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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

nerve stimulant, 1901, from French ibogaine, from iboga, Congolese name of the shrub from which the chemical is extracted, + chemical suffix -ine (2).


n. A naturally-occurring psychoactive compound found in a number of plants, principally iboga, and used for medicinal and ritual purposes in African spiritual traditions of the Bwiti.


Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in plants in the Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga africana and Tabernaemontana undulata. It is a psychedelic with dissociative properties.

Ibogaine is not currently approved for any medical uses in the United States. Preliminary research indicates that it may help with drug addiction; however, there is a lack of data in humans. Its use has been associated with serious side effects and death. It is used as an alternative medicine treatment for drug addiction in some countries. Its prohibition in other countries has slowed scientific research. Ibogaine is also used to facilitate psychological introspection and spiritual exploration. Derivatives of ibogaine that lack the substance's psychedelic properties are under development.

Ibogaine-containing preparations are used for medicinal and ritual purposes within African spiritual traditions of the Bwiti, who claim to have learned it from the Pygmy peoples. Although it was first commonly advertised as having anti-addictive properties in 1962 by Howard Lotsof, its Western use predates that by at least a century. In France it was marketed as Lambarène and used as a stimulant. Additionally, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) studied the effects of ibogaine in the 1950s.

Ibogaine is an indole alkaloid that is obtained either by extraction from the iboga plant or by semi-synthesis from the precursor compound voacangine, another plant alkaloid. The total synthesis of ibogaine was described in 1956. Structural elucidation by X-ray crystallography was completed in 1960.

Usage examples of "ibogaine".

I do not believe that there is a single known psychoactive drug of which some of my friends is not a user/proponent/proselyte, and in the ensuing month I tried at least 3 dosage levels of (in order) marijuana, alcohol, hashish, LSD, STP, PCP, synthetic THC, benzedrine, methedrine, ibogaine, amyl nitrate, Valium, Lib-rium, mescaline (real and synthetic), and psilocybin (likewise), amanita muscaria, peyote, yohimbe bark, ginseng root, nitrous oxide, and 3 others which even the source could not name -- in addition, of course, to my usual caffeine and nicotine.