Many of the plants cultivated under this name are in fact Salvia lavandulifolia[
Kiosmina hispanica (L.) Raf.
Salvia chia Sessé & Moc.
Salvia neohispanica Briq.
Salvia prysmatica Cav.
Salvia schiedeana Stapf
Salvia tetragona Moench
Common Name: Mexican Chia
Salvia hispanica is a rather stout, erect annual plan with a simple or sparsely branched stem; it usually grows up to 100cm tall[
Mexican Chia is known to have been in cultivation by the Aztecs as a food crop before the Spanish invasion - the plant is still widely cultivated at the present day for its edible seed in Mexico and Guatemala[
]. The plant also yields an oil and has a number of local medicinal applications.
Southern S. America - Ecuador, Colombia; C. America - Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, north to southern Mexico
Moist or dry thickets or open, often rocky slopes or fields, sometimes on sandbars along streams, often a weed in cultivated or waste ground, sometimes in open oak forest at elevations from 1,150 - 2,500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating
Requires a light to medium well-drained fertile soil in a warm sunny position[
Martinez reports that in Mexico 1 ,000 - 3,000 kilos of the seeds may be produced per hectare[
The flowers are much visited by bees[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
The seeds are a popular and versatile source of food, being used to make drinks, as a source of oil, to make a flour for bread and biscuits, as well as the various ways in wih thet are eaten in salads, stews etc[
When the 'seeds' or nutlets are soaked in water they swell somewhat in the same way as tapioca, developing a thick outer mucilaginous coat[
]. When these soaked seeds are stirred or mashed in water, they form a beverage of an agreeable flavour and mucilaginous consistency that is a popular refreshing drink in Mexico and Guatemala, being drunk either at the table or at refreshment stands[
]. It is sometimes offered on the table at hotels[
]. The drink can be flavoured with fruit juices[
]. The gelled seeds can also be prepared as a gruel or pudding[
The sprouted seeds are eaten in salads, sandwiches, soups, stews etc[
]. Due to their mucilaginous property they are often sprouted on clay or other porous materials before being eaten[
The seed can be ground into a meal and made into bread, biscuits, cakes etc, usually in a mix with cereal flours[
]. The seed is a good source of protein and easily digested fats[
A nutritious oil is obtained from the seed[
]. It can be used for cooking[
]. Rich in linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids, the oil has been recommended as a health supplement[
The following notes are for the related Salvia columbariae. They almost certainly also apply to this species[
The seed is digestive, disinfectant, febrifuge and ophthalmic[
]. An infusion can be used in the treatment of fevers[
]. A poultice of the seed mush can be applied to infections[
The seeds have been kept in the mouth, and chewed during long journeys on foot, in order to give strength[
The seeds have been used to cleanse the eyes or remove foreign matter from the eyes[
]. No more information is given here, but in other instances the seed has been placed in the eye, it then forms a gelatinous covering to which any foreign matter in the eye adheres. The seed is washed out of the eye by the eyes own tears[
The seeds contain 28 - 36% of an oil which is yellowish and becomes lighter in colour upon exposure to light. It is a drying oil and is used commonly in Guatemala as a paint dryer[
]. In Mexico it is used by some of the native peoples in painting jicaras the cups made from Crescentia fruits and probably it is utilized in the same manner in Guatemala[
The powdered seed is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as an abrasive[
The oil extracted from the seeds is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a moisturiser and skin conditioner[
An essential oil obtained from leaves is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a perfume[
Seed - sow in situ. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks.
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