The active principle in
Salvia divinorum is salvinorin A, a trans-neoclarodane diterpenoid.
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The following technical notes on Salvia
extraction are copied documentation, included for information. I'm not a
chemist, so I can't really vouch for them. For more info on extracts try
Salvinorin A may be extracted from
fresh or dried leaves. Valdas et al. successfully isolated salvinorin A
after extracting the dried leaves with ether in a Soxhlet apparatus and
partitioning the extract between hexane and aqueous methanol, one has a fraction
that is almost 10% salvinorin A by weight when dried. This procedure is so
effective at concentrating the diterpene that the crude compound often
precipitates out of the aqueous methanol solution before being subjected to
chromatography. Ether is used to extract the plant material because it has a low
boiling point, but chloroform or methylene chloride will serve as well for this
initial extraction. Chromatography is used for final purification of the
compound because it is faster and gives higher yields than repeated
recrystallization of the precipitate. Experimenting could lead to the use
of commonly available solvents for the extraction. Extraction without a Soxhlet
apparatus should be fairly simple, and commonly available solvents (e.g., ether
from starting fluid) could work. One kilogram of dried leaves produces about 1
gram of Salvinorin A (about 2000 doses).
As the technical notes
above suggest, simpler extraction, without complex apparatus, is possible.
My brother has made some quite effective extracts using acetone. In answer
to my question, "briefly, how did you do this and how much did it cost?" He
Initial setup costs
would include items such as: digital kitchen scales, metal sieve, glass dish,
glass or metal funnel, coffee filter papers, acetone at £22 for 2.5 litres. A
glass turkey baster would also be very handy - but I've been using proper
laboratory pipettes for dispensing the solvent, so I don't need one. I've also
bought myself a food processor to powder the leaf - but it's not crucial - cos
acetone will rip the salvinorin straight out of the leaf whether it's powdered
or not. A fan is also handy to help evaporation of solvents.
The sample I sent you was just a simple extraction using acetone. Mix the
acetone and leaf in a jar, shake for 10 minutes, filter it and chuck the leaf.
Put the acetone (now green in colour) into a glass dish with 1 gram of leaf and
allow to evaporate away, stirring the leaf occasionally. That's the short
This second lot I've made also uses naphtha to remove impurities from the
acetone extract before adding it to the 1 gram of leaf. The naphtha stage isn't
crucial for making enhanced leaf, though it would be to make crystals.
So after getting the setup equipment together, the production costs would just
be solvents - about 250ml acetone (£2.50), plus most of a small can of naphtha
(but not crucial) so that's another 75 pence.
So rounding it all up let's say it costs about £3.50 to make 1 gram of either
10X or 20X. To make more than 1 gram, or to try and make 40X for example, would
require more solvents....