The plants appreciate a lot of room for their roots, so they should be re-potted to larger pots every few months if they are growing quickly. You may want to plant them in the ground if you have a suitable location. They can grow very fast in the ground, as much as two meters in 6 months.
The stems of Salvia divinorum are not very strong. When the plants get taller than about one meter they tend to fall over if not given support. Sometimes the stems will break off, but usually they just bend over. When a bent-over stem makes contact with moist soil it will put out new roots at that point and eventually send up new stems from the new location. This is the main way that the plant spreads in the wild since it almost never produces viable seed.
The ideal temperature range for the plant is about 15 – 27C (60 – 80F). They will readily tolerate temperatures about 10C (18F) above and below this range but the plants tend to grow slowly outside of their ideal temperature range. They prefer a fairly humid atmosphere and will be happiest when the relative humidity is above 50%.
Salvia divinorum plants respond well to regular feeding. Generally speaking, you should begin fertilizing newly acquired plants about two weeks after you receive them. Just about any general purpose fertilizer will work fine, but be careful not to overfeed them.
Propagating Salvia divinorum from Cuttings
Salvia divinorum is a relatively easy plant to propagate from cuttings. Small cuttings will usually root within 2 or 3 weeks. Cuttings seem to root best when they are between 2 and 8 inches long. They should be cut off of the mother plant using sharp, clean shears. The cut should be made just below a node.
To root the cuttings in water: Put each cutting into a glass of water. Each glass should be filled about 4 -5 cm (1 1/2 – 2″) deep. It is a good idea to use a separate glass for each cutting so that if one starts to rot it doesn’t spoil the water and kill the others. Leave the glasses indoors in diffuse light and add a little water as necessary to maintain the water level. In about 2 weeks you should see some roots starting to form. Some cuttings may root more quickly than others. I find that they root just fine in plain water and no rooting hormones are necessary.
When the cuttings have several roots 1 – 2 cm (1/4 – 3/4″)long, they should be planted in pots of loose potting soil and watered well so that the soil is completely moist. Keep them indoors for another 2 or 3 weeks so that they can establish a good root system in the pots with out having to deal with the wind and big temperature swings of the outdoors. You will need to keep the plants in a moist environment for a few days after moving them from the water to the pots to keep them from wilting. The easiest thing to do is to just cover the whole plant with a large upside down jar or use a big plastic bag with a wire cage support to keep it from collapsing on the plant. Spraying them with a fine mist occasionally is also a good idea. Don’t wait too long to move the cuttings from the water to soil. If you do the roots will be more prone to damage and the cuttings will begin to starve for nutrients.
Propagating Salvia divinorum from Seed
The seeds should be planted 2-3 mm (0.08-0.1 inch) deep in a good quality potting mix. So as not to dislodge the seeds, which are tiny and close to the surface, the soil should either be watered from the bottom, or watered using a fine mister. The soil surface should be kept moist, but not soggy. If the seeds are viable, most will germinate in 2 to 4 weeks. Salvia divinorum seedlings are rather delicate and slow-growing at first. They must be nursed along patiently. Eventually, as the plants grow larger, they will become stronger and more resilient.
Slavia seeds The plants appreciate a lot of room for their roots, so they should be re-potted to larger pots every few months if they are growing quickly. You may want to plant them in the ground
Salvia Divinorum 101: Use, Effects, History & Science
Salvia divinorum (salvia) a shrub native to Oaxaca, Mexico, which has been used spiritually and medicinally by indigenous Mazatec tribespeople for centuries. It’s a powerful natural hallucinogen that produces an intense psychedelic high. Today, it’s garnering attention in the West for recreational use, but also slowly for possible medical use.
The species S. divinorum is a member of the genus Salvia, a large group of more than 900 species belonging to the Lamiaceae (mint) family. Although the common name “sage” refers particularly to Salvia officinalis—from which the herb used in cooking is obtained—it may also refer to any ornamental or medicinal plant within the genus.
The salvia divinorum plant, hereafter referred to as salvia, is a tall shrub with square, hollow stems. It has hairless, ovate leaves, which may be dentate or toothed and are between ten and thirty centimetres in length. The plant grows to over a metre in height, and its stems are particularly prone to breaking and trailing along the ground, where they also enthusiastically form new root sites.
The flowers, which appear rarely, are white with purple calyxes, and seldom form viable seed. Instead, the plant’s propensity to form new roots sites along its stem allows for exceptional ease of vegetative propagation, which is the plant’s primary method of reproduction.
Where is salvia found?
Salvia grows in the cloud forests and tropical forests of the Sierra Mazateca, which is in the north-west of Oaxaca State in Mexico. Salvia is present at elevations of between 300 and 1,830 metres above sea level. It is commonly found growing along the edge of the frequent streams and rivers that run downhill to the Rio Tonto, a major tributary of the Rio Papaloapan.
Salvia flourishes in moist, humid environments with low light conditions, and prefers black soils with high humus content. For many years, the Mazatec tribes concealed the locations that salvia is found in from European botanists and taxonomists due to the plant’s value and sacred status.
Cultivation of salvia seeds
Salvia presents somewhat of a conundrum to taxonomists, as it’s not fully understood whether the plant is a cultigen (a product of cultivation), a natural hybrid, or a true species. The uncertainty is due to the plant’s vegetative means of reproduction and unusual sterility, which is more common in sterile hybrids (mules and asses are examples of this phenomenon in mammals) or in inbred cultivars.
Recent genetic research has indicated that the plant is not an interspecific hybrid, although its origin remains obscure.
Salvia cuttings: An alternative to seeds
Due to the lack of viable seeds, salvia can only be cultivated by means of vegetative propagation (“cloning”). Cuttings are taken from a mature mother plant, and will form roots in tap water within two or three weeks. Flowering is photoperiod-dependent, just like cannabis, and occurs when day length drops to twelve hours or below.
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What causes salvia’s psychoactive effects?
Salvia has been shown to contain the active ingredient salvinorin-A, a potent psychotropic molecule with the chemical formula C23H28O8. Unusually for a naturally-occurring hallucinogen, salvinorin-A does not contain a nitrogen atom and is therefore not an alkaloid (unlike DMT, mescaline and psilocybin).
In fact, it’s a terpenoid, the same class of organic chemical to which cannabinoids, menthol, camphor and many other important natural substances belong. By mass, it’s the most potent natural hallucinogen, being effective in doses as low as 200µg (psilocybin is effective at 6mg, DMT at 60mg, and mescaline at 100mg).
Salvinorin-A is a kappa-opioid receptor agonist, and is the first non-alkaloid known to affect this specific receptor. All other naturally-occurring hallucinogens affect the 5-HT2a serotonin receptor, but salvinorin-A has no effect on this receptor. It’s thought that salvinorin-A’s main effects are realised through agonising the kappa-opioid receptor. However, it’s now known that the substance is also a partial agonist of the D2 dopamine receptor.
Possible risks, and treatment of salvia intoxication
Due to the properties above, and unlike most other natural hallucinogens, salvinorin-A produces a dissociative state in the user that is often dysphoric. Intense feelings of well-being are not often reported; rather, the drug is reported to cause intense, and often harrowing and disturbing, visionary or trance-like states, although uncontrollable laughter is also commonly observed.
There are many potential side effects of using salvia, which mostly affect the brain (but there can also be physiological effects). These can include:
- Brief, intense hallucinations
- Mood changes
- The feeling of being detached from one’s body
- Altered visual perceptions
- Slurred speech
The high from using salvia is almost instant, and intense, although it’s short lived. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on any type of treatment for salvia intoxication, though.
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Traditional use of salvia
Salvia has been used by the indigenous Mazatec tribes in spiritual and religious ritual for hundreds of years. Typically, only the fresh leaf is used in Mazatec shamanic ritual. The leaf is crushed to extract the juices before being mixed with water and drunk, to produce the desired visionary effect. Alternatively, large quantities of fresh leaves may be chewed and swallowed.
Salvia is integral to the healing rituals practised by the Mazatec, as it allows the user to “access” the realm of the spirits that are believed to control sickness and health in the material world. Often, salvia is used as a substitute for psilocybin mushrooms, but there are some shamans who make primary use of salvia.
Usually, the salvia ritual takes place in darkness, and participants are encouraged to lie in silence and stillness. Before the leaves or infused water is consumed, it’s blessed and consecrated to the spirits. Then, the shaman (and possibly the sick individual or individuals too) consume the salvia and wait for the effects to manifest. If the visions are meaningful to the shaman, the cause of the illness is identified, and a course of action can be chosen.
Salvia was also historically used to directly treat several illnesses including headaches, rheumatism, diarrhoea and anaemia; for these purposes, it’s used at lower doses and is commonly administered as a tea.
Current use and availability
Now, salvia and salvia extracts are abundant and easy to source, either online or from local smart shops and head shops. It’s common to find products on sale which consist of dried leaves fortified with extracted juices to increase their potency—such products are often sold in strength classes of 10x, 20x, and even higher (although there is no standard of potency and variability between products is high).
While salvia is used recreationally by most users, ritualistic use persists within the remaining Mazatec tribes; through syncretism of traditional religion and Christian beliefs imported by the Spanish conquistadors, the plant is now known as ska María Pastora (“leaves of the shepherdess Mary”) and is associated with the Virgin Mary.
Legality of salvia – seeds and plant
Salvia is legal in most countries and in most U.S. states. However, there are some that consider its hallucinogenic effects to be dangerous and societally unacceptable, and have therefore banned or are attempting to ban the plant.
At least thirteen countries have banned or controlled salvia in some way, including Australia, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Canada, Denmark and Finland. Some countries have made it entirely illegal, while in other places, there are simply restrictions (For example: No import or sales, but personal cultivation, possession, or consumption is decriminalized).
In the U.S. the Schedule of Controlled Substances doesn’t list salvia as a controlled substance, although various states including Oklahoma, New Mexico, Michigan, and Florida (where possession can lead to up to five years’ imprisonment) have enacted their own legislation.
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Why plants like salvia must be protected
As with most attempts to prohibit a substance, such actions are more likely to end in a black-market existing for a previously taxable item. This likely will result in an increase in criminality and price (and decrease in quality) that usually accompanies such policies, rather than the substance in question simply fading out of popular use.
Salvia divinorum (salvia) contains natural hallucinogens that produce an intense psychedelic high. Learn about this plant, side effects and more here.