Kambo Rituals Linked to Multiple Deaths in Australia, Lack of Basic First Aid Knowledge Exposed in Inquest

Lismore, NSW – Vulnerable individuals are being lured into participating in “healing” rituals involving frog poison by self-proclaimed health practitioners who lack basic first aid skills in cases of emergency, discovered a coroner. The recent findings shed light on the tragic death of Natasha Lechner, 39, in 2019 following her involvement in a kambo ceremony, inspired by a South American rite where toxin from the giant monkey frog is applied to burn wounds.

Proponents of the practice believe in its healing properties, although it has been linked to several fatalities in Australia. A three-day inquest into the circumstances surrounding Ms. Lechner’s passing was conducted at Lismore courthouse in May 2023. NSW State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan delivered her verdict on Friday, attributing Ms. Lechner’s death to an adverse cardiac event triggered by the administration of the kambo frog toxin.

Ms. Lechner, described by her father as “an old soul in a young body,” had been grappling with multiple chronic health issues that caused her immense pain for years. Intrigued by alternative medicine, she became acquainted with kambo and its alleged healing abilities in 2015. Undertaking training to become a kambo practitioner, Ms. Lechner embraced the role seriously.

On the fateful day of her demise, Ms. Lechner participated in a kambo ritual with a friend and fellow practitioner at a residence in Mullumbimby. Shortly after receiving the toxin, she began to feel lightheaded, eventually fainting and losing consciousness. Paramedics’ efforts to revive her were unsuccessful. The investigation unveiled the largely unregulated nature of kambo at the time of Ms. Lechner’s death, prompting subsequent regulations prohibiting its manufacture, supply, or use in NSW without proper authorization.

Ms. O’Sullivan highlighted the potential dangers associated with vulnerable individuals turning to kambo under the presumption of receiving healing from practitioners lacking adequate first aid training. The inquest also touched upon the tragic passing of Jarrad Antonovich in October 2021, who had consumed ayahuasca and kambo before his death. As new information emerged following media coverage of the incident, the inquest was temporarily halted for further examination.