Friday, July 27, 2018

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it could be different at some level to use saliva or water, but it is difficult, if not impossible, to notice any change of the medicine's effects and on its potency.
The problem with saliva is that, mostly outside Amazon, we have to grant the standard levels of hygiene and prudence when we ignore the health conditions of the "facilitator"