Salvinorin A: from natural product to human therapeutics

Mol Interv. 2006 Oct;6(5):257-65. doi: 10.1124/mi.6.5.7.


The hallucinogenic plant Salvia divinorum (i.e., "magic mint") is a member of the Sage family that has been used for divination and shamanism by the Mazatecs. Over the past decade or so, S. divinorum has been increasingly used recreationally. The neoclerodane diterpene salvinorin A is the active component of S. divinorum, and recently, the kappa opioid receptor (KOR) has been identified, in vitro and in vivo, as its molecular target. The discovery of KOR as the molecular target of salvinorin A has opened up many opportunities for drug discovery and drug development for a number of psychiatric and non-psychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diterpenes* / chemistry
  • Diterpenes* / metabolism
  • Diterpenes* / therapeutic use
  • Diterpenes, Clerodane
  • Drug Design
  • Hallucinogens / chemistry
  • Hallucinogens / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Plant Extracts* / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts* / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts* / therapeutic use
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa / chemistry
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa / metabolism
  • Salvia / chemistry*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Diterpenes
  • Diterpenes, Clerodane
  • Hallucinogens
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • salvinorin A