Iboga – The Visionary Root of Africa

Bwiti tribe Iboga ritual
Scraping Iboga root bark for Bwiti tribe ritual
Scraping Iboga root bark, which is used for treating many ailments including drug addiction

The use of hallucinogens in religion is an ancient practice, where sacred plants are ingested to either connect/communicate with the spiritual world, for healing purpose or divination. One such visionary and medicinal shrub lying deep in the heart of West-Central Africa in the jungles of Gabon, is Tabernanthe Iboga.

The Bwiticult, a religion followed by the tribes in Gabon, worship Iboga tree as the source of spiritual knowledge. They have been using Iboga in their initiation ceremonies for spiritual or personal development, for hundreds of years, since they believe that Iboga frees the soul to go on a higher dimension, to speak with the spirits of animals and plants.

The root bark of the Iboga plant is consumed in large doses by initiates, under the supervision of the Bwiti father. It induces complex visions and an introspective mindset in which the person often recounts past experiences and sees his true self.

The Healing Power of Iboga

Bwiti tribe Iboga ritual
Bwiti women feeding Iboga leaves during ritual

Known for its naturally occurring psychoactive properties, Iboga extracts as well as the purified alkaloid, Ibogaine, are used in treating several conditions like opiate addiction, alcohol abuse, depression and other mental or psychosomatic diseases. Its widely used for drug addiction because of the strong combination of alkaloids that affect many of the neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, so it stops the physical addiction without causing withdrawal symptoms.

However, Ibogaine is classified as a Schedule I-controlled substance in the United States and few other countries like Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Switzerland have banned the sale and possession of Ibogaine.

The documentary above shows the use of Ibogaine in curing physical ailments, opiate addiction, etc. It shows the life of a heroin addict who was cured after a Ibogaine session. Several former addicts, Ibogaine facilitators, and other experts talk about the effectiveness of Iboga for treating a long-time addiction. An interesting film that raises questions about the controversial ban of Ibogaine, is it due to economics or to its hallucinogenic effects?

Ancient medicines like Iboga or Ayahuasca is a gateway to higher or altered state of consciousness, above the realms of reality, and it helps us connect with oneself and the spiritual world. Its strange that such enlightening substances are labeled illegal when it can make a significant difference to our lives!

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Gabon

Iboga

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