Tabernanthe iboga is a shrub native to Central West Africa traditionally used in rites of passage and healing ceremonies.
Its main alkaloid is ibogaine, which has been used since the 1960s for the treatment of addictions. Iboga has been shown to be effective in reducing addiction severity, eliminating the withdrawal syndrome associated with opioid use, and reducing the compulsive desire to consume a wide variety of drugs.
The iboga experience can facilitate a deep review of one’s personal history and current situation as well as modification of behavior and perceived role in family and society.
The root bark of the iboga plant has played a fundamental role in rites of passage and healing ceremonies of many tropical African cultures. The plant is used in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Congo, Zaire( Democratic Republic of Congo), and especially in Gabon by the pygmy people, as well as the Fang and Mitsogo Bwiti cultures.
Etymologically, “Bwiti” is roughly translated as “ancestor” or “dead”, but may originate from the word “Mbouiti”, the accurate name for the pygmy people located between Gabon and Zaire ( Democratic Republic of Congo). Traditionally, iboga is used in Bwiti adolescent rites of passage or in healing ceremonies for both men and women, separately. The ritual surrounding iboga lasts five days and as the individual undergoes a process of rebirth, carefully guided by the community through the performance of a series of rituals in which many people take part; a symbolic death of the adolescent or of evil gives way to the birth of the adult or healthy person.
Now after looking at all that let’s dive into the Chemical composition and dosage of iboga. The root bark of Tabernanthe iboga contains the alkaloids ibogaine, ibogaline and ibogamine in approximate proportions of 80%, 15%, and 5%, respectively. The latest studies have revealed important new properties: iboga has stimulating effects on energy metabolism and, according to Professor Dorit Ron in Israel, ibogaine stimulates the synthesis and release of neurotrophin, which helps the nerve pathways to regenerate and the brain to reorganize.
Ibogaine in modern society has had a mixed reception from different countries for numerous reasons
In 1962, Howard Lotsof, a young man from New York with a heroin dependency, along with six other heroin-dependent friends, conducted an experiment. They ingested ibogaine and the next day, six of the seven friends stopped using heroin, since they had no withdrawal syndrome or desire to consume.
In the following years, efforts to ensure that ibogaine would be considered a valid alternative for the treatment of opiate addiction obtained little response from the pharmaceutical industry.
NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) developed a 4000-page Drug Master File (DMF), including 16 volumes of pre-clinical studies. In 1993, the FDA approved a Phase 1 clinical trial, which concluded after the first treatment due to patent disputes. In 1995, NIDA decided not to continue supporting ibogaine research,
but drug user groups and advocacy organizations promoted its use and made it available to the public in alternative non-clinical settings. The number of treatment providers and demand on behalf of those seeking to end drug dependency has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. There are ibogaine clinics in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, and South Africa, and treatment providers all around the world.
In 2009, New Zealand was the first country in the world to accept ibogaine as a medication. What could be some of the possible Effects Ibogaine induces an introspective experience that is often referred to as deeply psychotherapeutic. It is referred to as an “oneirophrenic” as it can induce a waking dream state, although this is not always the case. An experience with ibogaine is not considered hallucinogenic because the individual is usually aware of where he or she is, the experience is caused by the ingestion of ibogaine and that the visions that one has during the experience are internal projections, although there are exceptions to this.
The initial phase of the experience can often consist of intense visual introspection lasting between 7 and 12 hours and is often saturated with information that may be experienced more objectively, as an observer, while deeper psychological integration of the content is not accessible.
During the following 24 hours of the experience, the visionary phase ends and the contents of the experience can be integrated into a cognitive process. Subsequently, this integration process may continue to develop in daily life for months as the individual re-defines their identity and interpersonal dynamics related to their environment.
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