What is Iboga?
Iboga refers to a psychoactive compound taken from plants that contain the ibogaine alkaloid. In Gabon alone, there are numerous plants that contain this alkaloid. However, the main source is the Tabernanthe Iboga plant. These plants grow on the jungle floor in remote regions of West-Central Africa including Cameroon, The Republic of Congo, Angola, and of course, Gabon, the plant’s physical and spiritual home. The plant’s root bark contains the psychoactive alkaloids. After shaving this root bark from the root – Voila! Fresh, ready to eat , powerful, ancient, healing Iboga. After consuming the root bark, subjects experience the onset of a dream-like) mode of consciousness. During the course of the journey, one may (or may not) encounter existential discoveries, crystal clear visions, memory recollection, and countless other weird and wonderful things.
How did Iboga come to the west?
One of Iboga’s earliest mentions in European literature was penned in 1885 by Father Henri Neu, a French catholic missionary in the Congo basin. He describes the plant as a potent tonic that facilitates access to otherworldly domains in which the traveler is shown visions of the future. “Whoever eats Iboga” wites Neu, “falls into a deep sleep during which he is obsessed by uninterrupted dreams which, until the time that he awakens, he takes to be actual events.”
The specific twists and turns of Ibogas eventual arrival on western shores is a long story. However, it’s entry into the mainstream can be attributed to Howard Lotsof, a New Yorker with a heroin addiction. In 1962, Lotsof acquired Iboga from a friend and decided to try it. After he came back down to earth, he realized that not only were his drug cravings absent, but that he had got there without having to undergo the usual, brutal effects of heroin withdrawal. So amazed was Lotsof, that he went on tell the world about his experience. His story eventually gained traction with the mainstream medical community, who conducted research into his claims and discovered they were true.
What are the different forms of iboga?
Root bark is the pure, unadulterated material shaved from the Tabernanthe Iboga root. After removal it is usually consumed raw, although it may be ground into a powder and drank or eaten. Root bark is the compound consumed by African traditions since time immemorial. In the west, root bark is usually consumed by individuals seeking a ‘psycho spiritual’ experience, and not necessarily an addiction interuption.
TA Total Alkaloid
Ibogaine is one of many alkaloids contained in the plant’s root bark. Like the raw root bark,Total Alkaloid Extract contains all the alkaloids present in the plant. Unlike root bark, TA is created when the inert, non-psychoactive material has been removed, leaving behind the full spectrum of alkaloids but not the leftover plant material.
Ibogaine Hydrochloride (HCL)
Unlike TA, or root bark, which contain the full spectrum of alkaloids, ibogaine HCL is the result of an extraction procedure that filters out everything except the single ibogaine alkaloid. The end product appears as either white crystals or a clear liquid solution. Ibogaine HCL can be weighed, measured, and thus easily adjusted to suit the individual. Consequently, ibogaine HCL is the compound of choice for those seeking addiction treatments.
Iboga for psychotherapy
The immediacy and uniqueness of a psychedelic experience is hard to quantify. We see headlines like “Ten years of therapy in one night” in discussions pertaining to iboga. Psychedelic journeys can be very powerful, people report lifelong positive effects from a single experience, with lasting benefits to their mood and sense of wellbeing. Scientists are still trying to define exactly how psychedelics are able to accomplish this.
What we do know from decades of research and clinical trials is that they do work, even if we don’t know exactly how. What puts Iboga in its own class beyond LSD, psilocybin, even DMT and ayahuasca, is the clear-cut, easily recalled manner in which the content of the psyche discloses itself; often via lucid visions. It’s been strongly hypothesized that these visions are waking dreams, and are triggered by the same part of the brain that facilitates dreams while asleep. If true, then this would correlate pretty much precisely with many of Carl Jungs ideas. Jung believed the dream state provided access to invaluable material from which to draw psychotherapeutic insights.
Although Iboga has the capacity to uncover what underlies a subject’s psychological issues, it can’t simply reverse the effects of traumatic events. It can however be a powerful aid in restructuring the way we process and perceive these events. This allows an individual to view them from a different perspective, one that allows them to navigate their choices and decision for more positive results. This work is often best undertaken with the help of a strong support system.
After the iboga experience, professional help may allow for the changes in behavior that we seek, whether it is addiction (drugs, smoking, sex, shopping etc.) or changing behavioral patterns that hold us back. Participation in certain activities or modalities vary with each individual. We are not claiming Iboga to be a “miracle cure” but it can be a powerful stepping stone to vastly improved mental health.
Whos is iboga best suited towards?
Given that Ibogas coverage in the western media centers mainly around its ability to act as an addiction interrupter, it’s little wonder that’s what so many associate it with. Consequently, the phrase, “why would I take Iboga, I’m not an addict,” is all too common.It’s also wrong.
Iboga’s anti-addiction properties were discovered by chance in the 1960’s. For thousands of years previously, before the word ‘addiction’ even entered the African vocabulary, Iboga was used in ceremonies, initiations, and for healing and community bonding. To claim iboga’s only claim to fame is in it’s power to help addicts is a gross misrepresentation. It also acts as a powerful catalyst for the betterment of ‘well’ people. The psychospiritual benefits alone can be just as beneficial as anything Iboga can provide the addict.
What is the experience like?
The short answer: Like nothing you can imagine. The long answer: Ask those who have taken it, all of whom may tell a different tale of what Iboga showed them, and how it helped them. Even then, it could be a case of a blind person asking a sighted person what it’s like to see. Articulating the iboga journey is like attempting to fly in the word ‘sky.’ The myriad components therein lie way beyond the limited parameters of rational explanation. For us to explain ´what the experience is like’ would be to assume an intellectual authority that the most experienced users are careful to avoid. Essentially, one must discover the experience for themselves.
I just want to trip out. Is iboga for me?
Physical discomfort, purging, 8 hours of laying in a bed, scarcity, expense and a post “gray day” recovery period should be enough reason to never confuse the Iboga journey with a recreational “trip”. If you are looking for a thrill or party it’s politely recommended you search elsewhere.
What are the physical effects?
Iboga is many things. A pleasant body buzz is not one of them. For many, the experience may involve uncomfortable physical sensations. The good news, is that many report these sensations are transient, and tend to dissipate as one journeys further into the experience.
The most commonly reported side effects include:
Ataxia affects the nervous system and cerebellum, resulting in symptoms that make physical movement difficult. Although the journey involves lying vertical and still, you may still need a trip to the bathroom. Throughout the journey our sitters are there to help you in any way they can, including helping you to move if need be.
As iboga begins to take hold, users may feel the nausea, and may sometimes vomit. Many agree that this purging represents an important element of the experience, and acts to tune and prepare the body for the imminent spiritual journey. This is nothing to worry about. If one feels the need to vomit a sitter will be on hand to assist with a containment vessel and support.
Iboga may cause bradycardia (slow heart rate), and an abnormal QT interval (the period between electrical heart waves). Individuals on medications that prolong the QT interval must inform us beforehand.
Individuals occasionally experience involuntary physical movements such as convulsions, twitching, and muscle contractions. Although they may seem a little alarming they are no cause for concern.
Iboga may increase ones sensitivity to light. This is one reason why we provide eyemasks and conduct all of our ceremonies at night.
What is the legal status of Iboga?
Iboga is legal in Costa Rica and Mexico. For Iboga’s legal status elsewhere, click here. https://www.ibogainealliance.org/ibogaine/law/
What is a “Gray Day”?
The day after ceremony is called a “Gray Day”. Everyone is different, your gray day may be a quiet one spent reflecting, you might feel beat up and exhausted trying to remember the license plate of the truck that hit you. It could be that you leap out of your bed and want to be in the ocean. Whatever your day after consists of you are not the same and this is possibly the day of a new beginning, of a new perspective or shift.
At the Costa Rica Yoga Spa there is a ceremonial circle the next day that will allow you to share your experience if you have chosen to be part of a group ceremony. It is, of course, your choice if you want to participate in the circle, you could sit and listen, you can share, you can skip it altogether. You will know what works best for you. We do, however, recommend you at least sit in the circle as hearing other experiences can help to process your own.
Food may or may not be something that you want to partake in. Again, there is no right or wrong. We believe that part of what Iboga will help you with is reteaching you how to listen to your body. Ideally, we are striving to smooth out the bumpy ride or disconnect between the body/mind/soul and bring them into alignment again. This gray day is the start of listening to your body again, trusting that you know what you need.
Should I be scared?
We believe that Iboga is a nurturing plant that seeks not only to heal the body but to give you insight and/or shed light into places that have been held in the dark. We trust that it does not do this by force but by invitation, thereby allowing you to participate with your intention and your own experience.
By choosing to take part in a ceremony you have already brought Iboga into your formula in search of something. Once your intention is set and you begin the process of getting here, from the practical to the spiritual, the plant is already doing its thing. It sounds extreme, we know, but it is important to understand that you are very much a part of the plants ability to do the most it can do with you.
There may be some moments that are scary. It is logical that you come with some trepidation. Everyone is different. Everyone will have a different experience. There are some common threads. There could be purging or you may not purge at all. You may see things you can’t explain or you may go into a very deep state of rest. You may hear the buzzing sound that is heard often or you may only hear the sounds of your space, whatever that sounds like to you at that moment. There is no way to predict how your Iboga trip will go. You can, however, take part in the direction in which your “trip” goes. It is helpful to set intentions and prepare for your ceremony with questions. This may bring more clarity.
Here are some practical things that will help. You can at any given moment, open your eyes, as it were. You will be wearing a cozy blindfold that you can remove, open your eyes and be pulled back to this physical place if you need to be. Always remember, you are being invited on this excursion, the plant will not force you to stay somewhere you don’t want to be or did not ask to see.
Our kind staff will always watch over you and take care of you. You will be limited in your movement. Possible purging notwithstanding, this is not a physical journey. Your body will be quite still for the better part of 8-10 hours.
What does Iboga Iboga Therapy mean?
Our way of working is completely unique to anyone else. We create programs that cater to different individuals. Regardless of how these programs may vary rest assured they are designed one’s physical, mental and spiritual health using holistic, natural and intuitive remedies.
We focus on an individual’s entire make-up to develop in-depth personal healing program. Modalities include physical exercise to alternative healing practices and plant-based supplements.
Developing a long-term rejuvenation plan involves recognizing each individual’s specific physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being; we take all these into consideration.