes produced by Kambo support the experienced symbolism of what is referred to as being “infected by bad influences,” and subsequently being “cleansed” and “vaccinated against them.” Kambo healing involves core transpersonal principles of ecopsychology and ecotherapy that engage the transformative potency of nature in the form of the jungle frog’s venom and produces personal transformation and self-actualization through the intrinsic meanings provided by purging and intensified relations with nature.
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THE JOURNAL OF TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY VOLUME 51 NUMBER 1 2019
ISSN: 0022-524X
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Volume 51
Number 1, 2019
Editor’s Note v
A Memorial Tribute to Ralph Metzner: Scholar,
Teacher, Shaman (18 May 1936 to 14 March 2019) David E. Presti 1
Scientism and Empiricism in Transpersonal
Psychology Paul Cunningham 6
Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences:
Processes of Symbolic Healing and Ecotherapy
Jan M. Keppel
Hesselink, Michael
Winkelman 28
The Meaning of an Initiation Ritual in a
Psychotherapy Training Course
Giovanna Calabrese,
Giulio Rotonda, Pier
Luigi Lattuada 49
Transcending “Transpersonal”: Time to Join the World Jenny Wade 70
Religious or Spiritual Problem? The Clinical
Relevance of Identifying and Measuring Spiritual
Emergency
Kylie P. Harris, Adam J.
Rock, Gavin I. Clark 89
Book Reviews
The Sacred Path of the Therapist: Modern Healing, Ancient
Wisdom, and Client Transformation. Irene R. Siegel Irene Lazarus 119
The Red Book Hours: Discovering C.G. Jung’s Art Mediums
and Creative Process. Jill Mellick Janice Geller 124
Psychology Without Spirit: The Freudian Quandary. Samuel
Bendeck Sotillos Binita Mehta 127
Books Our Editors Are Reading: A Retrospective
View The second decade (1980-1989) 132
VACCINATION WITH KAMBO AGAINST BAD
INFLUENCES: PROCESSES OF SYMBOLIC HEALING AND
ECOTHERAPY
Jan M. Keppel Hesselink, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D.
Bosch en Duin, the Netherlands
Michael Winkelman, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Piren´
opolis, Goia
´s, Brazil
ABSTRACT: A healing ritual has emerged in the West, based on the appropriation of elements
from an indigenous Amazonian ritual involving a psychoactive secretion from the skin of a tree
frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) called Kambo. Kambo contains a plethora of bioactive peptides. It is
applied via a heat-induced blister, referred to as a vaccination. The administration of Kambo leads
to a quick onset of nausea, vomiting and a number of autonomic symptoms, including edema in
the face (frog-face), palpitations and hypotension. These physiological effects of Kambo are
analyzed as supporting therapeutic processes based in symbolic and transpersonal healing
dynamics. Kambo induces a profound parasympathetic state with an intense internal orientation
that evokes a number of physiological and emotional processes. This neoshamanistic ritual therapy
uses these reactions to engage symbolic healing processes where intense physiological changes
produced by Kambo support the experienced symbolism of what is referred to as being ‘‘infected
by bad influences,’’ and subsequently being ‘‘cleansed’’ and ‘‘ vaccinated against them.’’ Kambo
healing involves core transpersonal principles of ecopsychology and ecotherapy that engage the
transformative potency of nature in the form of the jungle frog’s venom and produces personal
transformation and self-actualization through the intrinsic meanings provided by purging and
intensified relations with nature.
KEYWORDS: Kambo, transpersonal healing, symbolic healing, shamanistic healing, Sapo,
ecopsychology
The Kambo Vaccine
Kambo or Sapo is the name of a gland secretion of the Amazonian tree frog
Phyllomedusa bicolor, a secretion that has a great protective effect against
predators. The secretion is referred to as Kambo (also kampo and kampu) in
Amazonian languages, as well as Sapo, meaning toad, in Spanish and Portuguese.
The peptides isolated from Kambo include adenoregulin, bombesin, bombesin-
nonapeptide, bradykinin, caerulein, deltorphin, dermorphin, neurokinin B,
phyllomedusin, phyllocaerulein, phyllokinin, phyllolitorin, preprotachykinin B,
ranatachykinin A, sauvagine, T-kinin and urechistachykinin II (de Morais et al.,
2018). The secretion also contains deltorphin, dermorphin and caerulin, peptides
with a high affinity for different opioid receptors, with analgesic effects in animals
28 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019, Vol. 51, No. 1
jan@neuropathie.nu
michaeljwinkelman@gmail.com
The authors thank the JTP editor, editorial staff, and the reviewers for the many helpful comments in improving
this manuscript.
Copyright !2019 Transpersonal Institute
and humans (see Keppel Hesselink, 2018a for review). These are distinct
compounds from secretions of the toad Bufo alvarius, which contains psychedelic
tryptamines 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin (Erspamer, Vitali, Roseghini, & Cei 1967;
Weil & Davis, 1994).
The administration of Kambo is referred to as Vacina do Sapo,afrog vaccination
that is thought to cause the body to expel bad influences and restore optimal health.
Kambo’s bioactive peptides have their main pharmacological activity on the
gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and nervous systems. Kambo does not contain
compounds that are commonly recognized agents for producing an alteration of
consciousness, but includes dermorphin and two other neuropeptides that stimulate
different opioid receptors (caerulein and deltorphin), which thus may induce
alterations of consciousness. Kambo’s active constituents produce sweating and
vomiting and many users attest to profound changes in experience that produce
therapeutic outcomes.
Over the last several decades the secretion has been increasingly used in the West
in neoshamanistic settings for healing purposes, often administered in urban ritual
settings by certified therapists or practitioners. A controlled setting is important, as
the pharmacological effects of the administration of Kambo can be quite intense,
and in rare cases have led to hospital admission. A recent paper examines the side-
effect profile and provides a brief review of problematic cases based on published
case-reports (Keppel Hesselink, 2018c). However, the effects in the vast majority
of cases are not problematic, limited to nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure,
palpitations, and edema that start within minutes of application and normally last
for less than one hour. Here we focus on Kambo’s indigenous roots in the Amazon
and its transformation in Brazil from a hunting ritual into a neo-shamanic symbolic
and transpersonal healing ritual that was exported to Western countries.
This article documents the transformation of the Kambo ritual from a simple self-
administration by a hunter to overcome bad luck into a neoshamanistic healing
practice where physiological responses and symbols of nature provide mechanisms
for multiple levels of therapeutic and transpersonal transformation. Kambo healing
processes are shown to exemplify the transpersonal principles emphasized by
Hartelius, Rothe, and Roy (2013) as involving an enhancement of human well-
being by experiencing elements of the psyche as deriving from relationships with
ecological dimensions and nature. Kambo ritual exemplifies transpersonal healing
in shifting consciousness beyond the limits of personal identity and ego by
incorporating nature’s power as manifested in the qualities of a frog and its
protective and cleansing secretion. This incorporation of the frog’s influences
produces a personal transformation through a rebalancing at physiological,
emotional, psychological and spiritual levels that exemplifies transpersonal healing.
Kambo rituals are shown to engage transpersonal psychology’s concern with the
individual’s search for growth through an encounter with the personalized powers
of nature. Natural and cultural symbols associated with the frog’s venom and its
intrinsic effects provided by purging produce transformative changes in self-
experience and personal meaning. Kambo healing is analyzed as involving
symbolic processes integrating nature’s powers, using the frog and its jungle habitat
29Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences
as a natural symbolic system for engaging one’s individual psychodynamics and
potentials for self-transformation. Kambo therapy is shown to address collective
psychological crises afflicting modern humans through an ecopsychology approach
that restores well-being through the frog’s inherent properties to transform the
experience of body and self.
Some of the key terms in our paper involve transformation of ritual, transpersonal
dynamics, and personal transformation.
1. By transformation of a ritual we mean the changing of the form/shape of the
ritual: from a simple administration of Kambo by a fellow tribe member into a
neoshamanic ritual where the context has been constructed by the Kambo
practitioner based on a variety of contrived cultural elements, including such
disparate elements as beliefs from the Hindi religion and the cultures of the Native
Americans.
2. The term ‘transpersonal’ we use in the sense as relating to consciousness beyond
the limits of personal identity (ego). We emphasize the principles of the
transpersonal perspectives (see Hartelius, Rothe, and Roy, 2013) that involve
engagement with the development of the human potential beyond the ego to
achieve optimal levels of well-being by experiencing the psyche and soul as
deriving elements from the larger context of the interconnected relationship to the
social and ecological situation.
3. We use the term ‘personal transformation’ to emphasize the fact that the person
undergoing the ritual strives to obtain a spiritual and emotional-physical balance,
and leave the old contaminated state of his/her body-mind.
The Kambo Ritual: Its Origins Described by Tastevin
The missionary Constantin Tastevin appears to be the first author reporting on the
Kambo ritual, describing in 1925 the purpose of administering the frog’s secretion,
which he referred to as Kachinaua campon. We quote Tastevin (1925) describing
the administration of Kambo and its consequences:
When an Indian becomes ill, becomes thin, pale and swollen; when he is long
unlucky in hunting, it is because in his body resides a bad principle which must
be expelled. Early in the morning before dawn, while still fasting, the sick and
the unlucky hunter produce small scars on the arm or belly with the tip of a
burning stick, which are then vaccinated with the ‘‘milk’’ of frog, as they say.
Soon they are seized with violent nausea and diarrhea starts; the bad principle
leaves his body by all the exits. [As a result] the patient returns to being big and
fat and recovers his color and the unlucky man finds more game than he can
bring back. No animal escapes from his sharp sight, his ear perceives the
smallest noises, and his weapon does not miss the target. (p. 19-20, translated
from the French by author JMKH)
In this first description, both curing as well as magical aspects are described: The
person was ill before (thin, pale and swollen; perhaps an indication for a protein or
vitamin B deficiency) and was unlucky in hunting due to a bad principle in his
body. After being ‘‘vaccinated’’ the person became ‘‘big and fat’’ and the bad
30 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019, Vol. 51, No. 1
principle left his body. His hunting skills returned and he brought back more meat
than he could eat himself. The basis of Kambo as a vaccine against ‘‘evil’’ external
influences thus can be found in the original cultures using the secretion, where
Kambo is also known as the frog’s vaccine. (https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacina_
do_sapo). The frequently occurring pharmacological effects of Kambo are also
mentioned: nausea, vomiting, sweating, diarrhea, and edema as in Quicke’s edema
– swelling of parts of face and especially the lips. Vomiting, sweating and diarrhea
are supposed to cleanse the body of the ‘‘bad principle’’ that is expelled from the
body, resulting in a more vigorous state of health.
There are some indications in this first narrative suggesting that the initial
application of the frog’s secretion might be performed in a broader context of
curing and healing ritual. However, there was no mention of the role of a shaman in
applying the Kambo to the patient.
Kambo: Anthropological Observations
The anthropologist Robert Carneiro, curator of the American Museum of Natural
History, appears to have provided the first academic publication on Kambo,
revealing that secretions of a frog were used as hunting magic by the Amahuaca
people from the upper Amazon, around the border of Brazil and Peru. According to
Carneiro (1970), the 1900 Amahuaca population consisted of around 7000 people,
but by 1970 this was reduced to 500. The Amahuaca lived in small settlements of
approximately 15 people. At that time, they were without headman or shaman in
the group. Approximately 40% of all food consumed came from game hunting
using bow and arrow, with tapirs and monkeys being the most important targets.
Based on his earlier field work (Carneiro, 1962), Carneiro (1970) reported on the
various aspects of hunting magic among the Amahuaca. The hunter, for instance,
could drink a tea brewed from the toxic plant Rauwolfia, or from the excretion of a
boa constrictor. One more intense method was to find a nest of wasps, cut it open
and expose one’s self to many stings of the wasps. For some days, the hunter would
be very ill and swollen from the effect of the stings, but it was thought that the
hunter emerges from this intense treatment as a better hunter.
Carneiro considered Kambo to be the strongest hunting magic of the Amahuaca; he
wrote: ‘‘But the strongest hunting magic of all is for a man to inoculate himself with
the very toxic secretion of a small frog, which the Amahuaca call Kambo. This
secretion is scraped off the back of the frog with a stick. Then, taking a live brand, a
man burns himself in several places on the arms or chest, and rubs this secretion
into the burns. Within a short time, he becomes violently ill, suffering
uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea. For the next three days, while under the
influence of the toxin, he has vivid hallucinations that are regarded as supernatural
experiences. When he finally recovers, he is convinced that his hunting is bound to
improve’’ (1970, p. 340). In this anthropological description of Kambo, we find no
indications of any shamanic influence; rather the inoculation was done by the
hunter himself. Carneiro suggested the frog was related to Phyllobates bicolor from
Colombia, whose secretion was used by the Choco Indians to poison their blowgun
31Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences
darts. Only later investigations clarified that the frog used was not related to the
Phyllobates genus, nor are there vivid hallucinations normally reported after
applications of Kambo.
Carneiro witnessed some aspects of magic hunting ritual, such as putting blood on
chonta palm bowstring. But according to Peter Gorman, Carneiro had only heard
about other aspects of hunting ritual, including the use of Kambo (Peter Gorman,
personal communication to JMKH, 28 October 2018). Peter Gorman, an
avocational anthropologist and explorer who had used Kambo with the Matses,
was the first to provide Kambo (the secretion of the frog applied on a Kambo stick)
to scientific groups in the USA and Italy for research purposes. Peter Gorman
informed me (JMKH, personal communication, 28 October 2018) that neither
Carneiro, nor Erspamer, nor the others who later published on the frog secretion
had ever seen the frog, ever seen the medicine used, or ever used it themselves.
Early Descriptions of Kambo Effects by Pharmacologists
Although there were many pharmacological observations on the secretion of the
frog published already, these were all based on the dried skin of the frog, such as
the results published by the group of Erspamer in Italy (Anastasi & Erspamer,
1970). Only later, in the early 1990s, the analysis of the compounds on an original
Kambo stick were described by the Italian and an USA group, who analyzed the
frog secretions provided by Peter Gorman, collected as early as 1986. Subsequently
the link between the Kambo ritual and the bioactive peptides in the secretion of the
frog began to become known.
In 1992 Daly and researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda
(USA), the University of California Department of Anthropology (USA), and the
American Museum of Natural History (USA) summarized what was known at that
time about this secretion and hunting ritual (Daly et al., 1992). They also identified
the secretion of the frog as originating from the skin of the Phylomedusa bicolor.
Daly et al. related that the ritual was reported to still exist among Amazonian
groups, including the Brazilian Mayoruna and the Amahuaca and Matses people of
the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon. The procedure was described as follows:
secretions of the frog were scraped from its skin, dried and stored on a wooden
stick. This procedure did not kill the frog, which was subsequently released. In the
treatment, the secretion was applied on fresh blister wounds produced by a small
burning stick. The dried secretion was first mixed with saliva, and then introduced
into a line of fresh burns on the arms or chest. Within minutes the pharmacological
effects of the secretion start, mostly as a violent reaction, with rapid pulse,
incontinence and vomiting, which normally last for less than one hour.
Subsequently the recipient enters a state of listlessness and sleeps for some days.
The final effect is a euphoric state, perhaps qualifying as an altered state of
consciousness (ASC), and the recipient later testifies to have become a more
successful hunter, partly due to improved stamina and keener senses. Some of the
effects reported by Carneiro, such as vivid hallucinations, were never reported by
later observers. Reported hallucinations might have been the result of higher doses
or the concomitant use of hallucinogenic substances, most probably Ayahuasca.
32 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019, Vol. 51, No. 1
Also in the description of Daly et al. there was no shamanic context mentioned as
involved in the application of Kambo.
In 1993 Erspamer and colleagues published a paper where they referred to
‘‘shamanic hunting practices’’:‘‘Pharmacological studies of ‘sapo’ from the frog
Phyllomedusa bicolor skin: a drug used by the Peruvian Matses Indians in
shamanic hunting practices’’ (Erspamer et al., 1993). Here the word ‘‘sapo’’ was
wrongly introduced based on the mistaken classification of the Indians from the
frog as a toad, as sapo means toad. For the description of the ritual they referred to
an article of Peter Gorman (1990), who described the use of Kambo among the
Matses, and related his own experiences after the use of Kambo as the urge for
vomiting and incontinence, an alarmingly rapid heartbeat, intense sweating, fearful
incapacitation, and near delirium, qualifying as a clear ASC. After a day’s rest, he
recuperated and felt quite godlike in strength and acuteness of the senses. Based on
Gorman’s testimonies, Erspamer et al. (1993, p. 1102) pointed out that it is
suggested (not clear by whom JMKH) that the drastic cleaning out of the body
(vomiting, diarrhea, urination, sweating) observed in the first phase of the sapo
application, with alleged elimination of ‘toxin’, may have some magic effect in
itself and may heighten the effects of other drugs possibly taken prior to, or
together with, sapo. Among other things, by cleansing the body, Matses hunters
would lose their human odor in the short time, making it easier to approach and
capture the prey. Erspamer et al. further thought it was possible that before or after
the administration of the frog vaccine, the Matses (and especially the Amahuaca)
took other compounds such as ayahuasca or nu-nu snuff (based on Nicotiana
rustica), plants with hallucinogenic effects.
Although Erspamer used the phrase ‘‘shamanic hunting practices,’’ there were no
references made to any source suggesting the use of Kambo occurred in a shamanic
context. Gorman communicated to JMKH that he never knew the Matses/
Mayoruna to have a shamanic concept around Kambo use. He stated: ‘‘Not saying
they didn’t, but I never saw it in the time I spent with them, which was a month per
year, mostly, for about 7 years, and then several weeks a year in the last 20 years.
Pablo was the man who knew the plants best, and the guy who could talk with
animals. But to him it was just who he was.’’ Gorman was not certain where the
idea of a shamanic context expressed by Erspamer et al. (1993) originated (personal
information, 28 October 2018). Erspamer probably used the word shamanic as a
synonym for magical.
Erspamer et al. (1993) had discovered that the skin of this specific frog contains a
variety of highly concentrated vasoactive peptides such as phyllocaerulein,
phyllokinin, and phyllomedusin and moderate levels of sauvagine. Furthermore,
small amounts of deltorphins were found. Daily et al. (1992) also looked for
peptides that could explain the clinical effects caused by the application of the
secretion and they identified a new peptide, named adenoregulin, due to its affinity
for the adenoreceptor. Step by step more bioactive peptides were isolated and
characterized, including dermorphine and caerulein (cerulitide), compounds with
analgesic properties and high affinity for the mu-opioid receptor. In a recent
analysis of a Kambo stick, sixteen potently active peptides were detected:
adenoregulin, bombesin, bombesin-nonapeptide, bradykinin, caerulein, deltorphin,
33Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences
neurokinin B, phyllomedusin, phyllocaerulein, phyllokinin, phyllolitorin, prepro-
tachykinin B, ranatachykinin A, sauvagine, T-kinin and urechistachykinin II (de
Morais et al., 2018).
The pharmacological effects of Kambo are due to the various peptides components,
as well as interactions among the entire cocktail of peptides, either at the receptor
level or at the level of the plasma kinetics of the compounds. The major and
immediate symptoms emerging after the application of Kambo are all easily
explainable based on the known pharmacological activity of the vasoactive,
gastrointestinal, and neuroactive peptides. It is important to state that the transient
syndrome of many different symptoms after the application of Kambo is
explainable based on these pharmacological effects. These do not, however,
involve a state of intoxication or an anaphylactic shock, although it may look like
an intoxication or anaphylactic shock from the phenomenological/symptomatolog-
ical point of view.
The general peripheral pharmacological effects induced by the administration of
Kambo are cardiovascular (mostly hypotension, tachycardia) and gastrointestinal
effects via smooth muscle contraction, and enhancement of gastric and pancreatic
secretions. For instance, caerulein induces symptoms such as nausea, vomiting,
facial flush, tachycardia, changes in blood pressure, sweating, abdominal
discomfort and urge for defecation. Caerulein also leads to contraction of the
gall bladder, a reason for the yellow vomit (interpreted as ‘‘cleansing the liver’’).
Persons experiencing the yellow vomit see this as a cleanse of the gallbladder-liver
system. This yellow liquid results from the physiological contraction of the gall
bladder and the propulsion of gall fluid into the intestines; the expulsion of yellow
vomit has no known healing or cleansing effects on the liver.
Phyllokinin is more potent than the reference compound bradykinin in lowering
blood pressure, also giving rise to compensatory increase of the cardiac frequency.
Phyllomedusin also lowers blood pressure, activates salivation and stimulates
intestinal motility. Sauvagine has a comparable, but more intense hypotensive
effect, leading also to diarrhea. Sauvagine also has a potent vasodilator effect that
might enhance the penetration of dermorphin and other neuro-active peptides into
the central nervous system, perhaps contributing to the euphoric feeling after a
Kambo-session. (Erspamer et al., 1993). In addition to these peptides, other
peptides such as adenoregulins and dermaseptins have been found with
antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer properties (Amiche, Seon, Wroblewski, &
Nicolas, 2000; Cao, Zhou, Ma, Luo, & Wei, 2005; van Zoggel et al., 2012). These
properties stimulate some users’ imagination and further support the perception of
Kambo as a vaccine against many disorders, including infectious diseases.
However, these properties are solely derived from animal studies and to date no
clinical studies have been conducted to evaluate these properties for human
conditions.
In Table 1 we summarize the physiological effects of the 3 main peptides of Kambo
on the body, as well as what we view as the symbolic representations in the
experiences of the users. Although many users report medical benefits for a wide
34 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019, Vol. 51, No. 1
array of diseases and symptoms, there are no clear case reports of curing claims
available for closer studying.
These physiological effects may also provoke various forms of endogenous
healing responses. The effects of Kambo are mediated by activation of both the
parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, involving massive shifts in
activity and balance within the autonomic nervous system (ANS). These shifts in
the balance of the ANS are found in many ritual treatment processes involving
alterations of consciousness, and provide additional healing mechanisms for
hypertension and stress-related disorders (Winkelman, 2010, chapter 5). This
parasympathetic dominant state is a key feature of most alterations of
consciousness, a period of repose in which the person has an intense internal
focus of attention. These Kambo-induced experiences are powerful pharmaco-
logical transformations of consciousness, exemplified in the parasympathetic
dominant conditions manifested in the reclined, internally oriented—and even
sleeping state.
Kambo’s Transformation in the West into a Neoshamanistic Ritual
This initial use of Kambo as described by Tastevin (1925) was self-application by
the hunter or the diseased person (both afflicted by an external bad influence,
panema). It was not part of a ritual led by a shaman. It was only later on in the
context of appropriation and diffusion that shamanism started to be linked to
Kambo, initially apparently via a myth. The anthropologist Labate (2012) claimed
that a Kaxinawa
´(member of an indigenous group of Brazil and Peru) once said
‘‘Kampu was a shaman who died and became a frog. Before dying, he said: ‘I’ll
help cure diseases’.’’ Labate and Lima (2014) also conveyed the indigenous beliefs
that before you can capture a frog, you have to talk to it, and only a shaman can
catch the frog.
The Urbanization of Kambo
Labate (2012; also, see Lima and Labate, 2008) reports that this non-shamanic but
magical use of the Kambo secretion by indigenous groups was diffused into urban
Brazilian environments in the 1990s by Francisco Gomes, a rubber tapper who
lived a few years with the Katukina people. Labate (2012) reviews evidence that
the networks of the Brazilian Ayahuasca churches, specifically the Unia
˜o do
TABLE 1
Effects of Three Main Bioactive Peptides from Kambo
Compound Physiological effect Symbolic representation
Caerulein Nausea, vomiting, bile-secretion, sweating Cleansing and detox
Sauvagine Activation of corticotropic hormones (CRF),
hypotension, diarrhea
Immune-enhancing, cleansing
Dermorphine Activation endogenous opioid system:
fearlessness, analgesia, endurance
Stamina, euphoria, feeling as a God
35Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences
Vegetal (UDV) and Cefluris/Santo Daime, were instrumental in the diffusion of
Kambo both in Brazil and internationally. Labate reports that Gomes was
accompanied by a UDV group as he visited various Brazilian cities in the states of
Rondˆ
onia, Minas Gerais, and Sa
˜o Paulo, and also visited the Santo Daime church in
several states. One of the authors (MW) was introduced to Kambo on the grounds
of a Santo Daime temple in the state of Goia
´s.
In the beginning of this century, Menezes, an acupuncture therapist, learned the
Kambo application from Gomes (Labate, 2012; Lima & Labate, 2008, 2014).
Menezes introduced the ritual in the clinic of a psychiatrist. He worked according
to the practices of Stanislav Grof, but created his own mix referred to as
‘Psychotherapy of Enchantment’, also inspired by Jungian psychology, alchemy,
hyperventilation, and shamanism. Here we first find the embedding of Kambo use
in a neoshamanistic healing context. According to Labate (2012) Menezes
characterized Kambo as ‘a powerful natural energizer, increasing the efficiency of
the immune system, and as a ‘divine being’, creating ‘healing according to the
merit of each person’; Labate (2012) also pointed out that there is clear influence of
ideas from the Santo Daime (a Brazilian church using Ayahuasca as a sacrament).
She reports that Kambo was subsequently presented by Menezes at the First
Meeting of Brazilian Shamanism, organized by Santo Daime church in Sa
˜o Paulo;
there, Professor Edilene Coffaci de Lima, an anthropologist of the University of
Parana
´, Brazil, expressed the view that around that time the ‘‘shamanization of
Kambo’’ took place.
When indigenous Amazonian people used Kambo to overcome bad luck in
hunting and against negative influences, Kambo could be applied by anyone. In
the environment of the cities, however, Kambo started to be positioned
(marketed) as related to secret knowledge and initiations, typically performed
by a neoshaman. Kambo was presented as an indigenous Amazonian healing
power, filtered through the frontier culture of rubber trappers, creating a hybrid
culture around Kambo that evoked the power of nature and ancestral traditions. In
this context Kambo was advocated and used as a cure capable of combating all
kinds of diseases and evils (curing and healing). By the beginning of this century
there was a transformation of Kambo from being a magical intervention to
improve hunting luck and remove bad influences (panema) into a more general
neo-shamanistic and transpersonal ritual related to healing and personal
transformation, and sometimes also to cure disease.
The Globalization of Kambo
During the last two decades increasing numbers of therapists and practitioners offer
Kambo in Europe and the U.S. as a main part of a neo-shamanic healing ritual.
Kambo came to the West via the routes opened by ayahuasca (Labate, 2012), a
psychedelic brew that is also used in religious rituals for integrating and connecting
with the higher Self. This international diffusion was facilitated through networks
of the Brazilian Ayahuasca religions (Matas, 2014). In many Western rituals of
more than one day, Kambo is combined with ayahuasca, or with other ‘teacher-
plants’ as they are referred to, such as iboga or peyote.
36 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019, Vol. 51, No. 1
There are recordings of many such rituals available on YouTube (for example see
https://youtu.be/Ox8RYDIYISA; https://youtu.be/EeaVBZI4ak0; and https://youtu.
be/5u9ehQ2k3RA), which show the many forms of ritual associated with the
application of the Kambo. These include the very simple rituals sometimes used in
Brazil, where there is no preparation whatsoever, and even an isolated case of the
application of only one Kambo dot on one freshly created blister in order to see
whether the common cold symptoms would disappear. (NN 1) More frequently,
however, Kambo is applied to several dots, depending on its strength (three to five
dots of Kambo from first cycle of ‘milking the frog’ and sometimes more dots if the
secretion is diluted).
In most Western cases, however, it is a neoshamanistic ritual that guides the
experiences. In these above cited YouTube videos, the testimonies emphasized that
Kambo is an ‘‘ancestral medicine’’ and the participant in the ritual stated that it
‘‘helped to heal her family and herself, and to remember that the only and
wonderful mission of life, is also the simplest: WE HAVE COME TO LIVE’’ (NN
2). She said she wanted to share her experience, so that the divine inspiration of
existence could be shared with others. The therapist in this YouTube movie refers
to herself as therapist of ancestral medicine. The movie documents the preparation
of Kambo during the initial phase, including drinking water, and tells the story of
Kambo rituals accompanied by ritual songs of shamans.
Healing Processes in Kambo Rituals
Practitioners, as well as participants, say that the essence of the Kambo ritual is to
improve physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of our being through eliminating
toxic influences. Kambo treatment emphasizes that the liver is the problem, as this
organ has to digest all toxins and negative emotions, and cannot function properly
when contaminated. These toxic influences on the heart make one feel heavy. Clean
the liver with Kambo, and your heart opens again. Kambo beliefs are expressed via
the metaphor of liver cleansing, due to the idea that gall cleanses the liver and
should then be expelled; this is exemplified in the yellow vomiting which is seen as
a sign of bile discharged from the liver cleansing.
The Kambo ritual has been transformed in the West into an eclectic shamanistic
healing ritual. It is mostly said to be a cleansing ritual, and the cleansing is not only
of a physical nature, but also emotional and spiritual. This echoes Erspamer et al.’s
(1993) observations that the Kambo secretion has the effect of a ‘‘drastic cleaning
out of the body’’ (p.1102). One of the authors (JMKH) is member of a number of
Kambo FaceBook (FB) groups and participated in many discussions on the essence
and value of Kambo since early 2018. In one closed FB group on Kambo Healing, a
well-trained therapist pointed out that the activity of Kambo cannot be compared
with normal pharmacological compounds. We excerpted his explanation of why
this is the case: ‘‘Synthetic pharmaceuticals (medications) always work against the
body (symptom suppression) but the ‘symptoms’ are actually the self-healing
attempts of the body and are therefore inherently toxic. Kamb ˆ
o is a medicine, not
some form of medication, and actual medicine has no negative side effects. It’s two
different worlds.’’ He proceeded explaining: ‘‘the work of the frog is not ‘dose-
37Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences
dependent’ but based on what a person needs, and is ready for, at a given point in
time, also taking into account the capabilities of the facilitators and the properties
of the environment.’’
The frog is seen to actively interfere in the body after the Kambo application, as
one FB case described: ‘‘Her session was one of the longest sessions I have held -
lots of short purges intermittently over a two-hour period of time. It was obvious
the Frog was being gentle with her while slowly collecting the toxins throughout
her body and she was having severe cramping in her womb, very sharp pain. And
we asked the Frog to do that work - it was a very strong intention setting’’ (Kambo
Healing closed FaceBook Group visited 28 November 2018).
In many anthropological analyses of healing rituals, it is suggested that rituals are
effective (e.g., Dow, 1986; Waldram, 2000; Winkelman, 2010). This effectiveness is
not, however, based on evaluations through clinical studies, which are not the optimal
test paradigm in this case. Effectiveness of a healing ritual is not based on the overall
effect on a population of patients, but rather on the basis of a perceived (healing or
curing) effect by an individual participant, or by both the participant and the healer.
Explanation of the underlying healing mechanisms elicited by the Kambo ritual
presents challenges. These challenges begin with the claims of successfully treating
people with such diverse conditions as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress
disorder; chronic fatigue and chronic pain; cancers and auto-immune disorders;
fertility issues; HIV, herpes and candida; chronic conditions of arthritis, diabetes,
and high blood pressure; recurrent infections; alcoholism and other addictions; and
many more (see Keppel Hesselink 2018b, 2018c). How could a remedy appear to
effectively address such varied conditions? While the rich pharmacology of Kambo
may ultimately provide biological mechanisms for some of the diverse effects
reported, we suggest that another set of processes are primarily involved.
Symbolic Healing Processes
The widespread appearance of efficacy in ritual healing activities can be explained
in terms of what Dow (1986) described as symbolic healing—universal and innate
psychological processes through which symbols effect changes in both mind and
the body. These psychological processes are elicited and manipulated through ritual
healing interactions that symbolically manipulate the psychophysiological
associations among attachments, emotions, and beliefs (see Winkelman, 2008,
chapter 8 and Winkelman, 2010, chapter 5).
Dow (1986) proposed that the universal mechanisms of symbolic healing involved:
1) the establishment of a generalized mythic world, a set of shared explanations
regarding the nature of the patient’s problem;
2) the persuasion of the patient to particularize his or her problems within that
mythic world;
3) the ritual processes attaching the patient’s emotions to the mythic world
symbols; and
38 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019, Vol. 51, No. 1
4) the ritual manipulation of symbols and self-dynamics to produce emotional
transformations.
Establishment of a generalized mythic world. In symbolic healing, the healer
and ritual engage a commonly held mythic system that expresses the patient’s
condition, particularly the psychophysiological dynamics. In the case of Kambo
healing, the shared metaphors involve: the belief in the power of nature in a jungle
medicine from the frog and its many associated powers; and the removal of
negative influences, especially contaminations, through vomiting. The embedding
of Kambo use within a neoshamanistic healing context that occurred in its
urbanization involved a deliberate transformation from a hunting medicine into a
broader indigenous Amazonian healing power that integrated indigenous Native
American, nature and ancestral identities.
Persuasion of the Patient to the Mythic World. This Indianization of Kambo
as a doctor of the forest, so to speak, provided a traditional value orientation that
dovetails with the seekers’ (Kambo users’) desire for a connection with the spiritual
and natural healing dimensions that Kambo provides. The healer persuades through
the marketing of Kambo as an indigenous, ancestral, natural Amazonian remedy.
The patient engages in a self-persuasion via the seeking of a remedy that promises
the qualities of personal relief that they seek. The emergence of a frog face early
during the ritual is used to reinforce the mythic/magic intuiting of the receiver that
the frog (via the secretion) scans the state of the body, finds and dissolves blocks,
and reboots the system.
Ritual Processes Attaching the Patient’s Emotions. The ritual processes
engage the attachments of the patient’s emotions within these internalized mythic
systems of meaning. In the treatment with Kambo, the purgative effect produces an
archetypically based release of psychic contaminations through the cathartic
processes of vomiting. The typical vomiting, as well as effects such as the diarrhea,
are perceived as direct evidence of the power of the cleansing ritual and the
removal of toxins from the body. These physiological mechanisms of the Kambo-
induced experience are prominent in people’s interpretation of the mechanisms of
the transformational experiences. One participant writes: ‘‘It is a deeply purgative
substance, causing one to vomit primarily, though purging can take the form of
crying, diarrhea, sweating and so on. One never knows quite what Frog has in store.
The cleansing and healing principle is identified and referred to as ‘Frog’, with
capitals’’ (NN 3).
Ritual Manipulations and Emotional Transformations. The healing ritual
transforms the patient emotionally through manipulating the symbols of cleansing
that provide a dis-engagement with problematic aspects of one’s personal
psychology and self. A powerful catharsis of emotions is provided in the dramatic
evidence of the contaminants leaving in the vomiting, an inherent cleansing
process. Another statement strongly points to this power of analogical reasoning in
healing, using the transference of the frog’s qualities and the context of its jungle
home into a potent force for personal transformation: ‘‘Kambo is a very powerful
medicine that also really helps with fear that so many of us have. The Kambo frog
has no known predators in the Amazon, so this bad ass is kind of like the king of the
39Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences
jungle. Kambo not only helps cleanse your physical body, but also your emotional
and spiritual body. It has been known to help shift negative thought patterns, and
also purge out unwanted energies we may be holding on to’’ (closed Kambo
Healing FaceBook group, visited 28 November 2018).
Purging as Symbolic Healing
Moerman et al. (1979), in a seminal article on the anthropology of symbolic
healing, pointed out that just prior to the scientific development of medicine in
the West, the majority of diseases were treated with calomel (mercurous
chloride), which has the physiological effect of purging. It was this dramatic
physiological effect combined with the metaphoric interpretation of expulsion
of stomach contents that was presumed to lead to efficacy in the treatment of
diverse conditions. Moerman, et al. pointed out that in the traditional healing
contexts of North America and northern Asia, sickness was seen as the result of
abadinuenceenteringthebody.Thecentralmetaphorofhealingwasthe
removal of this bad influence as a ‘‘thing’’ that is removed from the body. He
elaborated the ideas of Hudson (1975) who explained the Cherokee view of
vomiting as a means of cleansing the body system; rather than just a metaphor,
curing involved the actual removal of something identified as malevolent
influence.
This emetic effect of mercurous chloride parallels the administration of Kambo to
expel panema (bad energy) via vomiting, sweating and diarrhea. Moerman et al.
noted that most symbolic healing rituals have no physiological consequences,
making it hard to understand how exactly the symbols reached the body and
triggered healing/curing. In contrast, mercurous chloride and Kambo trigger a
plethora of physiological effects, which provide additional vehicles for inducing
physiological changes that can be used for signifying the effects of the healing
processes.
The Analogy with San Pedro Cactus
Joralemon (1984) proposed the concept of influencing the autonomic nervous
system as an explanation for the overall physiological effect of ritual healing based
on the ritual use of a hallucinogenic plant, the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis
pachanoi formerly known as Trichocereus pachanoi). He stresses that the ‘‘organic
response’’ together with the ‘‘symbolic message’’ are playing key roles in the
purificatory connotations of the ritual. In Joralemon’s study, most of the people
treated by the shaman with this plant, however, were underdosed and did not report
any hallucinations. It was the nausea, vomiting and coughing that were reported as
most memorable effects by the participants, who characterized their experience of
the ritual as ‘‘a purificatory cleansing ordeal’’ (Joralemon, p.406).
The curanderos (healers) of the Peruvian cleansing ritual also commonly diagnosis
the patients as suffering from dano (harm), a toxic influence generally attributed to
sorcery. Thus, the purificatory symbolic ritual is appropriate; the body is being
purged of the externally derived harmful substances (comparable to the Kambo
40 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019, Vol. 51, No. 1
expelling the panema). The Peruvian shaman used the word limpiar, meaning to
cleanse, in reference to the purpose and the effects of taking San Pedro, including
its diarrheic effects. Joralemon discusses the activation of divisions of the
autonomic nervous system, both sympathetic as well as parasympathetic, and
especially identifies the sympathetic division of the autonomous nervous system as
an important driver of the results of the San Pedro ritual. However, Joralemon does
not detail the exact mechanisms of healing.
Joralemon also proposes that endogenous healing mechanisms such as the
endorphine system, are triggered by such healing rituals, inducing antidysphoric
and antidepressant effects. Joralemon highlights the fact that it is the patients’
organic responses to the ritual’s physiological stimuli on the one hand, together
with its symbolism on the other hand, that leads to the healing effects.
This is also the case with Kambo: Both the peptides’ physiological effects, as
well as the symbolic message of expelling a ‘‘bad influence’’ from the body (due
to the frog’s alleged spiritual effects), are perceived by the user as a coherent
account of their healing. This is why ritual healing is so plausible—and
apparently effective–for most people; it is the purification-by-ordeal (as it is
called by Joralemon), combined with the patient’s expectations, that contributes
to successful treatment. The fact that it is believed by practitioners and users that
the physiological effects are caused after the activation of an internal bodyscan
by the spirit of the frog, taken together with the emergence of a frog-face within
some minutes after Kambo intake (due to the facial edema with protruded eyes),
provides further symbolic support for the impact of the ritual. Furthermore, there
is power to persuade the user of the various pharmacological properties of the
peptides, which not only induce the various sympathetic and parasympathetic
effects, but also have profound effects on the endocrine and immune-system via
the influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary and adrenal gland physiology
(Vaudry et al., 1999; Tan, Vaughan, Perrin, Rivier, & Sawchenko, 2017).
Pharmacology and Neurophenomenology of Kambo Healing
There are healing dynamics derived from the interpretation of the pharmacological
effects of Kambo. The dominant global effect of the Kambo administration,
following emesis, is to quickly put the person into a period of internal focus and
relaxation, a powerful parasympathetic reaction inducing even sleep. Within an
hour most of these acute effects vanish, and the user generally begins to feel reborn,
rejuvenated and cleansed. The symbolic processes of the Kambo treatment enhance
healing and well-being through the combination of the physiological effects within
the ritual processes, integrating the physiological, emotional and psychosocial
dynamics of the patient in the transformation of a state of tenseness and
contamination into a sense of being cleansed, reinforced by the relaxation.
Kambo’s dormorphine and related neuropeptides can produce analgesia and
euphoria that counter the dystopia of the prior condition of contamination with
tranquilizing feelings and elated emotions. The pharmacological effects of the
numerous bioactive peptides produce experiential support for the belief of a
cleansing from a phenomenological perspective. The bioactive peptides activate the
41Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences
circulation, lower blood pressure and increase cardiac frequency, stimulate the
gallbladder to contract, and create antiperistalsis, resulting in nausea and vomiting.
Furthermore, it enhances permeability of small vessels, leading to facial edema, so
that the Kambo user starts to look like a frog, with swollen eyes and lips. The latter
is interpreted as the frog’s energy which scans and heals the body, exemplifying a
neurophenomenological perspective in which physiological changes produce
effects that produce experiences.
Kirmayer (1993) proposed that the verbs used by Dow in his symbolic healing
model–establish, persuade, attach, and manipulate—all involve processes at
both the physiological and psychological levels, including nonsemiotic social
and biological processes that produce healing through shifts in affective
meaning. Kirmayer (2004) introduced the concept of metaphoric logic of
transformation as a mechanism of healing ritual. This is also the case for
Kambo, often referred to as leading to transformation on emotional and spiritual
levels, based on effects that are provoked physiologically and interpreted
culturally. These meanings of metaphors are not just within the symbolic realm,
but also within the physical body. ‘‘Metaphor theory does this by insisting on
three levels to action and discourse: the mythic level of coherent narratives; the
archetypal level of bodily-givens; and the metaphoric level of temporary
constructions’’ (Kirmayer, 1993, p. 175). These processes of myth, archetype
and metaphor represent the social, bodily and psychological domains,
respectively. The archetypes arise from the body, a universal substrate of
human experience that provide neurognostic foundations of consciousness. In
the case of Kambo, the purging effect engages an archetypal cleaning process.
The metaphor of frog potency integrates the bodily dynamics with affective
meaning through the linking of the physiological qualities of the frog venom
with the archetypical dynamics of purging the body.
The symbolic dimension of the Kambo cure is summarized by Labate and Lima
(2014), as involving the mythological status as an Amazonian remedy: ‘‘kambˆ
o acts
positively against imbalance, negativity, the evil eye, evil energy, damaged auras,
feeling down, and sadness. And in their perspective, it can provide so many benefits
because it comes from the remote Amazonian forests, places where purity,
harmony, and originality exist; antidotes to the ills of modern society, where
disorder, imbalance, pollution, and chaos prevail.’’ Yet this modern discourse
vacillates, also calling on the scientific and medical literature and the rich
pharmacology of the constituents to enlist support for people’s experiences of
Kambo’s ability to treat diseases.
Labate and Lima propose that this fluctuation between spiritual and scientific views
enables a process of ‘‘cure’’ that goes beyond the scope of biomedicine. ‘‘Both lines
of interpretation are not mutually exclusive . . . This discourse is part of . . . ‘the
new religious consciousness’; a kind of cultural and religious experimentalism; a
revival of the intellectual, political and existential interest in ‘alternative therapies,
esoteric disciplines or practices’ by the intellectualized middle classes of big urban
centers’’ (Labate & Lima, 2014, p. 10).
42 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019, Vol. 51, No. 1
Kambo as Transpersonal Healing
Kambo healing exemplifies the core transpersonal psychology themes identified by
Hartelius, Rothe and Roy (2013): an integrative beyond-ego psychology of self-
transformation. Kambo treatment ideologies illustrate the intersection of ecop-
sychology and transpersonal psychology, where humans and nature are parts of a
transpersonal whole (Davis & Canty, 2013); this is exemplified in the person’s
healing through the incorporation of the transformative effects of nature derived
from the frog’s potency.
Kambo healing experiences engage what Davis and Canty (2013) characterize as
central features of the ecopsychology perspectives of transpersonal psychology,
namely an ecological self-involving relations with nature and healing processes
derived from connections with the natural world. The integration of nature’s
potentials through the body’s incorporation and expression of the power of the frog
venom shows how the human psyche can be transformed by the powers of nature.
The Kambo user engages a psychology of transformation in a self-empowered
attitude involving seeking personal change and a sense of optimal well-being. The
ability of the frog venom to produce transformations of self-experience and
expression exemplifies the ecopsychology of transformative process in which the
individual is changed through interconnections with other aspects of the living
cosmos. The toad venom emphasizes a different transformation than the self-
expansive states often characteristic of typical of transpersonal experience. Rather,
the transpersonal states produced through the frog venom’s effects involve the
elimination of unwanted aspects of the self and experiences through which a
transformative cleansing is produced. In the treatment, this cleansing through the
frog’s qualities are particularly manifested in the person’s body (emetic, sweating),
emotions (crying), and self-experience (purification).
The incorporation of nature’s potencies in the form of the frog venom addresses
what Davis and Canty (2013) consider a core psychological crisis and collective
trauma plaguing modern humans, whose technology and machines have produced a
separation of personal identity, self and soul from the natural world. The frog and
its jungle narrative redresses the obstruction of the human bond with nature. The
frog’s properties as a potent form of nature address a deep modern need that Davis
and Canty (2013) characterize as the driving force in the development of
ecopsychology theory and practice: the desire to restore humans’ innate
relationships with the natural world. The incorporation of the frog’s qualities
exemplifies this engagement with inherent properties of the natural world that can
penetrate and transform the experience of self.
The use of Kambo is an ecotherapy, engaging with the natural power of the frog at
many levels. The frog is a primordial image that provides a bridge to connect
human identity with the natural world, exemplifying transpersonal psychology’s
broadening of self-identifications to incorporate the non-human world. The frog
venom’s power as a therapy derives in part from its inherent pharmacological
properties, incorporating ecotherapy principles of shamanic work in the powerful
alteration of consciousness involving purging and a sense of cleansing. Well-being
43Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences
is produced in a re-embedding of the individual ecoself and psyche within the
natural world through analogical processes involving the transference and
incorporation of the frog and jungle qualities. The frog’s properties of
invincibleness provide potent metaphors for psychological empowerment,
supporting self-esteem and enhanced immune system functioning. The natural
symbolism of the frog, combined with Kambo’s pharmacological capacity to
produce a powerful alteration of consciousness, provides potent processes for
personal transformation.
Figure 1depicts an artistic representation of the Kambo frog, illustrating this
interest in alternative therapies, esoteric disciplines or practices and based on
various metaphoric elements, such as an opened 3rd eye, the Aesculapius symbol
of curing/healing, and the spiritual light emerging from its hands as a blessing.
These features symbolize various significant transpersonal dimensions of Kambo
healing.
Conclusions
Ritualized use of Kambo undoubtedly contributes to placebo effects and propels
people into the transpersonal realm and transformative experiences by the powerful
mix of a) pharmacologically active compounds, b) the ritual processes and
expectations, c) the autonomic and somatic nervous system activity induced by the
bioactive peptides, and d) the strong metaphoric power induced by the cleansing
reactions of the body after the introduction of the frog secretion. Here we see a
strong analogy with the transpersonal experiences of people using psychedelic
Figure 1. An artist’s impression of the Kambo frog, incorporating various
metaphoric elements, such as an opened 3rd eye, the Aesculapius symbol of curing/
healing, and the spiritual light emerging from its humanized hands as a blessing
(thanks to the artist Kent Osborn for permission to use this picture).
44 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019, Vol. 51, No. 1
sacramentals in a ritual context, which may also be followed by cleansing reactions
(e.g., vomiting, diarrhea on ayahuasca), or other strong autonomic reactions.
Interestingly, although some of the transformative and transpersonal effects of
Kambo as reported by users are comparable to those effects reported by people
using psychoactive sacramentals involving action on serotonin (5HT2) receptors
(i.e., LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, psilocybin), Kambo does not act on these
pharmacological principles in contributing to an alteration of consciousness.
The features of Kambo healing manifest characteristics that illustrate both a
neurophenomenological dynamic, as well as exemplify symbolic healing ritual and
transpersonal ecotherapy. The many bioactive peptides in Kambo influence our
cardiovascular, gastroenterological, endocrine and immune systems, as well as the
autonomic nervous system and the endogenous opioid system. These effects
produce a significant transformation of consciousness that have intrinsic healing
effects invoked by the purging and the associated ASC. The Kambo peptides are
also known to have antitumor, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity,
positioning it as a symbol of a universal healing substance. These properties
symbolically enhance the reputation of Kambo as a ‘‘natural vaccine’’ and panacea.
Many of the symptoms induced by Kambo, such as sweating, purging and the
emergence of a frog’s face (facial edema), have a high symbolic value for the user
related to the cleansing (expelling bad influences and toxins) and the consequential
emotional transformation. Users and therapists also know that Kambo is a
protective secretion from a frog used as a medicine among indigenous peoples of
the Amazon, and with chemical constituents that make the frog nearly immune to
predators and infections.
This sets the scene for Kambo to function as a powerful symbolic healing ritual.
Therapists and clients view Kambo as a cleansing and transformative substance
which scans the body to expel toxins and bad influences of physical, emotional and
spiritual nature. The increasing popularity of this ritual treatment can be seen as a
result of the postmodern search for spiritual and ecological remedies, especially
ecotherapies that engage with the curing powers of nature. Kambo’s powerful
physiological effects are coupled with the symbols of the power of nature and the
ties to indigenous wisdom that further empower metaphoric processes of healing
that engage core transpersonal and ecopsychological principles.
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NN 1. Daniel’s first Kambo ceremony experience - Pulse Tours - Peru Retrieved from https://
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NN 2. Kambo la medicina ancestral. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v¼xOIC-fayRcY Youtube visited on 29 October 2018
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journey-green-light/ website visited on 3 December 2018
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The Authors
Jan M. Keppel Hesselink, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., received his MSc in biology (cum
laude) at the university of Utrecht; his degree in medicine, MD in Utrecht, his PhD
(thesis on Parkinson’s disease) at the university of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. In
1996 he was appointed professor of molecular pharmacology at the university of
Witten/Herdecke (Germany). In the same period, he was elected as Fellow of the
Pharmaceutical Faculty in Medicine (FFPM) in the UK. He worked several years at
Bayer AG in Germany as VP CNS and business head CNS worldwide. He was
CEO of the Academic Medical Centre Amsterdam’s (AMC) institute for antiviral
therapy. He served as an expert witness for the defense in the Santo Daime case
47Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences
against the Dutch government, which won their right of religious freedom for the
use of ayahuasca as a sacrament.
In 2009 he started the Institute for Neuropathic Pain, where he developed novel
topical analgesic creams. He holds 2 recent patents on the topical use of phenytoin
for the treatment of neuropathic pain. He wrote a number of books in the field of
neurosciences and many book chapters, and published extensively in the fields of
philosophy and history of medicine, neurology, neuropathy, pharmacology, CNS,
pharmaceutical medicine and drug development. He may be reached via email at
jan@neuropathie.nu or through his website, neuropathy.nl.
Michael Winkelman, Ph.D., M.P.H. (Ph.D., University of California–Irvine 1985;
MPH, University of Arizona 2002) has engaged in cross-cultural and interdisci-
plinary research on shamanism, psychedelics, and the alteration of consciousness to
identify universal patterns of healing ritual and the underlying biological
mechanisms. These findings are presented in Shamans, Priests and Witches
(1992), which provides cross-cultural evidence regarding the nature of shamanism;
and in Shamanism: A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing
(2nd ed., 2010). Shamanism provides a biogenetic model of shamanism and
explains the evolutionary origins of these ancient spiritual and ritual healing
capacities. This biological and evolutionary approach to human spirituality is
expanded in Supernatural as Natural (co-authored with John Baker). The role of
psychedelics in human evolution and healing has been addressed in many of his
publications, most recently in Advances in Psychedelic Medicine (2019, co-edited
with Ben Sessa). Winkelman served as an expert witness for the defense in the
Santo Daime case against the U.S. federal government, which won their right of
religious freedom for the use of ayahuasca as a sacrament. Winkelman retired from
the School of Human Evolution and Social Change (Arizona State University) in
2009 and is currently living near Piren ´
opolis in the central highlands of Brazil
where he is developing a permaculture lifestyle while continuing his academic
research. He may be reached via email at michaeljwinkelman@gmail.com or
through his website, michaelwinkelman.com.
48 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019, Vol. 51, No. 1
THE JOURNAL OF TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGY VOLUME 51 NUMBER 1 2019
ISSN: 0022-524X
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Transpersonal Psychology
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Volume 51
Number 1, 2019
Editor’s Note v
A Memorial Tribute to Ralph Metzner: Scholar,
Teacher, Shaman (18 May 1936 to 14 March 2019) David E. Presti 1
Scientism and Empiricism in Transpersonal
Psychology Paul Cunningham 6
Vaccination with Kambo Against Bad Influences:
Processes of Symbolic Healing and Ecotherapy
Jan M. Keppel
Hesselink, Michael
Winkelman 28
The Meaning of an Initiation Ritual in a
Psychotherapy Training Course
Giovanna Calabrese,
Giulio Rotonda, Pier
Luigi Lattuada 49
Transcending “Transpersonal”: Time to Join the World Jenny Wade 70
Religious or Spiritual Problem? The Clinical
Relevance of Identifying and Measuring Spiritual
Emergency
Kylie P. Harris, Adam J.
Rock, Gavin I. Clark 89
Book Reviews
The Sacred Path of the Therapist: Modern Healing, Ancient
Wisdom, and Client Transformation. Irene R. Siegel Irene Lazarus 119
The Red Book Hours: Discovering C.G. Jung’s Art Mediums
and Creative Process. Jill Mellick Janice Geller 124
Psychology Without Spirit: The Freudian Quandary. Samuel
Bendeck Sotillos Binita Mehta 127
Books Our Editors Are Reading: A Retrospective
View The second decade (1980-1989) 132
... Probably due to its low bioavailability, the secretion is most commonly applied parenterally on a line of fresh superficial burns ('points') on the arms, legs or chest by the applicator (Hesselink, 2018a), leaving characteristic scars which are depicted in Figure 1. It has been reported that within minutes, a dose-dependent, often strong reaction ('violent illness') is induced (Daly et al., 1992), including tachycardia, sweating and heavy vomiting, which usually subsides within 60 min, followed by a state of listlessness or sleep, lasting from one day to several days (Daly et al., 1992;Hesselink and Winkelman, 2019). Subsequently, a state of increased stamina and clarity of thoughts is reported, associated with a heightened capacity for hunting (Daly et al., 1992). ...
... Some of the indigenous cultures using Kambô also appear to use ayahuasca (Hesselink, 2018b), but we are not aware of any ritual associations between both practices. In contrast to ayahuasca, Kambô can be applied by non-shamans and appears to have other purposes (Hesselink and Winkelman, 2019), although potential synergies of the two techniques have been anecdotally suggested (Gorman, 2015). Since the beginning of this century, Kambô has found its way to other Western countries, particularly those in North America and Europe (Hesselink, 2018a). ...
... We further asked our participants to report psychological reactions to Kambô in a direct and spiritual sense. Interestingly, many users stated that they aimed to 'connect to the spirit of the frog', which is in keeping with the notion that the 'spirit of the frog' detoxifies by 'travelling' through body and psyche, 'scanning' and relieving the users from pathogenic psycho-bio-spiritual blockades and obstacles, which has been anecdotally pointed out by researchers (Hesselink and Winkelman, 2019) and a German Kambô practitioner (personal communication). Furthermore, feelings of 'anxiety' or 'joy' were reported by approximately one-fifth of our participants. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background/aim: Kambô is a name for the secretion of the Giant Maki Frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor), which has been used by indigenous cultures from the Amazonas basin and has recently become popular in alternative healing circles in Western countries, with a certain overlap with psychedelic self-exploration. Methods: We carried out an online-based survey in English (54.92%) and German investigating motivations for using Kambô, settings in which rituals take place, and subjective experiences during and after the application. Results: Participants (n = 386, mean age: 38.08 years, (standard deviation = 9.95)) were well-educated individuals with an increased lifetime prevalence of the use of ayahuasca (67.88%). A plethora of motivations for using Kambô was reported, including general healing, detoxification and spiritual growth. Acute effects included severe physical reactions and mild psychoactive effects, most surprisingly, the feeling of being connected to the frog's spirit (41.97%), whereas predominantly positive persisting psychological effects were reported. Few participants reported long-lasting physical (2.85%) or mental (1.81%) health problems which they attributed to Kambô. Of the participants, 87.31% reported an increase in personal well-being or life satisfaction, and 64.26% considered Kambô to have been at least of 'very much' spiritual significance for their lives. Conclusions: The majority of users claimed beneficial effects including more health-orientated behaviors, whereas only very few participants complained about new health problems which they ascribed to Kambô. In retrospect, Kambô was given a high personal and spiritual significance by many participants. Additional research is needed to determine in how far reported effects are modulated by setting and subjective expectations.
... The pattern of responses does not match with typical characteristics of psychedelic-induced states. Although the pharmacodynamics of the Kambô secretion have only been partially investigated, it has been suggested that Kambô´s pharmacological effects are restricted to the cardiovascular, gastroenterological, endocrine and immune systems, the autonomic nervous system and the endogenous opioid system 10 . On the one hand, this appears to be plausible given the compounds´ peptide structures which prevent them from passing the blood-brain barrier. ...
... "a community", "strangers", "all humanity", "a purpose in life", "spiritual essence" and "a source of universal love") were far less pronounced, except for the experience of being "connected to nature". This is in line with anecdotal observations including participants´ subjective experiences of an active interaction with a frog's "spirit", which detects and eliminates toxins and bad energy from their mind and body 10 . However, this finding is only partially comparable to mystical experiences associated with acute and subacute effects of serotonergic psychedelics, where states of increased connectedness to both the self and other beings have been reported 33 (i.e. the notion that "everything is interconnected"). ...
... Kambô thereby appears to be associated with afterglow-like effects, but without preceding psychedelic states. In agreement with our findings, it has been suggested that the transformative and transpersonal effects of Kambô might be comparable to those associated with the use of serotonergic psychedelics 10 . ...
Article
Full-text available
Kambô, the secretion of the Amazonian Giant Leaf Frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) contains a plethora of bioactive peptides and was originally used by indigenous communities from the Amazon basin as medicine for improving hunting capacities. In the last 20 years, Kambô has spread to Western urban healing circles. To date it is still controversial whether the acute effects of Kambô include alterations of consciousness similar to known psychoactive substance like serotonergic psychedelics. Here we retrospectively assessed psychological effects of Kambô in a sample of anonymous users (n = 22, mean age: 39 years, ± 8.5; 45.5% female), administering standardized questionnaires for the assessment of altered states of consciousness (ASC), including the Altered States of Consciousness Rating Scale, the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI), the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), the Challenging Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) for acute effects and the Persisting Effects Questionnaire (PEQ) and a scale assessing connectedness for subacute effects. The intensity of retrospectively reported acute psychological effects remained on a mild to moderate level, with no psychedelic-type distortions of perception or thinking. Conversely, persisting effects were predominantly described as positive and pleasant, revealing high scores on measures of personal and spiritual significance.
... The pattern of responses does not match with typical characteristics of psychedelic-induced states. Although the pharmacodynamics of the Kambô secretion have only been partially investigated, it has been suggested that Kambô´s pharmacological effects are restricted to the cardiovascular, gastroenterological, endocrine and immune systems, the autonomic nervous system and the endogenous opioid system 10 . On the one hand, this appears to be plausible given the compounds´ peptide structures which prevent them from passing the blood-brain barrier. ...
... "a community", "strangers", "all humanity", "a purpose in life", "spiritual essence" and "a source of universal love") were far less pronounced, except for the experience of being "connected to nature". This is in line with anecdotal observations including participants´ subjective experiences of an active interaction with a frog's "spirit", which detects and eliminates toxins and bad energy from their mind and body 10 . However, this finding is only partially comparable to mystical experiences associated with acute and subacute effects of serotonergic psychedelics, where states of increased connectedness to both the self and other beings have been reported 33 (i.e. the notion that "everything is interconnected"). ...
... Kambô thereby appears to be associated with afterglow-like effects, but without preceding psychedelic states. In agreement with our findings, it has been suggested that the transformative and transpersonal effects of Kambô might be comparable to those associated with the use of serotonergic psychedelics 10 . ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Kambô is the name for the secretion of the Giant Leaf Frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) containing a plethora of bioactive peptides. Originally, it is ritually used by different ethnicities from the Amazon basin as a remedy against bad luck in hunting. In the last twenty years, Kambô has spread to Western urban centers, often associated with the use of ayahuasca. Anecdotal reports claim beneficial effects on wellbeing and different medical and mental health conditions. However, to date it has been controversial if Kambô elicits altered states of consciousness. Here we retrospectively investigated acute and subacute psychological effects of Kambô in a sample of n = 22 anonymous users (n = 22, mean age: 39 years, ± 8.5; 45.5% female), administering standardized questionnaires for the assessment of psychoactive effects. Acutely, participants reported psychological effects which remained on a mild to moderate level, but no psychedelic-type distortions of perception or thinking. In contrast, persisting effects were predominantly described as positive and pleasant, revealing surprisingly high measures of personal and spiritual significance. Subacute and long-term effects showed some overlap with the ″afterglow″ phenomena that follow the use of serotonergic psychedelics.
... Anthropological, biochemical and pharmacological studies have been carried out; however, to date, little is known about the kambô ritual Carneiro, 1970;Lima and Labate, 2008;Hesselink, 2018a;Hesselink and Winkelman, 2019). The first ethnographic observations of the kambô ritual in native populations of the upper and middle Juruá were carried out by the French missionary Constantin Tastevin in 1925(Tastevin, 1925 . . ...
... 14 century onwards, the coexistence between native people and the rubber tappers in the Amazon region, but specifically in the Juruá valley, resulted in a rich exchange of knowledge and practices, and, especially, the incorporation of the kambô ritual by riverine and rubber tappers (Balée, 2004). Francisco Gomes Muniz is credited with the expansion of the kambô ritual among the rubber tappers of a tributary of the Juruá River, in Acre, and the first applications of the secretion in urban centers (Lima and Labate, 2008;Hesselink and Winkelman, 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Phyllomedusa bicolor (Phyllomedusidae), popularly known as the kambô in Brazil, is a tree frog that is widely distributed in South American countries and is known for producing a skin secretion that is rich in bioactive peptides, which are often used in indigenous rituals. The biological effects of the skin secretion were observed in the first studies with indigenous communities. Over the last six decades, researchers have been studying the chemical composition in detail, as well as the potential pharmacological applications of its constituents. For this reason, indigenous communities and health agents fear the misuse of the kambô, or the inappropriate use of the species, which can result in health complications or even death of users. This article seeks to provide a transdisciplinary review that integrates knowledge regarding the biology of P. bicolor, ethnoknowledge about the ritual of the kambô, and the chemistry and pharmacology of the skin secretion of this species, in addition to medical aspects of the indiscriminate use of the kambô. Furthermore, this review seeks to shed light on perspectives on the future of research related to the kambô.
Presentation
Full-text available
I have provided here links to my articles on psychedelics. This description briefly explains my thinking on these substances. Neurophenomenological perspectives shape my approaches to how psychedelic action on the brain produces their signature experiences (2010, 2017, 2018). The global effects of psychedelics in producing a bottom-up (verses top-down) brain dynamic led me to propose the terms psychointegrators (psychointegration) which describes their macrolevel effects in liberating processes of the ancient brain structures and propelling them into the frontal cortex (1996, 2001, 2007, 2010, 2017). Therapeutic applications of psychedelics in pre-modern cultures (1996, 2014, 2021) is supported by clinical evidence indicating their safety and efficacy for a wide range of applications, as shown in Psychedelic Medicine (2007) and Advances in Psychedelic Medicine (2019). These articles by world-renown scholars present scientific evidence for the effectiveness of psychedelics in treatment resistant depression, PTSD, addictions and other diseases of modernity (also see 2013, 2016). This underlies the designation of some psychedelics as breakthrough therapies and their fast-tracking for regulatory approval. Given their action on serotonin, the most important neuromodulatory system, the range of applications is likely far beyond the current understandings. What is lacking is not clinical evidence but political decisions to permit their use (2007). Psychedelics for treatment of addictions (2014, 2018) is an urgent area for their immediate application given addictions are a major public health concern worldwide. Psychedelics have an unprecedented ability to interrupt the cycle of addictions and provoke the shift in personal orientation necessary for abstinence. What remains to be determined include issues such as condition of their optimal use and the full range of conditions for which they are effective. A central context for the therapeutic use of psychedelics is provided by shamanism (2010). Shamanism provides support for psychedelic therapy for addictions, including as harm-reduction strategies (2001, 2003, 2004, 2009; also see 2001, 2003). As shown in Shamanism: A biopsychosocial paradigm of consciousness and healing, shamanic ritual practices reflect our evolved psychology (2013, 2015), including innate tendencies shaped by the co-evolution of culture and ritualized psychedelic use (Arce and Winkelman 2021). Adaptations to our innate ecopsychology found in shamanic practices provide guidelines for optimizing use of psychedelics in therapy as outlined in “Shamanic Guidelines for Psychedelic Medicines” (2007) and “The Evolved Psychology of Set and Setting” (2021). Contemporary studies provide evidence that psychedelic instrumentalization was crucial in addressing challenges and promoting adaptations in the past. Our article “Psychedelics, Sociality and Human Evolution” (with José Manuel Rodríguez Arce; also see 2021) presents evidence that psychedelics played central roles in human evolution, beginning with stress adaptations and incidental healing, to their use in facilitating the construction of the cultural niches that were central to human adaptation and cognitive evolution. The relationship of psychedelic effects to shamanism (2010, 2013, 2021) indicates ritual healing practices were an outcome of psychedelic instrumentalization. Psychedelics were significant sources of spiritual, mystical (2016) and transpersonal experiences (2013) and had primordial effects in the evolution of ritual healing (2021). Psychedelics also had central roles in ancient and contemporary religious traditions, as shown in my introduction (2019) to the special issue of the Journal of Psychedelic Studies on Psychedelics in History and World Religions. Most world religions have a past involving entheogens that illustrates psychedelics are central to understanding the evolution of religion. The Editorial notes that the heralded psychedelic renaissance in psychiatry may be dwarfed by an entheogenic revolution more extensive than the effects of the Protestant Reformation (also see Thomas Robert’s Spiritual Growth with Entheogens).
Book
Full-text available
Examines the fields of medical anthropology and their application to culturally sensitive health care, especially in medicine, nursing and public health
Book
Full-text available
Winkelman’s newest edition of Shamanism provides an extensive revision of Shamanism (2000) and extends our understanding of the evolutionary origins of humanity’s first spiritual, healing and consciousness traditions. Shamanism A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing (2010) addresses: cross-cultural perspectives on the nature of shamanism; biological perspectives on alterations of consciousness; mechanisms of shamanistic healing; and the evolutionary origins of shamanism. It presents the shamanic paradigm as a biopsychosocial framework for explaining human evolution through group rituals that provided bases for enhanced group functioning. The new subtitle emphasizes that what has been conventionally considered a spiritual practice has ancient biological, social and psychological roots. This book distinguishes itself by: 1) addressing shamanism in cross-cultural perspective; 2) explaining the biological roots of shamanism; and 3) providing biological and social evolutionary models of the development of shamanistic healing practices. These approaches illustrate why shamanism was central to ancient societies and provides healing in the modern world. Analysis of the relationship of shamanic ritual to primate rituals reveals the phylogenetic origins of shamanic ritual and illustrates why shamanism must be central to explanation of humanity’s religious impulses. 1. Provides a cross-cultural and biological perspective on the nature of shamanism 2. Presents a shamanic paradigm for interpretation of shamanism in the past 3. Develops biological models to explain shamanic universals 4. Illustrates the biological bases of shamanic alterations of consciousness and healing practices 5. Develops an evolutionary model of shamanic practices 6. Provides a general foundation for understanding the biological bases of religion Endorsements: “Winkelman’s Shamanism has replaced Mircea Eliade’s classic text as the most authoritative and innovative book on the topic. Winkelman demonstrates shamanism’s adaptive functions and why its study must be central to any comprehensive explanation of humanity’s origins.” – Stanley Krippner, Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University “The second edition of Winkelman’s Shamanism is a must read for any serious student of shamanism or the evolution of religious systems.” – Charles D. Laughlin, co-author of Brain, Symbol, and Experience “Shamanism breaks new ground in our understanding of the origins of religion, and the qualities that uniquely make us human. Essential reading for anyone interested in shamanism, human evolution, the origin of religion, and traditional healing practices.” – David S. Whitley, author of Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit “Shamanism explores how the development of shamanic rituals was a key factor in human evolution.” – Paul Devereux, founding co-editor, Time & Mind – The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness & Culture
Article
Full-text available
The secretion from the frog Phyllomedusa bicolor, known in Portuguese as kambô, has traditionally been used as a stimulant and an invigorating agent for hunting by indigenous groups such as the Katukina, Yawanawa, and the Kaxinawa in the southeast Amazon. Since the mid 90s, its use has expanded to large cities in Brazil and, since the late 2000s, abroad to Europe and the US. The urban diffusion of the use of kambô has taken place via healing clinics offering alternative therapies, by way of members of the Brazilian ayahuasca religions, and through travel, mainly by Amazonian rubber tappers, the Katukina, and the Kawinawa Indians. In this article, we present an ethnography of the expansion and reinvention of the use of kambô. We describe the individuals who apply the substance, who are a diverse group, including indigenous healers, ex-rubber tappers, holistic therapists, and doctors. We argue that the frog secretion has a double appeal among this new urban clientele: as a “remedy of science,” in which its biochemical properties are stressed; and as a “remedy of spirit,” in which its “indigenous origin” is more valued, as if kambô was a kind of shamanic power plant analogous to peyote and ayahuasca.
Article
Kambo stems from the Amazonian frog, the Phyllomedusa bicolor. The secretion contains a great number of bio-active peptides and is administered in a ritual via a fresh burn created on the skin of forearm or leg. The desired effects are related to acute intoxication and consist amongst others of nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and swelling of the face as in Quinke’s edema. These effects occur within minutes after the inoculation with the secretion and last mostly for few hours. After this intense period people feel rejuvenated and many participants of the cleansing ritual claim long lasting positive effects for their health. We present the history and context of Kambô use and some case-studies based on personal testimonies. Clearly the increasing use of a shamanic intervention as Kambô is also an expression and a signal of the dissatisfaction of consumers with the results of Western medicine.
Article
Purpose: We present a case report about an acute intoxication episode after an oral administration of Ayahuasca and dermal exposure of Kambo for treatment of depression. The clinical features observed were hallucination, agitation, tremors of extremities, oral paresthesia, skin lesions and seizures. Diazepam was administered by the emergency service and was effective in controlling hallucination, but failed to control agitation and seizures. Methods: Patient biological fluids (urine and serum) and the samples of Ayahuasca and Kambo were submitted to toxicological analysis using liquid-liquid extraction followed by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry and high-resolution electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry. Results: The main active compounds present in Ayahuasca, N,N-dimethyltryptamine, harmine, harmaline and tetrahydroharmine were found and quantified in the different samples, confirming the use by the patient. In Kambo secretion used in the ritual, we were able to find sixteen potently active peptides: adenoregulin, bombesin, bombesinnona peptide, bradykinin -phe(8)-psi-CH2NH-arg(9)-, caerulein, deltorphin, neurokinin B, phyllomedusin, phyllocaerulein, phyllokinin, phyllolitorin, preprotachykinin B (50–79), ranatachykinin A, sauvagine, T-kinin and urechistachykinin II. Conclusions: The patient was discharged the day after exposure without any sequel. Clinical and toxicological analysis indicated that the symptoms presented by the patient occurred due to a joint action produced by the substances identified in both materials. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case involving probable intoxication by simultaneous administration of Ayahuasca and Kambo. © 2017 Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicology and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature
Article
The corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) family of peptides includes CRF and three urocortins, which signal through two distinct G-protein coupled receptors, CRF1 and CRF2. Although the cellular distribution of CRF receptor expression has been well characterized at the mRNA level, the localization of receptor protein, and, by inference, of functional receptors, has been limited by a lack of reliable immunohistochemical evidence. Recently, a CRF-related peptide, termed PD-sauvagine, was isolated from the skin of the frog, Pachymedusa dacnicolor, and validated as a high-affinity ligand for CRF receptor studies. A radiolabeled analog, [125I]-PD-sauvagine, with high signal-to-noise ratio, was used in autoradiographic studies to map the distribution of CRF receptor binding sites in the mouse brain. Through the use of receptor-deficient mice and subtype-specific antagonists, CRF1 and CRF2 binding sites were isolated, and found to be readily reconcilable with regional patterns of mRNA expression. Binding site distributions within a given structure sometimes differed from mRNA patterns, however, particularly in laminated structures of the isocortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum, presumably reflecting the trafficking of receptors to their operational homes on neuronal (mostly dendritic) processes. Binding patterns of [125I]-PD-sauvagine provided independent assessments of controversial receptor localizations, failing to provide support for CRF1 expression in central autonomic components of the limbic forebrain, the locus coeruleus and cerebellar Purkinje cells, or for CRF2 in any aspect of the cerebellar cortex. Though lacking in ideal resolution, in vitro binding of the PD-sauvagine radioligand currently provides the most sensitive and accurate available tool for localizing CRF receptors in rodent brain. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Nonduality is at the core of both transpersonal psychology and ecopsychology and provides a means of finding common ground between these approaches. However, misunderstandings and the lack of an adequate conceptual language for nonduality have limited the value of this concept for ecopsychology. Nonduality is presented as a range of experiences and stages of development in which particulars are perceived and understood as part of an allencompassing totality. Specifically, nonduality is understood in terms of a self-identity in which separating boundaries no longer isolate one from other expressions of Being. A description of nondual dimensions of Being based on the Diamond Approach of A. H. Almaas provides ways of articulating the transpersonal dimensions of ecopsychology.