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Useful Tropical Plants

Tabernanthe iboga

Baill.

Apocynaceae

+ Synonyms

Iboga vateriana Braun-Blanq. & K.Schum

Tabernanthe albiflora Stapf

Tabernanthe bocca Stapf

Tabernanthe mannii Stapf

Tabernanthe pubescens Pichon

Tabernanthe subsessilis Stapf

Tabernanthe tenuiflora Stapf

Common Name: Iboga

Tabernanthe iboga
Small fruiting bush
Photograph by: Giorgio Samorini
Creative Commons License
Tabernanthe iboga Tabernanthe iboga Tabernanthe iboga Tabernanthe iboga Tabernanthe iboga Tabernanthe iboga Tabernanthe iboga Tabernanthe iboga

General Information

Iboga is a small shrub that can grow up to 4 metres tall[
299
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Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Iboga root has hallucinogenic properties and is very important in the initiation rituals of some African tribes. The plant also has a range of other, traditional medicinal uses, and has come to the attention of the West because it is believed to be effective in helping drug addicts overcome their addictions. Usually gathered from the wild, the plant is also cultivated in home gardens and in several African countries outside its native range[
299
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Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Known Hazards

Toxic doses of the plant may produce convulsions, paralysis and death from respiratory arrest[
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Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
In the 1980's, Iboga became popular in the United States and Europe as a non-addictive interrupter of drug dependency, but soon thereafter it was classified as a hallucinogen and dangerous substance in the United States, where it is therefore illegal to buy, sell, or possess it without a licence. Its possession is also prohibited in Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden and Australia. There has been renewed interest in iboga since the late 1990's[
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Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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http://www.prota.org
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Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The latex is mixed with Periploca nigrescens and/or Strophanthus spp., and then used as arrow poison[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Botanical References


Range

West tropical Africa - Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, DR Congo, Angola.

Habitat

Forest understorey, sometimes in riverine or swamp forest or relatively wet savannah, at elevations from sea-level to 1,500 metres[
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Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
HabitShrub
Height1.50 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details



Newly planted young shrubs can reach a height of about 60cm after 3 years[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Website
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. If produced from cuttings, they can commence flowering in just 4 months[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Website
http://www.prota.org
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Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Plants often flower and produce fruit all year round[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Author
 
Website
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Publisher
 
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Plants can be cut back into the old wood, resprouting well from the trunk[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Website
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Publisher
 
Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Iboga root is very important in the initiation ceremonies of certain African tribes. The root bark can be eaten whole; or it can be crushed and ground then rolled into small balls; sometimes it is mixed with other ingredients; sometimes it is taken as a decoction of the crushed roots. The root is mainly employed as a hallucinogenic, a catalyst for spiritual discovery, and to seek information from ancestors and the spirit world, hence 'coming to terms with death'. Iboga is usually taken in large quantities in these ceremonies[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Iboga is also taken, usually in rather smaller quantities, as a means of divination to diagnose situations and also for therapeutic purposes[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The roots are considered to be aphrodisiac, febrifuge and tonic[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. A decoction is often taken as a means of combating tiredness, hunger and thirst in situations such as hunting when it can be necessary to overcome physical stress[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. A root macerate in palm wine is taken to soothe coughs, whilst the root decoction is drunk to treat urinary infections[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The pounded roots are also used in the curing ceremony (called 'zebola') for treating psychosomatic afflictions[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A decoction of the root is used for eye drops to treat conjunctivitis[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The leaves are considered to be anaesthetic and aphrodisiac[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The warmed leaves are rubbed on the gums to calm toothache[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The latex obtained from the plant is taken as an anthelmintic[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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Website
http://www.prota.org
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Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The active compounds, present in the root, root bark, stem bark, leaves and seeds of the plant, are indole alkaloids. About 20 have been identified so far[
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Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
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http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The highest concentrations of alkaloids occur in the root bark (5 - 6%), followed by the roots (1 - 2.5%), stem bark (2%), seed (1%) and leaves (0.4 - 0.8%)[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Ibogaine (ibogan class) is the most important alkaloid present in all plant parts except the seeds. The main activities of ibogaine are on the central nervous system and on the cardiovascular system. At low doses, it exerts primarily a stimulant effect, increasing alertness and reducing fatigue, hunger and thirst. At higher doses, the primary effects are hallucinations, with unpleasant possible side effects such as anxiety and depression with fear or rage[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The peak effect is reached 1 - 3 hours after swallowing the drug; it subsides gradually, ending in complete insomnia and lethargy. These effects can last for 2 - 5 days. Apart from the psychological effects, the physical effects include tremor, light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, loss of muscular coordination and prolonged and often painful muscle spasms, all in a dose-dependent way[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Toxic doses may produce convulsions, paralysis and death from respiratory arrest[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Most activities have been tested with purified ibogaine, but during initiation ceremonies powdered root bark is usually taken, which is more powerful as it contains a range of related alkaloids[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Ibogaine is a potent cholinesterase inhibitor, and the root extract is even 100 times stronger in its inhibitory effect because of the additional effects of the alkaloids tabernanthine, ibogamine and the more distantly related iboluteine. This property contributes to the anti-fatigue properties of ibogaine, and results from an increased sensitivity to adrenaline, bringing about a transient excited state of the sympathic nervous system[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Despite the reputation of iboga as an aphrodisiac, ibogaine did not produce a stimulation of sexual functions in various trials[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Tests have not shown ibogaine to have a significant analgesic effect[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Recent research indicates that ibogaine has a novel pharmacological mechanism of action, acting strongly on a variety of different receptors in the brain, resulting from complex interactions between neurotransmitter systems. There is no consensus yet on how ibogaine works precisely, but it is known to inhibit the re-uptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can cause hallucinations[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. However, the suggestion by laymen that ibogaine has considerable potential in the field of psychotherapy is premature. Research has shown that ibogaine is converted in the liver to noribogaine, which fills opiate receptors, thus eliminating withdrawal symptoms. Ibogaine also stimulates nicotinic receptors in the cerebellum, which contributes to modulating the dopamine reward circuit. At high doses though, ibogaine is toxic as it destroys neurons in the cerebellum[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
There is evidence to suggest that ibogaine has considerable potential in treating addictions to heroin, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, amphetamine, desoxyephedrine or methadone, or combinations of these. Several methods to arrest the physiological and psychological aspects of dependency on drugs by using ibogaine have been patented in the United States. Treatments are claimed to be effective for 70 - 100% of the cases. However, the serious side effects of ibogaine make its use potentially harmful and additional clinical studies are needed to determine if and how it can be used safely[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe because after a few months the seed coat dries out, making it difficult for the seedling to emerge[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
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Publisher
 
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Sow the seed in a semi-shaded position in a nursery seedbed or in individual containers[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Germination is slow and irregular, ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Scarification prior to sowing increases the germination rate considerably[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
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ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Young plants can be transplanted to their final location after 2 - 3 months, when the root has become twice as long as the stem[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
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Publisher
 
Year
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ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Cuttings of about 25 cm long and 1 cm in stem diameter root easily in humid soil.[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

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