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Tabernanthe iboga

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Tabernanthe iboga or Iboga is a perennial rainforest shrub and hallucinogen, native to western Central Africa. Iboga stimulates the central nervous system when taken in small doses and induces visions in larger doses. In parts of Africa where the plant grows the bark of the root is chewed for various pharmacological or ritualistic purposes. Ibogaine, the active alkaloid, is also used to treat substance abuse disorders. The active alkaloid is also found in voacanga africana.

Normally growing to a height of 2 m, T. iboga may eventually grow into a small tree up to 10 m tall, given the right conditions. It has small green leaves. Its flowers are white and pink, while the fruit can be either an elongated oval shape, or a round spherical shape, both having an orange color. Its yellow-coloured roots contains a number of indole alkaloids, most notably ibogaine, which is found in the highest concentration in the root-bark. The root material, bitter in taste, causes an anaesthetic sensation in the mouth as well as systemic numbness to the skin.

Traditional use

The Iboga tree is the central pillar of the Bwiti religion practiced in West-Central Africa, mainly Gabon, Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo, which utilises the alkaloid-containing roots of the plant in a number of ceremonies. Iboga is taken in massive doses by initiates when entering the religion, and on a more regular basis is eaten in smaller doses in connection with rituals and tribal dances, which is usually performed at night time. Bwitists have been subject to persecution by Catholic missionaries, who to this day are thoroughly opposed to the growing religious movement of Bwiti. Léon M'ba, before becoming the first President of Gabon in 1960, defended the Bwiti religion and the use of iboga in French colonial courts. On June 6, 2000, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Gabon declared Tabernanthe iboga to be a national treasure.

In lower doses Iboga has a stimulant effect and is used to maintain alertness while hunting.[1][2]

Addiction treatment

Outside Africa, iboga extracts as well as the purified alkaloid ibogaine are used in treating opiate addiction. The therapy may last several days and upon completion the subject is generally no longer physically dependent. One methadone patient said in the Dutch behind-the-news show Twee Vandaag that in just four days he reached a state that normally would have taken him three months, but without the agony. Evidence suggests that ibogaine may also help to interrupt addiction to alcohol and nicotine. The pharmacological effects are rather undisputed with hundreds of peer reviewed papers in support but formal clinical studies have not been completed.

In the United States these clinics are illegal but exist nonetheless, providing treatment for a wide variety of addictions.[2]

Legal status

Iboga is outlawed or restricted in Belgium, Denmark, France[3], Sweden and Switzerland. In the United States Iboga is classified by the Controlled Substances Act on the list of Schedule I drugs [1][2] . Root material and extracts thereof is obtainable through various European smart shops.

Patents and applications

Here is a selection of iboga patents and patent applications filed in the last decade [1]

US Patent or Application Number Title Owner/ Inventor Comment
Application 20050288375,published 29 Dec 2005 Method and composition for treating neurodegenerative disorders Myriad Genetics,Salt Lake City, UT US Claims ibogaine (and other compounds) used with an NSAID “for treating and preventing neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease, dementia, mild cognitive impairment.
Application 20050222270 published 6 Oct2005 and patent 5,958,919, issued 28 Sep 1999, and others Prolonged administration of NMDA antagonist drug and safener drug to create improved stable neural homeostasis Washington University, St.Louis, MO US Use of ibogaine to enhance safety ina technique to “ease problems suchas addictions to illegal or pain-killing drugs, nicotine, or alcohol, compulsive or criminal behavioral problems, severe depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders,phobias, etc.
Patent 6,416,793,issued 9 Jul 2002 Formulations and use of controlled-release indolealkaloids BioResponse,LLC, Boulder,CO. US Ibogaine (and yohimbe) formulations with enhanced absorption by the body
Patent 6,348,456,issued 19 Feb 2002, and Application 20030153552,published 14 Aug 2003 Method of treating chemical dependency in mammals and a composition therefor Mash; Deborah C. (University of Miami professor)and co-inventors Claims noribogaine, a variant of ibogaine suitable for pharmaceuticals, and its use to treat addiction to “heroin, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, opium, methadone, hycodan, morphine and caffeine
Patent 6,211,360,issued 3 April 2001 Ibogamine cogeners Albany Medical College (Albany,NY, US) and the University of Vermont (US). Ibogamine-derived compounds for treating drug addiction
Patent 5,616,575, issued 1 Apr 1997 Bioactive tricyclicibogaine analogs University of Minnesota, US and University of Miami, US Ibogamine-derived compounds for treating drug addiction

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 [1] Out of Africa: Mysteries of Access and Benefit Sharing, Jay McGown (Author)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 [2]Village Voice: Busted for Iboga
  3. (French) Arrêté du 12 mars 2007 modifiant l'arrêté du 22 février 1990 fixant la liste des substances classées comme stupéfiants

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Tabernanthe iboga. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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