Iboga is unlike any other substance there is on earth. In the past, I experienced many different medicines and entheogens, including Ayahuasca, San Pedro, DMT, LSD, Mushrooms (4-HO-DMT), 4-ACO-DMT, Marijuana. Though most of these can be beneficial on a level or another, nothing comes close to what happens on Iboga. It’s really on a league of its own. Even the Bwiti people say that Iboga is the Godfather of all plant medicines.
When you ingest the medicine during an Iboga ceremony, what you consume is the protective layer of the root of a tree called Tabernanthe Iboga. Following the ingestion of the Iboga root bark, several things start to happen in your body. Let’s go over the most common effects on the physical side, followed by what happens on the mental side, and if you are looking for the spiritual side, follow this link.
Iboga affects the physical body in a very interesting way. When you first take it, depending on how long you manage to let it stay in your mouth it could numb the inside of your mouth for a little while. The first thing you may notice after is a feeling of slight dizziness. Movements become a bit wobbly, and you may start to feel a light vertigo effect. This is all normal. You may notice a slight temperature change also, usually hotter but sometimes cooler.
will get into that later. Iboga also does a very deep physical detox of the body. Which may very well get you quite nauseated and can lead to quite a quite intense form of purging. It does not happen to everyone, but it is definitely something that can happen. There is also some mental stuff that can be put into the purging, it is usually a wonderful cleansing experience that happens. I have seen many people throw up some black “stuff”. The kinda of stuff that you’re really glad is now outside of you. But fortunately, there are different ways of purging. Be it through sweating, peeing, or even through bowel movements, the physical will be cleaner after than it was before.
But of course, Iboga affects you on much more than the physical level. Mentally, it starts by forming a sort of bubble around you. You start to be much more in tune with your own thoughts. Your thoughts are louder, and you are much more focused on them. Even though physically your senses are heightened, since your focus is oriented more inward, you start to pay much less attention to what is going on outside. (That is, if you are in a state of trust. More on that later.) You’re like in your own little cocoon, just you and your own mind. And that’s when the magic happens. Iboga is the mind surgeon. It starts to pierce through layers of stuff you have there to show you the truth that’s underneath everything. It gives you the opportunity to witness your own mind, see the underlying process it has. You can cut through patterns, habits, re-create new patterns and habits.
It has been proven that Iboga is responsible for the secretion of a certain GDNF protein. Well, this is one of the most useful protein in the whole body, responsible to strengthen the nerve membrane and restore dead neurons. It therefore facilitates the acquisition of new, positive habits that you can implement in your life to reach your highest potential, and you learn about these during the ceremony. It is a positive feedback loop of telling you what’s best for you, showing you how to apply in your life, and for months after make it easier for you to do just that. If you are interested in the science of it, here is the paper that was made upon this discovery: https://www.fasebj.org/doi/pdf/10.1096/fj.06-6394fje
When you are with yourself during the experience, certain emotions might be felt a lot. Sealed emotions can sometimes be released, so it is possible to have impressive outbursts of emotions, be it sadness, fear, anger, joy, laughter. Anything is possible. Everyone is different, and so the way you react to the medicine is never going to be the exact same way someone else does. This is why it is important to have someone who knows what’s happening to be present and to be helping. It is also important to be in a state of trust, because that way you can be 100% focused on yourself and not on your surroundings. This is why the retreat is not just about Iboga, there is a preparation period that gets the body, the mind and the spirit in the perfect condition to get the full benefits out of the Iboga experience.
The main ceremony is from Sunset to Sunrise, and this is when the Iboga is the most active. But it does not end there. The day after, the unraveling process starts. This is usually when these heartfelt emotions start to rise and you start to understand the foundation of whatever it is you have that you don’t want. For some, this might be a traumatic experience that rises up to the surface and suddenly the dots click. This is what happened to me, as you can read here.
But ultimately, Iboga shows you very clearly how your mind works. It shows you how you think. It shows you why you are the way you are and give you insights as to what to do in order to be in your optimal self. But to get there, Iboga might lead you into an incredible spiritual experience!