Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive indole alkaloid found in plants in the Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga africana and Tabernaemontana undulata. In the iboga plant (Tabernanthe iboga), the highest concentration of ibogaine is found in the root bark. Lower concentrations of ibogaine are found in the rest of the plant along with other indole alkaloids in the same family.
These plants are used for medicinal and ritual purposes in African spiritual traditions of the Bwiti religion in Gabon. It was first promoted in the West as having anti-addictive properties in 1962 by Howard Lotsof, who was a heroin addict himself. In France it was marketed as Lambarène and used as a stimulant. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) also studied the effects of ibogaine in the 1950s