Why and how
are these plants used?

The therapeutic potential of these plants lies in their physiological and neuropsychological effects, such as the elimination of withdrawal or anti-depressant effects, as well as the alteration of consciousness they provoke. This effect allows subconscious material to be accessed. Its experience, adjustment and elaboration can have therapeutic results for a person. The preparation and integration of such experiences are key factors in this process.

Why and How?

What are their effects?

Ayahuasca and iboga are plants that have been used in traditional contexts since ancient times for medical, social and religious purposes. Their effects on consciousness have been known by indigenous cultures, who consider these to be responsible for the healing properties of these plants.

Both ayahuasca and iboga induce an intense introspective experience that can provoke reactions such as recollection of biographical elements (e.g. childhood trauma), as well as re-experimentation of repressed emotions, perinatal states and transpersonal experiences—those that go beyond one’s own self. You can read more about their effects in Interested in taking Iboga or Interested in taking Ayahuasca.

Why do these effects have therapeutic potential?

The role of the ayahuasca or iboga experience can be described as a catalyst of the therapeutic process. Through these plants, we can access subconscious materials which could take a lot of time to emerge in the consciousness. Working with these materials represents an opportunity to adjust dysfunctional patterns that provoke suffering.

The experience by itself can be considered therapeutic by the person experiencing it, but due to the intensity such an experience can have, it is necessary that it is framed in a wider therapeutic process to maximize this therapeutic potential. Obtaining a lasting positive outcome just by having an experience with these plants is not something that is guaranteed; it is the therapeutic process that allows a consistent improvement of the conditions of the person. This process has three phases: preparation, the experience with the plant, and the integration.

The combination of these three phases determines how therapeutic the outcome will be. Therefore, special attention should go to the context in which this therapeutic process will take place. This includes the motivation of the interested person, the center where the experience will be facilitated, and, more importantly, those responsible for facilitating the session, whether it be shamans, healers, therapists or psychologists.

As with all forms of therapy, miracles do not exist. The use of ayahuasca and iboga has potential benefits and risks that should be considered. You can read more about this in the texts Interested in taking Ayahuasca and Interested in taking Iboga.


ICEERS takes care to ensure that the information presented on this website is accurate at the time of its publication. However, over time new scientific and medical information becomes available, and laws and legal enforcement polices change. In addition, laws and legal enforcement policies governing the use of substances discussed on this website vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The reader is advised to carefully consult appropriate sources for the most current information on scientific, medical, and legal issues. Material on this website is not intended to and should not be used as a substitute for personal consultation with knowledgeable physicians and attorneys.

The information on this website is offered for informational use only, and is not intended for use in diagnosing any disease or condition or prescribing any treatment whatsoever. The information on this website is not intended to encourage the use of ethnobotanicals. ICEERS specifically cautions against the use of ethnobotanicals in violation of the law, without appropriate professional guidance and monitoring, or without careful personal evaluation of potential risks and hazards. ICEERS specifically disclaims any liability, loss, injury, or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this website.