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Ibogaine History

The history of Ibogaine is a colorful one, it emerges from the dark, mysterious jungles of West Central Africa into the bright light of modern medicine. The history of Ibogaine use took almost two centuries for Ibogaine to be accepted as a powerful drug in the medical arsenal in overcoming addiction. In some places, it has yet to be recognized as a legal substance for treatment. Iboga treatment is found to be extremely effective, especially when administered at Experience Ibogaine in Baja, California, and supervised by qualified medical personnel.

Where Ibogaine Came From

History of Ibogaine was originally discovered by a pygmy tribe in Cameroon and Gabon, and these tribal members passed on their knowledge of the Iboga tree to the Bwiti tribe of  Cameroon and Gabon  . French explorers who were attempting to map certain sections of Africa and to evangelize the natives learned of the properties of the Iboga tree from the Bwiti tribe and brought the plant back to Europe somewhere around the time of 1900.

There are a number of medicinal and ritual purposes which the Bwiti tribe members used from Iboga shrub. They claim to have learned about its medical use from the pygmies in West Central Africa who originally discovered it. After it was brought to Europe, France marketed Ibogaine under the name of Lambarene.  Ibogaine was primarily used as a stimulant by French buyers, and that is a habit which has continued right up to the present day.

Bwiti Religion and Its Impact On Ibogaine Use

The Bwiti religion is a spiritual tradition which was held by the Bantu population of Cameroon and Gabon  , beginning sometime in the 19th century, and continuing into present times. French Christian missionaries who were in West Central Africa at the time to evangelize tribes instead had the effect of driving them deeper into the jungles of the area, and that brought the Bantu population into contact with primitive pygmy peoples. At some point, the pygmy people passed on their knowledge of Iboga to the Bantu, and from there it was spread to the French.

Healers of the Bwiti spiritual tradition used the Iboga tree as a means of communication with spirits and with their ancestors. While the entire tribe would consume Iboga extract in small doses to cure physical ailments like impotency, mental illness, addiction, stomach ache, liver disorders, and fever, the tribal healer would take larger, more hallucinogenic doses. The healer would then experience a kind of waking dream, in which he/she would be visited by ancestors and others from the spiritual world, in order to gain a more potent connection to those spirits.

Some segment of the Bantu population has a strong belief that Bwiti and the country of Gabon both have a strong connection to the biblical Garden of Eden and that the Iboga tree is associated with the Tree of Knowledge from that place. There is actually some support for this belief since anthropology points to the area between Kenya and Gabon as a likely source for all humanity. Gabon is also known to be at the approximate center of the ancient supercontinent known as Pangaea.

The Bwiti religion is not only central to the culture of Gabon, but it has begun to spread to many parts of the surrounding region, including Zaire, the Congo, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea, it is now thought to be one of the most important religious practices in all of equatorial Africa. A central practice in the religious experience of Bwiti is the regular usage of the Iboga shrub, which induces a psychoactive state to the user, and promotes a sense of deep spiritualism.

Tabernanthe Iboga Root

The tropical jungles of South America and Africa have thousands of therapeutic plant species growing in them, many of which have psychoactive properties. The Apocynaceae contains more than 4,600 plant species which are known to exist in these tropical settings. Within this vast family of plants, there are three species which are closely related and grow as shrubs or small trees, and which contain the psychoactive indole alkaloid Ibogaine.

These three species are for Voacanga Africana, Tabernaemontana undulata, and Tabernanthe Iboga. The Tabernanthe iboga plant is a small shrub which is particularly prevalent in the lowland tropical forests which populate the Congo Basin. Most of the alkaloids contained in this plant can be found in its root bark, and 80% of the alkaloids contained in the root bark are Ibogaine. When gathering Ibogaine from the roots of the shrub, the user must scrape the bark from the tree root, and then dry it out until it becomes a powder which can be either swallowed or brewed as a tea.

A low dosage of Ibogaine root can be used as a stimulant to boost energy levels, and in some cases to relieve physical ailments such as headaches and stomach aches. In higher doses, the substance becomes a strong hallucinogen and used in the treatment of various types of addiction. Dosage for therapeutic use is generally somewhere between 5 to 8 mg per kilogram of the user’s body weight and carefully calculated by an administrator. In most cases, multiple doses are used and spaced an hour apart, so that the patient has a chance to acclimate to the strength of the medicine.

How Ibogaine became a modern treatment for Addiction

Up until about 1962, Ibogaine, extracted from the Iboga shrub, was primarily used as a stimulant. In some cases, a psychoactive that would allow the user to leave behind all their cares in the world. But in 1962, a heroin addict by the name of Howard Lotsof discovered that Ibogaine could safely be used as a psychedelic drug. When Ibogaine wore off, he had no withdrawal symptoms at all from having taken heroin.

He was very excited about the possibilities of this discovery and asked some of his friends to take Ibogaine as well, to see if the results were duplicated. When they had similar results with no withdrawal symptoms, he decided to make a formal study of the substance, to see what its actual effects were on addiction. Eventually, he formed the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance, which is an organization that studies and promotes the usage of Ibogaine, and this organization is still thriving today.

In 1967, Lotsof was obliged to cease his research into Ibogaine because the U.S. specifically banned it for scientific study and personal usage. Although it is still listed as a Schedule Class I substance in the U.S., Ibogaine has demonstrated powerful healing properties in the curing of addictions. Since drug addiction is at an all-time high around the globe, many Ibogaine treatment centers have opened up in many of the countries where it is still unregulated.

Numerous Ibogaine treatment centers have sprung up in Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Addicts have traveled thousands of miles to reach one of these centers to experience the powerful curative powers of Ibogaine. With its ability to minimize or eliminate all withdrawal symptoms associated with recovering from addiction, Ibogaine remains one of the most effective treatments in the world for many different kinds of addiction.

Know more about Ibogaine and its use as addiction treatment, at Experience Ibogaine.

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