Chemistry Department Seminar: Salvia Divinorum “From Oaxaca’s Shamans to Clinical Trials”

Events

Ricardo Lopez, PhD Student

Shamans are an integral part of the Mexican culture. People looking for solutions to various ailments find that these wise males and females have amazing answers. A particular plant used for healing is Salvia Divinorum, one of the most important Mexican plants. A famous Shaman named Maria Sabina shared her secret uses for this plant with the rest of the world in the 1960’s. Twenty years later, a Mexican researcher was able to isolate the active molecule (Salvinorin A) and, in 2007, the total synthesis was reported by a research group at Harvard University. Since then, many clinical trials have been applied to understand more about this “magical molecule”, and hopefully lay the ground work for new drugs used in mental disorders.