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Salvia Extract

Updated on March 12, 2011

Salvia extract is the most common form sold and consumed by those who use the plant as a drug. The extract is derived from the plant’s oils, which are found in the leaves. The practice of using salvia extracts dates back to the pre-Columbian era, when Aztecs crushed leaves and combined them with water to make a “tea” that was used in rituals and ceremonies. Today, salvia extracts are widely sold on the Internet, and are available in several different potentcies.

Salvinorin A is the most active compound found in the leaves of the salvia divinorum plant. Salvinorin A contains psychoactive properties, and was one of the first recorded psychoactive compounds. Salvinorin A is also one of the most potent naturally-occurring hallucinogens known to man. However, unlike many other hallucinogenic plants and compounds, salvia extract does not affect serotonin receptors in the brain. This results in short-term psychoactive effects, as well as a decreased potential for physical addiction.

Salvia divinorum is a plant that is native to many parts of Mexico, as well as some parts of the southwestern United States. Following their use in ancient Aztec rituals, salvia extracts were also used by many other Native American tribes, Shamans, and medicine men. For several decades, the plant has also been used in alternative medicine to treat common ailments. In small doses, salvia is beneficial as a diuretic, as well as a treatment for diarrhea, anemia, rheumatism, and frequent headaches.

In larger doses, salvia extracts can induce short-term psychedelic effects, such as auditory and visual hallucinations, uncontrollable laughter, and out of body experiences. The plant leaves and extracts are often smoked, much in the same manner as some would use marijuana. However, it is necessary that a person using salvia have a “sitter” or someone to watch over them during the hallucinogenic effects.

Salvia extracts can also be prepared as a quid or as a tincture. A quid is usually a handful of leaves that are chewed and then held in the mouth for as long as possible to allow proper absorption of the salvia extracts by the oral mucosa. Salvinorin A cannot be absorbed by ingestion, since acids in the stomach can destroy the compound. However, when used as a tincture, salvia extracts can be absorbed in the mouth sublingually—that is, under the tongue.

Using salvia extracts as a quid or a tincture often allows for longer lasting effects that are not as intense as when the leaves are smoked. However, smoking is often the preferred method of salvia use, since the effects are often immediate. The effects of salvia can last anywhere from 10-25 minutes, in most cases. Salvia extracts are offered for sale online, but are not legal in all states and jurisdictions.

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