Salvia divinorum, a member of the sage family (Salvia officinalis), grows in the wild primarily in the mountainous regions of Northern Mexico. The plant may be cultivated elsewhere, but is only known to grow naturally in this area.
The Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland defines it as "A hallucinogenic plant native to the northeastern Sierra Mazateca mountain region of Mexico where the native Mazatecs have used it for centuries as a healing and divining tool." Salvia divinorum may grow in the wild to over 3 feet in height.
Usage of Salvia divinorum for its hallucinogenic effects has expanded outside of Mexico, although indigenous Mexicans historically attempted to maintain the secrecy of the production of the plant. In his book "Legally Stoned," author Todd A. Thies says that Mazatec shamans grew the substance only in hidden locations and rarely discussed it with outsiders.
The Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States Department of Justice reports that salvia divinorum is grown domestically within the U.S. with additional importation from Mexico and Central America. Although it is not a federally controlled substance as of October 2010, many states have laws regulating distribution or some other version of regulatory control.