Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga), a plant that contains ibogaine and treats drug abuse

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In the African jungle, one can find a plant that looks like a shrub (with a height of at least 2 m), known as iboga. As a species, it has the scientific name of Tabernanthe iboga and is part of the Apocynaceae family.

The plant has a ramified root, with a brown exterior surface and a yellow interior. It has small and green keaves and white and pink flowers. The oval fruits are orange. The fruits of the plant used to be chewed by the African natives because they believed they helped them strengthen the resistance of their bodies, especially after effort.

The iboga root is known for its hallucinogenic effects, having been used in magic-religious rituals for a long time.

It has a bitter taste and causes and analgesic sensation in the mouth right from the start. If administered in too large doses, it leads almost always to severe poisoning. The root of the plant contains at least 12 alkaloids which have a psycho-active component – ibogaine- which gives a good mood to people who have vices related to drugs and alcohol, helping them escape their addiction to certain drugs (cocaine, heroin, methadone, amphetamine). Experiments have shown that this substance has a good therapeutic effect in treating advanced alcoholism. At present, both ibogaine and iboga are illegal.

At present, the iboga plant is used therapeutically to treat some affections like fever and arterial tension. It helps eliminate the state of tiredness, removes the sensation of excessive thirst and reduces appetite, thus being efficient for losing weight in the case of obese persons. Also, it is appreciated for its aphrodisiac effect, as ibogaine amplifies the psychological mechanisms at the base of the sexual impulse and prolongs the general emotion in the body and erections as well, in the case of men.

In Gabon, iboga is considered to be a reason of pride and a national treasure since 2000.

It is appreciated for the fact that it is an excellent remedy against severe addictions like heroin, methadone, nicotine, cocaine, alcohol and many others. In the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand, there is no restriction regarding the use of ibogaine, so they provide the necessary ibogaine used in clinics in order to treat alcoholics. At first, the plant was used for the ibogaine in its composition, which was appreciated as a mental and physical stimulant, being used by those who suffered from chronic tiredness, depression and more or less severe infectious diseases. Sportsmen used to take this drug in order to improve their mental and physical abilities, but its use for this purpose was forbidden in 1966.

Health specialist sin USA studied this plant in depth and experimented with its component – ibogaine. The results were the following:

  • When compared with aspirin, ibogaine is not more toxic than it.
  • Even though its effects are slightly pshycho-active, it should not be considered to be a medicine, like aspirin, but a drug. We say this because it was proven that its effects last longer, so those who use it are stimulated both physically and mentally. Like all the similar drugs, its needs to be used in small quantities, at the recommendation of a medic and never from unknown persons.
  • In general, the ibogaine treatment is applied to some people who underwent medical tests so that they could be offered emergency aid in case of side effects. If their health allows them to take the drug, the dosage is calculated based on the body weight.
  • Ibogaine is considered to be an experimental drug and a means of detoxification.
  • While taking ibogaine, one can experience a significant decrease of appetite.
  • After some experiments which involved 36 patients, it was established that using 10 mg of ibogaine for one month gave no side effects on the brain, liver, heart and kidneys.
  • In alcoholics, ibogaine affects just the brain receptors that are connected to this addiction.
  • Ibogaine helps combat alcohol addiction through the fact that it stimulated the growth of the amount of serotonin in the body.
  • Specialists made experiments on rats and thus concluded that ibogaine helps the increase of the production of proteins in the cerebral tissue. Also, they noticed that this component also stops the desire to drink alcohol. In rats, ibogaine remains in the tissues of the body and acts on the mind, its effect being long-lasting (sometimes more than 12 hours).
  • If used in large doses (more than 3 mg/kg), one can have unwanted symptoms like hallucinations, fantasies, nervousness, a bizarre state between being awake and asleep, high sensitivity to light, sickness and vomiting.

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