Monday, April 06, 2009

Sage Advice on Salvia D.

So I awake this morning to my TV-alarm chattering about "salvia, the new teen drug choice -- and it is legal." Since I grow quite a number of different salvias (aka sages), I started picturing the hordes of passing college students in my neighborhood stopping by to strip some of the leaves for personal usage. That vision got me out of bed and googling.

What I found: Yes, Salvia divinorum is a hallucinagen, but no, unlike the many false media reports it is NOT a common garden plant. If you try to smoke the salvia from grandma's herb garden (usually Salvia officinalis), you'll just get a lungful on acid smoke and a whooping for pulling out some of her favorite flowers.

Wikipedia says,"Salvia divinorum... The plant is found in isolated, shaded, and moist habitat in the mountain cloud forest in Oaxaca, Mexico. It grows to well over a meter in height. It has hollow square stems, large green leaves, and occasional white flowers with purple bracts." Nope, not native here or really any hopes of surviving outside in our climate aside from the dog days of summer.
According to the National Associations of Attorneys General, it is easily purchased online and the seeds are fairly cheap. They also note there how easy the seeds are to grow as a houseplant. Not that they want to give anyone any ideas or anything.
What irks me about all this and the rash of media interest is that I see the writing on the wall. First, it was the poor hemp plant that got banned from farmer's fields just for being related to the big MJ. Then poppies, whether Oriental or not, and their look-a-likes (okra?!?)are being yanked out of gardener's flower beds by overzealous local police. Now, I'm seeing a whole raid coming on Salvias/Sages and probably all mints. Don't think Datura will be too far off down the road.

I'm just hoping this guilt-by-association thing calms down a bit or we gardeners will be left with just bare dirt and a can of green spray paint.


FirePhrase said...

Thank you. I've been wondering what all the fuss was about. I wonder how many people have given themselves a bad headache smoking something out of the kitchen herb rack. You'd know if somebody's breath smelled suspiciously like breakfast sausage.

WashingtonGardener said...

The sad thing is I think the kids know better what is Salvia D. from Salvia O. and all the others -- reading some of the Youtube reports and other online comments - they certainly are the budding botnaists. They know the "good stuff."

It is the politicians, general press, and police I worry about. Their plant ID skills have always been - ahem - very lacking. Did I ever tell you about the copy who knocked onmy door asking about the "Mary Jane" - he was pointing to lavender - in full bloom no less!

WashingtonGardener said...

So GUESS WHAT pops up in my Google Adwords (top pf the blog_ just now - >> Fresh Sally-D ivinorum
Standardized Extracts 5X-50X 25% Off Sale With Code: best << Well, it is LEGAL - for now. But I may have to adjust my Goodle Ad account to block any drug ads of any kind.

FirePhrase said...

My great-great aunt was arrested for growing opium poppies back in the late 70s. Of course the cop's plant ID was actually correct. They really were opium poppies. She got them from one of her seed catalogs and thought they were pretty. Grew them every year. Personal use but not personal use. Her big narco bust made the news. Playboy even picked it up. My grandma nearly died that her aunt was in Playboy.

bruce said...

The last effect has prompted concern about the dangers of driving under the influence of Salvia. The long-term effects of Salvia have not been studied.

Many countries have banned the use of Salvia: Australia, Denmark, Japan, and some states in the USA, just to name a few. Germany for one, only allows selling controlled concentrations of Salvia for medicinal purposes.

The bottom line is that Salvia is a powerful herb. It will cause hallucinations and these hallucinations are as individual as the people who use the plant. There is still much controversy and research needed around the effects of recreational and medicinal Salvia usage.

Want some sage advice? Boost your wisdom quotient by liberally adding sage to your favorite soups, stews and casserole recipes. Research published in the June 2003 issue of Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior confirms what herbalists have long known: sage is an outstanding memory enhancer. In this placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study, two trials were conducted using a total of 45 young adult volunteers. Participants were given either placebo or a standardized essential oil extract of sage in doses ranging from 50 to 150 microls. Cognitive tests were then conducted 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 hours afterwards. In both trials, even the 50 microl dose of sage significantly improved subjects' immediate recall. Professor Peter Houghton from King's College provided data showing that the dried root of Salvia miltiorrhiza, also known as Danshen or Chinese sage, contains active compounds similar to those developed into modern drugs used to treat Alzheimer's Disease. Sage has been used in the treatment of cerebrovascular disease for over one thousand years. Four compounds isolated from an extract from the root of Chinese sage were found to be acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors.



Drug Intervention Washington

WashingtonGardener said...

Thanks for the 411, Bruce.

Fire - so hw did your great-greataunt make out? Hope she did not serve any actual prison time! Really, those laws are so draconian for her to ge anything out of those poppies worth using she'd have to grow large fields of it. A few sprinkled in a garden and self-seeding are not going to harm anyone.

FirePhrase said...

The cop who took in Aunt Pearl was a state trooper fresh out of training who just happened to live next door to her. I believe he was informed by his superiors that he needed to get a grip and quit arresting little old ladies. They just told her that she needed to pull it out of the garden. She was over 80, and had lived in that house for almost 60 years. She'd been buying mixed bags of seeds from catalogs for almost that long, and letting anything she liked go to seed for next year. God only knows what all she had in that garden. If she had found a patch of ditch weed and thought it was pretty she'd have found a spot for it somewhere.

WashingtonGardener said...

Glad to hear his bosses had senses -- poppies (all kinds) self-sow everywhere, maybe that young cop just afeared that one seed might jump the fence and brand him a drug-lord. LOL. Folks need to re-align their priorities.

jessica said...

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