Salvia Divinorum: History notes

Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 3:34 pm

The Mazatec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico have used hallucinogenic plants for hundreds of years. Peyote (peyotl), psilocybin mushrooms (teonanactl), morning glory seeds (ololiuqui), and Salvia divinorum (hierba Maria, ska Maria Pastora) have been used in religious ceremonies of divination and healing.
Beginning in the middle of the last century, specimens of the plant were brought to the United States from Mexico by botanists and ethnopharmacologists, who were studying the plant because of its hallucinogenic properties and the associated traditions of ritual use.
If someone suffers from an unknown illness, a curandero (ritual healer) will use Salvia divinorum for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment. The patient, the curandero, and an aide go to a quiet place. The patient drinks an elixir of water in which Salvia leaves have been squeezed. In 15 minutes, he enters a trance, during which he speaks out, describing the true nature of his illness. After the effects of the drug have worn off, the patient throws off his clothes, as if to free himself. The next morning, the curandero bathes the patient. It is believed that, as a result of this experience, the patient is cured.
The Mazatec curanderos also believe that the hallucinogenic trance induced by Salvia divinorum allows them to travel to heaven and learn from God or the Saints. For this purpose, the herb is used to instruct new curanderos. Salvia is considered a weaker hallucinogen than morning glory seeds or psilocybin mushrooms, and for that reason, it is usually the first of the three hallucinogenic plants given to the neophyte as part his training.

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