Sacred Weeds – Salvia Divinorum

Salvia Divinorum, also known as Diviner’s Sage, Magic Mint, ska María Pastora, Sally D, Sage of the Seers, or simply Salvia (although the genus name is shared among many plants), is a powerful psychoactive plant, a member of the sage genus and the Lamiaceae (mint) family. It has long been used as an entheogen by the indigenous Mazatec shamans for healing during spirit journeys. The plant is found in isolated, shaded and moist plots in Oaxaca, Mexico. It is thought to be a cultigen.

The Latin name Salvia divinorum literally translates to “Sage of the seers”. The genus name Salvia is derived from the Latin salvare, meaning “to heal” or “to save”. The primary psychoactive constituent is a diterpenoid known as salvinorin A.

The history of the plant is not known, but there are three possibilities as to its origin. Since it is found in one small area and only one indigenous group uses it, it is either native to this area, is a cultigen of the Mazatecs, or is a cultigen of another indigenous group.

Wasson theorized that this plant was the mythological pipilzintzintli, the “Noble Prince” of the Aztec codices. However, this theory is not without dispute. The Aztecs were extremely knowledgeable in plant identification, and their records report that pipilzintzintli has both male and female varieties.

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