Tuesday, April 14, 2015
IBOGA ~ Resources & Respect....
When my mother first read my memoir about our experience with the African sacred plant medicine known as iboga (she’s a cool mom, alright), she said, “I feel like I’ve taken iboga just from reading this book.” Not every- one needs to take iboga for healing or awakening, for it is an extremely powerful visionary medicine. Maybe
reading this book is enough iboga for you. Maybe there is another kind of medicine for you, for there are many different kinds of mental, physical, and spiritual medicine on this planet to suit billions of radically different human beings. Is iboga for you? Listen for the quiet call of the soul.
If you are called, approach this ancient medicine with great respect and clear intentions. Choose your provider with great care. As shaman Moughenda says, “taking iboga without a qualified guide is like driving a car while blindfolded.”
Iboga and Ibogaine share some similar actions, but there are distinct differences in both content and context:
• Iboga is the natural plant, with the full spectrum of original alkaloids present. The psychoactive root bark is taken as fresh shavings, powder, tea, or natural extract. Iboga is generally experienced within the context of shamanic African traditions, primarily the Bwiti, and this is how we experienced the medicine. We advocate for iboga to be administered only by qualified African lineage providers, for the African people have been studying iboga for thousands of years and hold a vast and sophisticated body of knowledge about this medicine. It is vital to honor the indigenous wisdom keepers by receiving their teachings and blessings. In the same breath, some traditional providers may be unfamiliar with the medical conditions, addictions, or contraindicated pharmaceutical drugs of foreigners. Furthermore, “psychedelic tourism” can breed inexperienced, opportunistic providers anywhere. Discernment is advised.
• Ibogaine is a pharmaceutical extract of one alkaloid from iboga, isolated from a spectrum of many naturally occurring alkaloids in the iboga plant. Some ibogaine may be produced semisynthetically from from another plant called Voacanga africana rather than the Bwiti sacrament known as Tabernanthe iboga. We hear that ibogaine has been very helpful for some individuals, though it was not what we experienced. Ibogaine is generally experienced in a medical and Western therapeutic setting. Ibogaine must be administered only under medical supervision by qualified providers and therapists.
So how do we find a “qualified” provider, in this day and age, in the face of unregulated medical treatments and traditional shamanic cultures that do not provide diplomas or licenses in the same way? We consult with the global psychedelic community (resources below), ask a million questions, and listen to our intuition. We are in uncharted territory, as there is still much medical research and social integration needed as enthnobotanical psychedelic medicines flow into industrialized countries.
As empowered seekers, it is important to remember that even those regarded to be “qualified” providers are still very human, subject to human issues, to be held accountable for honorable conduct and a good standard of care.
Under no circumstance should iboga (or ibogaine) be taken alone or with an inexperienced sitter. Familiarity with other plant medicines or psychedelics does not qualify someone to handle iboga. Iboga should never be mail ordered, as the quality, frequency, and purity are generally compromised.
A good iboga provider will require specific medical screening before treatment. Iboga can be fatal with certain medical conditions, when combined with other drugs, or with improper dosage. Such accidents can be avoided with good protocol.
If an addiction is being treated, the provider must be highly experienced and knowledgeable about the many delicate medical details involved with detox. Iboga can have a great range of potency and quality, and poor quality medicine may not be effective for addiction treatment. A good provider will know the potency and quality of their medicine.
Iboga is not a “magic bullet” for addiction treatment. Iboga is a profound healer and plant teacher. Iboga offers a great opportunity, and the rest is up to you. Furthermore, iboga is not a crutch to break addictions repeatedly, for the medicine will not allow it’s gifts to be plundered, and regarding the medicine with an exploitative attitude can be dangerous.
Other factors can help to sustain the freedom from addiction that iboga offers: spiritual disciplines such as yoga and meditation, ongoing counseling, healthy diet, good community, a safe and nourishing environment, therapeutic touch, 12-Step programs, and other support groups.
Unfortunately, iboga and ibogaine are still illegal in the United States as well as other countries, even for traditional practitioners and qualified medical practitioners. Sadly, this may be due to many complex political factors, corporate economic interests, and puritanical prejudices. We do not recommend seeking iboga
any place where the sacrament is illegal.
All this said, iboga is wonderful medicine, in the right hands and the right place.
As awareness and demand for iboga grows, we must proceed with care with regards to sustainability, the effects of foreign use on the indigenous Bwiti people, and legal export. For more information on iboga sustainability and related political issues, connect with the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance.
EDUCATE yourself before pursuing an experience with iboga. Here are some great organizations with more practical information and references for medical studies:
Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA)
International Center for Ethnobotanical Educations, Research, & Service (ICEERS)
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
My Eboga Essentials
This introduction is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose conditions, prescribe treatments, or otherwise replace medical advice. Medicinal Media LLC & E. Bast disclaim any liability, loss, injury, or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any elements of this website or memoir.
Iboga Provider Listings:
*The providers noted here have all trained in depth with our shaman Moughenda and his Bwiti tribe in Africa.
Mark Howard & Robyn Rock at Ibogasoul in Canada:
Amber Richards & Corey Gauthier at Sacred Soul in Canada:
Gary Cook, Jeff Cook, Sandy Cook, & Steven Callahan at the Iboga Wellness Center in Costa Rica:
Moughenda is the Bwiti shaman that we worked with, and we had a wonderful experience with him. His Costa Rica healing center has since closed and he is currently back in Africa leading initiatory journeys. Please note: these journeys to Africa can be very physically challenging with regards to extreme heat, biting insects, and rustic conditions. Contact Michael Cassidy for more info on Moughenda's retreats: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional support for sobriety:
Phoenix Multisport fosters a supportive, physically active community for individuals who are recovering from alcohol and substance abuse and those who choose to live a sober life. Through pursuits such as climbing, hiking, running, strength training, yoga, road/mountain biking, socials and other activities, we seek to help our members develop and maintain the emotional strength they need to stay sober.
My New Leaf is creating a new gamified, web-based, addiction recovery app that draws heavily on evidenced-based best practices and theoretical perspectives. The web-based app is also being designed to deploy on iOS and Android mobile devices with an anticipated alpha launch date in late 2015.