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Iboga is quickly building a reputation for being a breakthrough treatment for a wide variety of issues. 

These include but are not limited to, anxiety, depression, addiction, and PTSD. With more people seeking iboga medicine for healing than ever before, many are wondering what the difference is between certain terminologies. You may have stumbled across expressions such as iboga and ibogaine and felt overwhelmed or confused. This is perfectly normal. Especially since many people use iboga and ibogaine interchangeably when they are in fact very different substances. 


So what’s the difference between them anyway? If you’re new to the world of iboga medicine and considering it for your own healing journey, this is important for you to know. After all, it can be difficult to make the best decision for your needs without the right information. Here we will provide insight into the distinctive differences between iboga and ibogaine. 

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What is Iboga?


Iboga is a psychoactive alkaloid that’s naturally found in the roots of the Tabernanthe Iboga shrub. Natives of the Bwiti of West Africa traditionally used iboga in healing ceremonies and initiation rituals for centuries. Like ayahuasca, the shamanic healing benefits of iboga are now reaped across the globe. 


You may not always experience visions on an iboga journey. But when you do, they’re realistic. You might revisit moments from your past through your mind’s eye. Comparable to watching a movie of your memories playing on a screen. 


Though many would describe iboga as masculine energy, it actually contains both masculine and feminine energy. Iboga is very direct with its teachings. It doesn’t sugar-coat its messages. If ayahuasca is a gentle mother figure, iboga is a stern father figure. 


An iboga trip takes you on an internal journey. It connects you to your personal truth at the core of your being. Iboga may help you face the roots of your shadow self and unhealthy attachments. Its aim is to help you face your inner demons without judgment so you can accept them and ultimately let them go. 



Ibogaine, or ibogaine hydrochloride (HCL) is manufactured in a lab and is used strictly as a medical treatment. It’s a synthetic version of tabernanthe iboga and appears as off-white crystals or as a liquid. Ibogaine is made by extracting just one of the 11 known alkaloids. In doing so, the sacredness and spiritual teachings of the iboga plant are lost.

By using only one of the 11 know alkaloids, additional healing benefits of iboga are wasted. Tabernanthine, another active alkaloid in iboga, has research that shows that it has similar healing effects as ibogaine. By only medicating with ibogaine, you miss out on these added advantages. 


Although, ibogaine can be beneficial for cleansing solely the physical body. Many treatment centers have had excellent results with using it to completely eliminate withdrawal symptoms. Especially with opiates. 


However, iboga is just as effective for treating addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Many detox centers prefer to use ibogaine because it’s easier to access and control. Presently, there is also more research on ibogaine than iboga for this same reason. 


Ibogaine passes through your system rather quickly, usually within 14-24 hours. This means ibogaine’s recovery period is typically shorter compared to iboga and there’s less of an “afterglow” period.  People who have been treated with ibogaine tend to have more hyperactivity afterward. Compared to iboga which produces a more balanced state. 


Some theorize that the true therapeutic benefits of iboga could come from another chemical, or an interaction between multiple chemicals in the plant. Similar to ayahuasca. By not using the entire plant, the spiritual wellness benefits of iboga are lost, as well as dozens of additional therapeutic compounds. 

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Why We Use Iboga at Discover the Root

Ibogaine can be a highly effective treatment option for some people. Especially those with an active addiction. But its healing benefits are solely physical. 


When only a single alkaloid is extracted, the spirit of the iboga plant is lost along with its powerful messages. It’s less likely to achieve the egoless state required for spiritual growth. 


Here at Discover the Root, we truly believe in preserving the sacredness of iboga medicine. Iboga may help you dive deep and meet your true self while connecting to a higher sense of spirituality. 


People often enter an egoless state and gain powerful insights into themselves and the issues they face during an iboga ceremony. That’s why we only use the whole plant with the spirit still intact so that you can gain lasting physical and spiritual healing. 

If iboga sounds like the right path for you, we invite you to attend a retreat here at Discover the Root.

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