A deeper truth, a higher way.
Iboga is a powerful plant-based medicine that has been used by indigenous communities in West Africa for centuries. Derived from the root bark of a small shrub called Tabernanthe, Iboga has been used to treat physical and spiritual ailments, and to connect with spirits. The plant is also known as Bois Sacré, Eboka, and Tabernanthe Iboga, and there are seven identified varieties of Iboga found throughout Gabon. Iboga is not to be confused with Ibogaine, which is an isolated alkaloid found in Iboga.
In recent years, Iboga has gained attention for its potential in treating addiction, particularly to substances like opioids, cocaine, and alcohol. It is believed to work by helping individuals confront and resolve underlying psychological issues that may contribute to addiction while reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. However, Iboga is also highly valued for its spiritual and personal growth benefits, and is often used in healing ceremonies led by experienced practitioners.
Iboga is deeply ingrained in the spiritual and cultural practices of West African communities, and its name translates to "to heal." It is native to the West African rainforest and is a sacred visionary plant medicine. The roots of this plant are cultivated and harvested specifically for their healing properties, as they have been used for thousands of years to heal people and connect with the spiritual realm. The plant generally grows to about six feet tall, but older specimens can reach as high as thirty feet and have small five-petaled flowers and distinctive inedible orange fruits.
HISTORY & BACKGROUND
Iboga, a plant-based medicine native to the Congo Basin, has been used for centuries by indigenous communities in West Africa for spiritual, healing, and medicinal purposes. The Bwiti religion, developed by the Bantu population of Gabon, incorporates the use of iboga in their spiritual practices, believing it to connect the user to their ancestors and the spirit world. Iboga has been used by the Bwiti for thousands of years in initiation ceremonies, as well as for healing and divination.
People take iboga for a variety of ailments, including fever, influenza, high blood pressure, drug abuse, AIDS, nerve disorders, and addiction. In the 1960s, a heroin addict named Howard Lotsoff accidentally discovered iboga's incredible properties in interrupting heroin addiction and other addictions. Since then, iboga has been found to be highly effective in treating opioid addiction, one of the most devastating epidemics in the Western world.
Iboga stimulates the central nervous system and leads the user into their subconscious mind. It is used to release negative patterns and habits, transforming lives by helping people better understand themselves and their past, leading to a more meaningful life.
In the Bwiti religion, weekly mass ceremonies called ngoze are held every Saturday night into Sunday morning. The ceremonies involve lively music, colored costumes, and intricately choreographed dancing, with small to moderate doses of iboga provided as a sacrament to facilitate communal joy, revelry, and spiritual communion. The sacred music, including drums, harps, and a musical bow, activates the cerebellum and generates theta-frequencies. The initiation process is dependent upon the continuous musical support from musicians playing the mouth bow and the harp, accompanying percussions and singing.
Overall, iboga has a rich history and cultural significance in West African traditions and is increasingly being recognized for its potential in treating addiction and facilitating personal and spiritual growth. 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.
BENEFITS OF IBOGA
Iboga has been used for centuries by indigenous communities in West Africa for spiritual, healing, and medicinal purposes. Below are some potential benefits of iboga use:
Addiction treatment: Iboga has gained attention in recent years for its potential in treating addiction, particularly to substances like opioids, cocaine, and alcohol. It is believed to work by helping individuals to confront and resolve underlying psychological issues that may contribute to addiction, while also reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Personal and spiritual growth: Many people who work with iboga report profound and transformative experiences, including increased self-awareness, emotional healing, and a sense of connection to the divine. Iboga is believed to facilitate a deep and introspective experience that can lead to personal and spiritual growth.
Mental health: Iboga has also been studied for its potential in treating mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is believed to work by helping individuals to process and release emotional trauma, which can contribute to symptoms of mental illness.
Physical health: In traditional medicine, iboga has been used to treat a variety of physical ailments, such as fever, headaches, and toothache. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Improved cognition: Some studies suggest that iboga may improve cognitive function, including memory and attention. It is believed to work by increasing levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is involved in the growth and maintenance of neurons in the brain.
Preparing for an iboga ceremony involves several important steps to drive a safe and effective experience.
Participants should abstain from certain substances such as alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants in the days leading up to the ceremony.
Following a special diet is recommended. In the week leading up to the ceremony, it's best to avoid heavy foods such as those high in fat content, fried, deep-fried, or salty food. Instead, eat light, healthy foods that are low in fat and protein. This can also include freshly baked brown bread, fruits, and vegetables, and drink only mineral water, tea, coffee without caffeine or juice on the day of the ceremony. It's recommended to eat lightly or not at all on the day of the ceremony, as an empty stomach is best for the medicine to work properly.
It's also important to avoid certain medications and supplements, including blood thinners, antidepressants, certain herbs and supplements as well as recreational drugs or psychoactive substances. This is because iboga can interact with these substances and cause negative side effects.
To make the most of the experience, setting intentions and preparing mentally and emotionally are essential. Participants should take time to reflect on their intentions and goals for the experience, and engage in self-reflection practices such as meditation or journaling.
By following these guidelines, participants are better positioned to have a safe and transformative iboga experience.
Iboga, Iboga, ancient root,
From the heart of the jungle, you took,
A power that few can comprehend,
A gift from the earth that never ends.
Your bark is like a portal key,
To other realms beyond what we can see,
A gateway to the sacred past,
And visions that forever last.
You hold the secrets of the earth,
The wisdom of the ages, from birth,
And with your power, you can heal,
The broken hearts and minds, that feel.
Iboga, Iboga, in your embrace,
The world around us fades to space,
And in its place, a new world forms,
A world where love and light transforms.
Your power is not for the weak,
But for the brave who dare to seek,
A deeper truth, a higher way,
To find the path of love today.
Oh Iboga, Iboga, you are the guide,
To the place where spirits collide,
Where wisdom flows like endless streams,
And visions come to life in dreams.
- Meeting My Truth by Suya Devi
Iboga is a powerful plant medicine that has been used by indigenous people in Africa for centuries. If you're interested in learning more about iboga below are some suggested materials.
"Heart Medicine" by Elizabeth Bast
"Iboga: Visionary Rooot of Africian Shamanism" by Vincent Ravalac
"Healing with Iboga" by Holly Stein
"The Iboga Bible: The Prerequisite to Understanding the Iboga Experience" by Patrick M. Smith
"Iboga: The Voice of the Rainforest" by Gabonese shaman and healer, Moughenda Mikala
"Iboga: The Awakening of the Spirit" by Christian Rätsch
"Iboga Nights" - This film by Howard G. Charing documents the author's personal experiences with iboga and features interviews with iboga providers and researchers.
"Iboga in Gabon" - This short video by Peter Gorman offers a glimpse into the traditional use of iboga in Gabon and features interviews with Gabonese iboga providers.
"The Iboga Experience" - This video by David Sheff provides an introduction to iboga and features interviews with iboga providers and users.
"The Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance" - This video by the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance provides information about the use of ibogaine as a treatment for addiction and the organization's efforts to increase access to ibogaine therapy.
"Ibogaine: The Whole Entire Everything" - This talk by ibogaine researcher Kenneth Alper provides an overview of the history, pharmacology, and potential uses of ibogaine.
"Ibogaine: A Taboo Treatment for Addiction" - This video by VICE News features interviews with ibogaine users and providers and explores the legal and ethical challenges of ibogaine therapy.