The bark and seeds of the African species Voacanga

africana Stapf339 contain up to 10% indole

alkaloids of the iboga type (cf. Tabernanthe iboga,

ibogaine) and reportedly induce stimulating and

hallucinogenic effects (Bisset 1985b; Oliver-Bever

1982, 8). The principal alkaloid is voacamine.

African sorcerers are said to use the seeds to

produce visions. In West Africa, the bark is utilized

as a hunting drug and stimulant (Schuldes 1995,

77*). It also is regarded as a potent aphrodisiac.

The bark of Voacanga bracteata Stapf is used in

Gabon to get "high" (most likely as a marijuana

substitute; cf. Cannabis indica). It contains 2.460/0

alkaloids (voacamine, voacamine-N-oxide, 20epi-

voacorine, voacangine) that, although closely

related to the compounds found in Tabernanthe

iboga, apparently produce only mild depressant

effects.(de Smet 1996, 145*; Puiseux et al. 1965).

Voacanga dregei E. H. Mey. is also said to

produce hallucinogenic effects (Schultes and Hofmann 1980, 366*). West African sorcerers

ingest the seeds of Voacanga grandiflora (Miq.)

Rolfe for visionary purposes. Unfortunately, the

details of this use are still unknown, as the

sorcerers keep their knowledge secret.

Bisset, N. G. 1985a. Phytochemistry and

pharmacology of Voacanga species. Agricultural

University Wageningen Papers 85 (3): 81-114.

---. 1985b. Uses of Voacanga species. Agricultural

University Wageningen Papers 85 (3): 115-22.

Bombardelli, Ezio, Attilio Bonati, Bruno Gabetta,

Ernseto Martinelli, Giuseppe Mustich, and Bruno

Danieli. 1976. 17-0-acetyl-19,20dihydrovoachalotine,

a new alkaloid from

Voacanga chalotiana. Phytochemistry 15:2021-22.

Oliver-Bever, B. 1982. Medicinal plants in tropical

West Africa I: Plants acting on the cardiovascular

system. Journal ofEthnopharmacology 5 (1): 1-71.

Puiseux, E, M. P. Patel, J. M. Rowson, and J. Poisson.

1965. Alcaloides des Voacanga: Voacanga africana

Stapf. Annales Pharmaceutiques Fran~aises


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