3.4.22 White Sage

White Sage #

Binomial / Botanical Name Salvia Apiana
Street Names Bee Sage; Sacred Sage
Major Active Compound Thujone
Indigenous Source SW United States, NW Mexico
Form Leaves & Twigs
RoA Smoked
Personal Rating On Shulgin Scale +**


White sage has a lengthy history of use as a ceremonial plant, with Native Americans using it as incense to fend off evil spirits, to clear negative energy, and to create sacred spaces. It has also been used medicinally across a number of civilisations.

I had used it a year or so earlier and vaguely recalled a light sedation but a harsh uncomfortable smoke. I re-sampled it to document this more thoroughly for the purposes of this book.

I broke the dry and brittle leaves into the bowl of a large bong. The smell had a mint-like edge, but largely reminded me of the old sage & onion stuffing that used to arrive on my plate at Christmas. It certainly had a pungent and strong odour, at least prior to incineration.

T+0:00 I take the first hit, which is not as harsh as I recall. Indeed, given that the smoke is thick and intense, it is quite mild. [8pm]

T+0:01 My head has lightened already, and I do feel a relaxing effect, with a clear anxiolytic benefit. This is minor, but certain.

I repeat with two or three reasonably large hits. Via the large bong this isn’t too bad to toke at all. It feels almost cleansing.

Strangely, the smoking ritual itself also feels pleasing, which could have something to do with the pre-reading I have just completed on ceremonial use.

T+0:05 I stop inhaling at this point, having taken maybe half a dozen hits over the last five minutes. The light-headedness remains, and there is a vague dreamy feel in play.

T+0:10 I was quite anxious at the start of this experiment, having endured a difficult day. At least for now, however, this has dissipated. The headiness is mild but present, and I can see how some people claim that this plant holds meditative qualities. Physically I feel quite tranquil.

T+0:15 A relaxed mood remains, as does a little of the general ataraxy. I continue to feel a background sedation and serenity, but expect this to slowly drift down from here.

T+0:30 I have indeed moved towards base, although a balmy and mellow ambience persists.

T+14:00 For the rest of the evening I felt relatively normal, but with muted anxiety and a calmer disposition. This is quite usual during the slow unwind from this sort of experience. The night’s sleep was disturbed, but with some periods of deep sleep, and a period of vivid (or at least recalled) dreaming.

This morning I feel fairly standard, although perhaps a little off-key.

Whilst I found that this was not a ++ on the adapted Shulgin scale, as some members of this class have been, it certainly invoked a clear psychoactive response. Overall, it was quite pleasant for a one-off or rare occasion, but given that it contains thujone, which has been reported as toxic to the brain, kidney, and liver, it is not one to make a habit of.

White sage as sold in a city centre tobacconist, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan