Voacanga Africana: Everything You Need To Know
Voacanga africana is a curious plant. Not so interesting at first sight, it has recently taken the mainstage among psychonauts for its alleged hallucinogenic properties.
Not much info is available on Voacanga africana’s effects or its use in West African rituals and ceremonies. In this article, we will explore the information at our disposal, diving deeper into the properties of this elusive plant. Moreover, we’ll look into how Voacanga africana can be used to catalyse a psychedelic trip, and how to grow your own!
Let’s finally lift the curtain on Voacanga africana!
What Is Voacanga Africana?
Voacanga africana is a small tree native to the rich and moist soils of the tropical and subtropical forests of West Africa. At first sight, you would mistake it for just another ornamental plant in your mom’s garden. Growing up to 6m in height, its leaves are long, lush ovals and its flowers are like little snowflakes, white or yellow depending on the specimen. The fruits resemble large, freckled field beans that, once ripe, open up into two halves. Animals then feed upon the yellow pulp, ultimately allowing the plant species to spread it seeds.
Since its discovery in 1894, Voacanga africana was considered merely a simple tropical shrub all the way up until WWII. .
It’s only recently that psychonauts have taken it upon themselves to unveil the psychedelic potential of Voacanga africana. Rumours spread across the internet about faraway places where its bark, roots, and seeds were used by local people as a poison, aphrodisiac, stimulant, and even ceremonial psychedelic. Is there any truth to these rumours?
The Chemistry Of Voacanga Africana
Indeed, Voacanga africana naturally contains a few interesting compounds. It has captured the attention of the most enterprising psychonauts for the various alkaloids it holds in different concentrations in its roots, bark, leaves, and seeds.
The alkaloids present in Voacanga africana include:
- voacamine (7.2%)
- voacangine (5.6%)
- voacristine (4.0%)
- voacorine (3.7%)
- vobtusin (0.4%)
- tabersonine (3.5%)
- ibogaine (0.4%)
- vobasine (1.6%)
In particular, voacamine is a powerful cardiotonic stimulant while voacangine is a well-known psychoactive agent. The chemical structures of both alkaloids resemble another intriguing substance present in the plant: ibogaine. Although its action is not yet fully understood, ibogaine is thought to be effective in modulating neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission, and in acting as a natural stimulant against fatigue. In large doses, ibogaine is a powerful psychedelic that gives rise to a dream-like and introspective experience.
Of the overall alkaloid mix, 5–10% is contained in the root bark (the so-called root epidermis), 4–5% is contained in the bark of the trunk, 1.5% is in the seeds, and 0.30–0.45% is in the leaves.
How To Grow Voacanga Africana From Seeds
Aside from grinding your seeds into a powder, they can also be planted to grow your very own Voacanga africana trees! Since it is quite a rare plant in the West, and requires a few precautions to grow healthy and happy, we recommend you carefully follow our easy grow guide below:
First thing’s first: Obviously, you must purchase your own Voacanga africana seeds. Since almost all seeds will be dormant, you must be sure to “wake them up” asap to start the germination process.
Start by cleaning them of any organic residue. Then, put them in a strainer or sieve and run a good stream of cool water over them to remove any residual dust.
Once dry, you’ll want to use a mild acid (like vinegar or a lemon juice solution) to help the seeds break their shells and stimulate germination. Immersing the seeds for 10–15 minutes will do what the digestive systems of animals do in nature.
After time has elapsed, put the seeds under running water again. As a precaution against mould, soak the seeds in 3% hydrogen peroxide for another 20 minutes. There is no need to wash them again under water after this. Put your seeds in a container and place a lid on top, allowing for some air exchange.
The best choice is a transparent container that lets you monitor germination without removing the lid. It will take at least a month before you see any seedling coming out.
If mould starts forming while you wait, pour some hydrogen peroxide into the container, sanitise both the seeds and container itself with a good shake, then pour out the excess liquid. Repeat if signs of mould reappear.
Since the germination of Voacanga africana seeds is quite erratic, after the first seedling sprouts, continue monitoring the remaining seeds closely. They could germinate over the following one or two months.
Once the seeds have germinated, you can remove the mature seedlings. These are the ones with a root about 0.65–0.85cm long. Plant them in a moist, rich soil mixture, and space them at least 5cm apart. Keep the soil moist, but never waterlogged, and the container only partially exposed to sunlight.
Only when the seedlings have had the chance to mature, about 3–4 months, can you transplant each into a separate container and expose them to full sunlight. You must always try to maintain high humidity in the soil and a warm temperature in your growing environment. Also, make sure to protect your plants from frost for at least the first three years. Only this way will you ensure the healthy growth of your Voacanga africana plants.
We hope this article helped shed some light on this fascinating yet still mysterious plant. Surely more research is needed to fully unveil its properties and applications, but if you are looking for something totally different and new to enhance your psychedelic experience, Voacanga africana is the plant to try!
Voacanga africana is at the forefront of psychedelic experimentation. Read this article to learn about its uses, effects and benefits, and how to grow it!
tropical native tree of Africa
Voacanga Africana is a tropical tree native to West Africa and is related to plants of the genus Tabernanthe or Iboga.
Grows erect and robust usually reach a height of 3-4 meters and the bark is pale brown. Its leaves about 30 cm are bright, opposite and ovoid, with short petioles or absent. Its flowers are white or yellow, usually begin to bloom between February and April, fired a strong aroma and the fruit contains many brown seeds ellipsoids. The root is erect and branching. The fruit of Voacanga tends to occur during the summer months between June and September, depending on the country.
Effects and applications of Voaganca
At present the Voacanga Africana has industrial (production of latex) and medicinal applications. West African shamans used the bark of this tree as a brain stimulant, the roots were used as a stimulant during long hunts, while the seeds were used with visionary purposes.
The seeds of the Voacanga Africana contain indole alkaloids, including voacangine (carbomethoxy-ibogaine), voacamina and related substances.
Voacangine, C22H29N2O3 (12-methoxyibogamine-18-carboxylic acid methyl ester) CAS: 510-22-5
Cultivation of Voacanga africana
In the tropical forest is preferably grown in rich soil and somewhat protected from the sun and frost places.
The seeds must be sterilized water leaving 10 minutes with a 6% hydrogen peroxide. The use of a specific enraizador are advised to ensure germination.
For planting it is best to use a mixture of sandy soil, and seeds bury about 8-10 mm deep (about twice the diameter of the seed). The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged and the environment should be warm to promote germination.
There must be good air circulation after germination to avoid fungal attacks.
It likes partial sun until well established, then when they are more mature may be at more sunny places. After three or four months after germination, the plant will be established enough for transplant to their final location.
The plant needs adequate space to develop its roots, so the planting distance is 3 meters between plants.
Harvesting Voacanga africana
When the fruit is ripe, with a characteristic brown color, you can be cut directly from the ground without waiting for fall. After collecting the fruit bush, you need to be transported to where it can be left to mature. The fruit needs to mature in dry conditions.
When the fruit is fully ripe it opens and you can see the seeds inside.
When the fruit opens naturally, the seeds inside are extracted and begin to dry until they are loose, at which carried an open space until just dry. A separate dry powder and time when to be marketed is provided in an amount suitable for transportation profitable.
Voacanga Africana is the raw material used by Covex to manufacture its products (Vinpocetine, Vincamine, Vinburnine)