Ibogaine is a psychoactive chemical compound that occurs naturally in the Tabernanthe Iboga Shrub  that is indigenous to western central Africa. The root bark contains the highest concentrations of the chemical compound Ibogaine. The psychoactive effects of Ibogaine have long been known to the native tribes located in central west Africa where it has played a prominent role in the various culutural traditions present there.
In Gabon, there exists the Bwiti Spiritual Tradition  as practiced by the Babongo and Mitsogo peoples. Modern Bwiti-ism is described by Wikipedia as, "incorporating animism, ancestor worship, and Christianity into a syncretistic belief system." A central theme throughout is the important focus on the forest as a potent force for mysticism and healing.
In the summer of 1962, a 19-year-old man named Howard Lotsof accidentally discovered the anti-addictive effects of Ibogaine. At the time he was a heroin addict. After the powerful and long lasting Ibogaine experience, he notcied that he had not experienced acute opiate withdrawals, despite going 36 hours without heroin. What's more, he had lost his craving for opiates. Howard then dedicated his life to spreading awareness of Ibogaine and was instrumental in promoting and enncouraging further research.