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There Salvia divinorum it is not the usual sage that we are used to using in the kitchen, this is a plant that contains a natural psychoactive substance and not just any one but one of the most powerful known to date.
Salvia divinorum: characteristics
Originally from Mexico, particularly widespread in some regions such as those of Oaxaca and the Sierra Mazateca, this plant is believed sacred to the Madonna. In the Hispanic-Mazatec language it is called "leaves of Mary the shepherd" which, in the original language, sounds like "ska Maria pastora". The name of "Salvia" derives from the Latin "salvus" which means healthy, safe, or from "salus" which means health, because sage has several useful properties for our health. The term "divinorum", also in Latin, means "of the seer" and reminds us that the Mazatec indigenous people have used its leaves for their rites for several centuries.
At first glance there is not much difference between the "classic" sage and this more particular plant, it is easy to get confused. Both actually belong to the same family, that of Lamiaceae, and even to the same genus as Salvia officinalis, the name by which the common sage is indicated.
The difference between these two types of Sage it is therefore not to be perceived from the aesthetic point of view, it is all in the presence, or not, of that psychoactive substance that we can without any fear of exaggerating also define hallucinogenic.
Salvia divinorum: properties
There Salvia divinorum, with its appearance very similar to that of cooking sage, it produces a flower that takes on the white color as soon as it appears, while over time it turns blue. To reproduce this plant, it is necessary to use its cuttings because its seeds have a very low germinability. All the species widespread in the world today are all derived from the cutting collected by Hoffman and Wasson and which we will discuss shortly.
Studies are still underway to understand if the Salvia Divinorum either a hybrid or a species to be considered separately. Many studies are also carried out on the effects that this plant has on humans when it is taken. There are several ways to do this: we can smoke it pure or mixed with tobacco in special pipes, or roll it up like a cigarette. There are also those who come to separate the active ingredient from the leaves using acetone, and then let it evaporate. It should be borne in mind that when taking the salvinorina A in acetone and DMSO, the effect is more powerful than ever. Let's move on to the possible effects, once the Salvia divinorum.
What is said is that when you consume it you experience a feeling of total separation between body and spirit, you can lose consciousness and also sensory perceptions. Each subject can perceive different effects, depending on their sensitivity and their state of health, but in general these would seem to be the most common effects. Some people after experiencing this plant, reported having relived some particular moments of the past, others still spoke of "loss of one's identity and the identity of one's body " because they had the impression of being catapulted into several places and above all they saw themselves from the outside, as if taken by a camera.
Everyone can think as he wants, on these effects, certainly they are very strong and can upset the person who experiences them. They last maximum a half hour but they can also frighten and upset.
Salvia Divinorum: history
Since ancient times, this hallucinogenic sage has been used by populations such as the Mazatec Indians who live in Mexico, in Oaxacaa region. Together with other hallucinogenic plants or mushrooms they used it for religious rites of divination and healing. There are also many shamanic communities who used this plant to try to get in touch with the deities. How did we proceed at the time? They took fresh leaves with which they prepared small bites to chew, doing so after some time the visions began. Alternatively it was also possible squeeze the leaves and drink the resulting juice.
The main reasons for which this Salvia was used, at the time, certainly did not concern the desire for "high" but to have visions for example regarding the causes of a certain illness or the perpetrator of a crime, or even to find lost items.
The first to write about this plant making it known to the world, was the ethnographer J. B. Johnson. In 1939 he described it by calling it hierba María and recounting that the Mazatec shamans used it for divination purposes together with mushrooms and the seeds of other plants with similar effects.
We still hear about Salvia Divinorum in 1952 in the writings of Roberto J. Weitlaner but the turning point was the student of shamanic rituals Gordon Wasson who, together with Hoffman in 1961, finally managed to identify the plant as a species of the genus Salvia. The active ingredient, however, was identified a long time later, today we know that it is the salvinorin A
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