Kambo Frog Medicine for Healing With Todd Shipman


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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com. That’s Wellnesse with an E on the end, my new personal care line. This episode answers all of the questions I got from you guys every time I posted a picture online with some dots burned onto my skin or mentioned Kambo and have been asked, “What is that? Why would you do that? What does it do?” This episode goes deep on all of those questions. I’m here with Todd Shipman, who is Biohacker Todd on Instagram who is a personal friend of mine, and also who introduced me to Kambo for the first time. I’ve now done it quite a few times and noticed a variety of benefits, physical and emotional, mental benefits, and wanted to share with you guys the history of it, the science of it, and my personal experience. So, in this episode, we go deep on all of those, and Todd shares his experience as a certified Kambo practitioner. We also talk about where you can find this and learn more and also who should not do it. So very fact-packed episode. I know that you will learn a lot, and let’s join Todd. Todd, welcome to the podcast.

Todd: Thank you, Katie.

Katie: This is a long overdue one. We’ve been trying to record this one for a long time, I think since I first did Kambo. And I know every time I post a picture on Instagram with random dots on my skin or mention Kambo, I get dozens and dozens of people saying, “What is that? What does it do?” So, to start broad, explain to everybody listening what Kambo is.

Todd: Yes. So, Kambo is the secretion from an Amazonian frog that we call Kambo, Its scientific name would be phyllomedusa bicolor, which is, like, plant guardian. And what the frog does is it releases the secretion as a defense mechanism for any snake or anything that is up in the trees with it. And if most any animal will eat the frog, it’ll kill it. Now, the secretion has hundreds of bioactive peptides, meaning that it’s actually beneficial for mammals. So, for us, when we put it on us, we actually get a beneficial response to it.

Katie: And okay, so you mentioned the word peptides, and I’m so glad we get to finally talk about peptides because I’ve only briefly touched on them and there’s certainly a lot of different ones. Right now, I’ve heard of people using certain peptides, injecting them for very specific purposes. I feel like there’s a lot more mainstream understanding of what peptides are. Essentially, they’re just chains of amino acids from what I understand. So this can be, like…It’s a pretty broad term. And you mentioned in Kambo, there’s literally hundreds of them in these frogs and that’s part of their protective mechanism. So, what are some of the things…? Like, how do peptides work in the body, or what are some of the peptides that are interacting with the body?

Todd: Yeah, so you kind of hit that on there is there’s tons and tons of different types of peptides for different reasons, and bioactive meaning that it really works in harmony with our body and it has beneficial responses. So it’s basically…they’re the short chain of amino acids, like, the building block of protein. So, it just works in harmony with their body and it really depends on your goal. So, you have, which most people know about would be, like, collagen peptides. Now, those are considered bioactive. People use them for anti-aging, for better skin elasticity. People use peptides for different things like healing ligaments, ulcers, weight loss, I mean, cool things like making yourself tan, growing your hair, putting color back in your hair.

The ones that are in Kambo are more on a medical level. You have different ones. You have, like, neuropeptides. And these are peptides that actually can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is one thing that makes them so impactful, and then you have different ones for like gastrointestinal peptides. You have ones for, like, hypertension, hypotension, different goals for different peptides. So, it’s a little different, I think, than the ones that people are injecting themselves with, which are pretty cool. Those are always fun to play with but they’re also more regulated in the United States.

Katie: And certainly from my limited experience, it can be a little bit complicated to learn and make sure you’re getting dosing correct. And there’s a lot that goes into that versus the body, kind of, knowing what it needs when you’re doing Kambo and having a better way to interact with it. Before we start really, kind of, going into the details of what happens in the ceremonial aspect of Kambo and what it looks like when you actually do it, I’d love for you to also talk a little bit about your story, and how you discovered Kambo and got into helping people walk through this experience.

Todd: Sure. So I’ve been a biohacker, as they would say, and someone who focuses on functional wellness for a good six, seven years, and I like to try lots of crazy things, looking for ways to either help myself or help others. That being said, I really was still very new to earth medicine and plant medicine. And earth medicine is what we would consider Kambo. And I didn’t know much about it. And I had, who is now my girlfriend, Jill, at the time we were friends, and she was on a journey to heal trauma, emotional and physical, and she had brought it up to me. And she had told me her story, which was really extreme. And as we joke about, she was the worst salesman for Kambo because of her experience.

But I remember she had set me up with the practitioner, Caitlin. And after hearing Jill’s story, actually, I was supposed to talk in front of, like, 16,000 people that week at the biohacking conference in Mexico. And after hearing Jill’s story, I was like, “Yeah, like I can’t do that, and then go in front of all these people.” So I told Jill I wasn’t gonna do it. And Jill literally told me, she was like, “Listen, I’m in this life to better myself. And the ship is sailing and I’m gonna leave you on the dock. So, you can either come with me or hang out.” And at that point, it was just a conviction in her voice that was like, “Wow, okay, there’s something I don’t know.”

So I did Kambo, the first time I did Kambo, it was kind of, it’s very intentional, which we can go into because I’m a very scientific-minded person, and Jill is very woo-woo crystals and berries, which I really love about her. But there’s both sides to Kambo with that I have experienced it way too many times to ignore that side of Kambo. But I went into it with the intention that she told me. You know, you wanna do this with intentions was to really honestly was to just experience Kambo because I never knew what it was about and also with just to, kind of, create maybe some confidence and clarity because I had been in a marriage for quite some time that I wasn’t really happy in and I needed to grow through that.

So, the first time I did Kambo, it was intense. It was amazing. The way I felt…I actually had a really good experience through it. And it just was like…I’ll fast forward through the actual experience. But, like, I came out of it was so much clarity and so much confidence in my…I just noticed my senses were so heightened. I was like, “Man, these carrots had never looked so orange. The sky hasn’t been so blue.” And it really intrigued me enough to continue trying it. And when I started learning the deeper parts of Kambo and what other people were doing it for, that’s when I was just like, wow, there’s really something to this. And I’ve always been searching for that, you know, kind of, the golden token on health. And while it’s still really not in existence, I truly believe Kambo from the hundreds of people that I’ve been able to serve Kambo and the extra hundreds and hundreds that I’ve heard about, like, it’s fascinating, full-spectrum of what this could do for people with all the benefits on it are just endless.

Katie: Yeah, I definitely…We’re gonna go deeper on that. I just also wanna call out a few things, like you mentioned, you’ve been a biohacker and tried some extreme things. I just wanna talk about some of the cool ones. Like, I’ve heard you talk about running literally hundreds of miles in, like, the desert or training for hours and hours in a sauna. Like, you do things I can’t even fathom. And you have been who I’ve done Kambo with now multiple times, probably, like, seven or eight, maybe even more, I guess at this point.

Todd: A lot more I feel like.

Katie: Yeah, probably closer to the triple ones. And I first heard about it actually years ago through a friend who had an inoperable brain tumor that wasn’t malignant, but they couldn’t really do anything for it. And you mentioned that peptides can cross the blood-brain barrier. And so she was using it at the time to help with the inflammation related to that. And it was really helpful for her. And I remember years ago her talking about, yeah, you do this thing and then you throw up violently and then this whole thing, and I’ve always been the weird one of, like, “I wanna try that.” And I feel like that’s been a funny thing to see even in our local area and in friends groups, like, you know your people when they’re like, “Yeah, frog venom and throwing up, cool. Yeah, I’m in.”

But let’s walk people through the practicality a little bit of what happens when you actually do Kambo. So you mentioned that it’s the secretions that are coming from this frog. And then explain why I guess you can’t just, like, eat these or take them, like, a supplement. Like, they interact with the body differently. So there’s a very specific kind of timeline and the way you do Kambo and, like you said, setting intention and getting mentally in the right space first too.

Todd: Yeah, so to explain a little bit about, I guess so people know what’s happening with this is you’re putting this as on topically. So we use…If you’re in the jungle, use really thick sticks. But we use really small incense and we burn them onto…we make very superficial dots on the skin, open them up, and they call them gates, where basically you’re lymphatic system is wide open. And they’ve found that at least for everything else because if you’re digesting stuff, you do have a protective mechanism and your digestive system is a closed-off system. So, it is limiting and where it’s allowed, what things are allowed to get into the body, and where it goes. So, topically, you’re gonna have a much better experience.

And I guess if you wanna talk about, like, what the experience is like, so we burn these dots, and it tends to be…There’s a lot of variable factors on how many dots we do on people. A lot of this is very intuitive, size of person and the strength of the medicine because different people have different strengths as a medicine. And so, you have to start with Kambo on an empty stomach. So we suggest fasting for at least six to eight hours prior because you don’t want to be purging. If you purge during Kambo orally, you don’t wanna have food in your stomach in the process. So, you drink two liters of water about five minutes before the medicine comes on you.

So the Kambo secretion will go on. And that’s actually the hardest part for most people. It’s by far the hardest part for me when we do Kambo is to drink two liters of water, especially in five minutes. And at that point, really, you almost wanna throw up just from the water, as you know. And we do sometimes have people that drink that much water and they just start throwing up prior to even have the medicine on them. So, the goal is as soon as people get the water in them, and it can be one-and-a-half liters sometimes if they think they’re gonna take another sip and they’re gonna throw up. So there’s not, like, a set mark for every person. Obviously, everyone’s stomach’s a little different sizing.

But that’s when we get the medicine on. We put on immediately. And what you’re gonna experience…And this is very general, but it’s very common. So this isn’t something where, like, this is exactly how you’re gonna feel but it is pretty much probably 9 out of 10 people will feel that instantly your heart rate increases. And I know with you, I’ve always really appreciated because you like to quantify things. So you’ll have, like, your glucose levels, you have your CGM, so your continuous glucose meter set up, and your heart rate going all the time. And we tell stories about when I know you’re about to throw up just because I’m looking at you, I know your throw up point by your heart rate. And sometimes if you’re in the bathroom or something and I know you’re throwing up because I’m looking at your heart rate, you know, from your phone.

So your heart rate will go up to about initially probably like 120, 115 to 120. You’ll feel your heart rate increase. You’ll start to feel your heart rate…This all happens in less than a minute, basically, instantly, by the way, but you’ll start to feel your heartbeat in your ears. You might start to feel, like, some swelling in your eyes. It’s not painful or anything of that sort. And then you start to experience somewhat, like, of a niacin flush. And for me, it feels like I’m in an infrared sauna. Like, I get really hot. Like, I get drenched. I’m drenched in sweat within five minutes, you know, easily. But within the first few minutes, I’m already sweating pretty bad from Kambo.

And from there, basically, what’s happening though, response to your body, is with the peptides. So if the peptides are being absorbed through the lymphatic system into the blood and this is all responses, so you’re gonna feel different things. There is no scientific, like, data with this, but I feel that what your response is is based off of what peptides are needed in the body and what peptides, what receptors are taking more of the peptides in. So, for example, if you have nausea coming in, there are certain peptides that are activating that, tachykinins and bradykinins are these peptides that really create smooth muscle contraction, heart rate, vasoconstriction, everything going on. And again, with you having two liters of water and a high heart rate, you’re gonna start to purge.

So, you usually purge within the first like…We’ve seen people purge in the first minute but sometimes it’s usually within the first 5 or 10 minutes with the nausea that kicks in. And that’s probably the most discomforting part is, of course, you just drink two liters of water. So imagine drinking a gallon of milk or something and trying to run a quarter-mile, it’s just not gonna happen and you’re gonna end up throwing up. So that’s why most people throw up but you want the water. And the water is your best friend at that point because you’re purging up and it’s actually relieving from there. But some people, they purge through bowel movements. And not everyone does. But I also think that is part of what peptides your body’s really needing in there.

So, the whole experience is probably anywhere from, like, 10 to 25 minutes. Again, there’s really no set point. And I think everyone intuitively knows when they’re done when they don’t have any more to purge out. That’s when we work with each person individually is just, “All right, do you think it’s done? Are you done, like, with the nausea?” And once you’re done, we take off the medicine. And instantly when the medicine’s off, you start to plateau and you usually feel back to normal within 10 minutes or so.

Katie: Yeah, I appreciate how short it is. Although sometimes in the moment, it feels much longer, I think. And that, like you explained, was very much my experience as well. I remember thinking the first time I did it, like, there were only three of us and beforehand, we kind of talked to and were like, “Well, we’re just gonna each be in our bathroom because that way if they’re throwing up, we’ll be fine.” And I’m like, I was like, “I don’t wanna throw up in front of people.” And I ended up staying in the circle. And it really does help to have that community and that tribe around you, I think, that it really was amazing how rapidly all those things you just described happened. As soon as it went on, I remember looking at the others and thinking, “Wow, everybody’s really red.” And then you, kind of, go through color changes and turn yellow sometimes or white. And then some people…Like my face swoll that first time and I kind of looked like a frog for a little while and then started throwing up.

And I remember thinking, I think everybody maybe goes through a point maybe 5 or 10 minutes in when you’re just like, “Why did I do this? This is not very fun.” But then like you said, on the other side of it, you feel so good and there’s a lot of benefits. I wanna talk about some of the benefits and why people do this. But first, you mentioned making the gates in the skin and there’s a lot of, kind of, intention to those as well. They can, kind of, go I guess a lot of different places. And I posted pictures. I’ve got them on my back and on my shoulder and all over different places on my body, but maybe talk about why someone would we get them in different places and what they can do when you put them different places.

Todd: Yeah, so a generalized treatment, which would be on your arm, and depending on and, again, if you’re looking more, like, on a Western intention or if you’re looking at, like, Amazonian because the Amazonian tribes, they do it on females on their ankles and on the men on their arms or their chest. And here, we don’t do that. I don’t really agree with that. They feel that females are weaker so that’s why they put it at the ankle because it is…which I don’t agree with. So in fact, they put on their ankles because they think they can’t handle it as much. So, men on their arm. I love on the arm because it’s just a general treatment and it does everything. And none of the treatments are lesser than the others. It’s more like I think with your intentions with Kambo.

So, you can treat Kambo as if it’s very similar to acupuncture. So you can put Kambo on meridian lines and you can put them on chakra points. And one really cool thing that we do, as we’ve done with you numerous times, is we have a bio-resonance device that can actually monitor and quantify our vibrations and frequencies of our body. And we can run that with people and it’ll come back and show, like, blocked meridians. It comes and shows, like, your aura and your chakras and which ones are low, and we can work with people on that saying that, “Okay, you know, is your root chakra low and we can put Kambo there to boost it up?” You know, depending on also what your goals are. So, if you really are educated with chakra points, certain chakras, you know, your solar plexus, so if you’re having a problem with maybe self-love or lack of confidence, we could do Kambo on your solar plexus and we can, again, run the bio-resonance device before and after just to quantify and show you that, “Wow, now your solar plexus is booming bright.”

And we see that even…you know, we see the difference in people. Everyone we’ve done Kambo on, we’re always in communication with because it’s so powerful and we get to see all the changes and adjustments in their life. And we know when they do their heart chakra, which is my favorite to do for moms because moms are just…you guys, you’re known that you give, give, give, give, give, give, give, and then you give, give, give, give, give more and you never receive. And I always find with the heart chakra, it’s so powerful for the love and opening with that that I see with that. But then you can do your throat chakras, you can do your sacral, all of them, but we really can’t do your crown. Now, we can get as close as we can. We don’t really wanna do Kambo, like, right dot on the head. So we can do them on the ears, which you’ve experienced there.

It’s a very different experience with Kambo but that’s really…especially where we’re Jill is because it’s Jill and I that are doing the Kambo. And Jill, that’s her passion. You know, she really…her focus is with the chakras and all the intention aspects of Kambo. So that’s when she, kind of, gets excited when someone wants to do, you know, different style treatments. That’s her part, like, to talk about her experiences because she’s done them all for many different reasons. So she has a lot of experience and can help people.

Katie: And I think another important point to touch on because certainly when I posted about this, people will be like, “That sounds like you are just getting poisoned and that’s why you’re throwing up.” And I think the really important distinction, at least from my understanding is that the Kambo, the peptides are not actually what’s causing this. What’s happening is your body is so wise and it’s responding to these in a very specific way. And just like when you are sick, that your body knows what to do to get that out of your body. So sometimes when you’re sick, you throw up, or sometimes when you’re sick, your lymphatic system activates more and you sweat. It’s basically, kind of, just from my understanding, giving you, like, a fast track into a lot of those things, which is why it’s such an effective lymphatic detox and can be effective in so many other ways. And you can correct me if I’m wrong on this, but it’s not like you’re just getting poisoned. Like, I think that’s a misconception people have. Like, that’s not what’s causing the response. Your body is actually creating the response. And it’s a really wise response. Is that right?

Todd: Yeah, I mean, you could, kind of, look at it as like a healthy stressor. So it’s very similar in a way of, like, you know, the heat shock proteins that come from an infrared sauna or with the healthy benefits that happen if you’re in the ice tank. Like, your body’s response to all of this. That being said, yes, I mean, you have two liters of water in your stomach. And if your heart rate goes up to 120, the nausea, you’re gonna throw up, or if it’s the gastrointestinal peptides your body accepts, you’re gonna have a lot of smooth muscle contractions in your intestines and it’s gonna come out that way through a bowel movement.

But I really feel it’s…and I don’t say this, like, you know, loosely but it’s like the ultimate detox because it’s going into your lymphatic system. And what we see people purge out, most people wouldn’t believe just from hearing through a podcast. But we see balls of worms coming out of people that are purging out. We see parasites. We see mold. We see candida that are actually getting removed out of your body. And again, you know, heavy metals, they’ve quantified it with before and after people having, like, high mercury levels and doing multiple amounts of Kambo sessions one after another and then doing the metal testing, again, and it’s lower. So it’s our body releasing everything. It’s kind of just a kick in the butt to help our body get it all out.

Katie: Yeah, I think I once threw up this jellyfish-looking biofilm thing that took a while to come up. And then I was like, “Well, I’m glad it’s out, not in.” But it’s interesting, I think for mold as well, right? People do this quite often after toxic mold exposure.

Todd: Yes. Yeah. We’re excited to see for, again, Jill because Jill has such high levels of mycotoxins, and heavy metals, and formaldehyde, and stuff. And we’ve been doing it and we’ll get retested to show her all the stuff that she’s removed. But yeah, people do it for mold. Especially, like, you know, we can tell people, “Wow, it’s like, yeah, you have a lot of mold, either where you live or work because you’re purging out so much of it.” And then people are like, “Yeah, I thought so.” And then they can get tested and it just kind of verifies for them. But mold, it’s in everyone but it just depends how we affect it. But when your body removes it, like, my favorite part is the purge. I know it sounds really weird and to, like, actually look at what people are purging out because that’s what excites me.

That’s, like, why we’re doing Kambo for a detox aspect is you’re removing…this stuff was in you. So, it’s exciting that it’s now out and maybe give you a clear idea that what you wanna focus on. You know, when you see people with the candida, it’s like yeah, I mean, candida, it’s there but if you have an overbalance of it, which most people do, it’s like you’re removing it. Like, get it out. It doesn’t belong in our body at that extensive amount. So that’s my favorite part is looking at the purge because that was in you. That was in you and now it’s out and you would never know. Like, it’s exciting.

Katie: And much faster than a lot of the other ways you can deal with things like candida or parasites a lot. I feel like a lot of other methods can take a really long time, whereas this is a big jumpstart into that. And when I think of the peptides, an analogy a mutual friend of ours, Dr. Ted Achacoso, used that I thought was so good for how any peptides interact in the body or any substances was, like, kind of, the idea of a lock and a key. We have all these key systems in our body. And some of the keys themselves we make in our bodies, and then some of our exogenous, have to come from outside, or some we can get both ways. But I guess I always think of it as whatever peptides your body needs the most, it’s probably gonna be the most effective lock and key system and your body’s gonna prioritize that. So that’s why people can maybe have such different experiences or maybe if they’re having chronic pain, the more, like, pain-relieving peptides work better or if they’re having, like, parasites, or mold, or these things you mentioned, the ones that target those and help that response might be the one that said activate. But it’s so cool how wise our bodies are.

Also, it’s interesting, maybe it’s just me, although you can clarify, I also feel like there’s something related to the purging and the intention. You mentioned the intention being so important. And I’ve had multiple experiences where I was fasting for definitely more than eight hours. There was no food in my stomach, nothing of color in my stomach, nothing that should have caused anything weird in a purge. And I remember going into one and thinking like, “Oh, I’m just gonna release guilt, shame, fear, and resentment all at once.” And I think there was more of that, potentially, than I realized my body and it was like, “Okay, hold on tight.” And I threw up so much and so dark. And so I don’t really understand it but it seems like there is also a correlation to when we’re letting go of emotional stuff, it can actually affect the experience as well.

Todd: Yes. So two things. I just wanna talk about the lock and key because I think that’s one of the incredible things about the confluence is the bioactive peptides because there is one specific peptide, and it’s dermorphin. It’s 4,000 times stronger than morphine without the opioid effects. So you’re gonna get the pain relief because it’s lock and key, like your body, your receptors only take what it needs. And that’s awesome. So, unlike if you were to swallow a pill of morphine, your receptors stay open the entire time, whether it’s way too much, which it usually is. So that’s why you get the horrible opioid effects. But going back just really fast with the lock and key, I agree, it’s like when things just are in harmony with our body, our body, it just works, kind of, like, “Okay, this is all I need. Goodbye. Thank you.” This is what we need to function, as opposed to staying open and getting too much.

And now for intentions, I must say, I mean, I have lots of personal experience and everyone will if you have a very powerful intention…I know always, I mean, I’m the biggest cheerleader in the room. But when someone says like, “My intention is either forgiveness or letting go of some kind of self-hatred,” whatever it be, I always kind of go, “Ooh, this is gonna be a rough one for you.” It’s gonna be rough because, again, I’m very science-minded, and I can’t sit here, and I can’t show you this is the scientific data proving this but we’ve done this hundreds and hundreds of times where you just can’t ignore it. You can’t ignore the fact and the power of intention with these things. And it really is, I mean, I have my own where I was trying to…I have no problem purging.

And when I had a very specific intention that I needed to release something out of my life, it’s when I did my three by three, which is three Kambo sessions in three hours is the timeframe. I did my three in pretty much an hour because I couldn’t purge. So I did my first three, I did my first Kambo, and it was like I don’t know, 15 dots or something, and I just couldn’t purge. And all I had in my mind was releasing what needed to be released and it wouldn’t release it. It wouldn’t release. And after about 25 minutes, I did force myself, which is not ideal at the very beginning. Only at the end, you wanna actually force yourself to purge by maybe sticking your finger in your throat, and then I released it. And normally they’ll give you 40 minutes to recover. And I was like, “No, we gotta do this again because it’s right there. I can’t remove it.”

And I did it again, and it just would not leave. I mean, I’m sitting there dry heaving. I wanted everything to get this out. But it wouldn’t remove, like, because that intention, that power had such a stronghold on me. But when I released it on my third one, it was like a bowling ball came out. It really did. And it was, like, so…Like, my life’s changed from that for sure. Like, that’s where I am, where I am now, and who I’m with right now because of that, and I was trying to remove this other thing in my life that wasn’t serving me. Yeah, and again, just with anyone doing intentions, there is a relationship there. I mean, it’s way too obvious but I just don’t have that, like, data. But…

Katie: And you mentioned that this originally came from, kind of, the Amazonian region. Why did they start doing this there or what did they see as the benefits and when it’s used in its more original setting?

Todd: Yeah, that’s what’s really cool too is…Now, so the urban…I don’t wanna call it urban legend because I’m not trying to belittle it, but their story is that the medicine man and the tribes thousands and thousands of years ago, their whole tribe at the village had become sick. So, the medicine man went into the jungle and did Ayahuasca and, you know, Mother Ayahuasca now told him that you need to go find this frog and you need to apply it all over all the people and it was just what he did, and everyone became better and they were healed. That is the story. To be clear, it actually was never brought out of the jungle until 1980-something, maybe ’86 with Peter Gorman, who has a book called “Sapo In My Soul.” He also has a book called “Ayahuasca in My Soul” that he’d been doing Ayahuasca. But he was there, like, actually, scientifically in a way monitoring, or he was analyzing these tribes.

And, you know, he had a scientific mind and it was really interesting for him because he…I guess we could use the word ninja dosed. He was in this teepee with them. He tells a story about he didn’t know what was happening, he was just hanging out, and one of the guys took a knife and, kind of, gave him a little cut on his wrist and another guy came with the Kambo and rubbed it into his bloodstream, and that’s how his response was so different, he couldn’t explain it. And so he was able to, at some point, finally, 10 years later took them to get the frog secretion. And he was able to bring it to the United States and have it lab tested. And that’s when they’re just like, “Holy cow. There’s all these peptides that are in it.” So that’s where it’s become more scientifically thought of around here.

But in the Amazon, they actually…Well, there’s a few reasons, but their main reason is hunting because as we mentioned before, it, like, really heightens your senses. So they’ll do it for multiple days straight because they wanna go hunt maybe leopards that are camouflaged in the jungle at night, and they feel like they can smell the animal before they can see it and they can see it. They use it for fertility, which we still even use over here because it removes any kind of mold and it removes the inflammation in our reproductive organs. So, we can see why it does work, but they use it to create fertility. And then, on the other end, they use it as punishment for young kids, or “corrective behavior” is what they say. So, there’s many different reasons why they use it that we would be using it, again for, like, the brain tumors and other things. But for them, it’s really also to remove bad energies. So, that’s their reasoning and that’s why it was used forever until Peter Gorman was able to bring over a sample in the…probably I think like the early ’90s is when he finally was able to bring it over. But he’d been talking to people about it since the ’80s and they couldn’t get it over there.

Katie: Wow. I can vouch for probably it being great for hunting. I haven’t gone hunting after doing Kambo, but I have sat outside after dark and heard something move in a tree and it was like I immediately could figure out where it was. I could see it. I could hear it. Like, it does heighten I feel like a lot of your senses for a long time after doing Kambo. And what would be some of the reasons you would say people do it now more on the Western world or the people come to you for Kambo? What are some of the, kind of, recurring reasons you hear from people?

Todd: Yeah, and that’s completely full-spectrum too, which is what’s really exciting. I mean, we get people who are just coming off of cancer or coming off of chemo and they want to detox their body properly, make them feel better. So we’ll do it for that. We have it for thyroid. We have it for hypothyroidism because there’s peptides that are proven to regulate the pituitary and adrenal glands, which is why there are actual benefits to it. People do it for pain. They’re doing it…On the scientific level, I guess, and physical level, people are doing it for like…You know, there’s peptides that are proven to kill candida, parasites, fungi. It’s used as…dermaseptin is one of the most powerful antivirals that they’ve ever found and it comes from the Kambo frog. People are doing it for Lyme disease. They’re doing it for autoimmune diseases, IBS. And the whole health thing, I think, you know, again, I don’t say this lightly, but you could always find a reason why someone could benefit from it.

And then you have…Like, we’ve recently…One of our focus has been with, like, addictions. Now there’s actual peptides that are shown to regulate parts of our body that will help with addiction. So we’re using it, we just, you know…you know the story. We had someone who was coming off of a heroin addiction of almost 16 years, not a single day without it. And then brought on the fentanyl and methadone. Kambo, we had her here for a week. And now, this isn’t something, you know, that you loosely do. There’s a lot…We had an amazing support team here with us. But we were able to help her with her addiction. She’s over two-and-a-half months sober right now. And we’ve also had some…She came, she was from New Mexico. We had someone recently who was coming off of opioid addictions too that stayed for a few days and it really helped. So there’s also that. It’s very powerful.

And then it goes back to, like, the intention stuff. So, I mean, the people that we see, we see optimal prime athletes, and then we see the basic mother. We see the yogis. We see everyone, you know, that what they want it for, it can be just to have some more self-power, some confidence, which is also extremely powerful. You’re gonna…Like, it’s just you walk around with pep in your step after you’ve done Kambo. And the first day, we always see people are a little rough but we always get a text from the next morning and be like, “Oh my gosh, hot diggity dog, I’m out walking in the sunshine. The sky’s never been so blue, and the birds are beautiful,” and everything. So, it really is full-spectrum as to, like, what people are coming, what type of people are coming to see us. They’re like, people you wouldn’t expect, you know, again, business executives and full circle.

Katie: And I think another important point to highlight is, maybe the reason this is such an effective detox is that it’s working with the body’s natural detox pathways. I see a lot of things marketed as detox or cleanses. And some of them I feel are actually dangerous or not supportive because they can overload the body’s system, but I feel like just how maybe an infrared sauna would be or fasting, this very much works with the body’s detox pathways that already exist and just supports them or speeds up the process versus it’s not doing something unnatural. It’s kind of just activating the body’s natural responses, is that right?

Todd: Yeah, it goes right back to, like as you said, the lock and key. It works as homeostasis with our bodies. So, it’s kind of giving it a kick in the rear end to help everything that it can already do. Nothing is working against the grain. And you’re removing everything pretty effectively. So it’s not like if you’re doing some other type of liver cleanse that may have some pushback and we have a stronger hertz reaction, this definitely just works with the body. Our body literally just thinks it’s the natural way. It doesn’t stop any production and just goes, “Okay, these are, again, bioactive peptides, our bodies produce these anyways.” It’s just, go with the flow to remove everything.

Katie: And also, I think anytime we’re talking about even something that’s naturally supportive, it’s important to define who can do it, who should not do it, kind of, the safety factors of just people knowing when it would be a good idea versus when it may not be a good idea. So, what are some of those general safety guidelines when it comes to Kambo?

Todd: It’s a great question. And you’re gonna get lots of different answers with that, like, through…I have been properly intensively trained to this, and you could go to one person, and they might have a different idea with this. And again, I’m very on the scientific side of this. And there are some concerns. So, like, if you have lots of seizures, you want to be with someone who is comfortable…a practitioner who is trained and comfortable with you doing seizures because if there is just a chance that you have a seizure while doing Kambo because it can activate, again, other things happening, the person might not be able to know what to do with you and put you on your side because otherwise you’re throwing up and you’re backwards, just like anything else. You know, if you’ve had brain aneurysms, that would be a concern for me.

The bottom line really is if you are cleared, if you’re medically cleared to be able to do a 20 to 25-minute high-intensity cardiovascular workout, Kambo, in general, would be safe for you. Again, there’s such little small things. If you’ve been taking certain other types of medications, most of the time you just need to stop them for the day. But there are other really, like, if you are on…which is actually kind of rare but if you’re actually on blood pressure medication, especially if you’re on low blood pressure medication or if you’re on high blood pressure medication, it drops your blood pressure so low. And then if you do Kambo, which you can have additional blood pressure lowage, it’ll really make you pass out, which isn’t…I mean, people pass out anyways, only for a few seconds, they come back.

But if you have any concerns, that’s who you’d want to speak with your practitioner and see what they’re actually comfortable with because people have been trained. And clearly, it’s very important that you go to an actual certified and trained practitioner because there is a completely different standard and level of education and experience of what they have. And any of the…the caveat, if you go on and google Kambo right now, you’re gonna probably see quite a few disaster stories and they’ve all been with uncertified practitioners. And mostly it’s because they drank too much water and they get hyponatremia and that’s the danger. I mean, that’s the danger with Kambo is drinking way too much water and getting out your electrolyte balance. But in general, though, I mean, I’ve really never had to say no to anyone because, again, I feel comfortable with what they’ve told me, what’s going on. In the hundreds and hundreds of people, I’ve never really had any bad experiences.

Katie: And then for a lot of the moms listening, the one, I know, instance when it’s not allowed at all is when you’re pregnant or there’s a chance you’re pregnant.

Todd: Thank you. Yeah, I forgot that part. But yes, so you do not wanna do it when pregnant basically because it can induce labor because of all the smooth muscle contractions and everything that are happening, they say that that’s definitely not…that’s ideal to…you don’t wanna do it at any point during, and then probably, like, maybe after breastfeeding too because you may get…There is no like, hey, this happened before, but their concerns theoretically would be is it could get into your breastmilk.

Katie: Like, it can mobilize too many toxins and then transfer to baby basically.

Todd: So, that’s a theoretical concern that I would align with but there’s no science behind that. But I would agree.

Katie: Okay.

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I know another question we’re probably gonna get if we don’t address it is, how do they get the secretions from the frog, and does it hurt the frog? Are there any, kind of, concerns for the frog in this?

Todd: Yeah, that’s a great question. And that’s a very great concern to have. I get my Kambo directly from a gentleman who harvests it himself. He’s from the Amazon and then a few times of the year he will come out into Florida and that’s who I now purchase mine from and he videotapes it. So, for me, I’m very clear, I’m very aware of where my Kambo comes from, and how it is sustainably harvested with love. And it’s such a cool video to watch when he does these in the middle of the night. And you have to do it at night because the frog is nocturnal. The concern really…again, it’s a very justified concern is, are they harming the animal? Are they abusing the frog? Are they stressing it out? Because, of course, it’s a stress response from the frog. From my experience and everything I have seen, mainly it’s the shamans in the Amazon. There’s only a few people, a few tribes who…I believe there’s only seven tribes that are even allowed to harvest the frog and touch the frog. And they do it with so much of most respect and love because they understand the power of this medicine.

So what they do is they grab the frog, they can call to it, they actually call to the frog and the frogs come to them so they’re not hunting for it, which also shows for the most part, if the frog knows they’re gonna get harmed because they do this continuously through the frog’s life. They can live to be 15 years old. So what they do is they call the frogs, the frogs come to them, and then they’ll strap the frogs, and they tickle them with a stick and it will release the secretion. And then they pull off they say basically the first 20% or 30% of the frog secretion so that it still has plenty of its own just to keep itself safe. And then they put on the stick and then it gets transferred to whoever’s gonna purchase it. You know, it goes through a few people’s hands. But then they mark the frog so that they know not to get that frog again for another year.

So, that’s the ideal story of everything. But I’m sure, you know, unfortunately, just like with anything that happens, there are probably people who don’t have the best interest in the frog. The good thing though is if the frog is actually overly harmed or stressed, it actually secretes more blood out of it. So you’d be getting red Kambo, basically. And no one’s gonna purchase that, at least if they’re educated in that, like, so they’re basically wasting the product if they’re harming the frog. And that doesn’t mean that it, unfortunately, doesn’t happen in some places. But again, it’s a question you should always ask your practitioner is, how do you source it? Because hopefully, they’re not buying it just online somewhere randomly.

Like, there are…If you are a certified practitioner, you have a direct connection that is given to you who that you can purchase your Kambo sticks from, which those are really good because those are monitored and people know exactly where they’re coming from and they’ve been using them for forever. But I personally choose a gentleman who I followed on Instagram for quite some time and get to watch how he does everything. And he’s a great educator and I love the stuff he does. So I buy from him because I get to watch the videos of when he’s harvesting it.

Katie: And also, I think it’s important to note that they only make this in the wild, right, from what you’ve told me. So, they could not be raised in captivity in bad conditions and used to harvest because they wouldn’t be making the same secretions. Is that right?

Todd: Correct. So the pharmaceutical companies have tried to hop in on this because, again, there’s so many peptides for pain, like we said in dermaseptin, the antiviral. And I believe there’s over 70 patents that they’ve tried to create with the Kambo peptides. But the problem is the frog does not release the secretion once it’s out of its element. So, the frogs only release the secretion if they’re in the jungle and it wouldn’t be sustainable, obviously, on a pharmaceutical level of how they do it so. And they’re not allowed to, again…there’s only I believe it’s seven tribes that are really allowed to do this. And also just on that note, Kambo is 100% legal worldwide. You know, there’s nothing anywhere…You can have it with you. There’s nothing about having it shipped to you or using it because it’s not a psychedelic. There’s no mind-altering aspects to it. So, worldwide Kambo is legal.

Katie: That was gonna be one of my follow-up questions for you is, yeah, is it safe and legal to do in all 50 states and around the world, and it is. But to your point, make sure you know your practitioner or quiz them very well and you check on things like the sourcing and their training, those would all be important things. Just like with our food supply, we wanna know where it comes from and make sure animals weren’t treated and be like…You know, these are all concerns I would have with food. So to me, this is just a continuation of making sure that anything that goes in your body is sourced well. Another thing that you do during the Kambo ceremony that I wanted to make sure we touched on briefly, is the eye drops sometimes after the ceremony, which I know are optional before we start talking about them. And I will describe it as a little bit of a feeling of maybe, like, a blowtorch through the eyeballs and into the brain for a minute. I may not be the best salesperson for that. But explain what the point of the drops is.

Todd: Yes, so Sananga is the name of it. And different times people can do it during which I can’t believe that I would never want Sananga. Like, when you’re already nauseous and having Kambo experience, I personally would not want Sananga but I do know why they do at some points. So, in general, it’s completely optional to do it post. And it is eye drops, and I say it’s basically like putting…it was like being pepper sprayed in a way or jalapeno or habanero sauce in your eyeball. So it’s a good…It can be one to five minutes of extreme discomfort of, like, as if you had literally just put pepper sauce in your eyes. It’s very intense. I always work with people with breathwork. And it helps them. It definitely doesn’t make it sunshine and rainbows but it really helps. And so it comes from the Ibogaine plant. And it has tons of benefits for antimicrobial, antibacterial, so cleans out your eyes, and it helps with inflammation in the eyeballs.

We see it over and over again where people can have major vision issues and not, like, long-term results, but it helps them. We’ve had people who are in their mid-50s who haven’t been on the drive at night without glasses, and now can because they can see better after using Sananga. And we have someone who hasn’t been able to…a mutual friend of ours who can’t read text messages. And after doing Kambo, and then some Sananga, they’re able to read their text messages. And that’s super powerful. And again, there’s no science, really deep science, but it’s like you can’t ignore that. Now, it’s also a great opportunity, I see it where…I have never used it during a ceremony. I’ve used it after. If someone can’t purge, it tends to be because they’re an extreme controller too. So they don’t wanna throw up subconsciously. But when you give them Sananga, their body gets so distracted by the Sananga that they finally are able to release what they were holding on to.

So we’ve done Sananga and then people are just…They go into these deep emotional releases and they’re crying, you know, and it’s not from the pain, that’s over. It’s finally they’re allowing their body to release it. And on that point really fast because I did miss this but I think one of the most powerful things of Kambo is that it’s a forced catharsisism. So, it forces you…when we’re going into why it’s really good for traumas is it really helps you physically release trauma. It gives you that physical response you’d have of, like, a really hard cry and finally you can release it, even if you have an emotional release already of something that’s happened that you’ve forgiven, your body still holds on to those traumas. And I feel the Kambo is very powerful with that releasing, kind of, going with the Sananga at the end. If someone doesn’t throw up, all we can give is Sananga and have a better chance of releasing that because they’re not so focused on not purging.

Katie: Yeah, like you, I definitely tend towards the scientific side and I resisted the mental and emotional side for a long time after my trauma. And I’ve talked about that a little bit on this podcast before. But that’s something I’ve learned very much the last few years is that mind-body connection is so strong and that emotional connection. And sometimes we need to do the emotional work to help the body release. But sometimes we do use the body to help the emotions release too. And that was the key I had ignored for a long time was the, kind of, somatic aspect of that. And through different kinds of bodywork, through things like Kambo I feel like I was able to almost, like, mobilize the places my body had stored trauma and then actually process them emotionally. Whereas I couldn’t even, like, kind of, get to them. Like to your point, I was holding on to those things until my body knew how to let go. And so it’s like a both/and, not an either/or.

Todd: Yeah, “Psychedelic Times” wrote an article about Kambo and about the power of using it for grief and, like, death of a loved one or after an intense long relationship, if you’ve gotten out of that whether it’s a friendship or romantic relationship and using it. And it’s all because of forced catharsisism and the power of releasing it.

Katie: It’s amazing. Yeah, I definitely have personally felt it. And just a funny story related to Sananga, the first time I did Kambo, I saw a friend do Sananga and I knew how strong his pain tolerance was, and then when you were like, “Do you wanna do it?” I was like, “Nope, I’m good. I don’t think I wanna do that.” And then I felt bad because I didn’t try it. And so a few days later, when you were around, I was like, “Okay, I’ll just do Sananga by itself.” And it was in my backyard. I think most of the kids in the neighborhood were there. And I screamed a bad word very loudly, unintentionally, when it hit my eyes, and felt really bad. I had apologize to the kids. But it is a definitely uncomfortable experience but it was amazing after, both how vivid I saw everything and also how vivid people’s eyes look externally after Sananga. It’s almost like, I feel like, putting a Photoshop filter on your eyes for a few weeks. They’re just so bright and vivid. And that makes sense when you talk about how it, kind of, cleanse the eye, it helps the eye work better, basically.

Todd: My eye colors have changed entirely. So, which we’ve seen through a few of the people here in the circle, but my eyes were brown. My driver’s license says brown eyes. And if you look at it now, you’re like, “No they’re green, Todd.” Like, from brown to green, very, very obvious too, which is so…And that I think has a lot to do with maybe some detoxing from Kambo and the Sananga. Like, again, that’s not something I know a lot about but I’ve read a lot about eye color and if you have different things can also be heavy metals or anything that’s being held in our eye, but I don’t know any science behind that. But my eyes have completely changed from dark brown to a nice green. So…

Katie: Interesting. Well, and I’m guessing there’s a lot of people listening now who are wondering, “Okay, how can I try this now that, for some reason, I’m compelled to do this thing that’s gonna make me throw up and burn my eyeballs? How do I do it?” And like you pointed out, it’s obviously very important to know who you’re doing it with and make sure the sourcing is good and make sure the practitioner knows what they’re doing. For you personally, if people wanted to reach out, how can they find out more and/or try Kambo?

Todd: Yeah. So, for sure, make sure that you find a trained certified practitioner. And there’s no question about that. Please don’t ever…It’s not gonna be way cheaper to go another route and it’s not worth it just because the education and the actual depth of safety that are trained through it is not comparable. So, my website is sunpiperwellness.com. So sunpiperwellness.com. You can go onto my website. And I have all of our things we do for Kambo on there. We travel. So Jill and I travel, which is…I mean, that’s how we met you, Katie, is we lived in San Francisco. And with COVID happening, the pandemic, we couldn’t work. So we started traveling around the country realizing that this is what people need. They need it for the anxiety, the depression, and the antiviral aspect.

So we started traveling around, which is what we still do. We travel all over, anywhere pretty much in the country because we enjoy driving together. It’s pretty fun. So, like, this summer for all of June and some into July, we’re gonna be all of the East Coast. We’re basically stationed here in the panhandle of Florida. We’ll travel anywhere. But we also on most of our weekends, we have people flying out to us and we do, like, three-day retreats. So it’s Kambo, as well as nutrition, and yoga, and circadian rhythm resets, we do all of that. You can follow me on Instagram, it’s Biohacker Todd, and you can ask me any questions on there, and if you wanna set up any schedules.

But that being said, if you live too far away, or it’s not gonna work that I get to work with you, there are websites you can go to like Kambo International. And then there’s…which it’s a world-known, respected organization that you can type in your zip code and they’ll find certified practitioners for you. And if there’s someone still not in your area, you are welcome to reach out to me because there are people that aren’t even on that that I know are still certified and trained that we could find for you. And again, you can do that through Instagram or just going on to the website, but we will find a practitioner close to you if you’re interested. But using Kambo International should help you too if you’re not wanting to wait around.

Katie: Perfect. I’ll make sure those are linked at wellnessmama.fm in the show notes. You guys can find it. And then lastly, I love to ask somewhat selfishly at the end of podcast if off the top of your head there’s a book or a number of books that have had a profound impact on your life and if so, what they are and why.

Todd: So I’m an obsessive reader and I love books. I love learning. And honestly, like, hands down, I mean, it’s hard to say because there’s so many books, but there’s a book, which I did randomly see in your book library, but for your audience if they haven’t heard it, it’s called “F Your Feelings.” It’s by Ryan Munsey. And the book is just…You know, there’s a lot of self-help…There’s a lot of amazing self-help books and, kind of, stuff out there but nothing comes close to what Ryan puts you on. You learn why your brain does the things it does. So, actually, it’s one of those books where you go to the root cause of what’s going on with your body, and your brain, and your thought process of when you said you were gonna go to a party tomorrow, and then two hours before the party, you change your mind. Like, what goes on in your body and your brain that change that? And so it’s called “F Your Feelings.” It’s Ryan Munsey. And that book has just been beyond a game-changer and a life-changing book for me.

Katie: Awesome. I’ll make sure that’s linked as well. And yeah, I love that. I think that’s such an important thing. Often we think that we’re these logical, objective beings who are making rational decisions all the time, and we’re truly not. In fact, so many go back to ego, or filters, or all these different things. And that’s a great book. I love that recommendation. And I love…This has been such a fun episode. I know I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it so hopefully, this answers most of those. If not, we can do a round two follow-up at some point in the future. But thank you for your time today and for educating us all.

Todd: Thank you, Katie.

Katie: And thanks, as always, to you guys for listening, for sharing your most valuable resources, your time, and your energy with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did, and I hope that you’ll join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.



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