Ethnopharmacognosy and Human Pharmacology of

Wasson also mentioned the curiousdatumthat the Mazatecs regardedSalvia divinorumto be the most important member of a family (all, botanically speaking, indeed members of the same family, Labiatae), beingla hembra,the female, whereasel machoor the male wasColeus pumilusBlanco, andel nene,the child, orel ajihado,the godson, wasColeus blumeiBentham.This is more than strange, given the fact that both species ofColeusare post-conquest introductions to Mexico (Schultes 1967), and their juxtaposition withSalvia divinorumin the minds of the Mazatecs might be seen as reinforcing the suspicion that their use of the leaves of Mary Shepherdess too is a post-conquest innovation. Unfortunately, we have no firm evidence for the psychoactivity of either species ofColeus.Wasson tentatively suggested thatSalvia divinorummight represent the unidentified pre-conquest Nahua entheogenpipiltzintzintli,(orpepetichinque)mentioned by 17th century friar Agustin de Vetancurt and in the annals of the Inquisition, as an herb taken in water for divination or applied in water as a poultice (recall Weitlaners report that apart from drinking the infusion ofYerba de Mara,the patient wasbathed in it) (Aguirre Beltran 1963; Garza 1990; Vetancurt 1698; Wasson 1963). It hasalso been suggested thatSalvia divinorumis represented in the head dress of a deity depicted in the MayanDresden Codex(Emboden 1983). In her 1977 biography, Mazatec shaman Mara Sabina (one of Wassons primary informants) noted that:

extensive work in our laboratory has shown that the pharmacologically active extracts fromS.divinorumdo not contain alkaloids, nor were we able to isolate any alkaloids from the plant itself. (Valds et al. 1984)

As for the dose of five pairs of leaves prepared in San Jos Tenango the following year for Wasson and the three pairs forAnita Hofmann, these were:

In Oaxaca,Salvia divinorumseems to be utilized only when supplies of the mushrooms and morning-glory seeds are short

Si tengo a un enfermo en el tiempo en que no se consiguen hongos, recurro alas hojas de la Pastora. Molido y tornado, trabajan como losninos.Desde luego, la Pastora no tiene la fuerza suficiente. (If I have a patient during the season in which it is impossible to procure mushrooms, I have recourse to the leaves of the Shepherdess. Crushed and ingested. they work like thechildren(the mushrooms). Of course, the Shepherdessdoes not possess enough strength. (Estrada 1977)

Augustina squeezed the leaves with herhands and collected the juice in a glass. This was certainly an inefficient method. Some water was added. I drank the dark fluid, about half a glassfull, the result of squeezing 34 pairs…

We both felt the effects, which were as I described them in the ceremony in Ayautla the year before.

Another more recent source echoed this theme of surrogate or second-rat

Keywords:Mazatec Indians, Aztecs, Mesoamerica, entheogens, Pipiltzintzinli, Heffter Technique

The pioneering Swedish anthropologist Jean Bassett Johnson, first scientist to observe divinatory use of Mexican entheogenic mushrooms in the summer of1938,inthe Mazatec village of Huautla de Jimnez, also mentioned in passing that:

Wasson first ingested the divinatory leaves in Ayautla on 12 July 1961, when he was given a potion of the diluted, handsqueezed juice of 34 pairs of leaves, and compared the resulting effect to that of the psilocybian mushrooms:

into a small enameled bowl partially filled with water. As more foliage was squeezed andadded, the liquid turned dark green … (and) was poured through a sieve into a glass which was topped off with water.

Daz chronicled six personal experiences with the potion, of a total of 12 by members of his group, mentioning that my perception of the effects has in general increased with experience. Nevertheless, Daz described quite mild visual effects (in some cases none at all) far from being hallucinations, with the peak effects lasting only ten minutes and disappearing within a half-hour of ingestion. Daz also described inconclusive chemical studies, stating there were: various alkaloids inSalvia divinorum,two of which are apparently psychoactive. Daz reported crude pharmacological experiments with alkaline extracts of the plant in cats (using the fractions which would correspond to defatted, acidic-water-soluble, basic-water-insoluble, alkaloidal constituents in a standard solvent extraction of alkaloids) commenting that effects werenotably similar to those produced by hallucinogens of the LSD type, which were, however, of much shorter duration, lasting at most a half-hour. Daz also mentioned the inconsistent nature of the observed effects, which he ascribed to varying potency of the starting material or instability of the active agents (Daz 1975,1977).

standing in a bizarre, colored landscape talking to a man who was either shaking or holding on to his hand. Next to them was something that resembled the skeleton of a giant (sic) stick-model airplane made from rainbow colored inner tubing. The reality of what he was seeing amazed him. (Valds et al. 1983)

This effectively summarizes our primary ethnographic data onSalvia divinorum,and Epling and Jtivas terse one-and-a-half-page paper, and Wassons concise seven-page paper certainly provided little detail. It is thus surprising to note the relatively strong impact the leaves of the Shepherdess began to have on the literature. No fewer than five different color paintings ofSalvia divinorumhave been published (Emboden 1972; Foster1984; Schultes 1976; Schultes & Hofmann1979; Schultes & Smith 1980), along with two different botanical illustrations (Mayer1977; Schultes 1967; Schultes & Hofmann1973), two black-and-white photographs of the whole plant (Daz 1975; Wasson 1963), and color and black-and-white photographs showing the use of ametateto prepare infusions ofSalvialeaves (Riedlinger 1990; Wasson 1963)! Three of these paintings(Emboden 1972; Schultes 1976; Schultes &Smith 1980), one by Frances Runyan, two by Harvard botanical artist Elmer W. Smith, unfortunately misrepresented the corollas ofSalvia divinorumas being purple, not white (in the botanical description Epling and Jtivahad misdescribed the calyx color as cyaneorum; in the 1979 revised edition of Emboden 1972; the erroneous painting was replaced with a color photograph of the flowering plant, and Emboden amended the botanical description of the flowers). Fortunately this evident scientific interest led to renewed and more detailed studies of the mysterious entheogen. The Mexican psychiatrist Jos Luis Daz began to studySalvia divinorumin the Sierra Mazateca in summer 1973, and in his preliminary paper he described the use of doses of 25 to 50 pairs of leaves, prepared by a manual technique similar to that previously describedby Weitlaner (Daz 1975):

Wasson described two methods of ingestion ofSalvia divinorumleaves: either by making a stack of leaves in pairs face-to-face, which are then simply eaten (It is customary for the Indians to consume the leaves by nibbling at the dose with their incisor teeth.); or in the form of their juice, or rather a sort of aqueous suspension of the leaves in cold water. This latter was precisely the method documented by Weitlaner. Thus was prepared Wassons first dose of the leaves in Ayautla:

Supposedly the leaves could be kept fresh for up to a week by wrapping them in leaves ofXanthosoma robustumSchoff, but the infusion would only last for a day. Whereas the leaf residue was usually left in a remote place, it was sometimes applied as a poultice to the head of a patient, again harking back to Vetancurts 17th centurydescription ofpipiltzintzintli(Garza 1990). Daz described the commencement of subtle visions 15 minutes after ingesting the infusion of 50 pairs of leaves on 18 August (his seventh experience), which became more intense over the next 15 minutes. Valds also described visions, and a sensation of flying, 45 minutes after ingesting his infusion of 20 pairs of leaves. Both Daz and Valds described visions during the first hour of the session of 6 March, which was cut short at the 50-minute point, owing to distracting noises. Even 2.5 hours after ingestion, having returned to his hotel and extinguished the light, Valds experienced more visions, and the sensation of the perceived reality of:

Three years earlier, in a monumental transcription, transliteration and translation of an entire mushroomic curing ceremony with Sabina, Wasson had puzzled over Maras repeated mentions of so-called aquatic leaves which cured when rubbed on the patients body (Wassonet al. 1974). Given Weitlaners report of bathing patients in theSalvia divinoruminfusion, most decidedly a cutaneous application of aquatic leaves (as we will see, a decade later use of the leaf residue ofS.divinoruminfusions as a poultice was also reported), and Vetancurts report of similar use ofpipiltzintzintli,it seems probable that here Mara was speaking figuratively of external use ofSalvia divinorum,a plant which is also aquatic in it ravine habitat (Epling & Jtiva-M. 1962).

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otra yerba que en su pueblo se llama Yerba de Mara…se utilizan las hojas, poniendolas en agua. Primero se fro tan entre las manos… EI enfermobebeel agua en que se han frotado lashojas … Esperan un cuarto de hora el efecto de la droga y el mismo e_fermo empieza a decir la cIase de enfermedad que padece…Cuando amanece el curandero bafia al enfermo con agua de la misma que torno, y con esto queda curado el enfermo. (another herb known in his village as Herb of Mary… the leaves are used, putting them in water. First one rubs them between the hands … The patient drinks the water in which the leaves have been rubbed … They await the effect of the drug for a quarter of an hour and the patient himself begins to state what type ofsickness he suffers…At dawn thecuranderobathes the patient with the same water he drank, and thus the patient is cured.

and noting the activity of salvinorin A was qualitatively and quantitatively similar to that of mescaline (Valds 1994b)! The fact that pharmacologically-disparate compounds like the potent sedative secobarbital and the powerful stimulant mescaline gave similar results in the bioassay, should have alerted the Valds group to its lack of specificity, but they inexplicably neglected to employ psychonautic bioassays which would have left no doubts about the activity of the salvinorins. Valds group also mentioned the existence of at least two more terpenoids in their extracts, and noted that the terpene-enriched crude fraction of the leaves was substantially stronger than its equivalent of pure salvinorin A, and Valds later reported his isolation from the leaves of the ant-repellent loliolide, of unknown pharmacology and previously found in various plants, includingLolium perenneL. (Valds 1986). In seeming refutation of the Mazatec belief that thedriedleaves are inactive, both the Ortega and Valds groups isolated salvinorin A from dried leaves, and the latter group reported a yield of 0.18 % salvinorin A in dried leaves; corresponding to 0.022 % on a fresh weight basis. Neither group published a synthesis of salvinorin A (or B), but both derived the same structure from X-ray crystallography (it is unusual for this procedure to be carried out twice for the same compound), and the group of M. Koreeda subsequently worked out the absolute stereochemistry of salvinorins A and B (Koreeda et al. 1990). Valds group was unable to confirm the report of alkaloids inSalvia divinorumby Daz, noting:

The effect of the leaves came sooner than would have been the case with the mushrooms, was less sweeping, and lasted a shorter time. There was not the slightest doubt about the effect, but it did not go beyond the initial effect of the mushroomsdancing colors in elaborate, three-dimensional designs.

As mentioned above, Valds went on to isolate two noveltrans-neoc1erodane terpenoid compounds from the leaves, which he named divinorins A and B (Valds et al. 1984), only to discover that he had been scooped by the group of Alfredo Ortega in Mexico, which had already isolated themore important of these compounds, giving it the name salvinorin (making salvinorin A and B the appropriate designations for the compounds) (Ortega et al. 1982). The Ortega group was not studying ethnopharmacognosyper se,but rather studying terpenoid chemistry inSalviaspecies, and they conducted no pharmacological tests of the novel compound. Valds group, on the other hand, was actively seeking the visionary principle of the plant, using as bioassay not the indicated Heffter Technique, but a modification of Halls open field in mice. This involved administering fractions of the plant to mice, then observing their behavior in a 90 cm circle divided into squares, that is, counting the number of squares entered, time spent immobile, and rearings onto hind legs. They concluded that salvinorin A was the visionary principle of the plant, as it reduced all three measures of activity in the mice, much asSalvia divinorumdid in human beings (though Valds had not documented his nor Dazs behavior in the open field, nor described either rearing up on his hind legs!). Furthermore, salvinorin A was said to have a sedative effect on the mice (while salvinorin B, its desacetyl congener, was inactive in this assay), and Valds later published the details that all the following compounds provoked the same effect in the mouse bioassay as salvinorin A: mescaline, secobarbital, an ether extract ofCannabis sativaL. and another labiate terpenoid compound, the hypotensive forskolin or colforsin (Valds et al. 1987a). Later, in a subsequent paper, Valds qualified this, stating:

Ethnopharmacognosy and Human Pharmacology of

further testing … has allowed a different interpretation … amphetamine stimulated the mice; secobarbital, forskolin and the cannabis extract had strong sedating effects…Mescaline, salvinorin A, and isosalvinorin Athe 8-epimer of salvinorin Ainterrupted (decreased) animal activity without an accompanying true sedation …

leaving me with an upset stomach, a dry, acid mouth, and a great respect for Mazatecs who can work their way through a hundred! For me the leaves produced hardly noticeable effects. Craig Dremmond (sic) suggests that plants cultivated outside of Oaxaca may not develop the active constituents, and I predict thatSalvia divinorumwill never become a popular subculture euphoric.

Valds later noted It was an amazing hallucination, as I truly believed I was in the meadow. Itwas not like a dream. (Valds 1994b), and such vivid visions of alien space or geometry are a hallmark of the effects ofSalvia divinorum(Blosser 1991-1993). Both Daz and Valds experienced physical effects as well as visions, consisting of incoordination, dizziness and slurred speech. Incontrast to Wassons report that the leaf infusion did not go beyond the initial effect of the (psilocybian) mushrooms, Valds stressed theSalviainfusion will induce powerful visions under the appropriate conditions of silence and darkness.

Albert Hofmann, who together with Gordon Wasson collected the first botanical voucher specimens ofSalvia divinorumin October 1962, also made reference to this presumed instability of the active principles ofSalvia divinorum,inasmuch as he had returned to Switzerland with juice ofSalvia divinorumpreserved with alcohol which proved in self-experiments to be no longer active, thus depriving Hofmann and his coworkers of the Heffter Technique bioassay needed to guide the experimental isolation of the active principles (Hofmann 1979, 1990; Ott 1994, 1995a). It has been incorrectly stated in the literature that Hofmann made unsuccessful chemical attempts to isolate the active principle ofSalvia divinorum(Valds 1994b; Valds et al. 1987a), when in reality he abandoned plans to study juice of the plant chemically, when it proved in self-experiments to be inactive. It is worth noting that Hofmann had simply expressed the juice of the leaves and diluted this with alcohol, rather than preparing the aqueous infusion of the rubbed leaves described byWeitlaner, Daz and Wasson.

Zusammenfassung:Der Autor gibt einen historischenberblick zu Gebrauch und Forschungsgeschichte der Wahrsagesalbei(Salvia divinorum).Es werden der traditionelle Gebrauch bei Schamanen der Mazateken in Oaxaca/Mexiko sowie der nichttraditionelle,moderne Gebrauch verschiedener Zubereitungsformen von nordamerikanischen Keller-Schamanen vorgestellt und ausftihrlich diskutiert. Der Frage nach der botanische Identitiit des verlorenen aztekischen Entheogenspipiltzintzintliwird nachgegangen. Schlielich stellt der Autor seine Selbstversuche mit der sogenannten Heffter-Technik vor.

ground…on hermetate,after passing them through the smoke ofcopal,and she did a thorough job of it. Water is added to the mass that comes off the metate, the whole is put through a strainer, and then we drank the liquor.

Wasson also mentioned his ingestion of the juice of merely five pairs of leaves in San Jos Tenango on 9 October 1962, on which occasion Anita Hofmann, wife of Albert Hofmann, ingested the juice of only three pairs:

In addition to the mushrooms, some people use a seed calledSemilla de la Virgen,others useHierba Mara…. the Zapotec use a plant calledbador,the little children, which is administered in the same way asyerba Maraby the Mazatec. The leaf is beaten well, and a tea is made thereof …

In his pioneering paper onSalvia divinorum(Wasson 1962), and an important sequel the following year, summarizing ethnobotanical data on the major Mexican entheogenic plants (Wasson 1963), Wasson detailed what he had been able to learn about the divinatory leaves. They seemed to be used only by the Mazatecs, who called themska Pastoraor the equivalent in Spanish,hojas de la Pastoraorhojas de Mara Pastora(leaves of the Shepherdess or leaves of Mary Shepherdess). This oddname has not received the comment it is due. The interpolation ofMarainto the name suggests the Catholic influence which has corrupted Mexican shamanism, but the Biblical Mary was no shepherdess, nor does any such woman figure in Catholic iconography. More importantly, however, the Mazatecs would not have seen sheep until after the arrival of Europeans to Mexico in the sixteenth century. This name is clearly a modernism, and it is more than surprising that an important shamanic inebriant would lack an indigenous name, for leaves of Mary Shepherdess can in no way be considered an indigenous name, for a people whose pre-Columbian ancestors never set eyes on a sheep! It is even conceivable thatSalvia divinorumuse is a post-Conquest introduction to the Sierra Mazateca. We will return to this point below.

Thus matters stood until 1979 and 1980, when Leander J. Valds III began to collaborate with Daz, making the isolation of novel compounds fromSalvia divinorumhis thesis project at the University of Michigan. Valds described in great detail two shamanic healing sessions with MazateccuranderoDon Alejandro on 18 August 1979 and 6 March 1980. On both occasions Daz and Valds ingested infusions ofSalvia divinorum–only in the first session did Don Alejandro likewise ingest the drug. Valds described the divinatory dose of the leaves as being from 20 (about 50 g) to 80 (about 200 g) or more pairs of fresh leaves to induce visions (noting also A. Gomez Pompas notations on herbarium sheets, to the effect that 8-12 pairs of leaves went into a dose); while in the 18 August session he received a beginners dose made from 20 pairs and Daz and Don Alejandro from 50 pairs; in the second session Daz received a dose made from 60 pairs, Valds from 50. Valds mentioned that only fresh foliage will serve for divination, that being a primary use for the leaves, which were also employed in shamanic training, and in lower doses as specific medicines for various diseases (Valds et al. 1983). Valds stressed the necessity of using only fresh leaves, noting in a second paper it purportedly loses psychotropic activity on drying (Valds et al. 1987a). He also mentioned the existence of a prescribeddietaor ritual diet of 16 days, then reduced to only 4 days after the initial dose. Such a diet is also associated with the shamanic use of psilocybian mushrooms among the Mazatecs (Wasson & Wasson 1957), and is commonly prescribed with shamanic use ofayahuascain Amazonia (Ott 1994) and with other shamanic inebriants. As in the reports of Weitlaner, Daz and Wasson, Don Alejandro apportioned pairs of the leaves which were crushed manually (Valds et al. 1983):

Salvia divinorum(Photograph: Jonathan Ott)

This comment, and Mara Sabinas dismissal of the leaves as feeble compared to her preferred entheogenic allyteonanacatl(Maras biography was translated into English in 1981, noting Of course the Shepherdess doesnt have as much strength.) (Estrada 1977), have seemingly informed modern consciousness of this little-known entheogen, which acquired a reputation as being weak and second-rate (tacitly assumed of any plant our governments have not deigned to prohibit). Reviewing entheogens in a widely-read anthology, botanical expert Richard Evans Schultes commented (Schultes 1972):

However, it was the diligent work of the pioneering ethnomycologist and entheogenic ethnopharmacognosist R. Gordon Wasson which finally led to the collection of botanical voucher specimens of this plant in October 1962. Wasson was also the first scientist on record to have ingested the divinatory leaves, which his botanical collaborators Carl Epling and Carlos D. Jtiva-M. subsequently identified as a new species,Salvia divinorum(Epling & Jtiva-M. 1962; Wasson 1962). Just as important as the identification of the plant and documentation of its effects was Wassons collection of live material, which then began to be cultivated in the United Statesit was from this so-called Wasson clone that salvinorin A was isolated in Los Angeles in1993, at last allowing testing of this compound in human beings (Siebert 1994).

The next chapter in the scientific biography was to be written by basement shamans of the United States counterculture. As early as 1984,Salvia divinorum,baptized as diviners sage (Heffern 1974) or sage of the seers, was profiled in a latter-day herbal (Foster 1984) which was recently reprinted. This book gave a concise summary of ethnographic data on the plant, described its cultivation, and mentioned the importantdatumthat live specimens could be purchased from a California seed company identified in an appendix. Foster described his ingestion of 20 leaves:

referring presciently both to the entheogenic morning glory seeds (known asbadohin Zapotec orsemillas de la virgenin Spanish) (Ott1993)andSalvia divinorum(Johnson 1939). Six years later the Austrian physician Bias Pablo Reko, great pioneer in the field of Mexican ethnopharmacognosy (not to be confused with his cousin Victor Reko, afarceurwho gained prominence in the German-speaking world by appropriating the fruits of his cousins work in an unscientific popular book,Magische Gifte), mentioned the use, by the Mazatec and neighboring Cuicatec Indians of Oaxaca, of anhoja de la adivinacin(divinatory leaf), in all probabilityS.divinorum(Reko 1945). Yet another clue was provided in 1952 by the great Mexican anthropologist Roberto J. Weitlaner, also an Austrian, when he described the therapeutic and divinatory use of an aqueous potion made by rubbing the leaves (50-100) in water of aYerba deMara(Weitlaner 1952):

Two days later in Huautla de Jimnez, while Mara Sabina was celebrating a mushroomveladawith pills ofIndocybinor synthetic psilocybine, Albert Hofmann likewise ingested the infused juice of five pairs ofS.divinorumleaves (Hofmann 1979, 1990), but unlike his wife and Gordon Wasson, he experienced only:

Dazs conclusions are generally regarded to have been premature, and it is an open question how (presumably) alkaloid-enriched extracts of the leaves were pharmacologically active in catsit is my opinion that Dazs bioassay itself was at fault.

a state of mental sensitivity and intense experience, which, however, was not accompanied byhallucinations.

The Mexican divinatory mint,Salvia divinorumEpling et Jtiva, is one of the most obscure and mysterious of all shamanic inebriants. Unlike its more famous Mexican relatives, thepyotlcactusLophophora williamsii(Lemaire) Coulter,teonancatl,the psilocybian mushrooms andololiuhqui,seeds of the morning gloryTurbina corymbosa(L.) Rafinesque, this plant largely or completely escaped the notice of the 16th and 17th century Spanish friars and the opprobrium of the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Indeed, it was not even mentioned in the scientific literature until 1939 (Johnson 1939), was not described botanically until 1962 (Epling & Jtiva-M. 1962) and it wasnt until 1993 that its active principle was finally identified (Siebert 1994). Actually, this active principle, salvinorin A, was first isolated in 1982, in the course of a systematic chemical search for novel terpenoid compounds in the genusSalvia(Ortega et al. 1982). Although the Valds group, searching for the psychoactive principle ofthis drug, independently isolated the same compound two years later (giving it the synonym divinorin A), an imprecise animal assay was employed (the so-called Halls open-field bioassay in mice) (Valds et al. 1984). Even though members of the Valds group had ingestedSalvia divinorumleaves in a traditional shamanic context in Mexico (Daz 1975,1979; Valds et al. 1983), they did not follow their research through to the definitive test of salvinorin A in psychonautic bioassays, the only valid proof this compound represented the visionary active principle of the leaves. Only when non-professional, countercultural basement shamans commenced experimentation with the crude drug a decade later, was the conclusive Heffter Technique employed, and human self-experiments showed beyond doubt that salvinorin A is the main visionary principle ofSalvia divinorum.

Having written his thesis on the isolation of salvinorins fromSalvia divinorumto get his PhD., Valds concluded his research on the plant with some cultivation experiments in Ann Arbor, Michigan; outdoors in summer and in greenhouses the rest of the year. Manual cross-pollination of the Wasson clone and a strain collected by Valds resulted in 4 of 14 setting seed (28%), but the seed was accidentally killed by overheating the growth chamber before viability could be assessed (Valds et al. 1987a). At this point Valds scientific research withSalvia divinorumwas temporarily suspended, leaving the question of the active principle unresolved. Although Valds group suggested salvinorin A was the visionary principle (in their 1987 paper, Valds et al. expressed reservations: if salvinorin A and the new compounds we isolated … prove to display hallucinogenic activity in humans), the gross lack of discrimination of their bioassay left room for doubt, and the simple expedient of testing the novel compound in a human researcher was inexplicably foregone.

Abstract:After a thorough review of the limited ethnographic data on shamanic use of the entheogenic mintSalvia divinorumby the Mazatec Indians of the Sierra Madre Oriental of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, with special emphasis on pharmacognostical aspects, the author details the phytochemical studies which led to the isolation of the novel diterpene salvinorin A in 1982-1984.Lingeringdoubts as to the visionary properties of this compound were laid to rest a decade later, when basement shamans in the United States isolated and tested the compound in psychonautic bioassays. A tabular summary of 15 reports involving at least 60 trials of the novel drug by human volunteers is presented; documenting activity of infusions ofSalvia divinorumleaves in water [the traditional method of ingestion], of the fresh leaves chewed, whether subsequently swallowed or retained in the mouth as a quid; and of the dried leaves smoked. Pharmacological activity of salvinorin A in human volunteers is likewise discussed, both for inhalation of the vaporized compound and sublingual application of 1 % solutions in acetone or dmso; including original research here reported for the first time. Extremely low thresholds for psychoactivity of salvinorin A [100-250 mcg sublingual; 200-500 mcg vaporized and inhaled] show this compound to be the most potent natural product entheogen known; some 10 times the potency of psilocybine from mushrooms likewise used as shamanic inebriants by the Mazatec and other Mexican Indians, and more than 1000 times the potency of the prototypical entheogen mescaline, from the peyotl cactus [Lophophora williamsii] used as a visionary drug by the Huichol, Tarahumara and other indigenous peoples of northern Mexico. Speculations regarding the status ofSalvia divinorumas a cultigen are discussed, as is R. Gordon Wassons conjecture that this plant represents the lost Aztec entheogen pipiltzintzintli. An exhaustive bibliography of more than 70 references reviews the ethnographic, chemical and pharmacological literature on this intriguing shamanic inebriant.

toma una jicara con agua y sabre ella machaca vigorosamente el manojo de hojas con sus manes hasta que se extrae toda la sangre de la hojita. El bagazo se desecha y el bebedizo resulta un liquido verde espumoso y en extrema amargo. (she takes a jar of water and using her hands vigorously mashes the bunch of leaves above it until all of the blood of the little leaf is extracted. The bagasse is set aside and the resulting potion is an extremely bitter and frothy green liquid.

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