The herb, Salvia (Salvia Divinorum: Latin for ‘Sage of the Seers’), is cousin to the Sage plant and a member of the ‘Lamiaceae’ (mint) family. It grows isolated in Oaxaca, Mexico and has been used ritualistically for hundreds of years in religious ceremonies.
The Salvia Divinorum plant has large green leaves and can grow to over a meter high. The plant occasional blossoms white and purple flowers and has stems that are hollow, and square.
Flourishing in the shady, damp soil, the herb is most famous for its strong, natural chemical counterpart, Salvinorin A.
Salvinorin A is activated by smoking, chewing or drinking the plant as a tea-like drink. In smoking the herb, the temperature has to reach 240 degrees Celsius in order to effectively induce the desired a ‘psychedelic-like’ state. While smoking is the most assumed method for activating the Salvinorin A, chewing and drinking the plant as a tea increases the amount of Salvinorin A intake.
Chewing the leaves means the leaf has to remain in the mouth as long as possible. The actual ingestion of the leaves voids the ‘drug’ reaction due to the gastrointestinal power to neutralize the Salvinorin A, rendering ingestion presumably harmless.
Salvinorin A is currently the most potent ‘psychoactive drug’ produced naturally, to date. Salvinorin A has effects that target the senses and Central Nervous System but has no action on the serotonin receptors. Serotonin receptors are the key factor in creating the ‘classic’ psychedelic effect, such as in LSD.
Comparing Salvinorin A to LSD, the two have dissimilar effects and time frames for sensation; Salvinorin A lasts from a few minutes to half-hour.
The effects on the body include slowed heart rate, slowed breathing, and the Central Nervous System being affected by ‘blocking’ the human senses. Things like balance, motor skills, taste, hearing and the like are directly affected. As with all substances, taken in large quantities could result in death.
One state, Delaware, has already seen a suicide cited as a contributing factor in a boy’s suicide. In 2006, Brett Chidester, a seventeen year old student, committed suicide four months after purchasing the herb online. The doctor performing the autopsy found no Salvinorin A in the examination of the remains.
Eight states of the United States of America have put restrictions on the herb, with Florida attempting to completely criminalize the possession, use, sale and purchase of the substance to equivalency of marijuana.
Florida resident Kay B. Day commented about the herb, “The only thing I know about Salvia is that hummingbirds like it: I usually stick some in the ornamentals on my deck.”
When the substance is correctly activated the expected effects expected are uncontrollable laughter, sensation of motion and overlapping realities.
Laws are expected to enforce substantially due to a teen-usage epidemic shown in part on popular networking sites such as YouTube.com and increased internet sales of the substance.