Prolonged Toxicity From Kambo Cleansing Ritual

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2018 Nov;56(11):1165-1166. doi: 10.1080/15563650.2018.1457153. Epub 2018 Apr 2.


Context: Kambo cleanse is a purification, cleansing ritual traditionally performed by South American shaman to confer luck and health to hunters. Case details: We report a patient who presented to the emergency department with prolonged symptoms of vomiting, flushing, facial swelling, altered mental status, and agitation requiring chemical restraints, 22 h after a Kambo cleanse. The patient was found with four small, circular, superficial burns to the ankle at the site where the resin was introduced. Discussion: The cleanse consists of rubbing resin obtained from the secretions of the giant leaf frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) into superficial wounds to produce intense gastrointestinal symptoms followed by a sensation of increased stamina and strength. The cleanse is now being increasingly performed in Europe and USA.

Keywords: Kambo; kambo cleanse; phyllomedusa bicolor.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anura*
  • Ceremonial Behavior
  • Diphenhydramine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Haloperidol / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lorazepam / therapeutic use*
  • Neuropeptides / toxicity*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Neuropeptides
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Haloperidol
  • Lorazepam