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Salvia Divinorum: a natural drug

People have a misconception that using Salvia Divinorum is a drug and hence most of them stayed away from this miraculous herb. However, with the recent researches confirming various medical properties of Salvia Divinorum, many people are now eager to know more about it. Much of the interest is from consumers who are looking for a way to treat symptoms like depression, or who would like to enjoy the plant's interesting psychoactive properties.

The known active constituent of Salvia Divinorum is a trans-neoclerodane diterpenoid known as Salvinorin A (chemical formula C23H28O8). This compound is present in the dried plant at about 3-4mg/gram of fleshy leaf. Unlike other known opioid receptor ligands, Salvinorin A is not an alkaloid, as it does not contain a basic nitrogen atom. Although it is possible to test for Salvinorin A in urine drug tests, such tests are not widely used, since Salvia Divinorum is not a concern in managing drug addiction. This in itself is an interesting point, since we generally associate drugs with addiction. Salvia Divinorum, however, is not addictive, and may in fact break the cycle of addiction for users of cocaine and heroin. Salvinorin A is the only proved compound contained in the herb which produces psychoactive effects. However, according to many researchers, Salvia Divinorum may also contain other psychoactive substances, including, Divinorum C. It is unclear what effects these other compounds have, with some researchers speculating that they may enhance or weaken the effects of Salvianorin A.

This is not a drug but is an herb that has potent psychoactive properties that can help you feel experiences that can be classified out of the world, divine, spiritual or the like. There are no hallucinogens within Salvia Divinorum. It is non-toxic and there are no side effects from the use of the herb although some might feel a mild headache after using it. In summary, it is safe to say that the chemistry of Salvia Divinorum is still a mystery, but soon researchers would be able to provide us with complete details on the subject.

by S. C.
09 april 2009, Food & Fun > Nature