Saturday, December 03, 2016

Immediate follow up to Sapo Collection Post

On that forum where I occasionally post, someone questioned whether it was right to collect the frog medicine (Sapo or Kambo, depending whether you're in Peru or Brazil), given that it caused fear in the frog. The question was really about whether we could justify using the frog medicine given that to get it we had to stress out the frog. I felt the need to respond. Here's what I wrote:

 I think you've got to imagine what the spirit of the frog is thinking, or sensing: I'll bet they don't like the 5 minutes of inconvenience/torture, but that they would prefer that to being boiled in soup. The indigenous who live in the Amazon, at least in the old days when there was not much agriculture, depended on harvesting wild foods, some tree barks for starch, fishing for those who knew how to do it, and hunting. There were not a lot of alternatives. Yes, they knew that if they ate a pineapple and tossed the top on the ground that when they returned there months later there would be a plant with harvestable pineapples, but those would be eaten by the first people who came on them.
To have a medicine that would steady their hand, stave off hunger/thirst/need for sleep, and eliminate the killing grippe had to have been a godsend. And the frogs are not dumb: They, like all of us, would choose inconvenience and some short-term fear over death.
In terms of us, now, yes, I think there is over-harvesting, bad harvesting, people who don't know what the heck they're doing and so shouldn't be doing it (you can buy egg yolk dried on sticks being sold as sapo or kambo in Iquitos; you can buy candle wax being sold as sapo or kambo in Iquitos; you can buy the medicine from frogs who are kept in a camp and harvested over and over--which will produce really lousy medicine; and a host of other icky or bad things). But harvested correctly, used as real medicine with good intention, I suspect the frogs go along with that. It's a very brief process of a couple of minutes from top to bottom, they are then released and put on their tree of preference, and if they have an obvious mate, they're put near that mate.
In terms of humans needing this, well, if you're 20-years old you might not. But if you're 50 or 60 or 70, the idea that you can eliminate the plaque from your arteries, trim the fur off you heart valves to eliminate an irregular heart beat, and cleanse your liver and kidneys in 15 minutes--or in 15 minutes a day for 5-10 days in a row--well that's pretty good and necessary medicine. If eliminating plaque from your arteries provides you with the space in those arteries to deliver just 3-4 percent more blood to your organs, that's 3-4 percent more oxygen getting to where it's supposed to go. That extra oxygen will improve your eyesight, your hearing, your balance, your heart rate, your pulse, your ability to assimilate and eliminate foods....that's pretty important. And if you maintain doing the medicine a time or two a month, well, you'll keep those arteries clear, you'll keep your heart beating regularly, you'll improve your kidney and liver functions. And most of us, at least us old timers, even if we eat organically and live in the country, are suffering from chemical waste inhalation (cars/coal/oil/shale drilling/cement factories) and so we really do need this boost. So yes, it is a very necessary medicine for a lot of people. And the frog is just doing its part--a bit cruel and insensitive, yes, but beats being soup meat.

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