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There’s Nothing Healing About Giant Monkey Frog Poison

Monkey Frog Poison

There’s Nothing Healing About Giant Monkey Frog Poison

For all intents and purposes, Natasha Lechner was just the type to wrangle with South American ritual healing practices. The 39-year-old, nicknamed Mama Bear, was a “clever, independent” woman “searching for a way to cure herself” from the significant pain of a debilitating back condition.That drove her to alternative medicine. Namely kambo, the ritual that applies giant monkey frog poison to burn wounds in order to effect a cleansing.

In 2015 Ms Lechner had undertaken training to become a kambo practitioner. It was a role NSW State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan said she took seriously. Nevertheless, she died as a result of an adverse cardiac event triggered by the administration of the kambo frog toxin in a kambo ceremony.

Was it an avoidable death?

We say Yes.

Giant Monkey Frog Poison

The giant monkey frog, Phyllomedusa bicolor, is native to the Amazon rainforest. It resides in parts of Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela. For centuries people in many jungle cultures have revered the giant monkey frog poison for its alleged healing abilities.

In fact, Indigenous people have used monkey frog poison for centuries to heal and cleanse the body by strengthening its natural defenses and warding off bad luck. It was also believed to increase stamina and hunting skills.
These days shamans and naturopathic practitioners still use it for cleansing the body of toxins, as well as treating numerous health conditions, including:
Alzheimer’s disease
chronic pain
vascular conditions
The jury is still out on whether or not monkey frog poison actually works for any of these ailments.

Monkey Frog Poison: The Application

One day in March of 2019, Lechner and Victoria Sinclair got together in Mullumbimby, an Australian town in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Sinclair, a Northern Irish woman who Lechner regarded as a “teacher” as well as a friend, was set to apply the monkey frog poison (called kambo).
This time was different, says Sinclair, who insisted it was Lechner who led the fatal ceremony. Apparently they both though she was ready. having recently completed that two-week training course through an organization known as the International Association of Kambo Practitioners.

Sinclair didn’t say just who burned the holes in Lechner’s shoulder or who rubbed the toxic monkey frog poison into those wounds. Sinclair did admit to not knowing that 000 was the number to dial in case of an emergency. Then again, it wouldn’t have mattered if she did know, since Sinclair didn’t have a phone.
Sinclair didn’t offer much about what happened to Lechner after ingesting the kambo either, but soon after the toxin was administered, Lechner felt faint and lay down on the floor before losing consciousness.

We do know that symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness and another half dozen assorted unpleasantries. And they can range in severity, typically lasting from 5 to 30 minutes, though they can last for up to several hours in rare cases.

Mama Bear

Natasha Lechner aka Mama Bear was certainly a bright spot in these dark days. Heck, even the coroner said Lechner was a “gentle, bright and kind woman” and that it was clear to those present in the courtroom that Lechner was “deeply loved by all”, particularly by her parents and brothers and friends.

Lechner’s friend and housemate, Kelly-Anne Green, who called an ambulance moments after coming home to find her friend collapsed and frothing at the mouth, told the inquest last year her her late friend was a “beautiful soul” known as the “Mama Bear” among friends.

Her father, Frank Lechner, spoke of her innate “incredible wisdom” and poetic soul.

So it is with tremendous sadness that we share news of her early demise. In part due to Lechner’s death though, the Therapeutic Goods Administration listed kambo a schedule 10 poison and effectively banned it across Australia. Small solace to Lechner’s friends and family, to be sure, but a giant leap in protecting unsuspecting users.

Healing Properties extends our regards to Lechner’s friends and family. And we extend our gratitude to the TGA for banning giant monkey frog poison. Nobody needs to go out like that; now hopefully nobody else will.

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