Iboga, Freud’s Root

How to enter adulthood through a journey into your inner self

A young pregnant woman is being prepared to take for the first time what is considered a drug in most parts of the world, under the supervision of a shaman. It is called iboga, an endemic root in Gabon forests, used to make a strong hallucinogenic infusion, which takes a person through a deep psychological experience: a couple of hours of self consciousness that many people agree in defining as the equivalent of “ten years of psychoanalysis in one night”. For the Gabonese people this is an initiation rite, a ceremony – influenced by a strong Catholic syncretism – marking admission to maturity. However, this root is a potential business for traditional medicine and the pharmaceutical industry since several experiments have shown that it is very effective in the treatment of drug addiction, alcoholism and several mental disorders. This is confirmed by the fact that its active principle, recently become available in the European market, is worth 250 dollars per gram.