3 Cases of Tabernanthe Iboga
§9 “In the healthy human state, the spirit-like life force that enlivens the material organism as dynamis, governs without restriction and keeps all parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation, as regards both feelings and functions, so that our indwelling, rational spirit can freely avail itself of this living, healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence.” Organon of Rational Healing – Samuel Hahnemann
I have often speculated about this aphorism, written in a very different time to ours, wondering how Hahnemann’s “higher purpose” would compare to ours. The reality of a homeopathic practice in the 21st century is a far more complex experience than it was in his times. I am frequently confronted with patients whose states of mind, experiences and “diseases” go far beyond anything written about in the Organon or other classical texts; who challenge my own beliefs about the nature of reality and inspire me to explore other models of healing.
Traditional shamanic healing practices and the medicines used by these healers have been an invaluable addition to my practice. In these traditions, health and disease are matters of spirit and much of disease is considered to be due to “soul loss”, a loss of some part of a patient’s essence. According to this model, soul loss can occur by being taken by another or as a result of such trauma as abuse, loss of a loved one, surgery, accident, addiction. The basic premise being that whenever we experience trauma, a part of us leaves in order to survive the experience, to escape the full impact of the pain. Much of our lives is then spent in search for these lost parts, generating dreams, choosing different spiritual paths, creating relationships that mirror back to us our missing parts. For deep healing, soul healing, these parts need to be recovered, returned to wholeness.
A wide variety of techniques are used for this traditionally, often involving deep journeys and healing with psychoactive plants such as Ayahuasca, Peyote (Anhalonium lewinii) and Tabernanthe iboga. These plants, used homeopathically, can also bring about “soul retrieval” and an opening to life’s purpose in a truly profound way.
The following are 3 cases supported by the latter remedy, a relatively new addition to our material medica:
Patient 1: LR, 35Yrs, Male
LR had already been in treatment with me for a year. He presented initially with chronic asthma and had been dealing with the traumatic effects of childhood sexual abuse. Ascending LM doses of Natrum muriaticum had brought him, free of asthma to a place of peace that he had never known before. Yet, there was something missing. He felt he needed to “embrace the creative force, the God energy inside me, that had been taken from me as a child”; he wanted to go “deeper into myself, to reveal the potential of who I am”; “something is missing in me, my root”; “I feel incomplete”.
He returned after 6 weeks on Tabernanthe iboga LM1:
“After the remedy I started dreaming of my family, my grandfather, dead ancestors, coming to me, welcoming me home. During the days, nature, especially trees, began to call to me, as if they were talking to me, reminding me to take care and respect our relationship, to find strength among them. I’ve never felt anything like that before!”
“I woke up night after night with beings in my bedroom, speaking to me telling me they were my relatives, long dead but who were with me now. They had committed horrible crimes and were waiting for me to help them heal. It was really pathetic to see their pain. One night, as I remembered having this experience as a child, I became filled with light, with the knowledge that there are parallel worlds to this one. I was shown horrible images that explained the culture of secrecy that had always been in my family. The light became stronger and an indescribable sense of love filled me. I saw their pain being dissolved by love and felt huge gratitude from my relatives”.
“Since that day, things are so different. Even if I try to close myself, the connection is still there. I am part of everything, everything is a part of me. But can I do this? Can I live like this? I want to ask the question, why? But I realise there is no why, any more. I won’t be complete until I finish this work”.
“Concerns that I had about work, material things have just fallen away. That way of thinking has become obsolete. I remembered dreams I had as a young boy of meditating alone in nature, feeling strengthened and then healing people with my hands. My hands are burning all the time. I know that the power to heal is there.”
“I have started having all sorts of psychic connections, synchronicities are everywhere. I’m having accurate premonitions all the time”.
After working with Iboga for a year, LR, now working as a healer, wrote to me:
“I feel so proud. It wasn’t easy and there will always be issues to be solved time to time, but I feel balanced and grounded now. It is time for me now to begin to work here, on earth, to be on this planet fully!!!”
Patient 2. BS, 44Yrs, Female
BS presented initially with cervical cancer. A painter by profession, her sensitive nature and symptoms were supported well by Phosphorus LM potencies for 18 months until her doctors informed her that she was cancer-free. She felt however, that her work was only just beginning and asked for support in “finding who I am and what am I really doing here”?
“I need to connect with the deepest part of me, the part that I can’t access. It feels like I lost this a long time ago. That it was frightened out of me. Without this, I feel like I will never be truly myself. I have this vague feeling that this part is being kept for me by my grandfather, who passed over (died) just after I was born. I know this sounds mad but I know it as fact”.
After 4 weeks on Iboga LM1, BS reported that there were “huge shifts”. Having lived a very isolated life with her art, the need for connection came through strongly. “I have spent the month asking for support and receiving it, in a way I’d have never thought possible. I feel like I’m part of a community, a part of a family for the first time”. “My two long-dead aunts keep appearing in my dreams, welcoming me back into the family”.
Six weeks later, on Iboga LM2, BS reported being “full of life, re-connecting to so many wonderful parts of myself that I never knew existed”. “The medicine is teaching me about my addictions to food, substances, showing me that I have no need for them. I am now at the center of my life. I realize now that I never felt that I had the right to a life of my own. My body was for others, my lovers, my children. That was what my cancer was all about”.
On Iboga LM3, BS reported herself “surfing different realities, not always sure which was me but getting so much clearer in my life direction. My grandfather is always with me now. When he came to me first he gave me a beautiful present, a box with my heart inside. ‘This is yours’, he said”.
After Iboga LM6: “I am living on a whole new level. My life has transformed. From a life of duty to others, I have found a life of joy and deep purpose for myself and the world”.
Case 3: PS, 40Yrs, Male
PS came to me after having been in counseling for a number of years for depression. He felt his life was being wasted, had “no sense of who I am; felt I lost this years ago while in the army, at home in Israel”. I saw my best mate killed in front of me and I feel I left with him”.
“I’m living in Ireland without family or connections, lost between the worlds”.
When asked why he came to me, PS became silent for a moment. “You’re probably going to think I’m mad”, he said, ” A plant told me to come!” “I was asleep, dreaming I was asleep, when a knock came on my window. The knocking persisted until I got up to open the window. The knocking was coming from a plant with large green waxy leaves that wanted to get in, to speak to me. In the dream, this all felt very normal. The plant said it wanted to work with me but that it would need some help from somebody called Declan Hammond. So here I am”, he said shyly.
When I asked PS to describe the plant, it reminded me of a picture that I had collected. When I showed it to him, he blanched and said, that this was the same plant!
After a month on Iboga, PS reported having intense dreams, filled with men – his father, grandfather (both dead) and his two brothers, who he had been estranged from.
“I was repeatedly told that it was time for me to become a man, that I had never been initiated (!), that I was a danger to myself and the world as I was, acting like a hurt child”.
“My father was a violent man, tried to get us to grow up quickly so we could defend the family against the Arabs. I had spent my life, desperately trying to not be like him and my brothers, who worked for the Secret Service. Now I realized it was time for me to take my place with them, as a man, in my own power”.
We worked with Iboga up to LM5. On LM3, PS had an intense dream in which he was put through a number of arduous trials. As a reward, he was given a staff to keep as a symbol of his new manhood. Walking in the woods the following day, he stumbled over a piece of wood, the same staff he was given in the dream! After LM5, he made the decision to return to Israel. This was where his destiny lay.
Although much of the language and concepts of our homeopathic ancestors, such as Hahnemann, need updating, the challenge inherent in §9 resounds through the years. Hahnemann devoted his life to finding the most effective ways of using homeopathy, to heal the sick and to support them in their search for their “higher purpose’. His spirit calls out to us, challenges us to continue this search.
Characteristics: An apocynaceous shrub from the tropical rain forests of Equatorial West Africa, especially Gabon. Grows to 1.5 metres high, produces pink-white flowers and small orange fruit. Contains 22 alkaloids, principally Ibogaine and Tabernanthine, contained mainly in the root bark. Ibogaine is responsible for most of the plant’s intense psychoactivity.
Effects: The root bark is rasped, eaten as powder or drunk as an infusion. Small (5 – 20gms) taken as stimulant; for ceremonial purposes and numerous medicinal uses. Large doses (200 – 1000gms) taken for spiritual guidance; initiation.
It has a bitter, astringent taste which causes anaesthesia of mouth, throat when eaten. Creates strong stimulation of CNS; greatly increased muscular strength & endurance and has strong aphrodisiacal qualities. It stimulates circulation, raises blood pressure; promotes, activates mucus secretions & diuresis.
Causes violent stomach cramps, nausea & vomiting.
All senses become extremely heightened & stimulated – intense synaesthesia (sensory blending: seeing sounds; hearing colours etc.).
Motor in-coordination is common with epileptic-type spasms, paralysis.
Deep trance-like states; intensely colourful visions: of past, ancestors, spiritual entities. Absolute stillness; coma-like states.
Lethargy, visual disturbances lasting 4/5 days.
Chemical dependence interrupter, esp. opiates
Overdose: death from paralysis of respiratory muscles.
Proving: Proving was conducted by Declan Hammond in Dublin, Ireland over 4 months in 1999 with 20 provers using 30C potency prepared by Helios Pharmacy.
Spiritual rebirth, renewal.
Connections with roots, ancestry.
Strengthens and heals links with family, community.
Clarity of life purpose and direction.
Intense CLAIRVOYANCE; prophetic dreams.
Boundless physical energy, little need for sleep. Extremely high libido.
Awakens intuitive/instinctual nature.
Greatly affected by music; rhythm. DESIRES TO DANCE.
Body light, floating sensation; UNGROUNDED.
Introversion, deep quiet, stillness.
Strong desire for open air, NATURE, green spaces, green colour.
Body rhythms out of balance: menses; digestion; night/day.
Dreams of pregnancy, birth.
Insomnia, vivid nightmarish dreams.
Inability to concentrate; study. Over stimulated mind, unable to relax.
Poor self-image. Self-loathing/disgust.
Bulimic tendencies – bingeing on “junk” foods, carbohydrates.
Hopeless black depression. ISOLATION, loneliness
Numbness of mouth.
Abdominal cramping, constriction. Constriction of throat.
- Motor in-coordination; clumsiness.
Coloured haloes around objects.
Chakra affinity: base, solar plexus, crown.
Themes from the clinic:
- Disconnected from life purpose. “Soul loss”
- Lacking roots/family/community connection
- Trapped in addictive patterns: lifestyle; substance
- Disassociation/depersonalisation issues
- Over-excited nervous system; easily overwhelmed
- Clairvoyant; visionary; contact with “other” realms
- Huge energy/lethargic. Unable to focus on goals
- Major self-esteem problems
- Need connection with nature; rhythm; dance