Plant

Salvia Divinorum: Types, Propagation, Harms, Benefits, and Facts

salvia divinorum
Photo by Jana Ohajdova from Pexels

Salvia divinorum grows in Mazateca in Oaxaca, Mexico, and it is popularly used as hallucinating agent. The shamans use the leaves of this plant in their rituals. Jean Basset Johnson, first documented this plant in 1939, when he was researching Mazatec Shamanism.

He reported this plant in his personal testimonials as well. In the 1990s Daniel Siebert discovered the psychoactive mechanism of this plant.
This plant possesses large green ovate leaves and a yellow undertone.

The leaves are hairless on both surfaces and a tiny petiole. The maximum height of the plant is 1 meter, and it has hollow stems, and roots are present at the nodes and internodes.

It has flowers and few viable seeds but no seeds are observed in wild-type plants. The pollen fertility is reduced in this plant species and there is no active pollen inhibition in the style but due to some unknown reason, the pollen tube that reaches the ovary is aberrant.

The possible reason is inbreeding depression of hybridity. The Mazatec populations are clonal and the square stems of the plant break easily[1]Drew, B.T., et al., Salvia united: The greatest good for the greatest number. Taxon, 2017. 66(1): p. 133-145..

Types of salvia

There are two common strains of this plant. Sterling Bunnell collected a stain in 1962 and it was later named Bunnel Strain. Bret Blosser collected the other strain of this plant from Huautla de Jiménez in 1991. The other strains of this plant are not well documented such as the Luna strain collected from the Hawaiian patch.

Popular species of Salvia Plant

1. Diviner’s Sage (Salvia divinorum)

Generally called Salvia, Diviner’s sage is the sage species that is the major producer of recreational drugs causing hallucinations. Typical purple flowers are not easily bloomed. This is the most common sage used as an ornamental plant.

Its stems are quite soft easily broken with little pressure. Its seeds usually do not survive. The major propagation method of Diviner’s Sage is by plant cuttings. It is the most heightened among all species[2]Pelot, K.A., et al., Biosynthesis of the psychotropic plant diterpene salvinorin A: discovery and characterization of the Salvia divinorum clerodienyl diphosphate synthase. The Plant Journal, 2017. … Continue reading.

2. Scarlet Sage (Salvia spendens)

This species is also called red salvia because of its scarlet red-colored flowers. This species needs either full or partial exposure to sunlight. The general height of Salvia spendens is between 1 to 2 feet.

Usually, it got red flowers but some of its other cultivars also have off-white and orange blooms as well. Most commonly found in Brazil[3]Dong, A.-X., et al., High-quality assembly of the reference genome for scarlet sage, Salvia splendens, an economically important ornamental plant. GigaScience, 2018. 7(7): p. giy068..

3. Mealycup Sage (Salvia farinacea)

The specialty of this variety is related to its long blooming season which generally starts from May to freezing winters. Height is up to 3 feet. This also required full and partial sunlight. This plant is native to Texas and Mexico. Bright blue, purple, and lavender flowers are common in this species[4]Mostafa, M.M., Phytochemical and Biological Study of Plectranthus neochilus Schltr. and Salvia farinacea Benth.(Family Lamiacea) Cultivated in Egypt. CU Theses, 2019..

4. Texas Sage (Salvia coccinea)

Texas sage is also termed red sage. But most of its cultivars show a bloom of pink flowers. Its flowers are fused and its height is also small as compared to the above types. This plant species is native to the Southern United States and Mexico. It can be planted even before frost season if seeds are properly planted[5]Shivambu, T.C. and N. Shivambu, Occurrence record of and possible invasion by Scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea Buc’hoz ex Etl.) in South Africa. 2020..

5. Woodland Sage (Salvia nemerosa)

These species include many popular cultivars such as Blue Hill, Marcus, and Sensation. The other common name for this species is violet sage. General height is between half a foot to 2.5 feet. This species is native to Europe and Central Asia. Another specification related to this species is about the shape of its leaves that are spear-shaped or bear lance shape[6]Gilardi, G., et al., First report of Phoma herbarum causing leaf spot of woodland sage (Salvia nemorosa) in northern Italy. Plant Disease, 2017. 101(10): p. 1824..

Propagation of Salvia Plant

1. Propagation by cuttings

Vegetative propagation is a common method for growing the Salvia Divinorum. 5-20cm long cutting is cut off from the mother plant and the cuttings should have a node in them.

The cuttings can root in the water within 2-3 weeks. The cuttings can root in simple tap water as well. This is because seeds are not much viable. Seeds if sown in time and properly plant will grow otherwise the only method is cutting plant parts and potting somewhere else in the growing season.

2. Flowering

The flower blooms occur when days are shorter. Usually, a day length of less than 12hours is required for flower blooms. This occurs in mid-October in some places. Due to light pollutions in the urban areas the flower blooms are protected from exposure to damaging light by using a shade cloth[7]Erişen, S., G. Kurt-Gür, and H. Servi, In vitro propagation of Salvia sclarea L. by meta-Topolin, and assessment of genetic stability and secondary metabolite profiling of micropropagated plants. … Continue reading.

Care of Salvia

This is the plant that can grow years after years if given proper care and protection against freezing and dry environment. This can grow rapidly in humid areas and with relatively warm temperature ranges.

The lower area of pot for planting salvia should be having gravels to avoid rotting of its roots and compaction of the soil. The pot must be having many pores for drainage purposes at the bottom.

  1. It require equal amount mixture of different things such as top soil, rotten peat moss, and sand in its pot to grow well. It will enhance the healthy growth due to improved drainage.
  2. Air circulation is important through the roots. So pot must be placed above land over some brick or step.
  3. Improper water drainage can result into wilting shift the plant immediately.
  4. Mist with spray-bottles should be used to water this plant. Too much watering may get fatal for the plant.
  5. If there are any signs of wilting, immediately put that porous pot into a filled water bucket to ensure proper watering to the roots.
  6. Proper fertilization must be done. Avoid getting your salvia plant freeze in cold areas. So keep it inside home when outside is freezing.
  7. Keep the direct sunlight away. Use the shady place with the patched and patterned sunlight can be absorbed. Ideal temperature for its growth is 60 to 75 degree F.
  8. Any if the climate of your area is hot and dry. Use plastic bag coverings with holes to get the best mini green-house effect providing enough humidity for plant growth[8]Gu, J.-F., et al., The aerial parts of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge. strengthen intestinal barrier and modulate gut microbiota imbalance in streptozocin-induced diabetic mice. Journal of Functional Foods, … Continue reading.

Harms of salvia divirorum

This plant is used in several drugs and other recreational uses are also there. Hallucination is produced when its drug is inhaled, or direct chewing of leaves can also lead to this kind of out-comings. It’s an important part of some of the cigarette brands and incense.

Many of the US states have allowed its use but DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) has asked the government for its regulations. This can also lead to un-real feelings to people using it.

They may laugh uncontrollably, see multiple un-usual things, can have out-of-body types of experiences. Or maybe people consuming high levels of its drugs may be hearing unconscious sounds.

Their normal sense of recognizing things, people, and colors, and food may be lost. Patients may experience dementia-like symptoms of short-term memory loss. The stomach may also get disturbed resulting in severe nausea. Over usage may lead to accidents as well. Chills and fluctuating heartbeat have also been observed.

Over usage may lead to drug resistance same as in the case of misuse of antibiotics lead to resistivity. Researchers have investigated that intake of salvia along with other drugs and alcohol can be more devastating in its results[9]Hutton, F., B. Kivell, and O. Boyle, “Quite a Profoundly Strange Experience”: An Analysis of the Experiences of Salvia divinorum Users. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 2016. 48(3): p. 206-213..

Benefits of Salvia

  1. It is a recreational drug causing hallucinations to the users if used carefully.
  2. Many medicines are made of it to cure diarrhea, joint swelling and pain, and headache.
  3. Bowl movement and urinations are also controlled by its medicines.
  4. It is also used to cure severe stomach bloating and also used as tonics[10]Afonso, A.F., et al., The health-benefits and phytochemical profile of Salvia apiana and Salvia farinacea var. victoria blue decoctions. Antioxidants, 2019. 8(8): p. 241..

Facts about Salvia

  1. It belongs to mint families.
  2. It is basically an herb plant.
  3. Regular use can cause severe addiction.
  4. Dry leaves are used for smoking.
  5. Magic Mint
  6. Uncontrollable laughter hallucinations.
  7. Dizziness, chills, and decreased heartbeat[11]Salvia, R., et al., Short-term benefits of an unrestricted-calorie traditional Mediterranean diet, modified with a reduced consumption of carbohydrates at evening, in overweight-obese patients. … Continue reading.

Diseases of salvia

Powdery mildew is the common fungal agent responsible for leave damage. Another fungal disease is botrytis. Sometimes its seeds and leaves damping is also seen resulting in loss of foliage. There is an increased rate of insect pest attacks. Insect pests are spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies. Improper watering can also result in plant wilting[12]Li, Y.-L., et al., The endophytic fungi of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge. f. alba are a potential source of natural antioxidants. Botanical Studies, 2015. 56(1): p. 1-7..

References

References
1 Drew, B.T., et al., Salvia united: The greatest good for the greatest number. Taxon, 2017. 66(1): p. 133-145.
2 Pelot, K.A., et al., Biosynthesis of the psychotropic plant diterpene salvinorin A: discovery and characterization of the Salvia divinorum clerodienyl diphosphate synthase. The Plant Journal, 2017. 89(5): p. 885-897.
3 Dong, A.-X., et al., High-quality assembly of the reference genome for scarlet sage, Salvia splendens, an economically important ornamental plant. GigaScience, 2018. 7(7): p. giy068.
4 Mostafa, M.M., Phytochemical and Biological Study of Plectranthus neochilus Schltr. and Salvia farinacea Benth.(Family Lamiacea) Cultivated in Egypt. CU Theses, 2019.
5 Shivambu, T.C. and N. Shivambu, Occurrence record of and possible invasion by Scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea Buc’hoz ex Etl.) in South Africa. 2020.
6 Gilardi, G., et al., First report of Phoma herbarum causing leaf spot of woodland sage (Salvia nemorosa) in northern Italy. Plant Disease, 2017. 101(10): p. 1824.
7 Erişen, S., G. Kurt-Gür, and H. Servi, In vitro propagation of Salvia sclarea L. by meta-Topolin, and assessment of genetic stability and secondary metabolite profiling of micropropagated plants. Industrial Crops and Products, 2020. 157: p. 112892.
8 Gu, J.-F., et al., The aerial parts of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge. strengthen intestinal barrier and modulate gut microbiota imbalance in streptozocin-induced diabetic mice. Journal of Functional Foods, 2017. 36: p. 362-374.
9 Hutton, F., B. Kivell, and O. Boyle, “Quite a Profoundly Strange Experience”: An Analysis of the Experiences of Salvia divinorum Users. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 2016. 48(3): p. 206-213.
10 Afonso, A.F., et al., The health-benefits and phytochemical profile of Salvia apiana and Salvia farinacea var. victoria blue decoctions. Antioxidants, 2019. 8(8): p. 241.
11 Salvia, R., et al., Short-term benefits of an unrestricted-calorie traditional Mediterranean diet, modified with a reduced consumption of carbohydrates at evening, in overweight-obese patients. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 2017. 68(2): p. 234-248.
12 Li, Y.-L., et al., The endophytic fungi of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge. f. alba are a potential source of natural antioxidants. Botanical Studies, 2015. 56(1): p. 1-7.

Leave a Comment