Voacanga africana is an evergreen shrub native to Western Africa, specifically Ghana and Ivory Coast. The seeds are numerous, yellowish to dark brown, ellipsoid in shape and embedded in pulp.
Voacanga contains 10 alkaloids as well as edible oil. Some of the important alkaloids fall into three categories;
a) Vincamine, Vinpocetene and Vinburnine – these are alkaloids used in the cerebrovascular and geriatric markets (mainly in Japan). In the U.S., they are known as memory enhancers and considerable research is being done with these alkaloids in the treatment of Alzheimers diseases and Parkinson diseases.
b) Voacamine, Voacangine, Voacangerine and Vobtusine – these are also alkaloids in the pharmaceutical industry. They are hypotensive and as such have ventricular cardio-stimulant action and a slight action on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
c) Ibrogramine, Ibogaine, Ibolutine and Iboxygaine – these alkaloids are certified compounds which are used to treat drug addicts.