Monday, November 28, 2011

A Note About Sapo

Someone wrote to say that they heard that a Brazilian tribe's sapo--the frog secretions burned into your skin that clean you up, eliminate toxins, and sharpen your senses (great great liver/kidney flush)--was stronger than the Matses' sapo. I thought it worth addressing, so here's what I wrote:

Hello. I've never done any sapo except from the Matses, who are the first people known to have used it. The other groups that use it now got it from my writing about the Matses using it and from word of mouth, indigenous group to indigenous group. That's just a point of record in case someone else is claiming the distinction of being first.
Could the same frog in a different part of the Amazon have a stronger secretion? I guess they could, since it would depend on what they are eating which is what is turned into the sapo. I frogs in one area are eating more of the bug, or leaves that become sapo, then they'd have stronger secretions. It's like when you buy a phyllomedusa bicolor frog in an aquarium store in the USA, it has no sapo whatsoever. You can still get it to give off secretions, but there is no medicine in them. None. And that's because their diet is different in captivity than when free.
On the other hand, mostly what I've seen is that the power is in how the frog is collected. If it is touched at all it gives off it's secretions, and the most powerful secretions are in that first burst. After that, the more you collect, the weaker it gets. So while anyone can collect sapo frogs without too much difficulty, only a real hunter who depends on those secretions as medicines and to give him better aim when hunting knows not to disturb that frog: You don't collect the frog, you cut the branch on which it sits. You bring the branch to the ground and prepare your four sticks and the little vine-strings with which to fix the frog into the "green trampoline" position, stretched between those sticks. Only then do you handle the frog, putting it into position and then scraping the sapo onto your stick.
Real Matses hunters generally only take the first secretions from the frog. People in the business of trying to sell sapo sticks will continue to get more and more secretions from the frog but it simply gets weaker and weaker--just imagine taking not just the first, but all of the eggs in a hen's huevera: Only one egg is ready at a time: The rest are not fully formed yet. So with the sapo: Only the first secretions are capable of warding off a snake. If they don't do the job, well, the frog is dead. The frog certainly has more secretion, but it's not ready.
So yes, if the frogs eat more of what helps them produce sapo, their sapo secretions would be stronger. But even then, if not collected properly, the material would be weak.
Make sense?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes, very straight thinking