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Salvia hispanica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Salvia
Species: S. hispanica
Binomial name
Salvia hispanica
L., 1753[1]

Salvia hispanica, commonly known as Chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, that is native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.[1] It was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times, and was so valued that it was given as an annual tribute by the people to the rulers. It is still widely used in Mexico and South America, with the seeds ground for nutritious drinks and as a food source.[2] It is also used for chia pet planters.

Contents

Growth

Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food that is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, since the seeds yield 25-30% extractable oil, mostly α-linolenic acid (ALA). It also is a source of antioxidants and a variety of amino acids.[2]

Etymology

The word chia is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily.[1] The present Mexican state of Chiapas received its name from the Nahuatl "chia water or river."

Botany

Chia is an annual herb growing to 1 m (3.3 ft) tall, with opposite leaves 4–8 cm (1.6–3.1 in) long and 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) broad. Its flowers are purple or white and are produced in numerous clusters in a spike at the end of each stem.[3]

Seeds

Chia seeds are typically small ovals with a diameter of about 1 mm (0.039 in). They are mottle-colored with brown, gray, black and white. Chia seeds typically contain 20% protein, 34% oil, 25% dietary fiber (mostly soluble with high molecular weight), and significant levels of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonols). The oil from chia seeds contains a very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acid — approximately 64%.[4] Chia seeds contain no gluten and trace levels of sodium.[5]

Chia seed is traditionally consumed in Mexico, the southwestern United States, and South America, but is not widely known in Europe. Historically, chia seeds served as a staple food of the Nahua (Aztec) cultures of Central Mexico. Jesuit chroniclers referred to chia as the third most important crop to the Aztecs behind only maize and beans, and ahead of amaranth. Tribute and taxes to the Aztec priesthood and nobility were often paid in chia seed.[3][6]

Today, chia is grown commercially in its native Mexico, and in Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador and Guatemala. In 2008, Australia was the world's largest producer of chia.[7] A similar species, golden chia, is used in the same way but not widely grown commercially. Salvia hispanica seed is marketed most often under its common name "Chia," but also under several trademarks, including "Sachia," "Anutra," "Chia Sage," "Salba," "Tresalbio," and "Mila".

In 2009, the European Union approved chia seeds as a novel food, allowing them to comprise up to 5% of a bread product's total matter.[8]

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Food preparation

Chia seed may be eaten raw as a dietary fiber and omega-3 supplement. Ground chia seed is sometimes added to pinole, a coarse flour made from toasted maize kernels. Chia seeds soaked in water or fruit juice is also often consumed and is known in Mexico as chia fresca. The soaked seeds are gelatinous in texture and are used in gruels, porridges and puddings. Ground chia seed is used in baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits.

Chia sprouts are used in a similar manner as alfalfa sprouts in salads, sandwiches and other dishes. Chia sprouts are sometimes grown on porous clay figurines which has led to the popular U.S. cultural icon of the Chia Pet.

References

  1. ^ a b "Salvia hispanica L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2000-04-19. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?313893. Retrieved 2010-01-04.  
  2. ^ a b Kintzios, Spiridon E. (2000). Sage: The Genus Salvia. CRC Press. ISBN 9789058230058. http://books.google.com/books?id=iE7-nuI9S7UC&pg=PA17.  
  3. ^ a b Anderson, A.J.O. and Dibble, C.E. "An Ethnobiography of the Nahuatl", The Florentine Codex, (translation of the work by Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún), Books 10-11, from the Period 1558-1569
  4. ^ http://sofa.bfel.de/ Seed Oil Fatty Acids - SOFA Database Retrieval
  5. ^ Ayerza, Ricardo and Coates, Wayne "Chia - rediscovering a forgotten crop of the Aztecs" The University of Arizona Press (2005)
  6. ^ Cahill, Joseph, "Ethnobotany of Chia, Salvia hispanica L.(Lamiaceae), Economic Botany 57(4) pp. 604-618 (2003)
  7. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/rural/content/2008/s2367335.htm
  8. ^ Starling, Shane (2009-11-27). "Chia EU novel foods approval beckons bread deals". NUTRAIngredients.com (Decision News Media SAS). http://www.nutraingredients.com/Regulation/Chia-EU-novel-foods-approval-beckons-bread-deals. Retrieved 2009-01-04.  

External links


Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Nepetoideae
Tribus: Mentheae
Genus: Salvia
Species: Salvia hispanica

Name

Salvia hispanica L.

Reference

Species Plantarum 1:25. 1753

Vernacular names


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