What is Salvia Divinorum ?

Salvia Divinorum herbSalvia Divinorum, otherwise known as ‘Sage of the Diviners’, ‘Ska Maria Pastora’, ‘Seer’s Sage’ and ‘Salvia’ is a herb that is gathering quite a repuation in healing circles.

Of course there are many scare stories in the media about the “reckless and irresponsible” use of the psychoactive plant, but what we don’t hear much about is the amazing medical potential the plant has.

So what do we know for sure about Salvia?

  • It’s a rare member of the mint family.
  • Its native habitat is in cloud forest in the isolated Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico.
  • It was commonly used by the Mazatec Indians medicinally for the management of headaches, diarrhea, rheumatism and anemia.
  • The main active ingredient in salvia, salvinorin A, is a potent activator of nerve cell targets called kappa opioid receptors.
  • The dried leaves of Salvia Divinorum can be smoked as a joint, consumed in water pipes, or vaporized and inhaled.
Salvinorum A molecular structure
Molecular structure of Salvinorum A. Molecular formula: C23H28O8. Molecular weight: 432.47 g/mol

There are no large pharmaceutical corporations funding the research into salvia, so unfortunately, studies and research do not come quickly. Big pharma corporations refuse to fund research into natural substances like herbal medicines because natural substances cannot be patented. If you can’t patent a product they can’t make any profit from it and it may eventually compete with their patented drug monopolies.

However, Professor Bryan Roth, director of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Psychoactive Drug Screening Program said: “We think that drugs derived from the active ingredient could be useful for a range of diseases: Alzheimer’s, depression, schizophrenia, chronic pain and even AIDS or HIV.”

According to Dr. Karl R. Hanes, Ph.D, Salvia Divinorum has proved to be very useful in treating the depressions of his patients. The herb was beneficial in relieving 5 out of 6 patients of their depression; but his studies were forcibly ceased when the herb was made illegal in his homeland of Australia.
Further reading: Antidepressant Effects of the Herb Salvia Divinorum: A Case Report by Dr. Karl R. Hanes, PhD

A survey of salvia users found that 38% described the effects as unique in comparison to other methods of altering consciousness. 23% said the effects were like yoga, meditation or trance.

Researchers from the University of California and California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute conducted a survey of 500 Salvia users which identified they ‘sometimes or often’ experience certain effects, as shown below.

Salvoa. Salvinorum A effects

There is so much to learn about Salvia, but so little research taking place. Hopefully the full potential of this plant is looked into and harnessed before it’s made illegal before Big Pharma forces governments to ban it.