|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 thesorcerers 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~aises23:33-39.