How To Make Salvia Divinorum Extract
The definitive guide to making high quality Salvia extract at home
Have you ever tried making your own crude Salvia divinorum extract at home, and wondered why it looks like a black sticky mess that’s harsher on your throat than a porcupine-eating competition? Well, fear not, for this guide will ensure a quality finished product, rivalling that of store-bought extracts, using readily available chemicals, everyday kitchen equipment and a few other cheap bits & pieces.
This procedure will take several days from start to finish, but only requires a couple of hours of actual work.
The text and pictures throughout this article detail the production of 10g of 10x extract, so don’t worry if what you're doing looks different! You can use the sliders below to calculate just how much extract you’ll make depending how much dried Salvia divinorum leaf you have and the desired strength of the finished product. Adjusting the sliders will also update the article text in a few places to provide you with more relevant instructions. The default text is available as a PDF at the very end and you can also print this off easily to save you having to refer back to your screen for every step. Before we begin, please take a moment to adjust the sliders below to your needs:
ADJUST THESE TO FIT YOUR NEEDS — THE ARTICLE TEXT WILL UPDATE
Amount of Salvia divinorum Leaf: 100g
Desired strength of Salvia extract: 10x
Approximate weight of Salvia extract: 10g
- What You Need
- Making Salvia Extract
- Additional Resources
What You Need
All we need for this procedure, apart from your Salvia divinorum leaf, are two cheap solvents and some cheap glassware. You can substitute the glassware for anything else made of metal or glass you might have lying around. Everything required is listed below, along with links to buy them online if you're in the UK (all links will open in a new tab/window):
- 100g dried Salvia divinorum Leaf (4 x 25g bags)
- 1 litre of pure acetone
- 2 bottles of good quality lighter fluid
- A coffee grinder
- Two 600ml beakers (or large drinking glasses)
- One or two 250ml beakers (or jam jars or small tumblers)
- Large glass roasting dish
- A few cheap pipettes
- A test tube and a boiling tube (or any other tall, narrow containers you can find)
Making Salvia Extract
Step 1 - Powder The Leaf
Set aside 10g of leaf and powder the remaining 90g with the coffee grinder.
The first thing to do is weigh out your 100g of Salvia divinorum leaf. From this, weigh out 10g and set this aside right until the very end. This will be the base material for the finished product. The remaining 90g needs to be powdered using your trusty coffee grinder. Its high RPM motor and stainless steel blades are no match for your dried Salvia leaf. It’s worth pointing out that although the leaves may not instantly grind, you’ll have to give them a few minutes, but they WILL powder eventually.
Dried Salvia leaf naturally crumbles, so you will likely have whole leaves and stems at the top of your pile, while the bits that crumble off will work their way to the bottom of your stash. Crush the leaves in your hands first to create more crumbs! You may find the stems and other lighter bits of leaf easier to grind by putting a big pinch of stems in your grinder first and then taking some crumbly bits and putting them on top the stems in the grinder. This makes sure the stems come into better contact with the blades and speeds the process up.
Fig. 1: 100g Salvia leaf, 1L acetone, coffee grinder & glass tray
Fig. 2: 100g Salvia leaf & coffee grinder
Fig. 3: 10g Salvia leaf was set aside
Fig. 4: Some powdered Salvia leaf
Fig. 5: Some powdered Salvia leaf alongside the rest of the unpowdered leaf. A lot more to go!
Fig. 6: All 90g of Salvia leaf powdered and ready for Step 2
Step 2 - Dissolve The Salvinorin-A
Wash the powdered leaf with plenty of acetone for five minutes, filter and repeat.
Keep the acetone, discard the leaf. Allow the acetone to stand for 24 hours in the dark.
Now, we need to get all the Salvinorin-A out of your powdered leaf. Luckily for us, Salvinorin-A is readily soluble in acetone (approximately 23mg/ml)! Place your powdered leaf in a container (I’ve used a 600ml glass beaker, but a clean glass jar or similar will do nicely) and pour on enough acetone to cover it. Make sure to stir the gloopy mixture and add more acetone until all of the powdered leaf material is soaked. Leave this to stand for five minutes.
The liquid is the part we’re interested in, so we need to filter this mixture to separate the acetone from the leaf. The easiest way to do this is to place a cloth over another container and empty the contents of the first container into it. Gather up the cloth and give it a squeeze to get most of the excess acetone out.
Put the container with the acetone in to one side for now, then put the powdered leaf back into the original container and repeat the process to get as much Salvinorin-A out of the Salvia leaf as possible. You can now throw away the damp powdered leaf.
As you can see from the pictures below, the acetone also contains a lot of small particles that we don't want in the finished thing. These are small particles of leaf and tannins that went straight through the filter. These are difficult to remove later on and if we ignore them, we will end up with a worse quality extract as a result. The best way to get rid of them is to let your acetone sit for 24 hours in a dark room so all the particles settle at the bottom. (Salvinorin-A in solution can be destroyed by light, so it is important to keep your container in the dark while everything settles out!)
Fig. 7: Powdered Salvia leaf is placed in a beaker
Fig. 8: Excess acetone is poured over the powdered leaf, stirred and left to stand for five minutes
Fig. 9: The mixture is poured through a cloth to separate the Salvia leaf from the acetone
Fig. 10: This is the acetone containing the Salvinorin-A immediately after being filtered. Shining a torch on it reveals a thin red layer of acetone and a big green layer containing the particles we need to get rid of.
Fig. 11: This is the acetone containing the Salvinorin-A after allowing it to stand in the dark for 24 hours. Now everything has settled to the bottom, only a thin green layer of particles remains.
Step 3 - Evaporate The Solvent
Pour the acetone into a shallow dish and allow the acetone to evaporate completely in the dark, leaving behind a waxy, green precipitate.
This step is nice and straightforward. Carefully pour the acetone into a flat glass tray, being careful not to disturb the sediment. This should now be left in a dark room (remember, Salvinorin-A in solution is sensitive to light) until it has fully evaporated.
Fig. 12: The acetone is carefully poured into a large flat tray, while the sediment remains in the beaker
Fig. 13: This is the sediment we don’t want left in the beaker
Fig. 14: Topdown view showing the acetone in the tray
You can gently help the evaporation process by placing a fan nearby. A gentle breeze provided by two fans taken from an old computer evaporated all the acetone in about four hours. Here are a couple of pictures showing the fans screwed onto a block of wood, wired in parallel via a terminal block and powered with a 12V 1A DC adaptor:
Fig. 15: Evaporating the acetone with the help of two computer fans
Fig. 16: Two fans are wired in parallel and screwed into a block of wood
Note: Acetone is flammable so you should NOT use a heat source (eg a hair dryer) to aid evaporation! Use a simple fan, or nothing at all.
Your acetone will always contain a percentage or two of water. While the acetone will evaporate off easily, the water will remain for some time. You can either wait until the water evaporates of pour off the water and discard it. When the green contents of your shallow dish are totally dry, scrape up as much as you can with a razor blade or similar, ready for Step 4. This is your extracted Salvinorin-A and other plant waxes.
This is as far as most people get with their extractions and is the reason why the end result is a black sticky mess. That’s fine if you’re making a weak extract, but if you’re making anything stronger than 5x, it becomes unsmokable and you will need to purify it further.
Fig. 17: The waxy Salvinorin-A precipitate is now completely dry
Fig. 18: Scraping up the Salvinorin-A with a razor blade. Very sticky!
Step 4 - Purify The Salvinorin-A
Wash the green Salvinorin-A repeatedly with naphtha.
Pour off the final wash and allow any remaining naphtha to evaporate completely.
Acetone is a powerful solvent; as well as Salvinorin-A, it also dissolves a tonne of waxy stuff from the leaves that we don't want. In order to purify the Salvinorin-A, we will need to use another solvent: one that can dissolve plant waxes easily but leave the Salvinorin-A behind — this is where our lighter fluid comes in! Lighter fluid is basically naphtha (petroleum ether), a great nonpolar solvent that can dissolve nonpolar waxes with ease, while our polar Salvinorin-A molecules remain untouched.
Begin this step by placing your waxy Salvinorin-A scrapings into a tall, narrow container (using a test tube makes this a lot easier). Fill this container with lighter fluid and shake or stir it for a few seconds. The naphtha will immediately take on the dark green/red colour (depending on the light) that the acetone had previously as the waxes are dissolved. Within minutes, a sediment of Salvinorin-A particles will form on the bottom of your container.
After several hours, most of the Salvinorin-A will have made it to the bottom of your container. Pipette off most of the liquid, being careful not to disturb the sediment. Save the liquid in a larger container (it will still contain some Salvinorin-A that we will reclaim later) and repeat the process by adding fresh naphtha to the first container.
This washing process should be repeated at least five times to make a high quality Salvia extract. After five washes, the sediment will still be green even though npure Salvinorin-A is white. If you continue this washing process further, you will end up with white Salvinorin-A, however this is not required — you can tell by the colour of the naphtha after each wash that a lot of waxy gunk has already been removed.
Fig. 19: The impure Salvinorin-A is placed into a test tube
Fig. 20: Lighter fluid label showing that it contains naphtha
Fig. 21: First naphtha wash
Fig. 22: A layer of sediment is visible not long after the first lot of naphtha is added
Fig. 23: When lit from behind, the Salvinorin-A is still visibly suspended in the naphtha. This is why you should allow several hours between washes, to give enough time for most of the Salvinorin-A to settle to the bottom!
Fig. 24: The second naphtha wash. Already the Salvinorin-A in the bottom of the tube is looking a little lighter.
Fig. 25: During the fourth naphtha wash, the naphtha is starting to look a little cleaner, indicating less and less impurities in the Salvinorin-A
Fig. 26: The fourth naphtha wash, lit from behind, so you can see how clear it’s becoming
Fig. 27: A comparison of the sixth naphtha wash and the naphtha saved from previous washes. While the old naphtha looks red from the plant waxes, the current naphtha wash is practically transparent. Also notice the layer of Salvinorin-a at the bottom of the old naphtha.
After the final wash has settled, remove most of the naphtha from both containers and dispose of it. You will now be left with relatively pure Salvinorin-A in both tubes with a little liquid left on top. Add a little clean naphtha to both containers, shake them up and pour them both into a wider third container. Rinse out the previous container with more naphtha if anything is left behind.
The remaining naphtha needs to be completely evaporated. You can either let it stand for several hours and let the naphtha evaporate naturally or use a fan to assist. I used the same fan setup from Step 3 (figures 15 and 16) and this only took 90 minutes. Again, do NOT use heat to evaporate the naphtha — lighter fluid, is, well ... flammable!
Fig. 28: After the sixth and final wash, almost all of the naphtha was removed from both tubes, leaving behind purer Salvinorin-A
Fig. 29: The Salvinorin-A and remaining naphtha are decanted into a new container. The old test tubes are washed out with fresh naphtha to remove any chunks of Salvinorin-A stuck in the test tubes.
Fig. 30: Relatively pure Salvinorin-A is left behind after the remaining naphtha has evaporated
Step 5 - Fortify The Leaf
Redissolve the Salvinorin-A in a small amount of acetone and drip onto the leaf set aside in Step 1. Mix throroughly.
This final step is where we add the Salvinorin-A we’ve just purified back onto the 10g Salvia divinorum leaf we set aside in the first step, creating a fortified extract with 10x the amount of Salvinorin-A compared to dried leaf alone.
Take your container of dried Salvinorin-A and add just enough acetone to dissolve everything. You don’t need much! Stir the contents of your container to make sure everything is dissolved, then use a pipette to deposite the green liquid onto your Salvia leaf, a few drops at a time. Every time you empty a pipette onto the leaf, give it a good mix to make sure the liquid covers the leaf material uniformly. Repeat until all the Salvinorin-A acetone solution is gone.
You will probably find that the container that previously held the liquid is still rather green — rather than let this go to waste, add a little bit more clean acetone to it, then pipette this onto your leaf as before.
Now you simply leave this in the dark for the acetone to completely evaporate, leaving behind a beautiful, high quality Salvia extract! This took around an hour with the help of a fan.
Fig. 31: Salvia leaf set aside in Step 1, acetone and Salvinorin-A
Fig. 32: Dissolving Salvinorin-A in a small amount of acetone
Fig. 33: Closeup of Salvinorin-A in acetone solution
Fig. 34: Pipetting Salvinorin-A acetone solution onto Salvia leaf
Fig. 35: Topdown view of wet Salvia extract and empty green container
Fig. 36: Mixing the wet Salvia extract to ensure an even distribution of Salvinorin-A
Fig. 37: Wet Salvia extract after being mixed
Fig. 38: Evaporating acetone from the wet Salvia extract using fans from Step 3
Fig. 39: The final product: 10g of 10x Salvia extract, now completely dry!
Salvia Divinorum Tincture
Instead of Step 5, make a saturated Salvinorin-A solution with warm pure alcohol.
A tincture is simply a solution of something in alcohol (ethanol). So, all you need to do to create your own Salvia divinorum tincture is to make a saturated Salvinorin-A ethanol solution. Here's roughly how it's done:
- Follow the above procedure up until Step 4, then wash the Salvinorin-A with more and more naphtha until the sediment after each wash begins to turn white, then allow the naphtha to evaporate completely.
- Warm up the highest concentration of ethanol you can get your hands on in a water bath.
- Pour a tiny amount of ethanol into another container (also in the water bath) and add all of your Salvinorin-A.
- Give it a few minutes to disolve as much as it can, shaking or stirring occasionally.
- When no more Salvinorin-A will disolve, add more warm ethanol a few ml at a time. Eventually, you will have added enough warm ethanol to disolve all of your Salvinorin-A.
- Take your solution out of the water bath and allow to cool
You can click here to print this guide, or click here to download a PDF copy.
If you have any questions about the extraction procedure, the friendly folks at Reddit.com/r/Salvia will be happy to help. If all the above seems like too much effort, you can buy standardised Salvia extracts directly from Coffeesh0p.com. For general queries, email firstname.lastname@example.org (please note: we we will not be answering questions about the procedure itself!)
Good luck, have fun & stay safe!