Evolution of Ibogaine

Ibogaine is extracted from the root bark of a flowering African shrub called Tabernanthe iboga. Iboga root bark is used by the Bwiti tribe for medicinal purposes and religious ceremonies.

The Ibogaine Drug was purified from the Iboga root bark around the turn of the century. Low doses of the purified form were sold in France from 1939 to 1970, and people would use it as a tonic for fatigue and depression. However, its miraculous ability to cure addiction was not discovered until 1962.

Howard Lotsof, a 19-year-old young man from New Jersey, was a heroin addict. One day, just to see what would happen, Lotsof decided to try a new experimental drug called Ibogaine. It was given to him by a friend who was a chemist.

Lotsof had no idea the Ibogaine would have such a life changing impact; it caused his heroin addiction to simply vanish. “Thirty-three hours later I was no longer a heroin addict,” said Lotsof. He was so shocked that he decided to give the drug to his heroin addicted friends. Five heroin addicts agreed to try a single Ibogaine dose, and they all stopped using heroin instantly. Like Lotsof, each of the five addicts experienced no withdrawal symptoms of any kind.

Lotsof didn’t know what to do about his discovery for several years. His own words were, “What does a 19 year-old kid know about anything” (Howard Lotsof). However, in the 1980s, Lotsof patented the treatments for a variety of addictions. Once completely convinced this was the real thing, he set out to introduce the drug to major pharmaceutical companies. “The first time Mr. Lotsof called me up and told me about this, I thought he was a lunatic,” recalled Dr. Stanley Glick, chairman of the pharmacology and neuroscience department at Albany Medical College.

Yet as Glick and others looked at its performance in lab animals, the Ibogaine drug proved to act against addiction of cocaine, alcohol and opioids, (the class that includes heroin). These results began showing up in scientific journals approximately 15 years ago. Lotsof has yet to sell American drug companies on Ibogaine. He claims company officials have explained there disinterest in the Ibogaine as a lack of potential profit. It is only taken one time, so the profitability is vastly reduced.

This therapy is not yet legal in the United States. However, Ibogaine is safely and effectively administered in select clinics around the world including Mexico (Crossroads), The Netherlands, Costa Rica, Panama, Europe, and Africa.