When Salvia Divinorum is used as a recreational drug it is most commonly smoked. The Mazatec shamans that use it to find their spiritual side and for spiritual healing eat the raw leaf – sometimes they even drink it. So which is better? The ‘modern’ way of smoking it, or the more traditional way of chewing, eating or drinking a blended version of Salvia?

The disappointingly vague answer is that neither is particularly better than the other, and which is preferable at any one time depends a lot on what you want to get out of the experience.

Smoking the Salvia leaf gives an almost instant reaction. You get a vivid high and a quick comedown. Eating or drinking the leaf gives a much milder high – probably there will be no vivid hallucinations at all – but it does last for quite a bit longer. The Mazatecs are not interested in getting high and seeing faeries, you understand; what they really want is greater spiritual insight into the world around them, a greater feeling of affinity with the Universe in which they live.

On the negative side, chewing leaves requires a lot more Salvia than would be required with smoking to even get the feeling of a high. We’re talking 20 times more, so it’s not a small difference. Dried leaves will be, well, dry, and every form of the leaf is extremely bitter. This goes to back up the idea that the Shamans really do not do this for fun, but as a means to an end.

If you do not like smoking then eating Salvia may be your own option but it is, by modern standards, a very wasteful exercise.

As with anything related to Salvia, you will never know until you try, so why not try both methods on successive days and see if, with all other factors taken into account, you prefer one to the other.