A brief History of Ibogaine

Ibogaine comes from a short bushy shrub that grows in the Gabon region of West Africa.

The root is harvested and then is scraped of it’s bark to produce a bitter tasting plant substance. This plant medicine has been used by the native peoples of Africa for thousands of years as a male initiation rite.

Used by both men and women of the local tribe, the plant is used to create bonding experiences together and to treat many different forms of ailments. The Gabonese people that use Ibogaine in this way are called “The Bwiti.”Technically it’s viewed as a religion to the traditional indigenous people who use it and they consider it the “grandfather of all plants.”

For thousands of years, the use of Iboga was kept secret to the outside world and only recently began to make its way in to modern western culture.

The discovery of Ibogaine as an addiction-ending plant medicine is credited to Howard Lotsof.

In 1962, Lotsof, a New York based heroin addict, tried the plant medicine simply as another way to get high. But 30 hours later, Lotsof woke up from the effects of Ibogaine and realized that he no longer craved heroin, and even more importantly, had no withdrawal symptoms whatsoever.

Howard proved Ibogaine to be effective against heroine withdrawals.

Further experimentation showed that this effect was replicated with other heroin users. Over the next 20 years, Lotsof went about trying to patent the drug and bring it to the marketplace. He formed a company and began to carry out research and did various styles of treatments to evaluate the drug’s possibilities.

Ibogaine became illegal.

But by this time, the plant medicine had become a Schedule I drug based on the Controlled Substance Act put in place during the drug war of Richard Nixon’s administration.

It became more difficult to continue research on the medicine as it was nominally considered to have “no medicinal value.”

Iboga almost got huge.

In 1991, the US National Institute for Drug Abuse began studying the medicine with the idea of evaluating its safety and creating methods of treatment for drug addictions of all kinds. A few years later, they asked Dr. Deborah Mash of the University of Miami School of Medicine to carry out various clinical trials.

Shortly afterwards, however, the development of this promising plant medicine went south when a young female heroin addict died during treatment. The actual cause of death was not certain, though it was clear that the young woman had smoked opiates during treatment (as she was left unsupervised). The fact that the young woman smuggled in her own drugs, and then smoke the opiates during the treatment process, is widely considered to be the cause of death.

Since the early 90’s, most clinical work has ceased on developing FDA approved distillations of Iboga and Ibogaine.

Iboga Research went “underground.”

Meanwhile, dozens of concerned individuals have continued the work, developing layman guides to administering Ibogaine, creating underground “clinics” in the US, and above-board clinics in other countries. The US and a small handful of other countries are the only places that Iboga remains illegal. Some other countries have whole-heartedly embraced the work of these individuals and support them with research grants and loans.

Today, since 2010 and beyond, there is a resurgence of interest in this powerful plant medicine which can end addictions of all kinds as well as create deep cleansing and renewal on a spiritual level. Many people compare Iboga, Ibogaine, Ayahuasca, San Pedro, and other plant medicines to 10-20 years of personal therapy. It’s commonly talked about that within 24-48 hours one can undergo a deep personal transformation that may take others a solid 10 years of deep meditation.

At the Sunrise Center, we’ve found this to be true for ourselves and our guests. Having spent many years studying psychotherapy and various alternative modalities, we find Iboga and Ibogaine to be the single most powerful tool for self-transformation that exists today.

We would love to work with you to have a similar experience. We wholeheartedly believe in this medicine and want to share it with you… and the world.

**Topics discussed on this website are not medical advice and have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. This website and its statements, products and services are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.**

Showing 4 comments
  • Angelica

    I was on suboxone for 3+ years and then was abruptly cut off and went into horrible withdrawals, now I’m on methadone and its super strong, very addictive and I would like to get off of it. do you think ibogaine can help me?

  • robert carroll

    Please help me. Been on suboxone for six plus years and can’t detox for it. Need a miracle like this!!!

    • Haley

      We can for sure help, just give us a call. We help people cleanse their bodies from Subs regularly, so I can tell you that it will work!

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