ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Iboga: The Sacred Plant

Updated on March 19, 2018
therealplanet profile image

Jaco is a research addict who loves to write about all the things he has learned.


Tabernanthe iboga is a perennial rainforest shrub found in western Central Africa, and is commonly referred to as simply iboga. Iboga is considered to be a psychedelic with the main active ingredient being ibogaine. Ibogaine works by stimulating the central nervous system in small doses, and induces hallucinations when it's taken in larger quantities. The plant can grow into a small tree which carries elongated oval, or spherical orange fruits. The fruits are edible, but are mostly tasteless and sticky.

Tribal Usage

Iboga contains five known alkaloids, namely Coronaridine, Ibogaine, Ibogamine, Tabernanthine, and Voacangine. Ibogaine seems to be main active alkaloid, which is responsible for the psychoactive effects. The highest concentration of ibogaine is found in the root-bark of the plant. The root material is extremely bitter, and causes anesthetic sensation in the mouth when chewed.

The plant is mainly used by the Bwiti tribe of West-Central Africa during ceremonies. It is common for the Bwiti tribe to use massive amounts of iboga for initiatory rituals. Smaller doses are usually taken on a more regular basis with tribal dances, and other rituals. They also use iboga as a stimulant in very small doses while hunting for food. The Republic of Gabon(one of the main countries where the Bwiti resides) declared Tabernanthe iboga to be a national treasure in the year 2000.



The effects of iboga depends on the amount consumed. Small doses usually only produce stimulating effects, while larger doses produce psychedelic effects. There are two phases produced by iboga, namely the visionary phase and the introspection phase. The visionary phase produces a dreamlike state which can last anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. The introspection phase is responsible for the psychotherapeutic effects. The plant causes an altered state of consciousness similar to dreaming while being fully conscious, and therefore allowing people to process memories, negative emotions, traumatic experiences, and life experiences.

Iboga is said to have anti-addiction properties, but it is currently not approved for any medical uses. There was studies being done on iboga in the early 1990s, but it was soon terminated due to concerns about cardiotoxicity. There are still alternative medicine clinics that administer iboga to patients who have trouble with addiction. Reports state that iboga reduces cravings for opiates, alcohol, and other recreational substances.

Toxicity and Legal Status

Iboga causes a number of adverse effects, especially in larger doses. These adverse effects may include ataxia(difficult to coordinate muscle movements), dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting. Iboga can cause cardiovascular problems by blocking potassium channels in the heart. Iboga is not neurotoxic, but there are certain contraindicated conditions that can pose serious health risks.

Iboga is currently labeled as a schedule 1 drug in the United States because of the hallucinogenic, and cardiovascular side effects. In other countries, namely Belgium, Poland, Denmark, Croatia, France, Sweden, and Switzerland it is only outlawed, or restricted. In most other countries, however, it is legal to possess and consume iboga. Countries like South Africa, Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands, and more have opened up a number of ibogaine treatment clinics that operates in a "legal gray area". There are also treatment clinics in the United States, despite DEA surveillance.


Iboga is a beautiful plant with a long history of use. Iboga does show potential to be used in the medical world for addiction problems, and depression. More studies are definitely needed before then though, since there are possible safety issues. Iboga does, however, give us a whole new way of looking at addiction treatment.

Would you use Iboga for addiction problems?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jessie L Watson profile image

      Jessie Watson 

      7 months ago from Wenatchee Washington

      Thank you for this. I've heard great things about it. There's a clinic in the state of California that is studying its effects on addiction, I believe.

      I've also heard that out of all the known psychedelic substances, Ibogaine is perhaps one of the most discomforting both physically and psychologically. I tend to believe that this is where it's true healing power is found. Out of the ashes, we become something anew.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)