Tropical African shrub or small tree, a member of the dogbane family with glossy leaves and small, pink and white flowers.
Use: The young shoots from the roots can be chewed as a whole, the thicker pieces of root are ground and the powder is swallowed. An infusion made from the root powder is effective as well. For that purpose, the powder is doused with boiling water and left to stand for about 30 min. The extraction by the use of an espresso machine is also possible. Simply fill in the root powder instead of coffee.
Active constituents: Ibogaine, tabernanthine, ibogamamine, voacangine and more. The whole root contains active substances, the highest concentration is found in the bark of the root.
Effects: In lower doses (about 0,5–5 g of the whole root) iboga acts stimulating, aphrodisiac and keeps awake. High dosages for Europeans are about 10–30 g of the dried root. In that case the effects are sedating, the attention is directed inwards; deep, unconscious contents can reach the surface. Often, a journey to the roots or origin of the inner self is experienced. Such dosages are often accompanied by physical discomfort, nausea and vomiting. During the traditional – only once in a life-time performed – initiation rites of the African Bwiti, overdoses of 100 g or more are taken, which would probably often lead to death for Europeans. The root is used in lower doses by West African natives as stimulant so that tribal celebrations und dances and exhausting hunts can be endured longer or to increase the endurance in lovemaking. Doses higher than 10 g of the dried root should only be approached with extreme caution!
Minimal doses (up to 0,5 g) taken regularly over several weeks are supposed to be effective against addiction, for example addiction to nicotine and heroin.
Side effects: In low doses, for stimulation, side effects rarely occur. In high, hallucinogenic dosages cramps and paralysis occur. In case of overdosage death by respiratory standstill is possible. The use of higher doses is therefore not recommended.
Suppliers: Plants and seeds in the exotic plant trade. Roots offered in some ethnobotanical stores.
Miscellaneous: Ibogaine was proposed in modern times as a medicament for opiate- cocaine- and alcohol-addiction. Corresponding research is still being carried out. Further details are found in part two of this book.