Health And Wellness

What Is Ibogaine? New Details About What Gwyneth Paltrow Calls The 'Next Big Thing' In Wellness

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What is Ibogaine? New Details About What Gwyneth Paltrow Calls The 'Next Big Thing' In Wellness

We don't necessarily consider Gwyneth Paltrow to be our resident wellness guru, but when she speaks, people tend to pay attention. And recently, when interviewed by the New York Times, she was asked what she sees as the "next big thing" in wellness. 

Her answer? A shrub known as ibogaine. But what is ibogaine, and what can we learn about all possible ibogaine treatment options?

"I think how psychedelics affect health and mental health and addiction will come more into the mainstream," she said. After clarifying that she had never personally used psychedelics, she added, "I mean, there’s undeniably some link between being in that state and being connected to some other universal cosmic something." 

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Is Paltrow onto something? Curious about ibogaine, a "psychoactive alkaloid naturally occurring in the West African shrub iboga, we asked an expert for more information.

According to Max Montrose, psychedelic researcher and president of Trichome Institute"Ibogaine is a bush that grows orange oblong fruit that comes from West Africa. The part of the plant that is harvested for the medicine is the roots. The roots take 8-10 years to mature before harvest."

So, what are the benefits of this plant? Montrose says, "The reason why it’s getting attention is because there is clinical research and evidence on how and why it tricks receptors in the brain, specifically those that affect opiate, alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine... Clinical evidence shows that this substance essentially tricks the chemically dependant receptors that they are full for up to 90 days."

It really gives you a 90-day window from an alcohol, opiate or cocaine addiction where you really don’t feel addicted. But, of course, that’s only a part of an addiction.

Are you also working on the psychological aspect of it with a therapist? Are you taking your addiction so seriously that you’re removing yourself from friends and places that could cause a relapse? "It’s not like a miracle where all of a sudden you take ibogaine and you won’t be addicted anymore. So let’s not make this drug seem like a miracle because it’s not," warns Montrose. 

However, there is nothing in the world of curing addiction that comes anywhere close to the success rate of ibogaine.

But as with all things, there are risks to consider. And ibogaine is no joke, because if used incorrectly or too often, it can be deadly.

"This is a drug that can kill you because it affects the way that your heart beats," Montrose says. "It can confuse your heart’s rhythm to the point where it doesn’t operate properly and you die. The safest way to do ibogaine is in a clinical setting to determine you don’t have a prior heart condition, which may have fatal complications. Yet, ibogaine is generally safe for those who are perfectly healthy in both clinical and traditional settings."

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at