Just the facts. A very dry ‘Wikipedia’ style history

The psychoactivity of the root barks of the Iboga tree (from which Ibogaine is extracted) was first discovered by the Pygmy tribes of Central Africa, who subsequently passed the knowledge on to the Bwiti tribes of Gabon. French explorers further learned of it from the Bwiti tribe and brought Iboga to Europe in the years of 1899-1900, where it was eventually marketed in France as the medication ‘Lambarène’.

Lambarène, an extract of the Tabernanthe manii plant, was promoted as a mental and physical stimulant from the 1930’s-1960’s and was somewhat popular amongst post-World War II athletes. Lambarène was withdrawn from the market in 1966 when the sale of Ibogaine-containing products became illegal in France.

The anti-addictive properties of Iboga were discovered accidentally by Howard Lotsof in 1962, when at the age of 19, he—a heroin addict himself—noted a subjective reduction in his craving and withdrawal symptoms while taking it. Further observation convinced Lotsof of its potential usefulness in treating substance addictions. He contracted with a Belgian company to produce Ibogaine in tablet form for clinical trials in the Netherlands, and was awarded a United States patent for the product in 1985. The first objective, placebo-controlled evidence of Ibogaine’s ability to attenuate opioid withdrawal in rats was published by Dzoljic et al. in 1988. Diminution of morphine self-administration was reported in preclinical studies by Glick et al. in 1991. Cappendijk et al. demonstrated reduction in cocaine self-administration in rats in 1993, and Rezvani reported reduced alcohol self-administration in three strains of “alcohol-preferring” rats in 1995.

As the use of Ibogaine therapy for addiciton spread, its administration varied widely and haphazarly. Lotsof and his colleagues, committed to the traditional administration of Ibogaine, developed treatment regimens themselves. In 1992, Eric Taub brought Ibogaine to an offshore location close to the United States, where he began providing treatments and popularizing its use. Eric inspired many young men to become providers on their own – both in underground and established clinics around the world.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) began funding clinical studies of Ibogaine in the United States in the early 1990s, but unfortunately terminated the project in 1995.

For an excellent current article on the status of Ibogaine in the West now, you can click here to check out ‘The Future of Medical Ibogaine’ from www.psychedelicstoday.com.


next page: The Spirit of Iboga & the Effects of the Medicine