The following excerpt has been extracted from Ibogaine: A Review by Kenneth R. Alper which first appeared in Ibogaine: Proceedings of the First International Conference (The Alkaloids, Volume 56) Academic Press, 2001
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Tabernanthe iboga is a rainforest shrub native to western Central Africa. According to the Christian Bwitist genesis, the hallucinogenic properties of the iboga shrub were first discovered by the Pygmies 1000's of years ago in the interior of the jungle. The Pygmies knowledge of iboga was passed on to the neighboring people, the Apindji and the Mitsogho, who started the first Bwitist rituals. Later on, this knowledge was passed on to the Fang, the Eshira and other ethnic groups throughout southern Gabon.
The Bwiti believe that with iboga they are able to communicate with the spirits of the dead. It is believed that while under the influence of iboga you may speak with your dead ancestors from 1000's of years ago, and you are able to access knowledge and wisdom from the beginning of time.
The Bwiti use iboga in a number of ceremonies, as an initiation into their spiritual practice, and on a more regular basis is eaten in smaller doses in connection with rituals and tribal dances, which are usually performed at night. They also take smaller doses to increase their cognitive function, and prior to hunting to make them more alert and to give them more focus.
The root bark of the iboga plant is powerful and has unique effects. In Gabon it's called the Holy Wood or simply "the Wood," and it's believed to provide the keys to a magic universe, the universe of the night, of ancestors and spirits in which it communicates with, and helps it's users communicate with.
Possible Side Effects of Ibogaine
Some possible discomforts or side effects typically associated with therapeutic doses of ibogaine include: ataxia (temporary loss of muscle coordination), mild tremors (shaking), photosensitivity (sensitivity to light), nausea, vomiting, slight changes in blood pressure, sometimes slight back pain (possibly due to lying down for a prolonged period of time, pre-existing back pain issues and/or the lack of adequate stretching beforehand) and possible sleeplessness.
The potential for side effects and risks can be substantially minimized by avoiding any contraindicated substances prior to and during the session, proper medical screening for any pre-existing health conditions, careful monitoring of vital signs, adequate hydration with water and electrolytes prior to and during the ibogaine session, and proper pre-diet at least one week prior to the session.
Any side effects experienced normally subside 24 to 48 hours after the onset of the medicine. Some experience light tracers for upwards of one week after the session, this is why we do not allow clients to drive to and from our healing house.
The Ibogaine Experience
The ibogaine experience has been described as three distinct phases. In the first phase after taking ibogaine (0-1 hours) the visual and the physical perception of the body change. Some clients suffer from lowered coordination and feel the need to lie down.
The second phase (1-12 hours depending on different variables) is often called “the waking dream state”. The clients lay down and usually are overwhelmed by the effects of the experience, as they experience hallucinations/visions, emotions, changes in perception of their own body, time and space. Clients feel heavy physically and experience difficulties when trying to move. The hallucinations/visions include, among other things, the following scenes: hearing African drums, seeing TV screens, ancient scrolls, animals, deceased people (who often look alive and approach the person, tell them something and disappear again), flying above oceans, cities, woods, traveling through their own brain or DNA, seeing objects in intensive colors, ect... In spite of the strong hallucinogenic effects, the clients are able to stop each vision by opening their eyes. When the eyes are shut again, the hallucinations/visions continue, as if they are shown on TV screens. The majority of the clients prefer not to communicate during this phase, but rather concentrate on the visions. Many clients also report about visions being characterized as complete stories, which mean something to the client and helps them to achieve certain insights. These visions are often memories or events from their early childhood. The insights reached usually have to do with the clients past, the meaning of life, the creation and evolution of humanity, the animal world or the universe. The visions usually end after 3 to 6 hours, but not uncommon to go as long as 12 hours.
The third phase is often called “the cognitive phase of deep introspection”, which usually starts 8 - 36 hours after taking iboga/ibogaine. It seems that the body is asleep while the spirit is fully awake. This phase is characterized by an intellectual evaluation of earlier experiences in life and the choices made. For instance, if a certain choice seemed as the only solution at that point, the client discovers in the third phase that there were other alternatives. After the end of the third phase, the client finally falls asleep for several hours. Often the need to sleep is temporarily reduced after a session. Some do experience sleep problems after their session, this can last upwards of a full month.
It's not uncommon for a client to say “I spoke to God' and this is because when you ask yourself a question during a session, the answer you give yourself is so in-depth and so logical, you can't imagine it was actually you that thought of it. Sometimes the answers to questions are shown in visions. It's said that with ibogaine you access parts of your brain that you were never able to access before. Ibogaine can help you become more confident, take advantage of more opportunities, and reach more of your life goals.
Note: there are many safety precautions that need to be known before taking Iboga or ibogaine. Please be careful and only use ibogaine with someone that has experience.
What is Ibogaine?
Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance that has been proven to interrupt addictions and as well, it possesses other neurological and psychological benefits. It is found naturally in a number of plant sources, principally in a member of the Apocynaceae family known as iboga (Tabernanthe iboga), which has been used for centuries by traditional communities in West Africa for ritual and healing purposes.
In lower doses, ibogaine acts as a stimulant, increasing energy and decreasing fatigue in a way that is distinct from other central nervous system stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine. In larger doses, ibogaine produces oneirogenic effects, meaning that it stimulates a dream-like state while awake, as well as closed eye imagery and aids in the retrieval of repressed memories.
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