Phyllomedusa bicolor skin secretion and the Kambô ritual

J Venom Anim Toxins Incl Trop Dis. 2014 Sep 2:20:40. doi: 10.1186/1678-9199-20-40. eCollection 2014.


The ritual of Kambô or Sapo is a type of voluntary envenomation. During this purification ritual a shaman healer, from various South American countries, deliberately burns the right shoulder with a glowing stick from a fireplace. Excretions of Phyllomedusa bicolor (or Giant Leaf Frog, Kambô or Sapo) are then applied to these fresh wounds. This ritual is used as a means of purification of the body, supposedly brings luck to hunters, increases stamina and enhances physical and sexual strength. All the peripheral and most of the central effects of the secretion can be ascribed to the exceptionally high content of active peptides, easily absorbed through burned skin. This article describes the ritual and the bio-active peptides from the secretion.