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Salvinorin: The Psychedelic Essence of Salvia Divinorum Paperback – October, 1996
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In the first book dedicated to this subject, D.M. Turner discusses Salvia Divinorum's botany, history and use by Mazatec Indian shamans in Oaxaca; the discovery by western researchers and subsequent experiments that yielded Salvinorin A; methods for using both the extract and whole plant material, and descriptions of Salvia Divinorum's unique effects. Salvinorin A presents us with an entirely novel chemical structure for a psychedelic drug. It is the first psychedelic diterpene to be discovered, while nearly all other known psychedelic are alkaloids. Presented here are results of the early human experiments with Salvinorin A, many in the form of first-hand reports which give lucid descriptions of the bizarre and multi-faceted worlds of Salvia Divinorum.
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The book outlines the history of the plant, beginning with its use as a shamanic tool for insight and divination in the highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico to its discovery and adoption by the West. It then discusses the extraction/discovery of Salvinorin A along with dosage, methods of administration--and yes, the usual warnings on the use of this extremely powerful substance. The best part of the book is an astonishing collection of beautifully written trip reports on salvia/salvinorin and combinations with acid, 2C-B, mushrooms, DMT, etc. that push the bounds of pioneering psychonautics--the wonderful cover picture with the vines and female figure, for example, was inspired by one of these visions. This guy was certainly an adventurous soul who traveled well! (Tragically, "Salvinorin" is Turner's last work as he would die at the end of 1996 from an accident possibly triggered by ketamine.)
The contents of the book are freely available from many sources on the Web (for example, Erowid), although I have not seen its line drawings reproduced anywhere. Such is its high reputation. Although owning a physical copy is not necessary, the first (and only) edition from Panther Press is a good quality trade paperback with an attractive cover. It makes a nice addition to the library of any collector of books on entheogens as well as being an essential piece of salvia history. As it's long out of print, those of us not fortunate enough to have been introduced to SD during the 90's will probably have to pay big bucks for a copy, but be patient and look around--good deals can appear unexpectedly. (I was able to get a near fine copy for around $50.)