• Precisely how ibogaine works is not clear. What is known is that it changes the balance of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals responsible for passing information from the brain to the rest of the body.
  • It acts much like a reset button, that returns the receptors in the brain to the way they once were, at a time before drugs – a development that is often referred to as rebirth. It also blocks the feedback loops, that reinforce dependencies.
  • Ibogaine’s impact is enhanced by the way in which it is metabolized in the liver, a process that converts it into its longer acting relative noribogaine. It is this noribogaine that is responsible for stopping on-going cravings.


  • The indigenous people of the area, known collectively as the Babongo, have known about iboga for millennia. Colonizing bantu groups have learned from them a good number of its secrets, but to this day, they still defer to the superior knowledge of the Babongo, who, like the French after them, considered it appropriate for a wide range of applications, including spirit medium.
  • Bwiti is a religious organization dominated by bantu groups from the same area, that came to prominence in the face of French recolonization, and particularly as a response to the activities of Catholic missionaries. Like the Babongo, they use iboga to communicate with the spirit world and as a rite of passage. They have also designated it a sacrament of their church.


  • Ibogaine’s unique properties in relation to addiction were discovered quite by chance.
  • In 1962 Howard Lotsof, (1943-2010), an American heroin addict, was taking ibogaine for its psychoactive properties.
  • Whilst being underwhelmed by the trip, he discovered he had painlessly arrived at a point where he was indifferent towards a drug that had formed the basis of his existence some hours earlier.
  • He was understandably stunned by what had happened, and dedicated most of his life to promoting and refining its use.
  • The Manual for Ibogaine Therapy that he wrote with Boaz Wachtel, et alia, remains the standard text. 


  • Certainly there have been a number of deaths, though not a very large number, associated with ibogaine, and they can be split into three, somewhat overlapping, categories. There are those who have had preexisting conditions, particularly of the heart and liver, who should not have been given ibogaine. There are also those who are taking drugs, pharmaceutical or otherwise, that are contraindicated with ibogaine, and who do not, for whatever reason, choose to inform their provider. Individuals in both categories can be filtered out effectively by a combination of questionnaire, interview and medical tests. 
  • More than half of all deaths that have occurred shortly after taking ibogaine have been overdose deaths. It is very important to understand that after ibogaine therapy tolerance to opiates drops dramatically.