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What to Know About Iboga and Ayahuasca
Plant Medicines

Naturally occurring psychedelic plant medicines have been around for ages. Medical practitioners and spiritual guides have used them for treating patients that suffer various conditions. Two of the most well-known plant medicines are the Iboga and Ayahuasca plants, and in this article, we’ll discuss what they are, their benefits, and their risks. Read on!

What is Iboga?

Iboga is a natural psychoactive substance extracted from plants. It usually comes from the roots and bark of the Tabernanthe Iboga shrub. Traditionally, iboga is used to combat hunger and fatigue. In some religions, it’s also used as part of rituals and ceremonies.

More recently, Iboga is used more for treating various conditions, including opioid addiction. It’s not used for recreational purposes since it can be dangerous when you consume it out of proper context. It should never be taken without professional supervision.

Iboga Benefits

Comparing Iboga vs Ayahuasca, the former is geared toward treatments while the latter can also be used for treatments. Here are some of the benefits of Iboga:

Treatment of Addiction
According to research, Iboga therapy is effective for reducing the effects of withdrawal, which is commonly experienced by people with addiction to opiates and similar substances. In some cases, the use of Iboga significantly helped patients quit using addictive substances.

Spiritual and Personal Growth
Iboga is also popular for psycho-spiritual growth. It can help users attain the so-called ego death or a temporary egoless state of being. This helps patients let go of pains caused by past experiences; it helps them resolve repressed trauma, too.


While its benefits are plenty, the use of Iboga also has downsides, such as:

Not Suitable to People with Certain Conditions

Iboga ingestion can be fatal for people with the following conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Issues with blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

The Clinical Guidelines for Ibogaine-Assisted Detoxification offers a more comprehensive list of health risks related to the use of Iboga.


Iboga use is also associated with temporary but significant feelings of anxiety among users. Long-term psychosis is also possible, though it’s not common. Other temporary side effects also include dizziness, dryness of the mouth, and ataxia.

What is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is a traditional Amazonian tea that has psychoactive properties. It’s produced from the bark of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and a plant with DMT.

Indigenous South American healers or shamans (also called curanderos) traditionally use Ayahuasca for their religious rituals, physical wellbeing, and healing purposes.

At present, Ayahuasca is used in North America and Europe for syncretic healing and spiritual practices.

Ayahuasca Benefits

Like Iboga, Ayahuasca offers many long-term health and psychological benefits. The following are some of them:

Promotion of Brain Health
Healthline research suggests that Ayahuasca’s active ingredients may benefit the health of the user’s brain. The substances in it may exhibit both neurorestorative and neuroprotective qualities. Moreover, Ayahuasca is shown to protect the brain from damage due to lack of oxygen. It also promotes cell survival.

Improved Psychological Well-Being
Ayahuasca has been proven to promote increased mindfulness among users. This helps people adapt a more detached and less judgmental approach to potentially distressing emotions and thoughts.

Combats Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD
Research suggests that Ayahuasca benefits people suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD.


Health professionals encourage people to always use Ayahuasca with proper medical supervision and clearance.

Like Iboga, Ayahuasca also causes temporary non-psychoactive side effects, such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Hyperthermia
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Nausea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Vertigo

Anxiety and distress, albeit temporary, are also among the more concerning side effects.

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