Consciousness Entheogens Wellness

Bufo vs. Kambo: What are the Differences?

Featured art by Nic Warner

Bufo and Kambo are two types of amphibious entheogenic healing medicines that are often confused or misunderstood.

As someone who has previously confused, and misunderstood both, learning the differences and experiencing the differences has been nothing short of profound, evolutionary, and extremely humbling.

So, what are the differences in each, and what can we expect from either healing modality?

What is Bufo?

Bufo alvarius (Sonoran Desert Toad)

Bufo, which is short for Bufo alvarius, is the Sonoran Desert Toad. Also known as the Colorado River Toad, or El Sapo/Sapito.

The dried venom of Bufo contains 5-MeO-DMT, which is considered by some to be the world’s strongest psychedelic.

5-MeO-DMT is a relative of the classic psychedelic DMT (dimethyltryptamine), and like DMT it also induces an intense experience when ingested. Typically, it is insufflated (snorted) or smoked as a powder or dried plant material.


The dried venom of the Bufo alvarius toad contains both 5-MeO-DMT and another psychotropic substance known as bufotenin (5-HO-DMT), and so the Bufo experience is different from a pure 5-MeO-DMT experience.

Source: EntheoNation

Michael Pollan wrote about his experience with 5-MeO-DMT in his book, How to Change Your Mind, and recently Mike Tyson appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience to sing the praises of this medicine as THE catalyst for changing his mind and heart.

What is the experience like?

DISCLAIMER: The words offered are for educational purposes only, and are not to be substituted with professional and/or medical advice. Please educate yourself about legality, risks, and contraindications. We highly suggest reading: The Beginner’s Guide to Healing with Bufo Alvarius and 5-MeO-DMT

The word that can best describe my own experience with Bufo is “surrender.”

When working with Bufo, “resistance is futile” as you must surrender in order to get the most out of the experience. When the medicine hits, all that is corporeal dissolves, and you are thrust into the void of everything and nothing all at once.

Some describe the experience as “Instant Samadhi”, and I would have to concur.

The preciousness of life and the intricate web of connection between all living beings is felt and understood immediately. Time evaporates, and 15-minutes feels like 4 hours.

As you come-to, it can be quite disorienting, and integration can be a challenge. The effects of the toad are present for days after the experience, and re-activations can occur when you least expect it. Grounding, meditation, journaling, and processing are necessary in order to really unpack what you receive as you journey forward with new awareness.

LEARN MORE:

What is Kambo?

Kambo (Phyllomedusa bicolor)

Kambo, “frog medicine”, comes from the venomous secretion of the Phyllomedusa bicolor (giant leaf or monkey frog). This bright green tree-frog is native to the Amazonian basin but is also found in northern Brazil, southeastern Colombia, eastern Peru and parts of Venezuela, and Bolivia.

Kambo promotes the understanding of our feelings; by bringing up that which we have suppressed and since long forgotten. By removing these impurities, the reminants of unprocessed and unhealthy feelings from the past, we reveal layer by layer our authentic-self. Kambo clears the path ahead, promoting a deeper understanding of ourselves and everything around us. 

Source: KamboCleanse.com

Kambo medicine is ethically collected from the Phyllomedusa frog, and then is dried on small wooden paddles where it is prepared for the ceremony.  

Once the Kambo is dried, water is then added so it can be formed into “dots”, which will vary for each participant, depending on tolerance and necessity.

An applicator is then heated, and burn points are placed on the arm or leg. Traditionally men will receive Kambo on their arms or chest, while a woman will receive them on their lower leg. Placement is all preference, and you can specify where you’d like the points to your practitioner.

Before receiving the Kambo, you will be asked to drink a large amount of water in preparation to receive the “fire” energy of the medicine.

What is the experience like?

DISCLAIMER: The words offered are for educational purposes only, and are not to be substituted with professional and/or medical advice. Please educate yourself about legality, risks, and contraindications. We highly suggest reading: Kambo Frog Medicine: An Unconventional Path to Healing

Once Kambo is applied to the burn points, the effects begin to take hold. They can vary in intensity, but generally, last no more than 30-40 minutes.

Effects include:

  • Rise in temperature
  • Sweating
  • Shivers
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of the face and/or extremities
  • Tingling/numb sensation
  • Rise or decrease in blood pressure
  • Disassociation and/or feeling of intoxication

Kambo healing is an intensely physical experience, with no psychedelic effects. Some practitioners will include ceremonial Rapé (see: The Modern Shamanic Guide to Taking Rapé – the Sacred Medicinal Snuff of the Amazon), or Sananga eye-drops to supplement the experience.

After the session ends, some practitioners may seal the Kambo burn wounds with Dragon’s Blood.

In my personal experience, immediately after ceremony, I felt GREAT! With little to no side-effects. Integration (in my experience) included a day of sweating and sauna-ing at the Korean Spa, which I would (personally) highly recommend.

In Conclusion

To learn more about Bufo and Kambo, we highly suggest doing your due-diligence and researching the best practices, risks, and history of these medicines.

Suggested Resources:

+ EntheoNation

+ The Third Wave

+ Psychedelic Times

+ Kambo Cleanse

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