- Tabernanthe iboga, or simply iboga, is a common shrub in parts of West Africa that contains the active entheogenic constituent indole alkaloid ibogane. There are numerous Bwiti sects that fuse African animist and Christian monotheistic belief systems, having spread from Gabon and Cameroon to the Congo, Zaire, and Equatorial Guinea. One reason for this success is that Bwiti is considered to be a monotheistic universal religion accessible to anyone prepared to approach iboga with respect and humility. Bwitists scrape off the bark from the roots of the plant and grind this into a powder, which is eaten in massive doses over some days, producing one of the most potent and long-lasting altered-state-of-consciousness experiences known. Under the influence of iboga, experients often describe meeting a powerful entity that represents the spirit of the plant and/or “god” and are able to heal, divine the future, and engage with ancestral spirits. A notable effect of iboga is vomiting, which, like other emetic entheogens, is seen by those ingesting it as offering important spiritual purification. In the West, the potential of iboga as a treatment for addiction, especially opiate addiction, is being explored with compelling results.
Historical dictionary of shamanism. Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis. 2007.