Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 17:14:34 EST
From: Chris Jenks <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: BPC/Voacanga/Iboga

  Dear Everyone,

  What a lively discussion we've been having! There is only one product
sold by BPC which contains alkaloids similar to ibogaine, but no
significant quantity of ibogaine itself: a tincture of Voacanga africana
bark. During my past years of intensive study I have seen not one report
that this product is directly useful for addiction treatment, although SOME
people report that it has psychoactive properties. The BPC catalog says:

Voacanga Extract
The root bark of Voacanga africana has been known since prehistory in
tropical West Africa as a ritual sacrament. Hunters, drummers and shamans
use it when requiring endurance and alertness of marathon duration. The
indigenous healers who collect this material for us prefer Voacanga to the
other more famous African sacred plant ally. Medicinally valued as a heart
strengthener and 'cerebral sports tonic'. We are very honored to offer this
rare rootbark extracted into a concentrated tincture.    1 oz/$22; bulk
rate 4 oz/$70

  Thanks to the recent work of an anonymous person (see posting on 2/3/98
entitled "Requested posting"), this "concentrated" tincture has been found
to contain less than 200 mg of dissolved material per ounce! Past postings
on the ibogaine list are archived according to date at
  According to the analysis of V. africana which Howard furnished on
1/26/98, entitled "Subject: From another list - Voacanga, etc.":

In one species ( V. africana ) the alkaloid content has been reported as
5-10% in root bark, 4-5% in trunk bark, 0.3-0.45% in leaves and 1.5% in seeds.

  So V. africana root bark contains 5-10% alkaloids, but BPC's extract of
this root bark contains only up to (200 mg/one ounce divided by 28,375
mg/ounce) times 100% = 0.70%!!! So the root bark is about ten times as
concentrated as this extract of it, and each ounce of extract was made from
less than three grams of bark!
  It is unfortunate that this extract is so dilute, because voacangine is
eager to turn into ibogaine under conditions anyone (with a little
training) could muster. According to Goutarel and Janot, (see the posting
on 11/7/97 entitled "Ibogaine from Voacangine"):

  While it would appear logical to produce the new derivatives of the
invention [noribogaine and salts thereof] from ibogaine, the applicants
have found that it is much more advantageous and desirable to prepare these
derivatives by starting with voacangine as a source. It has been found that
voacangine is extracted from the bark of the voacanga tree plant. The
voacanga africana, stapf, is able to supply up to 5 grs. per kilo, whereas
ibogaine is found in the roots of tabernanthe iboga (H.Bn) at a
concentration of 3 grs. per kilo. It is both apparent and obvious that
gathering the bark is much easier than gathering the roots, and that the
former procedure does not bring about the destruction of the plants. It
should also be noted that the voacanga is much more widely prevalent than
the iboga.

  This patent goes on to explain how to turn voacangine into ibogaine by
treating it with potassium hydroxide in boiling alcohol, followed by
warming it with dilute acid. It also explains how to convert either
voacangine or ibogaine into noribogaine by heating it with hydrobromic acid
in acetic acid. I suspect that the quantities for voacangine and ibogaine
given above are for purified material obtained through recrystallization,
and that the actual contents should be about five times higher in the
unprocessed trunk bark/whole root.

  One other product, offered by "... of the jungle" before it split into
BPC (P.O. Box 1368, Sebastopol, CA 95473, USA) and Allies (P.O. Box 2422,
Sebastopol, CA 95473, USA), was an extract of Tabernaemontana divaricata
(Tagar). This contains a variety of alkaloids similar to ibogaine, but no
significant ibogaine itself, and there were a few people considering trying
it at one point. If anyone has actually tried this extract, I would
certainly like to know their experiences. However, I am not recommending
that anyone actually try this extract at this time, because I haven't
researched its pharmacological properties. The Allies company, which sells
plants and seeds, now sells a live Tagar plant for $15.

          Warmest regards,

                               - Chris