Monday, 2 June 2008

(Unusual) Plants of the Gods: Voacanga africana

As we all well know, thanks to authors, philosophers, scholars and scientists like Terence McKenna, Myron Stolaroff, Sasha and Ann Shulgin or Jonathan Ott, (at least) since the mid-'90s there is a real 'psichedelic revival' (or 'entheogenic revival' if you prefer) with a flowering of books, conferences, botanical companies and sites dedicated to visionary plants/drugs (and the states of consciousness induced by them) and a (still) growing number of people who meet and connect to get and share infos and experiences.
Wishing to deepen their knowledge of psychoactive plants, many people are always in search of less known vegetals and many botanical companies try to satisfy the demand constantly updating their catalogs with 'new' and obscure exotical species.

Most of the people know peyote, amanita muscaria or ayahuasca and speaking about them here would be senseless. Most useful and interesting is posting photos and few data about the less known plants of the Gods, in this way beginning a new series of regular posts about this fascinating field.

I would like to begin with

Voacanga africana (see photo)

Family: apocynaceae

Genus: voacanga

Species: africana

Description: Voacanga africana is a small tropical tree with white or yellow flowers. The root bark and seeds of the plant contain several iboga alkaloids, such as voacangine, vocamine and vobtusine. Of particular pharmacological interest is voacangine, which is a common precursor in the semi-synthesis of the anti-addiction medication ibogaine. Seeds and bark have been used in Western Africa as a poison, stimulant. aphrodisiac and psychedelic.

Use: 50/70 seeds are traditionally used during healing rytuals to induce modified states of consciousness and visions, while root bark is taken as a powerful stymilant during hunts that may last for several days.

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