Frog poison healers banned from providing kambo treatments in Victoria, SA

Posted April 08, 2019 17:52:46

Two healers who use an Amazonian tree frog poison, which is under investigation following a woman’s death, have been banned from operating in Victoria and South Australia while an inquiry is underway.

Key points:

  • Two Wolves — One Body provide kambo-based treatments
  • The substance is derived from Amazonian tree frogs and has psychoactive properties
  • NSW woman and kambo practitioner Natasha Lechner died on March 8

South Australians Carlie Angel and Brad Williams, who trade as Two Wolves — One Body, have been ordered to immediately stop providing their kambo-based treatments.

Kambo is a name for the skin secretion of the giant green monkey tree frog, which is found in South America’s Amazon rainforest.

It is used in “cleansing rituals” and has become popular as an alternative medicine, spawning a growing underground community of users.

It also has psychoactive properties.

Last month, Natasha Lechner died at her home in Mullumbimby, NSW, after suffering a cardiac arrest during a natural therapy procedure.

Police said they were “investigating reports she had participated in a kambo ceremony”.

Victoria’s Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC) Karen Cusack imposed an interim prohibition order preventing the two healers from providing their services, and South Australia has now followed suit.

“The order bans them from advertising, offering or providing any general health service in Victoria, paid or otherwise, that involved, or are in any way related to, kambo,” SA Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner Grant Davies said in a statement.

“Under legislative and code changes … Two Wolves — One Body are also banned from offering services in South Australia.

“This ban will be in place until the HCC investigation is completed.”

Ms Lechner, 39, described herself on social media as a kambo practitioner qualified with the International Association of Kambo Practitioners (IAKP).

She advertised her service in the Byron Shire council region under the name Deep Forest Kambo.

At the time, police said the cause of her death would be investigated by the coroner.

Ms Lechner’s death ‘completely unrelated’ to SA healers

A statement on the Two Wolves — One Body website acknowledged the ban in Victoria, but said Ms Lechner’s death was “completely unrelated” to their business.

“Due to a very sad and unfortunate event associated with kambo in NSW, we have been served with an interim prohibition order by the Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner and are unable to serve kambo in Victoria whilst an investigation into the safety of kambo is underway,” it said.

“The prohibition lasts for 12 weeks — however for the foreseeable future we will be unable to serve kambo in Victoria.

“The events in NSW were completely unrelated to us as practitioners, and our hearts go out to everyone involved in NSW.”

The pair defended kambo’s safety record, and stated they were cooperating with Victorian health authorities while the investigation was carried out.

Two Wolves — One Body have been contacted by the ABC for further comment.

Victorian HCC Karen Cusack urged the public to get in touch if they had a complaint or a concern about a kambo provider.

“I’m incredibly concerned about any services that are claiming to provide health benefits by using the South American poison, kambo,” she said.

“Kambo is often applied into open wounds created specifically for that purpose.

“It’s not been registered for therapeutic use in Australia and can cause immediate side effects in some people, including severe vomiting, dizziness, fainting and swelling of the lips and face.

“In some cases, there is even a risk of dangerous side effects, including seizures and death, especially if the kambo enters the bloodstream.”

Dr Martin Williams, from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, previously told the ABC the frog’s toxic peptides were used to induce vomiting in humans as part of a cleansing or purging process.

He said it was generally introduced to the lymphatic system through wounds created, often by burning skin, on the shoulder or ankle.

“There’s no quality assurance or control at all because at this stage kambo toxin is unregulated by the Therapeutic Good Administration,” he said.

Topics: alternative-medicine, health, drug-use, drugs-and-substance-abuse, community-and-society, health-policy, health-administration, animals, adelaide-5000, sa, australia, mullumbimby-2482, nsw, melbourne-3000, vic, sydney-2000

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