Herb to Know: What is Chia Seed?

This tiny seed is packed with nutrients our bodies crave, like fiber and omega fatty acids.

| August/September 2012

  • This tiny seed is packed with nutrients our bodies crave, like fiber and omega fatty acids.
    Photo by Steven Foster

Salvia hispanica
• Lamiaceae family
S. hispanica, or Mexican chia, can easily be confused with S. columbariae, or California chia

What is Chia Seed?

Yes, you’re reading that right. Chia, the very same herb that grew in the “cha-cha-cha-chia” pets popular in the ’80s, is a wholesome herb touted for its medicinal benefits. This herb produces tiny, oily seeds that are similar to flaxseed and packed full of healthful nutrients like fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. But unlike flaxseed, chia seed doesn’t need to be ground to provide its nutritional kick.

Tomatillo Chia Salsa recipe 

Ancient Chia Uses

Chia (Salvia hispanica), an annual native to Mexico, has been around since 3500 B.C., when it was a staple crop among the Aztecs, second only to corn. 



The Aztecs ground chia seed to form wound-healing poultices; turned chia oil into skin-protecting ointments; and drank chia infusions as respiratory boosters. The Aztecs also believed this plant to be magical for its ability to increase stamina over long periods of time. 

Chia Seed Health Benefits

Today, chia is known as a “superfood,” or a food packed full of nutritional benefits. This seed contains about 136 calories per ounce and is loaded with protein, fiber, calcium, antioxidants and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.

Tammy K
10/11/2012 1:26:18 PM

Where can I buy the seeds to grow. Tammy at mustlvanimials14@yahoo.com Thank you




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