African medication transcends rain forest home
30 Nov 1996 04:03:47 GMT

At least three thousand years ago in the forests of Africa,
humankind discovered the Eboga plant and declared it sacred. The
plant contained an important medication now called Ibogaine.
Today in Europe and the United States Ibogaine is being tested for
its ability to interrupt addiction not only to heroin or cocaine,
but also to Methadone, alcohol and nicotine. Yet, in Central West
Africa (Gabon, Cameron, Zaire and the Congo), Eboga has become
widely used in African religions and as a medicine. The Republic
of Gabon is the center of the Bwiti religion and the Mbiri medical
societies each of whom use Ibogaine containing plants for healing
purposes, including psychotherapy.
Eboga is used as an sacrament in the only growing Black African
religion: Bwiti. It takes various forms from the orthodox to the
reformed, but its adherents have been many. The first President of
Gabon, the Honorable Leon Mba was a member of the Bwiti religion and
defended it in French colonial courts. Gabon contained over forty
distinct ethnic groups, isolated from each other by the ever present
tropical rain forest. Yet, it was the Bwiti religion became the
unifying force of the Gabonese independence movement. Dr. Bureau,
a noted French researcher stated, "Gabon is to Africa what Tibet is
to Asia, the spiritual center of religious initiation".
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