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Chia Seeds: An Ancient American Super Food

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Chia Seeds: An Ancient American Super Food

Though we’ve all heard of chia pets, it’s less known that the tiny black seed responsible for the chia “fur” is a bona fide nourishing food crop, once cultivated by The Aztecs, and even used as a currency.

Chia (Salvia columbariae, S. hispanica) is a member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) Family. Salvia, the genus name, derives from the Latin salvere, meaning, “to save.” Another well known member of the Salvia genus is sage (Salvia officinalis).

The common name, chia, derives from the Mayan chiabaan, meaning, “strengthening.” The native peoples of the American Southwest for endurance have long used chia seeds, where tribe’s people could run swiftly on a handful of chia seeds and a gourd of water. They are fast becoming a favorite for athletes today. Chia seeds have long been used used to correct constipation being rich in soluble fiber. They are considered an energy tonic that moistens the yin (fluids) of the body enhancing joint activity and sexual health.

Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids — even more than flax. The DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) content of the omega 3s enhances immunity and promotes communication between brain cells by allowing enhanced synapse activity. Chias are also rich in protein, (20 percent on a dry weight basis), vitamin B complex (especially niacin (B3) and riboflavinB2), and biotin calcium, potassium and fiber. They also contain immune activating mucopolysaccharides and the antioxidant quercetin. They help to regulate blood sugar levels, thus curbing the desire to overeat. According to Asian Medicine, foods that are naturally black in color support the Kidneys and Bladder.

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Brigitte Mars

Brigitte Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over 40 years. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Boulder College of Massage, and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts and has a private practice. Brigitte is the author of 12 books, including Rawsome!. Find more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos, workshops, books, and more at Also check out her international model yogini daughter, Rainbeau at


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2:24PM PDT on Oct 17, 2013

Very interesting - thank you

4:37AM PDT on Sep 4, 2013

Thank you for this information

8:11PM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

When you get your chia seeds from Lifemax under the brand name Mila, storage is not an issue due to the high amount of antioxidants

1:20AM PDT on Apr 19, 2013


9:15AM PDT on Apr 8, 2013

Very informative and valuable page out here. Never heard of this kind of seed before. To know more about germinating seeds? click here

6:21AM PST on Jan 9, 2013

Thank you Brigitte, for Sharing this!

5:23AM PST on Nov 22, 2012

Thanks great information .

5:33AM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

Thanks for the info.

5:06AM PST on Nov 25, 2011

Thanks for the article.

4:28PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

good information. I eat chia seeds, but didn't realize about soaking them. thank you.

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