Iboga is central to the Bwiti culture of West Central Africa. The Bwiti make use of Iboga during traditional ceremonies. Iboga is also used as a medicine for several ailments. Large doses are taken at the dedication to faith ceremony. On a more regular basis it is eaten in smaller doses in tribal rituals and tribal dances. In smaller doses Iboga is used to stimulate the senses in order to heightened alerts during hunting. Bwitists have been subject to persecution by Catholic missionaries, who to this day are thoroughly opposed to the growing religious movement of Bwiti. Léon M'ba, before becoming the first President of Gabon in 1960, defended the Bwiti religion and the use of iboga in French colonial courts. On June 6, 2000, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Gabon declared Tabernanthe iboga to be a national treasure.
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