Iboga, which is translated to “to heal”, is native to the west African rain forest and has been used for thousands of years to as a way to heal people and to connect with spirits. It is also known as Bois Sacré, Eboka and Tabernanthe Iboga. Not to be mistaken with Ibogaine which is an isolated alkaloid found in Iboga, it is typically found in the understory of tropical forests in the Congo Basin. There are reported to be a total of seven common identified varieties of Iboga found throughout Gabon. Iboga comes from the root bark of a small shrub called Tabernanthe which is then ground to a powder. Generally, it grows to be about six feet tall, but older specimens can more resemble trees and reach as high as thirty feet. It contains small five-petaled flowers and distinctive inedible orange fruits. It is a sacred visionary plant medicine and the roots of this plant are cultivated and harvested specifically for spiritual growth, heal illnesses and to cure addictions.

People take Iboga for fever, influenza (the flu), swine flu, high blood pressure, drug abuse, aids, nerve disorders and for addictions. In the 1960s a heroin addict named Howard Lotsoff accidentally discovered this plant’s incredible properties to physically and neuro-chemically interrupt heroin addiction and other addictions, and it has now been discovered to be highly effective in treating one of the most devastating epidemics in the Western world – opioid addiction. Iboga leads you into your subconscious mind, and is used to release negative old patterns and habit. Iboga stimulates the central nervous system when taken in small doses and induces visions in larger doses. Iboga has transformed lives of ordinary people by helping them to better understand themselves and their past, therefore helping them to live a more meaningful life.

The word “Bwiti” is roughly translated to mean “dead” , it is a spiritual tradition that was developed by the Bantu population of Gabon, beginning in the early 20th century and has grown into a prominent religion in Gabon. Bwitists commonly believe that Gabon has a connection with the biblical Garden of Eden, and Iboga. The entheogenic root bark of the Iboga plant and the transcendent experiences it invokes, is at the heart of the medicine. The Bwiti religion emphasizes the value of direct communion with ancestors and spirit through community and incorporates elements of ancestor worship as well as animism, which holds that all things have within them the energy that was produced during the first moment of creation, and that by learning the language of the spirit within all things it is possible to communicate with God. Weekly mass ceremonies called ngoze occur every Saturday night into Sunday morning. These ceremonies involve lively music, colored costumes, and intricately choreographed energetic and traditional dancing. Small to moderate doses of Iboga are provided at these ceremonies as a sacrament, with the intent on facilitating communal joy, revelry, and spiritual communion.

The sacred music includes drums, the ngombi (a harp with eight strings) and a musical bow, the mongongo, that is plucked with the mouth and tapped with a stick. The initiation process is dependent upon the continuous musical support from musicians playing the mouth bow and the harp, accompanying percussions and singing. The harmonic organization and the choice of instruments serve to activate the cerebellum and generate theta-frequencies.

Iboga has been effective in treating addictions including alcohol, suboxone, methadone, prescription pain killers and stimulants. Iboga is also used to treat a variety of conditions such as anxiety, PTSD, and depression. The medicine further detoxes and cleanses the subtle and celluar body , gives rise to spiritual awakening and allows one to find freedom from past attachments and emotional baggage.

For at least one week before the ceremony, participants are strongly advised to avoid the following:

– Alcohol or any psychoactive substances (absolute minimum 2-3 days) before ceremony
– Heavy foods such as those high in fat content or dense meats
– Eating fried and/ or deep fried or salty food

It is best to eat freshly baked brown bread, fruits and vegetables and drink only mineral water, tea, coffee without caffeine or juice on the day of the ceremony. On the day of your treatment, eat lightly in the morning or not at all: an empty stomach is best for the medicine to work properly.

Modern Ancient recommends reviewing at least one of the items below as part of your determination about whether plant medicine is right for you.

– Heart Medicine by Elizabeth Bast
– Iboga: Visionary Rooot of Africian Shamanism by Vincent Ravalac
– Healing with Iboga by Holly Stein