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Tabernanthe iboga
Bits & Pieces
by Erowid

The "Bits & Pieces" section is intended for random snippets of information which don't fit
easily elsewhere and/or which have been newly added, but not yet carefully categorized.

  • Etymology
    The word iboga (or eboghe) is derived from the Tsogo verb boghaga, which means "to care for". This may refer to the traditional use of iboga to diagnose illness in African ethnomedicine.

    Reference: Ravalec V, Mallendi, Paicheler A. Iboga: The Visionary Root of African Shamanism. Park Street Press. 2004.

  • Tabernanthe iboga used by Animals
    Boars, porcupines, gorillas, and mandrills have been reported eating iboga roots in Gabon and the Congo. A Mitsogho shaman (nganga) in Gabon described to Giorgio Samorini the use of iboga roots by mandrills in dominance displays:
    When a male mandrill must engage in combat with another, either to establish his claim to a female or to climb a rung of the hierarchical ladder, he does not begin the fight without forethought. Instead, he first finds and digs up an iboga bush, eating its root; next, he waits for its effects to hit him full force (which can take from one to two hours); and only then does he approach and attack the other male he wants to engage in battle. The fact that the mandrill waits like this to feel the full effect of the drug before attacking demonstrates a high level of premeditation and awareness of what he is doing. (Samorini, pp. 57 ff.)
    Interesting as this hypothesis is, another explanation is possible. These mandrills may have accidentally intoxicated themselves. Upon feeling the powerful effects of iboga, they may have become disinhibited like a belligerent drunk in a bar.

    Reference: Samorini G. Animals and Psychedelics; The Natural World and the Instinct to Alter Consciousness. Park Street Press. 2000.

  • Conservation
    In 2000, Gabonese president and Bwitist Omar Bongo declared iboga to be "a strategic national heritage product" and ordered his administration to "take all necessary steps to protect this product on an international level and to eradicate its illegal exportation."

    Reference: Lawson A. "Une plante hallucinogène suscite l'intérêt du Gouvernement". Accessed Nov 12, 2008.

  • Iboga on "Survivor"
    In 2008, the US television reality show "Survivor" produced a series set in Gabon. The crew filmed an iboga initiation ceremony conducted by a local group, presumably Fang (see Gabon Magazine article). Troy Rogers, a member of the "Survivor" cast, participated in an iboga ceremony during a break from the show's trials:
    [The day I spend with a local tribe] was one of the best days I had out there. They actually flew us there and we spent the night on cabanas overlooking the water. And the dance that they do and the ceremony that they had literally lasted twenty four hours. The whole time we were there they were performing for us and singing and dancing and feeding us and being very spiritual. We also did Iboga root, which is a drug. So if you were wondering why we were dancing our asses off, it's because we are highly drugged. It was a fun experience. (from Deadbolt Interview)