A young pregnant woman, supervised by a shaman, is ready to take for the first time what is considered a drug in most parts of the world. It is called iboga, an endemic root in Gabon forests, used to make an hallucinogenic infusion, which takes people through a strong experience: a couple of hours of self consciousness that are described as “ten years of psychoanalysis in one night”. For the Gabonese this is an initiation rite, influenced by a strong Catholic syncretism, marking admission to maturity. However, this root is a potential business for traditional medicine and the pharmaceutical industry since experiments have shown that it is very effective in the treatment of drug addiction, alcoholism and several mental disorders. The active principle, recently become available in the European market, is worth 250 dollars per gram.
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