Addiction/Substance Abuse, Shamanism
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Ayahuasca vs Iboga vs Ibogaine

How to determine if Ayahuasca, Iboga, or Ibogaine is what you need

All plant medicines are not created equal. There’s a lot of confusion about each plant’s superhero powers, especially when it comes to Ayahuasca and Iboga. If you’re feeling the calling and need some serious healing but don’t know the difference between Iboga, Ibogaine, and Ayahuasca, or which plant to turn to for the help you need most, this article will give you the info required to make the best decision possible.

First, some context, and full disclosure. I have been drinking Ayahuasca for 14 years, and I completed a comprehensive 10 year apprenticeship with several Shipibo Maestros. I have a deep, unbreakable, mad-love relationship with this divine technology, so I can speak with a shred of authority about when and where to use her.

Iboga and Ibogaine have been in my field of awareness even longer than Aya, but I have never partaken in either. My amazing powerhouse partner, however, is alive because of Ibogaine, and is an executive at a clinic in Cancun with over 7 years of experience with Ibogaine treatment. She has helped me craft this deep dive to ensure accuracy and truth. But in the end, it’s your instincts and guidance that matters most; this will simply help you make a more informed decision about where to turn for healing and insight.

What is Iboga, and When to Use It

Iboga is an ancient, immensely powerful psychoactive shrub from the depths of West Africa. He has been used for thousands of years in sacred indigenous ceremonies, and is considered the ultimate mind medicine. He’s very masculine (for most), very intense, and he’s administered in small ceremonial settings, often with eye masks and the integration of wild, African jungle songs from the Bwiti tribe.

Centers that feature Iboga for healing are the best option to turn to when you feel called to ancient wisdoms and benefits like empowerment, awareness, masculine amplification and healing, plus psychospiritual work for any of the above. He aids in self-discovery, the removal of negative energies, connection to nature, enhanced communication with spirit, and various physical healings as well.

I cannot stress enough how intense this medicine is reported to be, and how crucial it is to do this work with highly trained and competent individuals. Iboga is not shy about addressing the dark side of our consciousness, and in many ways it’s considered a full-fledged mindfuck. Practitioners that study this ancient art don’t actually consume a full amount of medicine while they work with others – this is completely the opposite from Ayahuasca. You are almost totally incapacitated while under the influence – one of the effects is an inability to walk properly, so you’ll need help going to the bathroom, and therefore will have helpers assisting you.

Iboga is a master plant healer, and since he’s most focused on healing the mind, so that we can once again access our hearts, he is amazing for people who are coming to terms with previous addictions, obsessions, and illnesses that relate to our beautiful brains. He’s not the one to turn to if you’re in full-fledged addiction, however – that is covered in the next section. But he is the one that can help make sense of destructive patterns, and he’s absolutely perfect if you feel called to a strongly masculine experience of deep, altered consciousness.

What is Ibogaine, and When it’s the Right Choice

While Iboga features multiple alkaloids, Ibogaine is a single alkaloid extracted from this powerhouse plant, and is used exclusively for those in active addiction. Ibogaine is ideal for opioid addictions like heroin and all the related pharmaceuticals (OxyContin, Fentanyl, etc.), as well as cocaine, alcohol, Suboxone, Methadone, and other stimulants.

Ibogaine is far more effective with active addiction because it’s a concentrated, isolated extract of the alkaloid in Iboga that specifically targets addictive tendencies. The amount of Ibogaine you receive in a traditional Iboga dosage is simply not powerful enough to combat the thralls of addiction in the same way. Iboga IS the right choice for deep psychospiritual work with this plant. Working with Ibogaine, however, can literally reset the addict’s neurochemistry back to a pre-addicted state; in as little as 45 minutes.. One flood dose of Ibogaine can also mitigate up to 90% of the post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) for-3 months, depending on the speed of metabolism. This gives recipients time to shift their lifestyle away from the destructive patterns, which provides a solid chance for success.

Ibogaine absolutely MUST be taken in a medical setting. There are inherent dangers to working with this potent substance, especially to the heart. And because addicts often have already taxed their cardiovascular system, it’s doubly important to be in the care of a trained doctor to avoid serious complications. Centers that offer Ibogaine treatment are only viable if they have 24-hour emergency trained doctors and nurses observing your experience.

How Ayahuasca Differs from Iboga and Ibogaine

While there are reports of Ayahuasca helping addicts to fully recover, her superhero power is more in the aftermath of the addiction detox. She can help individuals fully understand the traumas and patterns that triggered the addiction to begin with, and bring in clarity, self-love, and a tremendous sense of acceptance and peace.

Aya is also fantastic at clearing the body and spirit of all the various toxicities that addiction – and life – can create. She is sometimes affectionately called La Purga, as she is aces at pushing out the poisons, emotions, and “panema” (dark cloud of energy). Because she is an uber powerful MAOI herself, anyone on these medications also need at least 30 days off before partaking as it can create an overdose of Serotonin in the system to combine the two, which is a very serious condition.

Ayahuasca is also the feminine, whereas most describe Iboga as highly masculine; each can help us connect with the divine aspects of our two dualistic, partnership energies. If you are healing traumas from Mother, Ayahuasca is your girl. Iboga is a better choice for healing Father wounds, but honestly, both plants are powerful enough to take you through either experience. These are just the default energies, but they are immensely diverse.

The Final Decision

Here is how to make the final decision between these three incredible substances.

  1. Your physical health status is key. If you are in active addiction, Ibogaine is it. If you seek physical healing, Ayahuasca is safer and a more common choice.
  2. If the work you seek is psychospiritual in nature, either Ayahuasca or Iboga can be life-changing. This comes down to a matter of calling – your heart knows the answer as to which plant is saying your name. Listen. And trust.

If you need help preparing for or integrating these or any other psychotropic medicines, I’d be honored to help.

Best of luck in your journey to better health, and expanded consciousness. Thank goodness there are plants that offer hope for recovery and a reconnection to our true selves.


  1. What if an emotionally injured addict first did Ibogaine for the addiction, then did Iboga for the spiritual healing and then did Ayahuasca for more spiritual healing along with physical healing. This seems like a good path to follow.

    I have read that Iboga also has physical healing effects.

    I’ve also read that Iboga is used in Gabon for initiation into adulthood.

  2. I’m interested, deeply interested, in trying aya to help me break through two troubled areas in my life. I recently read in Washington Post of a resort called Rythmia in Costa Rica where people (especially older people like myself) go, but wonder how I might go about finding other options closer to home (PA, USA).
    This article was enlightening.

  3. Kelly Renaud says

    I would like to send a great iboga place to heal wounds with my dead father

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