Frog juice, or Jugo de Rana, is a popular Peruvian concoction that claims to cure anything from bronchitis to impotence. The live frog is picked up by its hind legs and smacked over the edge of the table like a roll of quarters. It is then skinned and popped into the blender with a mixture of carrots, roots and other ingredients. Some Peruvians believe that it makes them clever. Others believe that it prevents osteoporosis- though, these claims have not been substantiated with medical evidence.
However, according to The New York Times, frog secretions is administered to horses as a pain killer and performance-enhancing drug. DNA from frogs has shown up in the blood stream of over thirty race horses in the US. According to an article written by Jeanna Bryner, “The substance, called dermorphin, blocks pain while increasing feelings of excitation and euphoria, all of which would prod a horse to run faster and harder despite injuries.” (www.livescience.com)
And it doesn’t stop there- while touring with our Peruvian guide Jose, he told us that he credits a frog for saving his leg from being amputated. (Please keep in mind that this account is merely hearsay and has not been proven or grounded in scientific evidence…)
Jose broke his leg when he was a boy. He went to his local hospital to have his leg re-set. After a week, his leg began to fester with infection. With the onset of gangrene, he was told that his leg would have to be amputated. Jose and his family could not accept this prognosis.
In the hopes of a second opinion and a possible cure, they travelled into the Amazon Jungle to speak with a shaman. The medicine man agreed that he could cure Jose, but in order to be treated he had to fetch a toad. (I know, really witchy stuff right?) The next day, Jose returned with a toad. The shaman then bound the toad to Jose’s leg to draw out the infection. Jose told us that the smell was nearly unbearable but after a few weeks his infection was gone. His leg was saved- which I kind of knew was the case as he was hopping up and down on his affected leg as he told the story.
Now, if you tell this to any reasonable practitioner, he or she will likely tell you that it’s a bunch of hog-wash. However, I like to believe that these shamans have an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world and the healing powers that exist in the rain forest. And while you will not catch me drinking frog juice, I will strongly advocate for the preservation of these sacred lands and their inhabitants. There’s so much we have yet to learn.