Salvia divinorum, known for its psychoactive properties that induce hallucinations, found to impact physiological sleep

According to a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, the use of Salvia divinorum (S. divinorum), a psychoactive herb commonly known as sage of the diviners, is associated with hallucinogenic properties that can negatively affect sleep quality. For the study, researchers tested the side effects of S. divinorum on mice models.

  • S. divinorum is traditionally known as a “mind?altering” or psychoactive herb. While the herb is used as a tranquilizer, no studies have yet validated the efficacy and safety of the herb.
  • For the study, the researchers set out to prove S. divinorum’s sedative effects. The research team also assessed the nature of the compounds responsible for the herb’s sedative properties through various experimental models.
  • The scientists conducted different tests on mice models such as open?field, hole?board, exploration cylinder, plus?maze, and sodium pentobarbital?induced hypnosis potentiation.
  • The mice were also given three types of S. divinorum extract: non?polar, medium polar, or polar extracts at different doses (10, 30, and 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight [mg/kg]).
  • The researchers used polysomnographic analysis on the mice given an active medium polar extract (10 and 100 mg/kg) containing salvinorins to verify the effects of S. divinorum on sleep architecture. Based on the test results, all three tested extracts produced significant sedative?like responses.
  • However, the researchers noted that the effects of the medium polar extract were more pronounced in the subjects. The sedative effect of this particular extract, which had a mixture of salvinorins, diminished rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This then resulted in fragmented sleep architecture in the mice.
  • The medium polar extract from the herb also increased the quiet awake stage when given at dosages of 10 and 100 mg/kg.

The researchers warn that S. divinorum has sedative?like depressant properties that affect physiological sleep architecture.

You can read more articles about research findings on other herbs at

Journal Reference: 

Gonzalez-Trujano ME, Brindis F, Lopez-Ruiz E, Ramirez-Salado I, Martinez A, Pellicer F. DEPRESSANT EFFECTS OF SALVIA DIVINORUM INVOLVE DISRUPTION OF PHYSIOLOGICAL SLEEP. Phytotherapy Research. 2016;30(7):1137–1145. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.5617

comments powered by Disqus