Traditional legend shares that the people of the Kaxinawa tribe were very sick and their pajé had exhausted all means attempting to cure his people. A sacred medicine plant spirit showed the pajé how to use the secretion of the frog in order to cure his people. He became Pajé Kampu, and it is said that his spirit lives on in the frog, protecting the health of those who defend the forest.
The use of Kambo spread, and in addition to the Kaxinawa tribe, other indigenous tribes such as the Amahuaca, Katukina, Kulina, Yawanawa, Matses, Marubo, Nukini, and Huni Kuin began incorporating the practice of Kambo. Different tribes work with Kambo with particular techniques. Traditional use of Kambo in sacred ceremonies targets dissolving panema, which is considered dark, heavy, or negative energies that manifest as bad luck, illness, depression, laziness, lack of clarity, and energetic blockages. It has also been used in eliminating toxins and poisons, increasing strength and stamina, and improving hunting skills. Tribes have also used it for medicinal purposes including malaria, snake bites, fever, infection, fertility problems, to detoxify and strengthen the mind and body, to increase energy and endurance, and reduce pain. In addition to Kambo, it is also known as Sapo, Kampu, and Vacina de Floresta.
In the early 1900’s, rubber workers learned about the use of Kambo from the Amazon tribes and began to spread the practice first into the larger cities of Brazil. Since that time, its use has spread worldwide.