Salvia Divinorum or S. Divinorum is a herb that belongs to the mint family. Chewed, smoked or vaporized, some of its common street names are “Salvia,” “Maria Pastora” and “Sally-D.” When smoked, the herb has an immediate effect on its users.
Native to the areas of the Sierra Mazateca region of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, salvia is considered to be one of the strongest naturally occurring hallucinogens. Also referred to as “diviner’s sage,” salvia is currently listed as a “drug of concern” by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Salvia can easily be purchased in most states at “head” shops, also called smoke shops, or on the internet.
Methods of salvia abuse
For centuries, salvia has been used by the Mazatec Indians in religious ceremonies for its ability to produce visions. Visual and auditory hallucinations can result from drinking tea brewed from salvia leaves, smoking a cigar-like quid made from fresh leaves, or sucking or chewing on the leaves.
Smoking salvia leaves rolled in cigarettes or placed in water pipes (hookahs) produces strong effects within one or two minutes, which last about 30 minutes or less. Chewing on the salvia leaves allows the main psychoactive ingredient, Salvinorin A, to be absorbed into the bloodstream, which produces less intense effects within about 15 minutes and lasts up to three hours.
Although salvia or “Salvinorin A,” the ingredient responsible for the herb’s psychoactive effects, is currently approved for treating some medical conditions in the United States, it is sometimes taken for joint pain, bloating, headaches and diarrhea. Despite the potential medical uses of the drug, insufficient evidence exists for its safety, efficacy and benefits.