Federal drug agents are so concerned about the growing use of a little-known herb with hallucinogenic qualities that they are taking steps to make it illegal, USA Today reports. The herb is salvia divinorum, a type of sage that is native to the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range in Mexico and used by shamans there. It can alter perception and induce visions when smoked or chewed.
Salvia emerged in the United States three years ago. Teenagers and young adults in search of mind-bending experiences are trying it. Its price ranges from $8.95 to $120 an ounce depending on potency. It is sold in “head shops,” on the Internet and, in one St. Louis suburb, a record shop in the mall.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is collecting information about the herb’s active ingredients as the first step toward having it declared an illegal controlled substance.