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Salvia divinorum information


Introduction to Salvia divinorum

Salvia divinorum originated in the Oaxaca region of Mexico and has been cultivated and used for centuries by the Mazatec people for healing and religious ceremonies. It is a powerful visionary herb, or "teacher plant", in shamanistic terms. When ingested properly, and under the appropriate conditions, it produces in the user a state of "divine inebriation". Salvia divinorum is in a class by itself, so it is difficult to compare it with other psychoactive substances. It is a unique and mysterious visionary herb.

Salvia divinorum is a type of sage (genus Salvia). Approximately 1000 species of sage are known to exist. However, Salvia divinorum is the only type known to induce visions. It is of the very large Labiatae family of plants. Although the effects of Salvia divinorum are vastly different from those of alcohol, it profoundly impairs one’s ability to drive and decreases coordination. Do not drive or operate machinery under the influence of Salvia.

Salvinorin-A is the chemical substance responsible for Salvia’s psychoactive properties. It is not an alkaloid; it is a neoclerodane-diterpenoid. Therefore, it is not chemically related to any other psychoactive compound. Although non-addictive, pure Salvinorin is extremely potent. It is the most potent naturally occurring psychoactive substance. There may be a reverse tolerance phenomenon, in which repeated use results in decreased dosage requirements. There are no known heath risks associated with using Salvia. Salvia is not a stimulant, sedative, narcotic, or tranquilizer. Like other entheogens, it can induce visions, but it works very differently from every other known entheogen. Until recently, it was not known exactly how Salvia affected the brain, as Salvinorin-A does not have any actions on the receptors responsible for the activities of classical hallucinogens. Salvinorin-A has now been identified as the first known naturally occurring nonnitrogenous opioid selective agonist. Salvinorin-A is chemically unique, and is not a chemical analog of any known substance.

Salvia is a consciousness enhancing herb that can be used for vision quests and healing rituals. Given the correct setting, it allows one to experience visions. It is an herb with a long tradition of sacred uses; among these is deep meditation. It is best when taken in a quiet, dark room, or a peaceful, secluded outdoor setting. It is taken in silence, or perhaps with soft, soothing music playing. Anything grounded in this world will only prove a hindrance for those who are serious about their journey with Salvia. Distractions such as television, or idle background chatter from others present in the room, are not favorable to the Salvia experience.

Salvia journeys range in intensity from very subtle to intensely powerful. This is true whether smoking or chewing the leaves. The strength of the session will depend upon the way one takes it, the quantity taken, and one’s unique body chemistry. Salvia experiences differ from those caused by other visionary herbs and drugs and choosing Salvia over these has many advantages. The primary reason among these is that no one has ever experienced a fatal or injurious overdose of Salvia. Furthermore, one needn’t worry about becoming addicted, or the journey lasting too long. Salvia will almost never produce adverse side effects or hangover.

Because Salvia alters perception and behavior, it should never be used in public. Make sure that a sober "sitter" is there to insure a safe and comfortable experience. When smoked, the effects of Salvia are felt quickly, in less than one minute. When chewed, the first effects are felt after about 15 minutes. After about 30 minutes, the full effects should be realized. Typical Salvia experiences last 5 to 10 minutes on average, with noticeable after-effects lasting up to 1/2 hour. The only reported hangover symptoms from an experience are mild headaches. Sweating during the experience is also commonly reported. If smoked, it is likely to irritate one’s lungs; although Salvia’s smoke is mild when compared to that of tobacco.

A water-pipe may be used to smoke the dried leaves, which must be smoked hot (vaporized). The smoke must be inhaled quickly, and held deeply in order for the Salvinorin-A to take full effect. Salvia should not be smoked in cigarette form because Her leaves need to undergo combustion by means of a much hotter flame than an ordinary cigarette lighter. For this, we have found that an electrically charged, butane "torch" type lighter works best.

To smoke Salvia correctly, hold the flame directly over the leaves of a medium sized bowl of a short pipe or water pipe. Draw it down into the leaves, igniting them for the entire duration of the inhalation. The amount used will vary from person to person. General starting guidelines are:

  • Raw leaf – 3 to 4 inhalations
  • 5X – 2 inhalations
  • 10X + – 1 inhalation

These initial guidelines will need to be adjusted to each individual’s preference and tolerance. Make sure that a sober person is in attendance, particularly during the first session, since during the experience, one could drop the pipe or lighter, causing burns or a fire. About 5 or 6 minutes after smoking Salvia, the effects will gradually begin to subside. The total duration of the experience is approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour, if the lingering feeling of relaxation is included in the total time.

A sitter should remember, foremost, that no matter how unusually a Salvia user is behaving, Salvia journeys are relatively short-lived. Don’t panic if someone is having a difficult experience. Just keep the person safe from harm and wait it out. Strive to keep the matter private. Within an five to ten minutes, the effects will start to wear off, and the person will return to their usual self again. It is reassuring to hold onto this knowledge if things seem to get complicated. It’s a fair certainty that having experienced Salvia divinorum for oneself will enhance one’s ability to supervise others during their vision quest. Experiences with other visionary chemicals or plants will only be partially helpful. Remember, again, that Salvia is very different from any of these.

These guidelines have been designed for maximum safety and minimal confusion and are intended both as an educational tool and as a convenient reference for those who desire a safe and fascinating meditative aid. Please respect our wish that Salvia divinorum be approached with caution, appreciation, and wisdom and may Salvia, Herself, respect all those who partake of Her leaves and guide them along their own spiritual path.

Mazatec Garden describes the common uses of many herbs. This is for informational purposes only, as we are not advising or prescribing herbs for any specific medical condition or for any specific use. Distribute this information freely.

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