Monday, July 30, 2018

Using Sapo/Kambo While Breastfeeding

Claims about Sapo/Kambo, the frog medicine that some indigenous apply to small burns in their skin to introduce it to the capillaries that carry it to the general blood stream are getting out of hand. People who use the medicine are shrouding it in nonsensical spirituality, and claiming it can cure damned near everything from rickets to rheumatoid arthritis. It is a miracle medicine, no doubt, based on the science of it--as first explored by the late great pharmacologist Vittorio Erspamer of the FIDIA Research Institute of the University of Rome--but it ain't gonna fix mom's bunions necessarily. One person recently told me they'd taken it to strengthen their umbilical cord as they were pregnant. She was in obvious pain and sure it would pass. I did not have the heart to tell  her it was an abortive and that she was having a slow miscarriage because of it. Yesterday someone claimed it was great to give to breastfeeding moms as it made their milk better. BULLSHIT! Who the hell would know that except a scientist who did a study and there have been no studies on that matter. I think it might be dangerous at the very least for a breastfeeding mom to use sapo. Here's what I wrote, being my political and politest best:
I do not think it is good for breast feeding women. The toxins that are released by the medicine are temporarily stored in fatty tissue until they can be eliminated and that includes breasts. Might some of those toxins make it into the milk and hurt the baby? Perhaps. And even if the toxins do not get into the milk (there have been no studies on this as yet) the medicine itself might. And while many of the peptides in sapo/kambo are bioactive, babies and small children do not have the developed receptor sites to receive them. So I would think a good practitioner would hold off on serving a breast feeding mom just as a precaution. If studies are done at a later date and show that I'm wrong, well, that would be a different matter, but without them I would not take the chance based on someone's personal claim.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

One more on the Matses and Nu-Nu use

Nu-Nu is a snuff the indigenous Matses use in conjunction, generally, with sapo, the frog sweat medicine burned into their arms. The nu-nu, as hunting tool, compliments the sapo in that the sapo fine tunes your vision and the nu-nu snuff brings out the hues and color values of the greenery of the jungle, so that instead of looking at a wall of green, it becomes very three-dimensional, allowing a hunger to look "through" the thick foliage to see animals they might want to hunt hiding in the greenery. It also makes you feel slightly drunk and after a failed hunt the hunters would often take copious amounts of it, and the more they did the more fantastic their stories--of the animals they almost got that day--became.
   Someone asked me if they could eat nu-nu and I had to say no, as the primary ingredient in it was wild tobacco, a very strong poison. Someone else responded that a Matses said they ate it for hunting. This was my reply, based on my experience:
Never heard of that. Now among the Bora and AucaiƱo, they make an ibu coca that is activated with liquid extract of tobacco that is used like chewing tobacco and placed between the cheek and teeth. Some of that winds up being swallowed and they seem to survive just fine. But the tobacco content is small compared to the ibu-coca (jungle coca, not very strong) and is not nearly as high a dose as the Matses' nu-nu. And considering that when two hunters get together they might do 100 shots of it each, about 3-4 ounces per person over the course of a couple of hours, that would be, if eaten, like eating 3 or more ounces of pure tobacco, and you would be dead in certainly less than an hour. Unless you speak dialect, I would refrain from believing most of what the Matses say. The old ones who know things do not think in Spanish, so do not communicate very well in that language. The younger ones just try to tell you what you want to hear. Now the really old ones still communicate mostly telepathically, so language is not a barrier, but there are not 10 of those left in all of the nearly million hectares of Matses territory.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Someone asked me this question about sapo/kambo/the Matses

Someone asked me if the Matses used different parts of the body to elicit different effects from sapo, the frog medicine that's administered into small burns on your body. They were hoping I would say something like: Well, if your chacras were closed, they would.......bullshit. Here is how I responded, and it's only from my experience but I do have experience with them:
With the Matses back in 1985-2000, there was very little consideration of dot placement. Burns were universally on the upper left or right bicep for men, with the occasional exception of some young buck who insisted he get them across his chest, above the heart. That request was always met with laughter by the elders who thought it was ridiculous but would serve it that way on request. For small kids who were sick, it was given on the forearm, generally, to break a sweat. For women thought to be pregnant it was given on the inner wrist, just a touch. 
Later, during the first trimester, a very small amount was administered to the labia to provoke urination that the midwives would read to see if the embryo was male or female, healthy or not. And if it was a female they did not need, or if it was unhealthy, a second administration to the labia would produce an abortion. I was never invited to watch those female procedures, so I'm going on what I was told, not personal experience. 
There was absolutely no consideration as to where it would be stronger: ie, the chacras. The Matses used this as a utilitarian hunting medicine, sickness medicine, abortive. No ritual, no singing, no dancing, just apply and walk away and let the recipient deal with it while everyone else ate a tapir or boar or crocodilian. 
I still am with the Matses a full month a year and have never seen that differ. You are sick or lazy, need to abort, or are not hunting well, you are getting sapo, whether you want it or not. 
The best that can be said is that in true Pervian form, they laughed while you suffered. Same as if you broke a hip. They would just laugh and laugh and never for a minute consider your broken hip. 
Their world was a rough place. It's now gotten soft, what with having agriculture and iphones and electricity. In those days they were still stealing machetes, shotguns, women. Different world.

Saliva vs Water to Liquify Sapo/Kambo

People who use frog sweat medicine, known as kambo in Brazil and Sapo in Peru, have two distinct ways to moisten it for application. It needs moistening because after it is collected from the frog it is dried onto a small piece of hardwood until it has the consistency of varnish. To liquify it, Peruvian indigenous generally use saliva, while Brazilian indigenous are said to use water.
Someone has recently been challenging my position that the saliva helps break down the medicine so that it is more quickly absorbed into the subcutaneous layers of the skin (skin that has been burned with a piece of vine called tamishi), while using water to moisten it simply makes it wet. I used the example of putting a small piece of meat into a bit of saliva and waiting a few minutes: it begins to break down because of the enzymes in the saliva. The same little piece of meat (or veggie, or other things) in water just gets wet but does not begin to break down.
The person was having none of it, so I finally answered with this, which gets to a very good point but does so awkwardly, just because I didn't write it well. Anyway, he was my explanation:
The hard shell of  the medicine on the stickneeds to be broken down so that the medicine is moistened to the point where it can be absorbed. When you liquify it in water you wind up with little globules. Liquify in saliva and you wind up with a fully prepared paste that will get into the blood stream more quickly. Imagine if you just took a chunk of the medicine and put it on a burn: it would take forever for that to get absorbed. Now imagine good sea salt: put it on food and you have chunks of salt that take longer to break down than they do if you crush them. That's what I'm talking about. I have never seen the water method make the same quality paste as the saliva method, and in my book that makes it more quickly absorbed. The saliva does the same job on the medicine as it does with the food in your mouth: It begins breaking it into its component parts on contact for better absorbtion by your body.