A small shrub growing wild throughout Gabon and Cameroon, Tabernanthe Iboga typically grows to a height of seven feet. Under optimum conditions, the plant can mature into a small tree up to 30 feet tall. With vibrant green leaves, this tree produces clusters of tiny white and yellow flowers and orange-colored, oval-shaped Iboga fruit.
But its roots are what best define its spirit. Iboga root bark contains alkaloids which are scraped, powdered and ingested, containing entheogenic properties which have been used for spiritual study for centuries—beginning with the Pygmy and Bwiti cultures of Africa, and, most recently, to help heal an ailing Western world.
The forest people, or Pygmies, of Central-West Africa are said to have first brought the knowledge of this plant to others. These oral teachings were eventually shaped into the practice and culture of the Bwiti—a spiritual tradition founded on the usage and teachings of Iboga. For hundreds of years, the Bwiti have used Iboga in healing ceremonies and spiritual rituals for self-discovery, personal development, physical healing, and to master the art of living. In Gabon, Iboga is regarded as sacred, at times referred to as the ‘holy wood.’ At the pillar of each tribe or community is a chief shaman, who is responsible for leading medicine ceremonies of initiation and healing.