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Salvia Divinorum Salvinorin Extraction and Refinement FAQ. ver. 9.9.6 March 25, 2005
Although written as an instructional document the following is offered for informational purposes only. This extraction and refinement FAQ was written by a non-professional, I'm not an organic chemist and don't work in a field related to botany or chemistry. The solvents mentioned in this document are very flammable and can be easily ignited by red hot surfaces, open flame, electric or static spark! Avoid risking sparks from metallic utensils, desktop or computer fans, and don't try to evaporate solvents in closed areas. This document does not contain information related to the safe handling of solvents or their proper use for the manufacture of human consumable products. The use of either crude or refined salvinorin should never be attempted, it is far too potent to eye ball a sub-milligram dose of salvinorin which can only be accurately done if using an analytical balance with accuracy within a tenth of a milligram or better costing many hundreds of dollars or more. See http://www.sagewisdom.org/caution.html for cautions against the use of crude to pure salvinorin which has very real dangers created from becoming heavily intoxicated when attempting to dose with salvinorin itself.
The following extraction information comes from many hundreds of hours of extractions to find better ways to extract salvinorin without the need of an organic laboratory or expensive glassware. Much of what I have found was through trial and error extractions until I found techniques leading to a method which works very well. I am happy to offer this information to anyone who wants it for their own personal use as many have, the only thing I ask in return is that you keep Salvia divinorum away from adolescents and if you decide to use it do so in a safe responsible manner and please don't call it a substitute for illicit plants or drugs. Salvia divinorum is neither a substitute for illicit drugs or illegal in the United State and most other countries around the world. Although Salvia divinorum is often touted as the most potent "natural" psychedelic because so little is required for a strong dose, salvinorin is also far shorter acting than many synthesized man made hallucinogens, including most other psychedelic plants.
For most individuals the effects of smoking moderate to relatively large amounts of Salvia divinorum leaf are very fleeting lasting only a very few minutes and when used as a tincture can be difficult to induce at all, although smoking enhanced leaf which has an increased amount of salvinorin beyond what is naturally produced in the leaf can be an extremely intoxicating and fearful experience for individuals inexperienced in the use of psychotropic substances, even smoking as little as 25 to 50 milligrams (1/40th to 1/20th of a gram) of "5X" enhanced Salvia divinorum leaf which contains a mere 12.5 mg of salvinorin per gram of leaf can be intensely unnerving for some individuals, others no effect at all. Most individuals require 100-150 mg or more of 5X enhanced leaf for a moderate to strong dose, but usually never more than 200 mg for those who want to have a super strong dose which is 2.5 mg of salvinorin which is far beyond the amount most use due to the fearful intensity and possible short term anesthesia getting too much can cause. Although I have never heard of anyone being harmed by any kind of toxicological effect from the use of Salvia divinorum or enhanced leaf I do not recommend its use to anyone as this requires your own research to know if it is right for. Many individuals who try Salvia divinorum find it to be far too much to handle and won't do so twice (especially if having used too much the first time), but a few find this plant to be their ally and are fascinated to the point where they use Salvia divinorum many times in a period of a few months, but almost all taper off to weeks and then months between uses as I have, now waiting close to a year between journeys.
Salvia divinorum is not something you can use to get "high" with and doesn't produce that kind of effect and should only be used for introspective meditation or for spiritual pursuits to widen the doors of your inner perception, never as a joy ride for the psychedelic effects or shared with anyone who might profane this sacred shamanic plant as some kind of substitute for illicit street drugs. Although this plant is not currently regulated or controlled by the US federal government my firm belief is that it should be restricted from individuals under the age of 18 in the same way that tobacco and Alcohol are restricted to minors because when Salvia divinorum is taken in large amounts it can be a very strong intoxicant, a sacred intoxicant yes, but intoxicating in much the same way that Alcohol can cause reduction of fine motor skills and should never be used in a public place or prior to operating machinery or driving unless three or more hours have passed since use. Salvia divinorum should only be used while under the supervision of a responsible, experienced and sober adult, especially if you are new to Salvia divinorum and inexperienced in the possible effects. Don't assume an amount suitable for someone else is the right amount for you or vice versa. Some individuals are extremely sensitive to Salvia divinorum while others will have no effect from it at all and require the use of enhanced leaf to obtain marginal effect. Never offer Salvia divinorum to individuals who have not been fully informed about the possible effects. Never attempt to smoke Salvia divinorum products enhanced with large amounts of salvinorin or even tincture unless you have slowly worked your way up to that level and know your own sensitivity and what to expect. This document does not contain information regarding possible effects and must be researched from other sources to make an informed choice through knowing the potential risks of being light to strongly intoxicated by this plant and whether Salvia divinorum is right for you.
How do I extract Salvia divinorum leaf, should it be whole, crushed or powdered?
When I first started extracting Salvia divinorum leaf with Acetone I found that it didn't seem to make any difference whether the leaf was whole, crushed or even finely powdered, regardless I found that salvinorin was extracted from leaf from whole to finely powdered with the same efficiency. Since Acetone worked so well with whole or crushed leaf my assumption was that most, if not all of the salvinorin was coating the outside of the leaf instead of inside the leaf, either that, or Acetone was somehow able to efficiently draw the salvinorin out of the interior leaf membranes. Daniel Siebert recently published a paper confirming my belief that salvinorin is concentrated on the outside of the leaf, because of this it isn't necessary to powder the leaf to be able to efficiently extract salvinorin using any solvent which salvinorin can be dissolved into. When I extract large amounts of dried leaf with Acetone I usually just hand crush the leaf as fine as I can and then add enough solvent to completely cover the leaf with an extra couple of inches of solvent over the top of the leaf. Average potency Salvia leaf contains close to 2.5 mg of salvinorin per gram of leaf, high potency Salvia has been reported to be as high as 4 mg salvinorin per gram of leaf (although I have my doubts, it might be true). Salvinorin solubility in Acetone at 27 degrees C. has been reported to hold 23 mg per ml of fluid, Isopropanol .74 mg, Ethanol 1.28 mg per ml of fluid. On this basis 100 grams of Salvia leaf should only need a few ml of Acetone to extract the salvinorin, but that amount of fluid is far too little to be able to completely cover finely crushed leaf! If the leaf is finely powdered to the consistency of flour you might want to calculate the amount of Salvinorin in the weight of powdered leaf to determine the amount of fluid needed but otherwise I wouldnít even worry about it, especially if extracting your batch of leaf two or three times over as I recommend anyway, resulting in the use of many times over the amount of solvent needed to hold the amount of salvinorin contained in the leaf. Although Salvia divinorum leaf does not require fine powdering to extract it, if you powder your leaf you can use far less solvent to extract the amount of salvinorin contained in the leaf but to be safe I like to use three or more times the amount technically required, especially when extracting leaf with either Ethanol or Isopropanol alcohol which salvinorin is far less soluble to compared to Acetone. Alcohol extractions will yield just as much salvinorin as Acetone extractions but always be generous with the amount of solvent needed when using either Ethanol or Isopropanol which have far lower solubilityís to salvinorin than Acetone, requiring more fluid and longer extraction periods.
Is there a simple way to make enhanced leaf?
The following is as simple as it gets to make a gram of 5X enhanced leaf:
1. Pour enough room temperature Acetone into a glass container to completely cover six grams of finely crushed Salvia divinorum leaf and stir for three minutes or longer. (To make sure you have extracted most of the salvinorin pour in some more Acetone and stir for a second time for three minutes and add it to the Acetone in step 2 below, a third time through for just one minute will assure you have removed most if not all of the salvinorin if using Acetone but also increases the amount of waxy lipids extracted making a harsher smoke.)
2. Pour Acetone off of the extracted leaf into a glass bowl containing one gram of un-extracted finely crushed leaf and evaporate all Acetone while leaf is present in it, stirring while the last of the solvent evaportes out. Be sure to mop up all of the residues from the sides of the container with the leaf as the last of the solvent evaporates out.
3. Once every hint of solvent smell is gone from the leaf, Wha-la! Enhanced leaf. Store out of the light, cold storage is better than warm, especially a freezer to assure many years of full potency.
Note: I like to use an extra amount of Salvia leaf to make up for possible extraction inefficiencies. In this simple method six grams of leaf are being extracted and placed back on one gram to make 5X leaf. Since a total of six grams is being extracted to place back onto one gram of leaf the total amount of leaf used is 7 grams to make one gram of 5x which should be every bit as potent as standardized 5x leaf, more than likely closer to 6x. Want to make something stronger using this method? Not recommended because of the increased amount of waxy lipid compounds placed back onto leaf in higher concentrations any more than a ratio of 6 to 1 is about as high as you can go without ending up with a very gummy and harsh burning leaf which produces too much smoke for most people to hack.
I want to make my own low smoke extra salvinorin infused standardized leaf, how can I do that?
This is a brief summary of the lengthy extraction write below it without the water wash of the dried extract (following the Naphtha washes) or the extra purification process of using 99% Isopropanol and without the purity confirmation step of using Acetone at the end. This kitchen chemist route of extracting and refining salvinorin is a reasonable method of making an approximated standardized leaf but unless extreme care is taken to assure the tannin is removed from the extract is fairly difficult to achieve salvinorin at a purity of higher than 90% which is required to make enhanced leaf which is close enough to true standardized leaf to be considered an approximate equal. True standardization of enhanced Salvia divinorum leaf requires knowing the exact purity of the salvinorin being used, extracting leaf to produce 80% to 90% pure salvinorin (with experience) is fairly easy to produce using the methods outlined below. High purity, up to 98% and more can also be produced but unless you have a real need for high purity salvinorin it is not worth the extra time and expense when you can make up for a lower impurity by just using more extract to make enhanced leaf which is every bit as potent as a true standardized leaf by just over measuring 10% (or what ever), but you have to have to know how impure your extract is to be able to estimate how much more is needed requiring HPLC analysis of a few of your extractions and then enough experience extracting Salvia leaf to be able to produce the same potency each time. All of this said, once you have these techniques down well enough you don't need to standardize leaf, a rough approximation through extracting salvinorin from a given amount of leaf which is then deposited on a given fractional amount of leaf plus 15% is close enough, if not more than enough and far less expensive than going to the trouble of having extract tested on a batch per batch basis which can cost over one hundred dollars a shot. You can't claim a true standardization, but at the same time your leaf can be equal to or more potent than a true standardized leaf. When most people buy "standardized" all they are after is a guarantee of minimum potency without worrying the leaf is too potent either, so you don't want to put too much salvinorin back on the leaf. Want to know a secret? Most of the smaller vendors who make their own extracts and calling their product "standardized" leaf are technically incorrect, they are only approximating the amount but this doesn't mean their leaf isn't very close or equal to a true standardized product. Of course, the small vendor making their own standardized leaf could be telling the truth if they are buying their salvinorin from someone who has the skills and equipment to guarantee a purity, but some vendors are also claiming they do so when they are really extracting and refining their own at a tenth or less the cost they would have to pay if purchasing their salvinorin from a lab.
Warning: Do not evaporate Acetone in closed areas (inside your house or garage). Beware of static or electrical spark, open flame (water heater pilot light) or red hot surfaces which WILL ignite vapors from the fluid which can result in the destruction of your and others homes, permanent disfigurement and worse... death. Sounds overly stated? It isn't.
Ok.... To get to a simple outline of the process I use. This outline does not match number for number of the more in-depth and detailed write below it but gives a fairly strait forward view of the process:
1. Dry leaf.
3. Soak leaf in Acetone for 5 min, stir, save and pour off and save.
4. Repeat 3 times.
5. Discard leaf.
6. Add all acetone together, stir, let settle for 12-24 hours (the longer the better but in a relatively dark place away from strong light).
7. Pour off the Acetone into a separate container being careful not to stir up the fine tannin particles in the bottom, save the Acetone and discard residue on bottom.
8. Evaporate the Acetone completely out, do this in a relatively dark place away from direct sunlight. Complete darkness is preferred to minimize reaction with light which can destroy a portion of your yield.
9. After all of the Acetone has evaporated completely Naphtha can be used to remove the waxy non-active lipids from the extract. To successfully remove most of these waxy compounds (AKA black wax) it is very important to crush all of the extract into as fine granules as possible while in the Naphtha. Stir the fluid and extract well and then let sit completely still for an hour or longer to allow most of the fine particles of salvinorin enough time to settle to the bottom of the container.
10. Pour off Naphtha leaving the salvinorin residues which have settled to the bottom behind. (Save the Naphtha, more will settle out after a few hours).
11. Add more Naphtha to residue, stir, let set long enough to completely settle out again.
12. Continue washing the extract with Naphtha until it no longer changes color, allowing enough time for the fine salvinorin particles to settle to the bottom each time.
13. When satisfied you have removed enough of the Chlorophyll remove every drop of Naphtha and dry the extract.
The dried extract produced by the above process is fairly crude compared to what you can do through further refining as explained in the more detailed tech (below) containing an amount of Chlorophyll and tannin impurities which take more work to completely remove. Regardless, the purity from this rather simple method is plenty high enough to make enhanced leaf which is just as good and low smoke producing as expensive 5x to 25x standardized leaf which you can pay from 15 to 50 dollars or more a gram for, depending upon the amount of salvinorin infused into it. To enhance dried leaf with the extract produced by this process dissolve all of the extract into either 99% IPA or any solvent of your choice which salvinorin is soluble to and then pouring over a quantity of crushed leaf and evaporating. Be sure not to use too much solvent than needed to completely dissolve the extract, stir the leaf as the last of the solvent evaporates out and mop up the light residues from the sides of the container with the leaf while it is still moist with solvent. By finely crushing the leaf and thoroughly mixing afterwards you can average out hot spots created by using the leaf to mop up the high potency residues.
To approximate how potent your enhanced leaf will be, divide the amount of leaf extracted in grams by the amount of leaf you are infusing the extract into and subtract 10-15% for a rough "x" factor estimate which should be every bit as strong if not more potent than true standardized leaf.
The following was written for 100 to 250 gram extraction of dried Salvia divinorum leaf to make high quality Standardized leaf:
WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE CRUDE OR REFINED SALVINORIN AS A DRUG. IT IS FAR TOO POTENT, ESPECIALLY WHEN IN CRYSTAL FORM. 5X Enhanced leaf is less than 1.5% Salvinorin by weight.
Nothing outlined in this extraction process requires exactness, you can reduce the amount of time the leaf is in the solvent and or the volume of solvent used by plus or minus 20 percent, increase or decrease the temperature of the solvents used plus or minus 10 degrees F. without impacting your extraction at all because everything outlined here is as middle of the road as I could get between the workable extremes and still turn out well for you. These techniques do not require sophisticated equipment and can produce fairly efficient extractions with good yield using nothing more than simple kitchen utensils and household solvents with a buffer of extra time and temperature (where applicable) so that you are sure to be successful, but each step must be done and done with patience to produce the same results described in this document.
This extraction and refinement method will work with any amount of leaf, if using 25 grams of leaf instead of 100 grams and using Isopropanol to remove lipid waxes from the extract scale the amount of solvent down by one quarter the amounts mentioned in this 100-250 gram extraction document. The following process can be used to extract and refine salvinorin into a purity that is in the high 90 percentiles. It isn't necessary to go to these extremes to remove tannin impurity to make enhanced leaf but for the purists it's a delight to do it right which results in a very high purity extract which previous to this tech. required the use of laboratory glass and column chromatography to approach this purity and efficiency:
1. Extracting leaf: Extract finely crushed leaf in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel container (no plastic bowls or utensils) using room temperature Acetone completely covering the leaf with fluid in a ratio of at least 1/2 finely crushed leaf to 1/2 Acetone three separate times three minutes each time, longer if desired to assure maximum efficiency but in my opinion unnecessary when using Acetone because I believe that the majority of the salvinorin is extracted from the leaf in the first 30-60 seconds of the first extraction when using this solvent, but I recommend longer extraction periods several times over just to be thorough because I have not proven this to myself yet. If using room temperature 99% Isopropanol/IPA or 98% Ethanol Alcohol it is very important to thoroughly extract the leaf at least time more than three times, preferably four to five times over for close to five minutes each time with a ratio of no more than one third fine crushed leaf to a volume of two thirds 99% Isopropanol or 98% pure Ethanol. Whether extracting with Acetone, Isopropanol or high proof Ethanol shake or thoroughly stir the leaf into the solvent the entire time the leaf is in the fluid.
Note: This will work with whole unbroken leaf just as well, but I prefer to crush my leaf to reduce the amount of solvent needed to completely cover the leaf. The amount of solvent needed to hold the salvinorin extracted from the leaf should always be in excess of the amount of salvinorin contained in the leaf. Regardless of which solvent you use to extract your leaf, if you hand crush the leaf the amount of solvent needed to cover the leaf (in the above mentioned ratios) will be in excess of that amount needed to dissolve all of the salvinorin contained on the leaf into it, especially if doing multiple extractions on the same leaf twice or more. When extracting whole or broken leaf you only need to use as much solvent as is necessary to completely cover the leaf because the amount of solvent needed to do so when the leaf has that much bulk to it is many times the amount of solvent needed on a solubility basis to hold the salvinorin.
These figures are approximates, a somewhat smaller ratio of solvent to finely crushed leaf or shortening the amount of time extracting the leaf by a minute each time or extracting the leaf one less time than outlined will not impact the extraction efficiency whether using Acetone or Alcohol, but longer extraction periods will assure that you get every bit of the salvinorin out of the leaf possible. If using 99% Isopropanol or high proof Ethanol warming these solvents to 100-120 degrees F will make these two Alcohols quicker to remove all of the salvinorin from the leaf in a given amount of time compared to when using them at room temperature, but when heated produce far more vapors which increase the potential of fire or explosion from any kind of static or electric spark, open flame etc. which the vapors may reach to ignite them. A chemist friend reported that high proof Ethanol will hold just as much salvinorin when chilled as when at room temperature (~1.3 mg per ml of fluid), but when heated will increase the solubility of this Alcohol enough to extract the salvinorin from the leaf far quicker (as with any solvent salvinorin is soluble to). However, room temperature Ethanol will do the job just as thoroughly if both high proof enough and soaking the leaf long enough several times over. If using Ethanol to extract leaf I do not recommend 151 proof. Perhaps 191 proof will work just fine for this kind of quick extraction, but I have never used it to know for sure myself. 99% medical grade Isopropanol is much cheaper than drinking Alcohol, just as clean and although the solubility of salvinorin to Isopropanol/IPA is lower, it will still do the job extracting all of the salvinorin out of the leaf at far less cost than high proof drinking Alcohol.
2. Washing the leaf through again: After completing the outlined number of extractions to the same batch of leaf thoroughly wash the wet leaf through twice more with fresh Acetone (or what ever extraction solvent your using) to further remove residuals. This is done to dilute out all of the old solvent remaining in the wetted leaf which could still contain some of the salvinorin. At this point your done with the leaf might want to place all of your previously extracted leaf into a jar with solvent for a long term extraction to get what ever amount of salvinorin that might have remained behind in the leaf which should be very little if any, especially if having used Acetone. Re-extract the leaf as long as you like, but keep it in the dark to prevent any loss of salvinorin from long term exposure to UV light which can destroy a portion of the salvinorin while in solvents.
3. Combine all of the extraction solvent, filter tannin or wait 12 hours to settle: Combine the solvent from all extractions and last washes, remove all leaf and fine leaf particles, filter tannin sediments from solvent through some kind of filter or let the solvent stand undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours to allow enough time for most of these sediments to settle out of the fluid. While waiting for the ultra-fine tannin particles to settle cover your container and store in a cool dark place to both reduce evaporation and to prevent possible losses due to interaction of light. Once you have waited at least twelve hours for the tannin to settle out of the fluid slowly pour the extraction solvent off of the fine brown tannin sediments which have settled to the bottom of the container, being careful to handle the container very slowly without jarring or sloshing the fluid to prevent the fine particles from being stirred up into the fluid. I don't recommend trying to pour out the last ounce or two of solvent because a portion of the tannin will usually flow out with the last of the fluid. Although, when leaving a small portion of the fluid behind a dilute portion of the salvinorin is still in it you can recover it by adding a few more ounces of fresh solvent to the fluid and vigorously swirling the tannin into the solvent for a couple of minutes to make sure to get any that might be left in it too, then waiting another 12-24 hours to settle again before pouring the fluid off again. Of course, you will have to leave the last bit of fluid behind the second time too.
Note: I have tried using paper coffee filters to remove tannin from the extraction solvent, but even after pouring the extraction solvent through paper filters stacked three ply several times a fair amount of the tannin particles were still able to get through the papers. A filter made of cotton balls in a glass tube might work better than paper filters, but I haven't tried it to know. Because the amount of solvent used will completely dissolve and hold far more than the amount of salvinorin extracted there is no fear of salvinorin falling out of the fluid, only the tannin impurity will fall to the bottom of the container, but these tannins should be saved for further processing later by swirling the sediments into fresh solvent and let to settle out once more be sure that none of the salvinorin was left behind in them.
4. Evaporating the extraction solvent: After the extraction fluid is poured off of and separated from the brown tannin sediments, completely evaporate the solvent. This is best done using a large flat pan so that the fluid volume will spread out much further than when using a bowl because the shallower the pan the larger the surface area of the fluid, speeding the rate of evaporation requiring far less time than if using a deep bowl. You can increase the evaporation rate even further by using a fan to blow air across the solvent with enough force to cause ripples on the surface of the fluid, but not so much airflow that droplets start taking to the air carrying away any amount of your precious extract. If you live in a buggy part of the world covering the evaporation container with a fine mesh screen which will both allow air to flow through and keep bugs out might be necessary. A full gallon of 99% Isopropanol can be evaporated in under eight hours with this method and a gallon of Acetone in four hours or less. Due to rapid evaporation of Acetone, condensation from the air can cause an ounce or more of water to remain in the container which won't evaporate quickly. Also, if you have extracted leaf using 99% IPA or 98% Ethanol in addition to water from condensation you will have a percent or more of water remaining after the solvent spirits are completely gone. This water is usually a yellow color due to tannins dissolved into it which is something you don't want in your extract, so once you have evaporated all of the solvent off and are left with only water pour it off, being careful that none of the green particles of extract go out with it. Leave the extract in the evaporation container and completely dry by placing in an oven set to 150 degrees F. (as long as not hint of solvent remains, otherwise the vapors could cause a fire).
Note: Although a large flat glass casserole cooking pan works very well to evaporate the extract into, I like to use a non-stick Teflon coated cooking pan over any other kind because once all of the solvent is has been evaporated off and your left with a waxy extract in the bottom of the container it's easier to scrape it all into a pile using a thin piece of soft plastic, not metal which will gouge the Teflon coating. It isn't necessary to use Teflon coated containers, any kind of container except for plastics effected by solvents are just fine but if I am not using a flat Teflon coated pan I prefer to use an ordinary glass baking dish, the bigger the better. Also, when the fluid level is being reduced by evaporation thin films of relatively high purity salvinorin are always deposited on the sides of the container which are more easily removed when using Teflon coated evaporation containers. Test non-stick pans with clean Acetone before pouring the extraction solvent into the container to make sure that the solvent won't affect the coating, depending upon the manufacturer the non-stick coating of some pans might not be up to the job and rather than risk contaminating your extract it is best to test. Acetone should not be used in jars using tops with rubber seals unless manufactured for such use as Acetone will melt many rubbers and plastics. Using either Isopropanol or Ethanol Alcohol shouldn't be a problem for any kind of non-stick pan and most food container seals.
4.5 Removing more tannin from the extract while still wet: This step is optional and can be skipped, or used to replace step six. If you want to go to extremes incorporate both this step and step six together to assure a maximum purity extract. At this point you could remove more of the tannin from the extract if all hint of solvent has been evaporated off but the extract is still water wet from either condensation of water due to rapid evaporation of solvent, or wet from the 1% of water contained in 99% Isopropanol. Keep an eye on the level of extraction solvent as the last of it is evaporating out and as soon as the fluid level gets down to 30 ml smell it to see if it has any hint of solvent left in it, if it doesnít then scrape up all of the water wetted extract and place it into a cup of room temperature water and stir for a few minutes, breaking the particles up by hand as best you can by working all of the clumps out of the extract solids using your fingers. Depending upon how much water is used, the water can take on a light yellow to dark brown tint. Once your done working the extract into fine particles let the water set still undisturbed for an hour or for however long it takes for the particles which have been stirred up into the fluid to all settle to the bottom of the container and then pour the water off being careful not to let any of the solids flow out with it, add more water and stir the extract into it again. Keep doing this until the water no longer takes on any color and then completely dry the extract in an oven set to 150 degrees F. until no hint of moisture remains. Save all of the water used to remove tannin and check it in a few hours to see if more salvinorin has settled into the bottom of the container.
Note: This extra step to remove more of the tannin impurity by pouring in and stirring a few ounces of water into the extract will only work if it is still moist and has not dried yet because once all of the water has evaporated out of the extract the lipid fats will congeal together to form coating around the tannin particles which will become a barrier to the water. The majority of the extract which dries on the sides of the evaporation container can contain a substantial portion of the salvinorin extracted and if a crusty hard film which sticks to glass is without a doubt high purity salvinorin so be sure to scrape every bit of it off too. All of the waxy deposits on the evaporation container should also be scraped off and saved for step 5., if necessary using Naphtha to remove these residuals from the sides of the container. It is important to remove all of the extract from the evaporation container so that it is completely clean as these films can contain a substantial portion of your yield.
5. Using Naphtha to remove lipid fats and Chlorophyll: Once every hint of solvent has been evaporated out and the extract is completely dry of moisture pour in four or more ounces of pure Naphtha directly into the evaporation container (or if having already scraped it out of a large evaporation container transfer all of the extract into a smaller container so that you can work with it better). Completely dissolve all clumps of extract or wax into the Naphtha so that only fine granules remain in the fluid. This may require crushing with a spoon while in the Naphtha or working the extract between your fingers until all of the clumps are smoothed out. Next, pour all of the Naphtha and every bit of the extract into a pint sized or smaller glass jar and thoroughly mix the extract into the solvent for a couple of minutes and after mixing set it aside undisturbed for an hour or more. What you are waiting for is for the ultra-fine salvinorin particles which were stirred up in the Naphtha to settle to the bottom of the glass which can take as much as an hour or more for most of them to fall out of the fluid. After waiting for the salvinorin particles to settle then slowly, taking great care not to let any of the particles flow out with the fluid pour off the dark green Naphtha leaving the crude salvinorin extract in the bottom of the glass. Next add more clean Naphtha to the jar and mix the extract into the fluid for another couple of minutes and set aside for another hour or more before pouring off the Naphtha again. Continue using Naphtha to remove Chlorophyll waxes from the extract until the fluid becomes a light translucent green tint, at this point the Naphtha has become ineffective for removing much more of the waxes and Chlorophyll so once the fluid stops taking on more color with each additional wash of the extract solids stop using Naphtha. When done be sure to completely pour off every last drop of Naphtha and completely dry the extract until no hint of Naphtha remains.
Note: Since salvinorin is completely insoluble to Naphtha but the dark waxy lipids from the leaf are fairly soluble to this solvent you don't need to worry about using too much, use as much as you like but take care to wait long enough for the ultra fine crystalline salvinorin particles to fall to the bottom of the container before pouring the fluid off. To check for the presence of these particles floating in the fluid shine a bright flashlight into the fluid from the top while viewing in subdued light and you should be able to see large amounts of extremely small particles of salvinorin slowly settling in the fluid, so slowly that you might not be able to see movement, but they are. Using several ounces of Naphtha at a time might require waiting several hours for the majority of the salvinorin particles to settle to the bottom of the container, but when using a small one ounce glass most of them should settle in the first hour or so. Do not use Naphtha to remove fats from your extract unless you know for sure that the Naphtha you are using will evaporate completely clean without leaving any amount of residue. Although, if continuing to clean the extract with 99% Isopropanol these contaminates should be washed away I do not recommend using questionable purity solvents, especially when making commercial products. 99 percent Isopropanol or 98% Ethanol can be used in place of Naphtha. These two Alcohols will do the job even better than Naphtha. The only draw back to using Isopropanol to remove lipid waxes is that salvinorin is weakly soluble to this solvent at room temperature and even more so when warmer. Isopropanol will remove some of the salvinorin from the extract each time you use it but no so much to be a problem if you use it sparingly enough and then rework the fluid used to remove the fats a second or third time over by evaporating the solvent out and starting over again to recoup the salvinorin lost to the washes, in ever diminishing returns, of course. The same with Ethanol, this Alcohol can be used in place of Isopropanol but high proof Ethanol removes more than twice as much salvinorin per ml as Isopropanol and because of this, unless you want to go food grade all the way with your solvents I donít recommend it. Salvinorin has been reported to be insoluble to Xylene or Hexane and if true either can be used in place of Naphtha.
6. Using more water to remove additional tannin impurity: Although you cannot see it, the extract still contains an amount of tannin which can now be removed using warm water again. Once you have removed all of the waxy fats and compounds that you can with Naphtha and the extract is completely dry, crush all of your extract into as fine a powder as you can in a small spice bowl using a spoon and then pour in a few ounces of warm to the touch water, stirring the extract into the water for a few minutes and then set aside for an hour or for however long it takes for the particles to all settle to the bottom of the container. The salvinorin doesnít take as long to settle in water, but can take over an hour, depending upon how much water is used. After the particles of crude salvinorin have settled pour all of the water off being careful not to pour any of the extract solids out with it and then add more water and stir again. As long as the water continues to take on a slightly yellow or brown color continue washing with more water. If using a cup or more of water at a time to dissolve small amounts of tannin contained in the extract you might not see any change of water color, but it will be doing the job. Once you are satisfied that the water is no longer taking on any more color, completely dry the powder in an oven set to 120-150 degrees F.
Note: This only works after you have completely de-fatted your extract first. Water washes of the extract will not remove tannin until you have removed as much of the fats as you can using Naphtha and have then evaporated all hint of this solvent out of the extract otherwise the water will not cut through the either Naphtha wetted extract or waxy fats contained in the extract enough to be able to dissolve the tannin. If you have done a good job removing most of the tannin from the initial extraction and then removed as much of the fats as you can using Naphtha followed up with water washes of extract to get the rest of the remaining tannin, the amount of dried extract from a 250 gram extraction of average potency leaf should weigh close to one gram and be over 50% pure with the remaining impurity waxy fats, although it might not seem they are in there if your extract is a grainy dry substance, if it is still green colored the wax is still there, even if it feels completely dry without any amount of sticky tack to it. Regardless, at this point the extract is quite pure enough to use for making enhanced leaf without incurring additional losses through more processing so you can stop right here if you want to have maximum yield and assume the extract is close to or above 50% pure, but you should check to make sure there isnít any tannin remaining in the extract by performing the purity confirmation outlined in step 8 (below) of this document. Be sure to save all of the water used to remove tannin and check it in a few hours to see if more salvinorin has settled out of the fluid.
6.5 Making tincture.
Skip this step if you are not making tincture.
Dried extract which has had the amount of waxy lipids and tannin removed by pure Naphtha in step 6.0 is perfect for making tincture, just dissolve as much of the extract as you can into 151 to 191 or higher proof Ethanol drinking Alcohol of any kind while at room temperature and you will have an effective tincture, the higher the proof, the more effective. Removing more of the Chlorophyll and lipid compounds by continuing to wash the solids with 99% Isopropanol, at some point, will make the extract too pure for making an effective tincture if using 151 proof drinking Alcohol. When making tincture from high purity salvinorin without some of the other compounds from the leaf present in it should only be done when using extremely high proof Ethanol such as 98%, but even then I believe an amount of the dark compounds or maybe even just the tannin from the leaf somehow helps sublingual absorption of salvinorin. If having extracted from 100 grams of dried leaf you should be able to make at least 5 to 6 ounces of 151-191 Proof Ethanol tincture from that amount of extract. If you have extracted from enough leaf to make six ounces of Ethanol tincture be sure to dissolve all of the extract into the drinking Alcohol all at once instead of making each one separately, otherwise if using too much extract for the amount of Alcohol the excess salvinorin won't fully dissolve and end up in the bottom of the tincture bottle as a solid which can easily make a dose of tincture far too potent if a large portion of the fine solids are accidentally sucked up into a dosing dropper. However, there is one positive way to look at it if you find Salvinorin solids in the bottom of your Alcohol, you can be assured that the Alcohol contains as much salvinorin as can be dissolved into the Alcohol but I would then pour the Alcohol off of the precious solids and save them for the next batch.
Note: These are guesstimates; If using 191 Proof Ethanol this Alcohol probably won't hold much more than 1.0~1.2 mg of salvinorin per ml of fluid when at room temperature. High Proof 98% Ethanol is reported to be able to hold close to 1.3 mg per ml of fluid. A chemist reported to me that he found that when a moderate amount of the waxy compounds from the leaf dissolved into 98% pure Ethanol can hold much more salvinorin per ml. I have found when making my own tincture using 151 Proof Ethanol and dissolving nearly pure salvinorin into that low of a Proof Alcohol the tincture was not at all effective without also having the dark waxy compounds from the leaf present in the tincture too. Perhaps this was because I could not dissolve enough salvinorin into the 151 Proof Ethanol which is close to 25% water into the fluid when using pure salvinorin without some of the dark lipid compounds from the leaf it, or perhaps because something in the dark impurities from the leaf increases the sublingual absorption of salvinorin, or both. Either way I have found that an amount of the waxy impurities from the leaf need to be left in tincture made from 151 Proof Ethanol to be effective. If using nothing but pure Naphtha to remove as much of the Chlorophyll and lipids as possible with this solvent without further purification you don't need to be concerned about removing too much because there will still be enough of the leaf compounds remaining in the extract to make tincture out of any 151 proof drinking Alcohol of your choice. I cannot give any insights to making tincture out of 98% Ethanol other than what I have been told or read because I have never done so myself, but I have purchased high Proof tincture from sagewisdom.org and found his tincture to be no more effective than my own 151 Proof home made stuff, but his tastes better and has far less of the dark waxy impurities in it and is a light green translucent color as opposed to my home made tinctures dark almost black color. I have read that small amounts of menthol added to tincture will help sublingual absorption of salvinorin and although I do not believe sagewisdom.orgís high Proof tincture contains it, I know of at least one vendor who adds menthol to their tincture. If nothing else, doing so should make Salvia divinorum tincture much better tasting which even if high grade is normally bitter tasting and from that alone, even if it doesnít help absorption, as Martha Stewart would say is ďa good thingĒ. I really dislike the taste of Salvia divinorum leaf, whether chewing it or tincture, itís a sour thing without adding something to improve the taste.
7. Further purification: To further purify your extract begin washing the solids with very small amounts of 99% Isopropanol in a ratio of no more than 1/3 dried extract to 2/3 Isopropanol in a small 20-30 milliliter vial or shot glass until the extract is a light green to yellow tinted or white colored salvinorin. This is done by pouring in IPA and mixing the extract into it for a couple of minutes until the fluid becomes a dark color and then setting the small glass aside to wait for the fine crystalline salvinorin particles to settle to the bottom of the glass which can take an hour or more the first time. During the first wash of the extract with 99% IPA the fluid will likely become so darkly colored that even after the majority of the salvinorin particles have settled to the bottom of the glass it can be very difficult to tell where the layer of fluid ends and solids start in the bottom of the glass. Because of this remove no more than half of the volume of fluid off the top before adding more Isopropanol. This can be done by either using an eye dropper to remove half of the volume of fluid from the top (don't dip too deep), or by carefully pouring half of the fluid out of the glass while closely watching under a strong light to make sure none of the solids start to flow out with the fluid. Although if pouring the Isopropanol off you probably won't be able to get the last third or more of the fluid out without also pouring some of the solids off too. However, you can just leave that last third of the fluid in the glass and add more Isopropanol to it because it will eventually dilute out anyway Using an eye dropper to remove the fluid on top of the solids is my preferred method to reduce losses but is much slower than pouring. Continue washing your extract by adding more IPA, stirring and letting the glass sit still long enough for the majority of the salvinorin particles to settle out of the fluid in cycles of removing the fluid and adding more until the solids which settle to the bottom of the glass are as light colored as you desire, the lighter the color the higher purity the extract will be. As the salvinorin becomes cleaner with each wash of the solids, the micron sized crystalline particles of salvinorin will take longer and longer to settle out of the fluid, taking as long as three hours or more to completely settle after each wash when using a single one ounce glass, longer for larger capacity containers due to the increased amount of fluid. For the first initial cleanings of the extract you can go quicker and only wait 20 minutes before removing the solvent, but you will be loosing from 10 to 20 percent or more of your yield with each wash if you do. Don't pour the fluid off of the cleaned salvinorin in the bottom of the glass if the fluid has a cloudy look because this means that you still have lots of fine salvinorin particles floating or suspended in the fluid and you should wait for however long it takes for them to settle before removing the solvent. You can continue washing the extract until it is a light green color or all the way to white if you like, however this will increase your losses, up to 25% going as high as 50% if you don't wait long enough for all of the fine particles to settle. Cleaning the solids to a white color isn't necessary because once it's a very light green tint (as long as all of the tannin has been removed too) the extract is a high enough purity to consider it well over 90% purity for use to enhance leaf, just use 10-15% more extract when lightly colored to make up for being less than completely pure. Be sure to save all of your Isopropanol from the first wash plus as it can contain a quarter or more of your salvinorin, depending upon how much was used, how far you cleaned the extract and whether you waited for all of the salvinorin particles to settle before pouring off. If having extracted from 100-250 grams of leaf, use no more than 25 ml of 99% Isopropanol per wash. You can use half of this amount of fluid per wash, just donít use more. If extracting from one ounce of leaf (28 grams) no more than 8-10 ml per wash. Although salvinorin is weakly soluble to room temperature 99% Isopropanol take great care to use as little as possible or you will loose too much salvinorin with each wash to the point of removing most of your yield if too much is used.
[i]Note: Small amounts of 99% Isopropanol can hold far more lipid fats and chlorophyll impurities than it can hold salvinorin on a milliliter basis and due to this when the extract is washed through several times with a few milliliters of this solvent more and more of the green is removed while the bulk of the salvinorin will remain behind. When waiting for the salvinorin particles to settle to the bottom of the glass about half of the salvinorin will fall out of the fluid in just 20 minutes because they are relatively large particles but the smaller and nearly impossible to distinguish particulates of salvinorin will continue to fall out of the fluid for three hours or more, although 80-90% of them will have settled in the first hour. To prevent large losses of your yield to the Isopropanol washes of the extract you must wait for all of the extra fine salvinorin particulates to fall out of the solvent, waiting for the fluid to become completely clear is VERY important. Understand I do not mean colorless, the Isopropanol can be from very dark shades of green to light yellow or all the way to white, but never cloudy before you remove the fluid or you will loose a significant portion of your yield. To see if the fluid is cloudy or not hold it up to a bright light, if it isnít a bright crisp color or you canít see through the fluid like looking through dark to lightly stained glass of what ever color then salvinorin particles are blocking the light.
When washing the extract with small amounts of Isopropanol in a one ounce or smaller glass container to reduce losses I recommend waiting at least an hour or more to allow enough time for most of the salvinorin particles to settle to the bottom of the glass before removing the IPA, but if you are in a hurry you can place the (heat tempered and top off!) glass in a microwave oven for just a few seconds to cause extremely fine bubbles to form in the solvent as it starts to boil. These tiny bubbles will then cause most of the salvinorin particles to quickly settle to the bottom of the glass. Only thing is you have to be very careful not to allow the fluid to go into a rolling boil which will cause the fluid to spill out of the glass with half of your precious extract in a puddle or spewed onto the sides of the microwave oven. Also raising the already present danger of fire from vapors igniting in a microwave oven! While I have successfully used a microwave to heat small amounts of Isopropanol in open one ounce glass containers which were made to handle heating without cracking, I have to say that don't recommend anyone use a microwave oven for this technique because it would be much safer to find another way to heat the fluid to just under boiling to produce these fine bubbles (without flame or red hot surfaces etc.) than to use a microwave oven.
I found that when using the bubbling technique I only needed to wait 5 minutes for most of the salvinorin particles to settle to the bottom of the glass, but at the same time this method causes the losses of salvinorin from each wash to be far higher than they normally are when using room temperature Isopropanol and is only something I use when working with large amounts of salvinorin, from 300 to 500 milligrams at a time in a 30 ml vial. Later recovering the salvinorin lost to the hot solvent through evaporation of the fluid used to remove impurities and re-working it the same way all over again, but using room temperature Isopropanol the second or third time through. If you attempt to boil your solvent to force the salvinorin to drop, due to the much higher solubility of Isopropanol to salvinorin when heated it would be best to then place the container of hot solvent in a refrigerator to allow the fluid to cool down to room temperature or lower prior to removing the solvent from the salvinorin solids in the bottom of the glass. As soon as the solvent cools to 20 degrees C. or less (~70 F.), which won't take long for a small amount of fluid, you can then remove the solvent from the small glass using an eye dropper or carefully pour the fluid off watching to make sure that the fine particles of salvinorin don't pour out with the fluid. My suggestion is to then set the fluid you have removed from the glass aside for an hour or even hours and recover the finer particles which will take longer to fall out. The bubbling of Isopropanol through heating works, but due to extra high losses when using hot Isopropanol it would be far better to keep the solvent at room temperature and use another method of producing bubbles in the fluid to cause the salvinorin to drop or just wait for them to fall out or use a centrifuge. One idea I have had is that perhaps the particles could be caused to rapidly drop out of the solvent by blowing the fluid in the glass from the bottom with lots of fine air bubbles like are produced from an aquarium air-stone but I have never tried to see if this would work, but I do not see why not, only thing is, sounds like specialized glassware to me, something I donít use. The following is a must, to reduced the amount of salvinorin lost when using solvents to remove the lipids, after you are done washing the extract collect all of the solvent used for the washes and then evaporate all of the solvent out of it and start over removing impurities the same way with more washes of 99% Isopropanol, but in far smaller amounts because there will be less material to work with.
If you are using Isopropanol to remove the waxy lipid fats and impurities only use 99% Isopropanol to purify extract, 70% will not work, 94% might not work either. 98% Ethanol can be used but salvinorin is almost twice as soluble to high proof Ethanol compared to 99% IPA and will remove close to twice as much Salvinorin per ml of fluid. When refining salvinorin thorough this method the extract even if you have removed as much of the impurities as you can the extract will not be pure white, it will be an off white when wet. The extract will turn bright white when dry, but this is not an indication of purity because the salvinorin can color tannin impurities white. Isopropanol or other solvents will not remove tannin from the extract, this can be done either prior to using solvents to remove lipids, or after the lipids are removed by solvents, but not by anything other than allowing the tannin to either fall out of the fluid first, prior to evaporating the extraction solvent, or through using water to dissolve the tannin out of an extract that has already had the waxy lipid fats removed. Once the tannin impurities have been removed salvinorin can be refined to a bright white powder using very limited amounts of Acetone, but this solvent cannot be used on small amounts of salvinorin because the amount of salvinorin Acetone can hold per ml is close to 23 mg, if trying to clean an extract to a pure white color using Acetone on a 50 mg quantity of salvinorin, only 1 ml of Acetone will dissolve away half of your yield. However, Acetone can be reasonable to use if refining the extract from several kilos of leaf at a time as a follow up after using Isopropanol, but not first because the losses are extreme with Acetone, but it will produce a brilliant white extract.
8. Purity confirmation: Once your extract has been cleaned to the color desired and completely dry and free of any other solvent, you can check to make sure it does not contain any tannin impurity by dissolving all of your extract into 100 ml of warm Acetone and waiting 12 or more hours to see if tannin particles fall to the bottom of the glass. You don't need to worry about trying to dissolve too much salvinorin in 100 ml of Acetone from a 250 gram extraction of leaf because that amount of Acetone should easily hold close to four times the amount of Salvinorin in the dissolved state which would be contained from that amount of average potency leaf, being able to hold approximately 2300 milligrams of salvinorin when at room temperature. If the fluid appears at all cloudy after dissolving salvinorin into it this means that either you didn't dissolve the salvinorin into the fluid thoroughly enough, or there is lots of fine tannin present. Unless tannin is present and stirred up into the Acetone it should be clear, it can be colored from a light yellow to a dark green tint if you didn't remove all of the dark green compounds, but never cloudy before you pour the fluid off or something is wrong. If after a few hours the Acetone is still cloudy continue to wait, the tannin will fall out of the fluid eventually, taking as long as 24 hours in one case when I did it. When your ready to pour the Acetone out for evaporation to net your tannin free salvinorin don't try to get the last few milliliters of fluid out of the glass because some of the tannin will come along with them, better to add more Acetone and shake it up to dissolve what ever remaining Salvinorin there might be in the remaining fluid or mixed into the tannin sediments than to try to pour out every last drop of fluid. Of course, you will have to wait for the tannin to settle out again.
Here is a standardization procedure so that you can add salvinorin back to leaf. This came from a well known Salvia divinorum researcher explaining how to make 6X enhanced leaf:
The method is simple: Dissolve a measured quantity of salvinorin A in a solvent, and then absorb it onto a measured quantity of crumbled salvia leaves. Evaporate off the solvent, and Wha-la! Here is a more detailed explanation: To make salvinorin A enhanced leaf that contains 15 mg salvinorin A per gram of leaf, dissolve 12.5 mg* pure salvinorin A in 1 ml of warm acetone, and then add 1 gram of crumbled salvia leaves and stir. The leaves will absorb the salvinorin A-containing acetone. Place the container in a well-ventilated location and wait for the acetone to evaporate off. Stir the leaves occasionally during the evaporation period. Make sure that the acetone has evaporated completely--there should be absolutely no smell of acetone left on the leaves.
* The amount of salvinorin A to use will vary depending on the salvinorin A content of the leaves that it is being absorbed onto. If the leaves are of average potency, containing 2.5 mg salvinorin A per gram, then you would deposit 12.5 mg salvinorin A onto them to bring the concentration to 15 mg per gram (as in the above example). Of course, one can standardize the leaves to other concentrations as well. The more precisely you know the salvinorin A content of the leaves, the more accurately you can standardize them. I use very pure salvinorin A for this procedure. If you are using material that is impure, you will need to take into consideration the percentage of impurities when calculating the amount of material to use. Obviously, the same technique can be used to deposit salvinorin A onto other types of leaf.
I strongly advise against smoking leaf that contains more than 15 mg salvinorin A per gram unless the individual doses can be accurately weighed. At this concentration, the amount of smoke produced provides a certain amount of safety because it makes it difficult for a person to accidentally inhale too large a dose in a single inhalation. If you have a precision balance that can accurately weigh small doses, then stronger concentrations are preferable since the amount of smoke can be minimized without compromising safety.
Note: Acetone is the best solvent to use for enhancing leaf because so little fluid is required to completely dissolve relatively large amounts of salvinorin, and evaporates fairly rapidly compared to Alcohol.
Is there a way to make a less harsh smoking enhanced Salvia divinorum leaf?
Yes, although this might actually make the leaf too easy to smoke. I have found that Salvia divinorum leaf is much easier to smoke when most of the Chlorophyll and tannin has been removed from it. Here is how I make my own high quality standardized Salvia divinorum leaf:
The first thing I do is hand select each leaf for quality, setting aside the stiff dark to almost black colored leaf in favor of the lighter colored soft green leaves. Once I have my pile of leaf to be made into incense I carefully hand de-vein the stem running through the center of each leaf being careful to keep the leaf in as few pieces as possible. When I have a full bowl of de-stemmed and de-veined broken leaf I then extract the leaf with a room temperature solvent such as Acetone or 99% Isopropanol several times to remove as much of the Chlorophyll from the leaf as I can. Of course, I save the extract to be processed later, but because of the extra work required selecting the best leaf and de-veining them this process isn't meant to obtain Salvinorin, but rather to condition the leaf to ready it for salvinorin enhancement.
After your done extracting your leaf to remove as much of the waxy compounds as you can with solvent, evaporate all of the solvent out of it so that it is completely dry without a hint of solvent smell in the leaf and then boil all of the leaf together in a pot of hot water for a half hour or more, once the water turns brown pour it off and add more water to boil the leaf again. Keep doing this over and over until the water will no longer take on a brown color. When done pour all of the water off of the leaf and spread it out on a cookie sheet and dry in an oven set to between 125 and 150 degrees F. for however long it takes to completely dry, usually several hours in a convection oven. After the leaf is completely dry you can use it to make your own standardized enhanced leaf at what ever X factor you desire. When Salvia divinorum leaf is conditioned this way by rem