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Understanding the Background of African Iboga, Ibogaine

Understanding the Background of African Iboga, Ibogaine

Ibogaine treatments for addiction have been gaining interest around the globe. In modern times this is the main use. Like most natural substances, however, this plant derived substance has been around a long time. Its use in Africa has important cultural significance. The area most associated with iboga is Cameroon, as well as Gabon. It is used as a part of rite of passage rituals in groups that practice the Bwiti religion. Its use, however, goes back to the pygmies. Use is aimed at healing and spiritual growth.

The Bwiti

The Bwiti religion makes use of the bark of the Iboga plant. This is a major part of their religion. This is a practice that is centuries old, yet still has many of the same purposes. They use it for medicinal, as well as spiritual purposes. It is believed to have healing properties for the ill. When used for spiritual purposes, it is used to help people look deep into themselves and grow spiritually. This is described as a transformation. This is not far from what many ibogaine clinics practice. They expect addicts to become aware of their subconscious during ibogaine treatment, becoming aware of the true cause of their addiction. This may be past abuse, trauma, or other severe emotional issues.


Ibogaine is considered a drug in some places and a cure in others. The United States banned it and labeled it a Schedule Class 1 substance. It is illegal to use it for any reason, including research and medical treatment. It was banned just as research for heroin addiction treatment was making progress. This occurred in the late 1960’s and has continued ever since. Ibogaine can be used legally in Canada, South America, and Mexico. People in search of treatment often cross the border to become addiction free.


Addiction recovery is the most modern use associated with ibogaine. In the early 20thcentury, however, there were other uses. These uses preceded the ban. The form used was extracted from the root. At the time, Ibogaine was an interesting scientific topic. It was prescribed in pill form in France. This was meant for the treatment of a myriad of physical and mental ailments, including depression and diseases. Athletes depended on it as a stimulant. Its use an addiction recovery tool was discovered by a heroin addict looking for his next fix. Howard Lostof realized he had a lack of withdrawal symptoms after using Ibogaine. Lostof went on to lead research on the subject until the ban in 1967.

Iboga root is a natural occurring plant that plays a big part in some African cultures. The new addiction use has caused some controversy, as there are some dangers involved in its use. Treatment centers may not all be properly equipped for physical medical evaluations and emergencies. There are, however, also testimonies in favor of Ibogaine from those that have tried it. Addiction is extremely difficult to treat, even after many years of research on the subject. Ibogaine treatment approaches the treatment form a different perspective, encouraging participants to look within themselves for the real cause of their drug craving.


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