Salvia divinorum is a plant endemic to the Sierra Madre Oriental of Oaxaca, Mexico, and it is a member of the mint family (Labiatae). It is one of approximately 1,000 species that make up the Salvia genus. The first academic report about the existence of the plant appeared on 1939. The native inhabitants of the area, the Mazatec people, use the leaves of Salvia divinorum for its medicinal and psychoactive properties. The Mazatecs know the plant in their language as Xka Pastora.
For the Mazatecs, Xka Pastora is a sacred medicinal plant with enormous therapeutical value, and they have been using it for centuries.
The Mazatec traditional doctors use the leaves of Salvia divinorum or Xka Pastora for the treatment of arthritis and inflammation, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, to treat stings and bacterial infections of the skin, to treat eliminatory complaints, addictions, and as a general revitalizing tonic. They consume the fresh leaves of the plant by chewing them, and apply them as a cataplasm. Mazatec healers also do ceremonies with the leaves for its psychoactive properties, as a mean of modify their awareness and be able to diagnose, and to treat psychological and spiritual problems.