As with many traditional plant medicines, the origins of Kambo’s usage are unknown. However, legend tells of an illness-stricken indigenous village and a shaman, named Kampu who was desperate to help them. The shaman had tried everything he could think of to heal the sick villagers — every known medicinal herb and plant — but failed time and again.
Then one night, while under the effects of ayahuasca (another sacred medicinal plant medicine), Kampu was visited by the Great God. The God brought forth a frog in his hands, from which he took a secretion and taught Kampu its secrets.
After returning to the tribe and following the God’s instructions, Kampu was able to heal his people. Following his death, it was said that his spirit lived on in the frog, and the villagers continued to use its secretion to stay healthy.
The secretion became known as Kambo but in some tribes it is called Sapo, Kampu or Vacina da Floresta. Its usage spread and it is still used widely amongst indigenous people in the Amazon to this day although the rituals vary from tribe to tribe.