Kambo has been studied by scientists and proven to contain bioactive peptides. Bioactive peptides are protein fragments that important to most living organisms. In humans, peptides have therapeutic properties: antihypertensive, antioxidant, anti-tumoral, anti-proliferative, and anti-inflammatory.
In the 1980s, Vittorio Erspamer, Italian chemist and pharmacologist known for his research on serotonin, was one of the scientists who identified “a complex cocktail of biologically active peptides with antimicrobial, hormonal, and neuro activities” in frogs of the genus Phyllomedusa, according to an academic survey of the medicinal potential of those amphibians by Brazilian professors in 2010.
PUBMED.gov studies on the National Library of Medicine website:
Potential therapeutic applications of multifunctional host-defense peptides from frog skin as anti-cancer, anti-viral, immunomodulatory, and anti-diabetic agents
“Frog skin constitutes a rich source of peptides with a wide range of biological properties. These include host-defense peptides with cytotoxic activities against bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses, and mammalian cells. Several hundred such peptides from diverse species have been described.”
Connected to the spirit of the frog: An Internet-based survey on Kambô, the secretion of the Amazonian Giant Maki Frog ( Phyllomedusa bicolor): Motivations for use, settings and subjective experiences
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.
Clinical Pharmacology International Library website:
Kambo and its Multitude of Biological Effects: Adverse Events or Pharmacological Effects?
“Kambo (or Sapo) is increasingly used in ritual contexts for ‘healing’ and ‘cleansing’ purposes, as a ‘detox’ intervention . Research into the pharmaceutical benefit of the peptides from Kambo, started already in the early 60s, but did not result in the introduction of new therapeutic principles in the clinic, most probably due to the absence of patent protection.
“In Kambo so far sixteen bio-active peptides are isolated: Adenoregulin, bombesin, bombesinnona peptide, a bradykinin derivate, caerulein, deltorphin, neurokinin B, phyllomedusin, phyllocaerulein, phyllokinin, phyllolitorin, preprotachykinin B, ranatachykinin A, sauvagine, T-kinin and urechistachykinin II . The first time Kambo was related to the pharmacology of a number of these peptides was in the early 90s .”
“In 1966 Erspamer, et al. reported that the methanol extract of skins from frogs from the family of Phyllomedusae all contain large amounts of powerful bradykinin-like polypeptides . The combination of this high concentration bioactive peptides, and the high potency of the peptides for certain receptors, are inducing the clinical effects, sometimes interpreted as results of an intoxication or a massive allergic reaction, which clearly they are not.
“Such peptides have an intense pharmacological effect on smooth muscles and blood vessels leading to hypotension, flushing, palpitations, nausea, vomiting, bile secretion and the angioedema. The peptides responsible for the clinical pattern developing after Kambo intake are especially caerulein, phyllomedusin, phyllokinin and sauvagine. The after effects described as enhanced stamina and better hunting skills might be a result of dermorphine, caerulein or deltorphin, peptides with analgesic properties and affinity for the opiate receptor systems .
Dermatoxin and phylloxin from the waxy monkey frog, Phyllomedusa sauvagei
Dermorphin-related peptides from the skin of Phyllomedusa bicolor
“Pain is a distressful experience that can have a major impact on an individual’s quality of life. The need for new and better analgesics has been further intensified in light of the current opioid epidemic. Substances obtained from amphibians have been shown to contain bioactive peptides that exert analgesic effects. The genus Phyllomedusa represents an important source of peptides and bioactive components.”
PsT-1: A new tryptophyllin peptide from the skin secretion of Waxy Monkey Leaf Frog, Phyllomedusa sauvagei
Studies by Vittorio Erspamer, Italian chemist and pharmacologist:
Erspamer V (1981): The tachykinin peptide family. Trends Neurosci 4: 267–269.
Erspamer V, Melchiorri P (1980): Active polypeptides: from amphibian skin to gastrointestinal tract and brain of mammals. Trends Pharmacol Sci 1: 391–395.
Erspamer V, Melchiorri P (1983): Actions of amphibian skin peptides on the central nervous system and the anterior pituitary. In: Neuroendocrine Perspectives, vol. 2, Müller EE, McLeod RM, eds. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Erspamer V, Melchiorri P, Falconieri Erspamer G, Montecucchi PC, de Castiglione R. (1985): Phyllomedusa skin: a huge factory and storehouse of a variety of active peptides. Peptides 6(Suppl.3): 7–12.