Tabernanthe iboga (iboga) is a perennial rainforest shrub native to West Africa, used for at least thousands of years by the shamanically-rooted Bwiti communities in Africa for initiation, ritual, and healing.
Iboga, its botanical extracts, and its chemical derivative ibogaine, have become a sought-after treatment for opiate addiction at alternative medical clinics, and in underground circles, around the world, with many people claiming it cured them of their dangerous and debilitating drug addictions.
Mysterious in much of its mechanism, and illegal in the United States and elsewhere, iboga and ibogaine are known for allowing opiate addicts to safely bypass the horrific anguish of the dreaded withdrawal process. At the same time, they can provide addicts with powerful insight into the underlying traumas and cause of their addictions, as well as resetting their brains back to a pre-addiction state, thus offering a fresh start on life and an opportunity to leave their dark past behind them.
Author Daniel Brett explains his motivation for writing Iboga: The Root of All Healing as follows, “I set about reading every related book I could get my hands on. Despite some great attempts, none of what I read even asked, let alone provided the kind of answers I was looking for. After realizing the book I was searching for didn’t exist, I decided to write it myself.”
Eight years in the making, Brett’s remarkable and comprehensive book on iboga is well written, insightful, impeccably researched, intensely intriguing, and packed with resources.
Brett covers all aspects of this plant’s potential benefits, possible dangers, and limitations— from its history, pharmacology, physical and psychological effects, as well as its philosophical implications, to practical advice on finding a reputable provider, what to expect, and how to sustain one’s path to recovery. It’s essential reading for anyone interested in using this revered African plant for the treatment of drug addiction, psychedelic psychotherapy, inner exploration, or psycho-spiritual healing.
Brett’s writing style makes this book easily readable and accessible, despite the advanced material it covers. Quoting from many psychedelic drug experts, researchers and luminaries, and shining light from his profound personal knowledge and own hard-earned experience, Brett weaves together a radical and masterfully-crafted adventure guide that — at least for this reader — seems on the verge of revealing the hidden secrets of the universe.
Exploring with clarity and insight such mind-boggling experiences common to the iboga journey as ancestor contact, time travel, near-death experiences, entity communications, its relationship to dreams and archetypes, the surfacing of long-forgotten memories, visions of cosmic and biological evolution, and its guiding psychotherapeutic inner intelligence and wisdom, makes reading this book a transformative experience unto itself.
It’s an ancient and scientific mystery, and for many a miracle, how iboga works its multiple layers of magic. Many consider it a sacred plant teacher, and for good reason. Brett writes that Iboga offers what the classical psychedelics,— such as ayahuasca, LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline—have to offer: profound personal insight, ego transcendence, mystical revelation, ecological awareness, creative renewal, and a spiritual death and rebirth process— with the added benefits of physical protection from opiate withdrawals and a genuine repairing of the neurological damage that the addiction caused.
But the author of Iboga: The Root of All Healing makes it clear that this potent plant medicine could be useful for a far larger population than just people struggling with the demons of addiction.
Brett added these words about his motivation for writing the multidisciplinary volume: “One of the chief reasons for writing this book was that the vast majority of everything I read mentioned iboga only in the context of addiction and the opioid crisis. Of course, the book addresses this in depth. But while iboga is indeed a master plant at helping with addiction, it was used for millennia in ceremony before the word ‘addiction’ likely entered the African lexicon. Does that mean we should ignore what these plants can do for otherwise fairly healthy people, in terms of inspiration, self-development, actualization, and so on?”
Iboga is a powerful medicine, and the experience it provides is no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise — it can be quite a difficult experience, both physically and psychologically, and it requires courage to venture into the dark abyss of one’s soul. But for many it’s been a godsend that gave them a second chance at life, a healing journey unlike what is available at conventional rehab clinics.
Brett writes, “Think about psilocybin, and what that can do for terminally ill people. The way I see it, we’re all essentially on death’s door. Native groups use these plants to come to terms with death long before death comes knocking, in turn sparking the desire to live life to the fullest. The human condition is, in itself, a state where we are searching for healing, meaning, and existential purpose. These plants, if used correctly, provide that.“
In addition to helping solve an opioid crisis that claims the lives of over 70,000 people a year in the U.S alone, Brett shows how iboga may also help heal and inspire the healthiest among us — by removing our fear of death, helping us realize the sacred interconnection of all life, providing us with a return to innocence, and instilling the necessary ecological awareness to help save our wounded world and repair our dying biosphere.
Iboga: The Root of All Healing By Daniel Brett 268 pp. Noble Sapien. $14.99.ayahuasca mescaline ibogaine psilocybin lsd psychedelic psychotherapy