Iboga (Tabernanthe Iboga) has a long history of use as a
medicine and spiritual sacrament in central Africa. The legend goes
that the forest people (pygmies) first discovered it through the
observations of animals such as boar, porcupines and gorillas consuming
the root. Iboga is used once a lifetime in a large dose in an initiatory
ceremony by the Bwiti. The purpose of this initiation is for people to
visit the spirit world and commune with the ancestors while seeking
guidance for their lives.
Iboga is no pleasure trip. It lacks any kind of
recreational attraction, and isn’t even intoxicating in the normal
sense. Pleasure or thrill seekers look elsewhere. However, it has the
capacity to be profoundly cleansing and therapeutic when used with care
Iboga… why take the plunge?
The west knows Iboga for ibogaine and its addiction
interrupting effects. In Africa they refer to Iboga as a master healer
and has been longer used as a medicine and a spiritual sacrament. Iboga
is not only effective at breaking addictions but also a powerful ally in
breaking destructive habits and behaviour patterns. Venturing on a
Iboga journey is a personal and therapeutic experience, and it will tend
to confront you with your past and elements of your shadow. For many
iboga takes the form of a teacher…it is direct yet not overbearing, both
powerful and gentle, having a soft touch while being straight to the
While under the influence of iboga the user views
themselves in a detached state. One is able to view their lives without
the full emotional intensity and attachment such experiences may hold.
This allows one to process things without being emotionally overwhelmed.
Iboga provides a full brain defrag, while providing one with a thorough
detox at the same time. It is a multifaceted plant that is physically,
mentally and spiritually cleansing and grounding. Many people view iboga
as a profound way of pressing the reset button on life, and to provide a
fresh start to enact change. After taking iboga it is easier to move in
a different direction and gaining new healing perspectives on life.
Iboga is dangerous in combination with many substances,
so it is VERY important to abstain from all substances, including
caffeine, for 24 hours prior to the experience. The combination with
SSRI antidepressants could be lethal, and it is vital to have abstained
from these at least 8 weeks prior to taking iboga as these drugs have a
long half life in the body. Iboga can affect the rhythms of the heart,
so anyone with heart abnormalities should proceed with caution and
consult with a doctor, or avoid altogether. (Heart abnormalities can be
screened for via ECG.) People with impaired liver function should
proceed with caution or avoid iboga altogether.
Prepare your space so it is clean and comfortable. Light
and loud sounds will be intrusive while in an iboga trance. Have a
bucket within arm’s reach from the bed as a purge is possible. The
experience is not remotely sociable, and is deeply personal and
internal, with the visions taking place behind closed eyelids, with the
iboga inducing a waking dream state. So it may be best to begin flooding
in the eve, and experience the visionary part at night. Candle light is
soothing. Some people prefer silence, but recordings of Bwiti m’congo
harp music is recommended, it is an important component of the rituals
in Africa, and may assist with the brain defrag facilitated by iboga.
Good Bwiti music playlists can be found on Youtube. Have water close to
hand, food is not necessary and you will likely not be interested in it
until after the experience.
It is good to eat lightly on the day, and fast for 8
hours prior to the flood experience. Once you start consuming iboga you
will soon lose your hunger or interest in food. One should drink water
throughout the day, and a fresh vegetable juice is fine. A few hours
prior to the experience stop drinking. You will be well hydrated now but
excess water in the stomach when dosing impedes absorption of the iboga
A few grams of root bark can be ingested over the course
of the day, to gently introduce the iboga to your system and get it
resonating with the plant. The Bwiti are known to consume iboga over a
Ideally it would be best to consume iboga under the
supervision of a healer or medical professional experienced with iboga.
Such an approach can be highly expensive however. It is important to
have a sitter present, at least for the first stage of the experience.
During a flood experience one won’t have much interest
in conversing with anyone, but in the unlikely event of someone needing
assistance it would be good to have somebody trusted and understanding
on hand such as a friend or family member. A shaman or guide isn’t
essential – iboga has a unique character in that it is both the
experience and the guide. Some people may find it tricky getting to the
toilet, although using TA (Total Alkaloid) extract in place of root bark
seems to cause a lot less ataxia and difficulties moving around when
The effects of iboga can last up to 36 hours, and you’ll
be lying down for this time, so best to be in or on a bed. Dizziness
and nausea will strike if you move too suddenly, so move slowly when you
need to. These feelings aren’t an issue when lying down.
Following the visionary period, there is a longer period
of reflection and reintegration of lessons learned. The ibogaine is
converted to noribogaine and as this builds up in one’s system it
changes the experience, resulting in the prolonged afterglow, and very
vivid tracers made by moving objects. One is in limbo between waking and
sleeping. It can be good to have a few books on hand for the day after.
The experience finally ends when one can fall asleep,
and the dreams are likely to be vivid and visionary. The brain is reset
during this time and one should feel good on waking and will be able to
move around with dizziness or nausea. A shower or bath is recommended on
waking, and you’ll likely be hungry.
Following the experience, the iboga is still working on
you, it is highly lipophilic so hangs around in body tissues, gradually
being released and converted into noribogaine by the liver. Ibogaine
causes a long term increase in the expression of a protein called glial
cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) a neuroprotective agent
that also induces neuronal sprouting. This aspect of long term effects
makes iboga unique. Thus taking other drugs in the months after the
experience will interfere with this process.
Cannabis may be an exception to this, and has long been
used in association with iboga in central Africa. Alcohol is safe but
will reduce the healing influence of the iboga. Some people have used
ayahuasca and kambo in the months afterwards and reported positive
synergistic healing effects.
After the experience healthy eating, regular exercise,
exposure to sunlight and nature will all augment and work with the
healing and help ground one. Some people can feel quite blank in the
days following a flood but this is normal as behaviour patterns and
desires have been wiped clean, but this is temporary phase, and it can
take a few days to really soar after an iboga experience.
If people are using iboga to treat addiction or change
negative behaviour patterns, it is very important to enact life change
prior to the experience, as this will help you get more from the
experience, and make it easier to keep on a new path following the
session. Iboga is not a panacea or magic bullet, it can only show you
the door, and it is up to you to walk through it.
Microdosing with iboga can be another effective way of
working with iboga and is a safe and controlled way of using the plant,
easily incorporated into day to day life. This is recommended for anyone
who wishes to take a flood dose of iboga, so one can get a feel for the
plant, and test for the extremely unlikely event of an allergic
If consuming root bark, it is good to taste a little
pinch of the plant first so you get a feel for the plant with all your
senses. 500mg of root bark can be taken every four days as an
anti-addictive and anti-depressant medicine (empty ‘00’ capsules work
well for this). Total alkaloid (TA) extract can be used in tincture form
sublingually, which is a highly efficient way of using it, being
absorbed directly into the bloodstream. In whatever form iboga is used,
it is important to state a positive affirmation, as this intent will
direct the iboga’s healing to where it is needed.
For flooding I would recommend using TA extract. It has
all the benefits of the ‘whole plant’ experience of the root bark,
containing the full spectrum of alkaloids, but it is much easier to dose
and easier and smoother on the body. It is also much cheaper than
purchasing extracts or pure ibogaine online. TA produces much less
dizziness than the root bark, and it is easier to move around on it. It
easier to go deeper on it than the root bark, requiring much less
material to be consumed. The other alkaloids work with the ibogaine to
prolong, deepen and augment its influence, and are a welcome addition.
Pure ibogaine seems to wash through the system more quickly, producing
less of an afterglow than with TA or root bark.
It is recommended to save a few grams of root bark to
ingest alongside the TA, to give an essence of the whole unadulterated
plant. Some people like to stagger dosing, and take some every 30
minutes until the whole dose is consumed. I have found taking one
capsule of TA, and then splitting the rest of dose in halves and taking
45 minutes apart works well. For people treating addiction, it can be
worth keeping a little TA extract or root bark for use as booster doses
in the months post session to prolong the window of iboga’s influence.
If people wish to work with the root bark, it is best to
consume a gram every 40 minutes or so until the dose is consumed, or
there is a purge or one believes enough has been consumed. Putting
powdered root bark in capsules works well for this.
Once you flood it is important not to take another flood
dose in the three months afterwards as this can be dangerous, due the
residual noribogaine in one’s system. Taking small booster doses in this
time frame of TA or root bark is fine.
A Simple Way To Prepare a Iboga Total Alkaloid Extract
25g of root bark is sufficient quantity for a flood per
person, although potency and individual sensitivities vary, for others
half this amount may be sufficient. The root bark is ground into a
powder (a coffee grinder works well for this). The powder is added to a
large jar, containing a good amount of distilled white vinegar.
This is simply kept for five days to a week and shaken a
few times a day. The vinegar will become dark from all the alkaloids,
and this first extraction will pull the vast majority of the alkaloids.
Filter this solution with a cotton shirt or with a coffee filter, and
keep the liquid.
A bottle with a funnel and a coffee filter works well
for filtering. Scrape the iboga back into the jar, add more vinegar and
repeat the process, twice more for a duration of two days each time. If
you want you can then bury the depleted root bark in the soil and return
it to the Earth from whence it came.
The vinegar extractions can be combined, poured into a
glass baking dish and placed in the oven. Heat at 200°F with the oven
door open with regular checking. When dry, bring out and allow to cool,
and then scrape up with a knife. It can be wrapped in foil and frozen
for long term storage or placed into empty ‘00’ capsules ready for use.
If someone is in more of a rush to extract the
alkaloids, the root bark can be covered in distilled vinegar and
simmered on low heat for 60-90 minutes, then filtered and the liquid
kept aside, and this process is repeated 3 times.
Iboga is still largely unknown in the West. It is a dark
African jewel, and has many facets as yet unseen and unexplored by many
of us here. It is interesting in that ibogaine is used medicinally for
addiction interruption, while in Africa it isn’t known for this. It is a
unique, deep, and cleansing plant, powerful, but with a soft touch, and
approached correctly with respect, the experience it gifts has the
capacity to a profoundly healing and life enhancing event.