In May this year, as part of my research, visited an exceptional ibogaine treatment centre in the fascinating country of Mexico. Having seen ibogaine's extraordinary power to change lives for the better I am eager to spread the word about this incredible plant medicine and offer advice to people who may be interested in experiencing its benefits.
I have now set up a website www.ibogainestates.com as a resource and also as a contact point for people seeking advice. If you want to speak to me on this subject you can go to the oontact page on the site. Or call me on 0117 230 7666. If I am not available right away leave your phone number and tell me a good time to call you then I will do so.
20 years of psychotherapy in one night
In recent years I have heard many stories from people who have sought personal transformation through therapeutic use of the iboga plant, which contains the active ingredient ibogaine. In most cases the complete iboga root is used. It is ground up and encapsulated to be swallowed this way. Iboga is a plant that grows in central western Africa in the areas of Gabon and Cameroon. There is a long tradition of it being used there for healing and initiatory purposes.
Iboga or ibogaine also has a specialist use, one that is increasingly relevant in the modern world. In the early sixties its addiction interrupting properties were discovered by accident, so the story goes, by a New York heroin addict, Howard Lotsof. He went on to be one of the pioneers in spreading the word about its power to heal in this way. I will go on shortly to make the crucial distinction between using iboga root and extracted ibogaine. Amazing as it is that ibogaine will interrupt many addictions, its greater value is the way it also deals with the underlying trauma that underlies most addictions. This is the beauty of ibogaine. It not only interrupts addiction and withdrawal symptoms but deals with the root causes. It's true that there are cases where people become addicted to prescription medications and just need some help to kick the habit and in these cases ibogaine can do its work of comfortably lifting this dependence.
Ibogaine is a psychoactive substance. During an ibogaine session, after ingesting the medicine, the patient enters into a dream like state and encounters visions. They experience a clearer view of life events which enable them to come to terms with them and move on. They may experience other guidance. At the same time there is a brain reset. Opiate and neurotransmitter receptors are normalised for a new start.
Interestingly, nicotine is an addiction that is, more often than not, not shifted although it happens in about 40% of cases. It is one of the most addictive substances known, but, to be honest, it is not the priority for most people coming for treatment. The director of the ibogaine centre I visited tells how, after an ibogaine session, smokers will often light a cigarette even if it makes them nauseous at first, simply because they want to smoke, their primary addiction having been dispensed with. On the other hand, there is a very high percentage success rate with alcohol and other drugs.
Ibogaine versus iboga
As described, iboga is the name of a visionary and healing central west African plant. Ibogaine is the chief therapeutic constituent found in the root of this planet. The question often arises in holistic circles whether it would be better to use the complete root of the plant rather than an extracted constituent. It is true that there are other active ingredients in the iboga root but there are also a lot of toxins. And do we really know what the other chemicals are and what they do? In the case of milder doses for some kind of shamanic journey, iboga root may be a choice for some. In larger unmeasured doses it is not without risk. Even for psychotherapeutic use it is wise to measure the dose. In the context of the modern world, many of our problems, for example with manufactured drugs, are far from being natural ones; we are well off that path. Extracting the ibogaine from the iboga plant not only eliminates toxins but enables a measured dose to be given, to achieve the best results. The highest quality extracted ibogaine known as ibogaine hcl is produced by only one company which is located in Canada. They supply only to approved practices. By using this it can be certain that it is genuinely pure medical grade ibogaine.
To deal with an immediate and serious problem such as drug addiction it is essential to generate what is called a 'flood dose' in order to push out artificial opiates and other foreign chemicals out and restore natural opiate functioning in the brain. The dose must be neither too small nor too large. It is based on the patient's weight and is precisely measured. The medicine is put into a number of capsules for the patient to swallow shortly after which the visions will begin. In this way ancient wisdom meets modern medicine.
It's a family affair
The clinic I visited , recognising that an individual's emotional issues involve their families and loved ones, especially when it comes to drug addiction, allow a family member, for example spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, sibling or parent, to attend with the patient. This not only provides familiar support but enables the relative to make an appropriate transition themselves. Behaviour towards the patient that may have been appropriate or even necessary before treatment may be completely inappropriate and even detrimental afterwards. The resident psychologist explained it to me vividly with the following example. Ordinarily if a family member disappeared into the bathroom for far longer than it needs to take a bath or shower, steam coming out of the door etc, we would enquire if everything was okay. In the case of a newly recovering heroin addict this might come across as distrustful probing and it would be counter productive. In time interactions will return to normal levels and hopefully will be healthier than before the trouble started. Emotional patterns of course the relationships in a person's life. This particularly applies to parents who will need to move out of dysfunctional patterns that have developed to a healthier wiser parent child dynamic, reflecting the new situation There is ample opportunity for this and help at the ibogaine centre I visited if you are open to it. Something I noticed is that when people take ibogaine is that their thinking changes and their use if language tends to become more positive and they become more aware of their behaviour. For the patient to sustain this change it is helpful if loved ones become more aware too.
After treatment there is another interesting option which is the supplement ibo plus which contains B vitamins and tiny amounts of ibogaine to support progress for the coming weeks and months. Although ibogaine treatment produces powerful and long lasting change, it is well known in the field that in the chemical effects of an ibogaine dose dwindle after a few months. For this reason, some people choose to take a refresher dose at six months. The ibo plus helps things go more smoothly, it nourishes the neural system and energises the patient. With my passion for what I call 'entheagenic nutrition' this kind of supplementation makes complete sense. I think we could all do with something along these lines. If humans did not feel a need for biochemical help in their current state then even coffee and beer would not exist, also the other drugs that people turn to in an attempt to self-medicate.
Ibogaine treatment is a medical procedure
A nonjudgemental and nurturing environment is an important quality in a clinic; this is medical not 'rehab' as we hear of it. On this note, proper precautions should be in place. Ibogaine treatment is very safe as long as it is done properly. Tests need to take place prior to treatment to ensure that heart and liver functioning are healthy. Also there needs to be a supervised wait beforehand to make sure that no substances that could be dangerous in combination with ibogaine are in the system. In the case of drug addiction withdrawal symptoms can be lessened by using fast acting substances that leave the system quickly, such as morphine, so that it's safe to take the ibogaine. Once treatment begins, dependence on morphine and any other drug is over of course. A licensed medical facility with a resident medical doctor can procure necessary medicines legally. Interestingly some patients start to voluntarily detox before even arriving' maybe with help on the horizon and sense of purpose to heal this becomes possible.
Ibogaine is the best solution in the world we know of for these kinds of issues
Modern life, with its stress, unnatural living conditions, broken communities, negative media, and junk foods and medicines seems to be causing increasing trauma. There is a growing and pressing drugs problem in most countries of the world. Without going too much into the politics of the situation, it's tragic to see young people, many of whom are struggling to fit into an insane society, be brought down this way. The proposed solutions to drug addiction are equally horrifying. In Britain for example the solution for heroin addiction is to substitute methadone, an even more addictive drug which takes longer to leave the system. Meetings are offered which no doubt many people find tiresome to attend. Classic rehab is notoriously expensive and seldom effective. Frankly treatments of this kind remind me of everything about our society that makes people want to take drugs in the first place. Ibogaine is emerging as the best solution in the world to this problem, what's more it's the natural solution. Having reached this conclusion, the next question is where. In Britain my enquiries revealed nothing in the way of a professional facility that would compare with what I found in Mexico. I came across ibogaine centres in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica and other places, you can do your own research too. The USA is one of the very few countries where ibogaine is illegal. In the sixties, it got piled in with a bunch of other psychoactive substances, some of which are therapeutic too, which seemed like a danger to the functioning of society. This does seem like a bit of an anomaly considering its powers to shift addiction to dangerous and illegal drugs.
Some of the points I would look for when choosing ibogaine treatment are:
effectiveness – do they have access to ibogaine hcl
safety – is it a registered medical facility, is the patient monitored throughout treatment, is there a medical doctor and a clean record.
quality of care and after support for patient and family
location – is it somewhere conducive to recover and appealing to visit?
is there an opportunity for a family member or loved one to attend?
price – is it reasonably priced.? Where I visited had the most reasonable rate I could find and included a private en-suite room, full medical care, food available all day, ibogaine hcl and recovery in a beach front house. If a facility costs a lot more, one might ask for what?
Some people wonder about obtaining ibogaine and self administering. To be honest this is very unwise. Although if done properly ibogaine treatment is safe, the use of an effective dose requires tests beforehand and monitoring throughout. After support at an appropriate location makes all the difference. In fact its noticeable that people who stay longer do better long term. Personally I would not want to put myself or anyone I love at risk in this way. Although it may seem like a novel idea, medical tourism of many kinds is becoming increasingly popular as people seek medical treatment of their choice at a price they can afford with the opportunity to take a break from their usual surroundings in order to heal. With this particular treatment all these considerations particularly apply. The favourable exchange rate for for people in Britain makes this kind of travel even more appealing. The effort and commitment involved in travelling makes a good outcome even more likely.
The Wild West of Ibogaine Treatment
Given that ibogaine has been illegal in the USA since the 1960's and also the American character of enterprise, many ibogaine clinics have sprung up in the area of Northern Mexico known as Baja California, just below the American border. These service mainly US nationals but are also open to those from elsewhere. This region is one of the top in the world for medical tourism of numerous kinds. We have to beware though, although it is an ideal location and there are some wonderful medical facilities in the area, there are some unscrupulous operators in the ibogaine business, who take advantage of the desperation of the situation and family members. To confuse matters more,these may be the very ones who are spreading unsavoury rumours about reputable clinics. It is not the place here for me to report on what I have heard about these clinics, all I can say is do your research and preferably get a recommendation from someone who has actually been to a clinic.
Of course this is a medical treatment, but afterwards it can turn into a bit of a holiday, not of course gallivanting around the town, although horse riding on the beach is very therapeutic! It is a time to reflect and integrate the experience into a new life.
Is Ibogaine a panacea?
Yes and no. It certainly reliably shifts many addictions and does the work of years of psychotherapy. Finding a way of living in a world that often does not readily meet human needs and desires and that interrupts our mental processes in an unnatural way, is a challenge that we all face, and we all deal with in our own unique way. Personally I would like to see more knowledge disseminated about human nature and how to meet our needs.
Exercise particularly walking in fresh air, fresh natural wholesome nutritious food, plenty of good quality water, relaxation in nature, connecting to the natural electricity of the earth and so forth are basic physical needs. Our mental patterns can make or break us too. We need to let the past go , enjoy what we have now and look to the future where all the opportunities wait for us. It's so important to have a vision and dreams, a worthwhile sense of purpose, and achievable goals that reflect these. Working step by step towards these goals is immensely fulfilling. Delayed gratification, i.e. work before pleasure actually keeps dopamine levels healthier. Life is not always easy but it's worth it. It is is a precious gift and we live on a beautiful planet. My daily comfort is in the knowledge that there is divine intelligence and renewing power in the life-force and we can tune into it.
In Mexico, after visiting the ibogaine centre, we travelled down to southern Mexico and relaxed in the tropical beauty there for a few days. We ate warm nutritiously ripe tropical fruits,visited ancient Mayan sites and were given a tour by a Mayan guide. He showed us edible and medicinal plants in the jungle and incredible streams and waterfalls. This would be a wonderful way to integrate an ibogaine experience and get a full 'factory reset' in a natural paradise, if this is your kind of thing. Mexico is a wonderful place to visit. It is stunningly beautiful, very varied and not overrun with tourists. There is a strong indigenous culture in parts of southern Mexico too and we found Mexican people there to be very helpful and friendly. Southern Mexico is in the 'chocolate belt', the region between the latitudes 20 degrees south and north of the equator where cacao trees can grow. In ancient Mexico there was a vibrant chocolate culture which is the inspiration for the drinks we make and supply.
Holly Paige June 2015