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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Salvia hispanica
Alternative Names: Mexican Chia

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  • Annual
  • Salvia hispanica, commonly known as Chia, is an erect, branched herb with bright green, ovate, pointed leaves that can grow up to 1.2m x 0.4m.
  • In summer blue flowers are produced in dense racemes at the end of each stem.
  • The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs).
  • Needs any well drained soils and prefers a protected, sunny position.
  • It is frost tender but drought resistant.
  • Grown as an annual/biennial, depending on the climate.
  • It needs a long summer to have enough time for the seed to mature.

Culinary Uses

  • Can be eaten raw (like nuts)/used in baking by sprinkling them on bread, cakes, cookies and biscuits; made into flour (in a mix with other cereal flours) and used in baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits.
  • A healthful drink, (Chia Fresca) can be made by soaking the whole seed in water.
  • When soaked, the seeds are gelatinous - is then flavoured with fruit juices.
  • The gelled seeds can also be prepared as a porridge or pudding.
  • Can be sprouted and used in soups, stews, sandwiches and in salads (like alfalfa or wheatgrass).

Parts Used

  • The seed, leaves and oil.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Salvia hispanica seed is extremely nutritious - it is a high protein, high energy food with enzyme action (catalyst aiding food digestion).
  • Contains 20% protein, 34% oil, 25% dietary fibre (mostly soluble with high molecular weight), amino acids and significant levels of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonols).
  • The oil is very rich in omega-3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids - the same Omega 3 fats that are found in ocean fish and eggs.
  • The seeds yield 25-30% extractable oil, mostly ?-linolenic acid (ALA).
  • Contains no gluten and trace levels of sodium.
  • The word chia is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily.
  • Seeds are oval shaped with a diameter of about 1 mm.
  • They are mottle-coloured with brown, gray, black and white.
  • All colours are considered equal nutritious.
  • Salvia hispanica seed is a thirst quencher and survival food.
  • Salvia hispanica can be used in the treatment and/or management of diabetes and/or the treatment and management of diabetes associated conditions or risk factors, such as one or more of the following: blood pressure and blood glucose levels, post-prandial glycemia, inflammatory factors (C-reactive protein), coagulation (fibrinogen, factor VIII, von Willenbrand factor), and fibronolytic factors (such as t-PA), iron status and endothelial function, (such as increase in nitric oxide generation).
  • Animal studies suggest that it may lower blood cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoproteins or "bad" cholesterol), and triglycerides while increasing HDL (high density lipoproteins or "good" cholesterol).
  • May also have anti-cancer activity.

Other Uses

  • Add Salvia hispanica to chicken feed - may improve the nutritional value of chicken products by increasing the omega-3 content and decreasing the cholesterol content of the meat and eggs.
  • Is grown for use as a binder in industrial compounds, such as varnish, paints and cosmetics.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff
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