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Salvia divinorum is an entheogen belonging to the Labiatae (mint) family. It’s recognizable by its large green leaves and white flowers with purple calyces.

The plant is usually up to 1.5 meters high and grows in humid areas. Salvia became known as a herbal hallucinogen or psychedelic that can produce unique visionary experiences.

Saliva is derived from the Latin word  “salvare” which means “to save”, On the other hand, divinorum, means “seers'”.

History of Salvia

Salvia Divinorum is native to the mountain regions in Mexico, where the Mazatec tribes have used it for eons for divinatory rituals and healing ceremonies.

Salvia’s names vary from Sage of the Seers, Magic Mint to Diviner’s Sage which indicates that the herb is honored for its healing and divination qualities.

The first mention of Salvia dated in 1938. and comes from Jean B. Johnson, a researcher of Mazatec healing practices.

The plant first came into psychological attention in 1962. when Western anthropologists, R. Gordon Wasson, and Albert Hofmann registered that Indians make tea from its leaves.

Mechanism of action

Anthropologists noted that Indians used Salvia in order to gaze upon colorful visions and three-dimensional patterns.

The psychoactive component of Salvia, Salvinorin A, was first isolated in 1982, but it took twenty years before it was discovered that it binds to the kappa opiate receptor (KOR) in the brain.

KOR works to regulate a significant proportion of human perception such as the experience of visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli.

All of that classifies Salvia as an opiate as well as an atypical psychedelic or an atypical hallucinogen.

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How is it ingested?

Traditionally, the Mazatec rolled the leaves before squeezing them, and then they chewed or sucked the herb. The leaf juice produced Salvinorin an extraction in the consumer’s mouth.

The longer one chews on it, the stronger the effects are. Visions or hallucinations as scientists call them can last for one to two hours if administered this way.

The fresh herb can also be crushed and used via drink or vaporized and inhaled. Used like that, the effect starts after ten minutes and lasts about 45 minutes.

Dried leaves of the herb are nowadays often smoked which produces instant effects that last up to 15 minutes.

Salvia Effects

Depending on the dosage and the method of ingestion, common effects include a sense of traveling through time and space, floating or flying and seeing patterns and shapes.

Visions were reported by consumers to be in 4D, but no one can really describe the experience after the effects have worn off as, other than entheogens, we do not have the means to perceive in 4D.

Mystical experiences are connected to seeing entities or beings some of which appear to be friendly and benevolent and some of which do not.

The most common side-effects include drowsiness, lack of coordination, troubles speaking, aphasia, salivating, etc., but it appears to be safe both physically and psychologically.

Studies showed that the optimal dosage can be used as a meditation tool, clearing the mind and connecting with the higher self.

Salvia does not have any pharmacological use for now, but it has great potential for treating depression and shows great promise for curing dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Although Salvia has been used for centuries with no negative effects on the body, it is still uncertain if it can cause long-term effects on the brain.

Salvia Legal status

Even though it is classified as a drug, there is no evidence that it is addictive which goes for most of the hallucinogens out there.

Salvia divinorum possession and use are legal in most countries, but in some such as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada is placed as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

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Additional (trip diaries’) notes

As mentioned, Salvia is an atypical psychedelic and entheogen, but it doesn’t just go for its pharmacological mechanism of action.

Salvia is atypical in the effects that it produces. Even modern shamans are sometimes baffled and approach it with the utmost respect.

Experience of Salvia ingestion is unlike any other entheogen experiences. You can draw certain parallels between Psilocybin mushrooms, Ayahuasca, DMT and such, but it doesn’t go for Salvia.

First of all, the visual experience in itself is so different than anything you’ve seen before that it’s hard to find the words for it. That’s why consumers describe it as 4D.

Sometimes though, it appears that you are sucked into a 2D dimension or glued to the wall, etc.

Nowadays, kids smoke it in pipes, bongs, etc. to have fun and you can see a bunch of “funny” Salvia Divinorum trips on YouTube and even listen to trip diaries although those are better on Reddit.

Some of them are downright scary. That’s why it’s important to note that, despite being physically safe and not being neurotoxic, Salvia is NOT meant to be ingested at parties or for fun.


Some of the experiences you may have can be downright traumatic if you don’t approach the phenomena with respect and spiritual preparation.

Ingesting it via smoking (depending on the dosage) may cause immediate and intense effects followed by a memory loss.

Now imagine getting sucked into another dimension and not being able to remember who you are, what you are or where you came from.

Some beings may wait for you there that don’t look too kindly on your presence in their backyard.  Most Westerners believe that crossing over to another realm is just pretend.  Those that come from tribal communities know that this is untrue.  If you are not experienced with beings or entities from other realms then to need someone with you who is, that can spiritually protect you.  Many people report these beings are prone to sadistic and psychopathic behavior.  Again, this drug is not the same as mushrooms, ayahuasca, or DMT. 

In various trip diaries, there are mentions of healing spirits and a sense of unity with ethereal universal dimensions, but there are also mentions of being transformed into an object.

Now imagine getting sucked into the wall, feeling as though you’re not an entity, but an object which somehow, by some cruel joke or mistake of the universe, maintained awareness of its existence.

Your perception of time and space when on the trip may significantly change. It’s 5 to 15 minutes (if you smoke it) in our dimension, but your experience may last for days in your head.

Many consumers report sensations similar to Ego death, but it’s not quite so since they are aware of themselves as beings apart from the Whole, most of the time.

It’s also important to take note that, if you intend to smoke it, a trip sitter is a must. People who smoke it don’t have a clue about their whereabouts in this dimension.

There are videos of people falling through the windows and screaming their brains off after ingestion, again this is not like most plant medicine. 

If you haven’t had your meditation and mindfulness practice and if you’re not an experienced psychonaut, it’s not advisable to start from Salvia.

It’s certainly not advisable to smoke it or to take it outside of a ceremony guided by a shaman.

While the psychonauts and spiritual purpose of the Psilocybin mushrooms, Ayahuasca, DMT and such is to a great extent clear, it’s not easy to discern the purpose of Salvia Divinorum.

Its effects are very unpredictable and the whole experience seems to be incomparable to anything you’ve experienced before (although that goes for every single entheogen out there).

Salvia Divinorum is not advisable for patients with a history of coronary ailments or mental problems.

There were reports of being able to choose from a plethora of shapes, all of which would warp you into another person’s perspective in a different time-space continuum parameters.

Some people have witnessed and relieved their past all over again, but from a neutral perspective and report pertaining feelings of derealization and depersonalization.

One thing’s for sure though, whether a good or a bad experience, it will be something that will influence you for some time after the ingestion, so watch your step.

If you’re at least a partially enlightened individual, then you should be equipped with the necessary diving skills to handle the trip, but leave the light on, nevertheless.

Have a couple of magic mushrooms by your side if things get heavy when you get back. Don’t take them together at once… or do if you’re that bent on diving deep.

All of these are tools for ascending or descending the multidimensional ladder of our existence. Think of it as a magnifying glass for the examination of your psyche.

However, when you dive into altered states of mind, different laws of physics may apply. That’s why it’s important to attain enough spiritual knowledge to prepare yourself for certain levels of the game.

Dreamwalking or spiritwalking is essentially what shamanism is about and the purpose of the whole trip/journey is to achieve ascension, to shift the paradigm, heal and return enlightened.

All knowledge can help you do that and all experiences offer knowledge.

The question is, do you have what it takes to wield that knowledge and fit it into a healthy spiritual frame.

The point of all this is to underline the importance of consulting with your shaman before you venture into a Salvia Divinorum experience.

The ceremony may call upon the spirits of nature to assist you in your travels and help you find the light in you.

Your shaman will know if you’re ready or not.   

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