Use of nonprohibited hallucinogenic plants: increasing relevance for public health? A case report and literature review on the consumption of Salvia divinorum (Diviner's Sage)

Pharmacopsychiatry. 2005 Jan;38(1):1-5. doi: 10.1055/s-2005-837763.


Introduction: : We want to call attention to a mint plant, called diviner's sage ( Salvia divinorum), originally used in shamanic ceremonies of the Mazatec Indians of Mexico. On numerous websites of the internet, this ancient herbal drug and its extracts are offered as a legal means of widening individual awareness. Regarding its dose-response relationship, the active ingredient, salvinorin A, is one of the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogens. Laws on controlled substances, except for Finland, Denmark and Australia, do not prohibit cultivating, consuming or dealing with Salvia divinorum. Ingestion by smoking, vaporising or chewing, induces a short-lived inebriant state with intense, bizarre feelings of depersonalization. This article wants to be a signal for physicians or psychotherapists to take Salvia into consideration, when exploring young people for drug use.

Methods: We report the individual perceptions of a young man consuming Salvia divinorum. We review the scarce scientific literature and consider relevant internet websites.

Discussion: We define open issues for further investigations and try to discuss why Salvia divinorum may be of interest for teenagers and young adults in Europe.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diterpenes / pharmacokinetics
  • Diterpenes / pharmacology
  • Diterpenes, Clerodane
  • Hallucinogens / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacokinetics
  • Psychotropic Drugs / pharmacology
  • Public Health
  • Salvia / chemistry*


  • Diterpenes
  • Diterpenes, Clerodane
  • Hallucinogens
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • salvinorin A