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Salvia hispanica - L.

Common Name Mexican Chia, Chia
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known
Range Southern N. America - C. Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Salvia hispanica Mexican Chia, Chia

Salvia hispanica Mexican Chia, Chia


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Salvia hispanica is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed
Edible Uses: Drink

When soaked in water, the seeds form a gelatinous mass which is flavoured with fruit juices and consumed as a cooling drink[183, 200]. The gelled seeds can also be prepared as a gruel or pudding[183]. The sprouted seeds are eaten in salads, sandwiches, soups, stews etc[183]. Due to their mucilaginous property they are often sprouted on clay or other porous materials[183]. The seed can be ground into a meal and made into bread, biscuits, cakes etc, usually in a mix with cereal flours[183]. The seed is a good source of protein and easily digested fats[274].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a light to medium well-drained fertile soil in a warm sunny position[200]. Plants are not very frost tolerant but can be grown as summer annuals in Britain[200]. This species is widely cultivated for its edible seed in Mexico. Many of the plants cultivated under this name are in fact S. lavandulifolia[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow March/April in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant out in late spring or early summer. The seed can also be sown in situ during April/May, though this sowing might not mature its seed in a cool summer[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Ricardo Ayerza (h)   Sun Mar 24 12:28:19 2002

Link: eatchia scientific chia page

José Waizel-Bucay   Fri Jul 22 01:28:23 2005

With the seeds elaborate refreshing beverage in Mexico & Medicinal uses: "Bile", laxative.

Peter Coletti   Wed Mar 1 2006

The March 2006 Satuday Evening Post had a page on this plant referencing the seed usage medicinally. It is called Salba. You don't seem to be aware of it or else do not crdeit the information. Which is it?

Jo Ann   Sun Apr 16 2006

I looked for more info re Salvia Hispanica 4.16.06 because of an article I found at http://www.serve.com/BatonRouge/n3favet.htm that says it is a palatable source of Omega 3. It further annotates studies showing health benefits of consuming Salvia hispanica. It lists one medical drawback--something about pyridoxine.

http://www.serve.com/BatonRouge/n3favet.htm focus on veterinary benefits to animal diets w/salvia h.

david nicholls   Mon Jun 12 2006

Medicinal uses? The Kings Seed catalogue(a great New Zealand Company(I am not affiliated with)) says S.hispanica as a sprouting seed is said to increase energy, reduce hunger(!)and cause feelings of well-being. They give no references Sounds too good to be true but maybe worth further investigation.

david nicholls   Tue Jun 13 2006

Since writing the last message someone intersted in dieting has pointed out to me that the above medicinal benefits can probably be explained by the high protein content. Probably obvious to many people.

Phaedar O'Tyrrell   Sun Aug 20 2006

In a British study, made to satisfy a Committe charged with safeguarding inclusive food products, there is excellent research and discussion regarding chis.

Unknown Good resource regarding the human consumption study and more

anon   Tue Oct 17 2006

Dr. Weil on Chia aka Salvia Hispanica aka Salba http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA365093 href="http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/issues/2005/1112/print7370809.shtml" Seeds Of Wellness: Return Of A Supergrain | Saturday Evening Post The Aztec civilization may never rise again, but part of its ancient legacy may be a gift of better health to those who have rediscovered the secret of its prized "running food."

   Sat Nov 4 2006

Jo Ann thanks for the link, but the drawback references made to pyridoxine is about flax, not about chia.

Ed peters   Thu Apr 26 2007

question is can we buy seed for Salvia Hispanica L and what is the average yield per mature plant. I live in SW florida where we sometimes can get 2 to 3 growing seasons

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Wed May 9 2007

I'm not sure what yields are for this species, but the seeds can be obtained from B&T World seeds. Thier website is at http://www.b-and-t-world-seeds.com/.

Gene Abernathy   Sun Apr 22 2007

Gene Abe April 21, 2007 Go to http://www.911healthshop.com/salba.html (I have no connected interests with it) for a promotional piece about Salba seeds, a super grain resulting from selective propigation of selected white Chia seeds. The piece gives a good brief history of Chia along with info on Salba as the modern offspring of Chia. Sounds as if modern Salba, by way of ancient Chia, might be one of the most nutritionally powerful natural foods ever. (Other than the fruit of the Tree of Life in The Garden of Eden which has been denied us since Adam and Eve were evicted.)

Salba Super Grain Info on Salba and history of Chia. Sells Salba but I have no connection whatever.

anon   Fri Oct 13 2006

Dr. Weil on Chia aka Salvia Hispanica aka Salba http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA365093

Seeds Of Wellness: Return Of A Supergrain | Saturday Evening Post The Aztec civilization may never rise again, but part of its ancient legacy may be a gift of better health to those who have rediscovered the secret of its prized "running food."

Mitch Allen   Wed Jun 13 2007

Apparently there is a more nutrient dense varietal strain of the Salvia Hispanica Plant grown in Peru. It is called Salba, and it seems to be getting much press in the U.S. and Canada. Seems to be alot of strong response with regard to its nutritional properties and performance. Much information available at www.salbausa.com

SalbaUSA More information on a specific variety of Salvia Hispanica

David Herrmann   Tue Jun 19 2007

Has anyone found conclusive proof that Salba, a registered trade mark name for the white chia seed, is actually significantly better than any other variety for consumption? The USDA has a link to two researchers with mention of a site in Florida. There names are Dr. Richard Wunderlin or Dr. Bruce Hansen © 2006 Institute for Systematic Botany

USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Margaret Conover, Ph.D.   Wed Jul 18 2007

Chia is an excellent subject for school science experiments. Its history is fascinating. More information is available at the following website

Chia Power Advocating chia seeds for "food and fun."

yves   Sun Sep 9 2007

You can get seed at http://chiaseedandoil.com/ . 1.5lb bag for 9$ Sold for consumption but the seeds are viable.

clement   Wed Sep 12 2007

how long does it take to mature?

JOSE CUEVAS   Sun Dec 2 2007

CHIA or CHIAN as the Aztecs Called it (Salvia Hispanica) originary from MEXICO,and CENTRAL AMERICA is a highly nutritious, rich OMEGA-3 content seed. Omega-3 (ALPHA LINOLENIC ACID ALA 18:3)Of CHIA (Salvia Hispanica) which later develops by biosyntesis in the body into long chain OMEGA-3 type (EPA, DHA), can provide 62% of its total volume in OMEGA-3. Making CHIA the highest level source of NATURAL (NOT ANIMAL) OMEGA-3. Actually we have been marketing CHIA OIL in Mexico for 2 years with excellent results in lowering Cholesterol and Tryglicerides levels in many users. Many people solved their Diabetic Feet problem, or inflamatory conditions like Arthritis. However, CHIA should not be praised only because of its therapeutic properties, but also as a basic NUTRIENT for all the family: Children and Adults should be ingesting a min. of 2,2 g. of OMEGA-3 per day according to the WHO, which is easily accomplished with only 4 ml. of CHIA OIL per day. Besides CHIA OIL has a very delicious taste and combines with all sorts of foods and recipes. For further information please check my web page: www.fuentenatura.com sorry, Spanish only. But you can write me in English, French, Portuguese, Japanese or Spanish to: [email protected] in Mexico. Best regards Jose Cuevas (Mr.) Fuentenatura Aviñon 47,Villa Verdun Mexico City, 01810 Mexico www.fuentenatura.com Ph. +5255-5635-0481 Fx. 3026

Fuentenatura Specialized Site in Salvia Hispanica: CHIA only Spanish (Mexico)

Zoltan Roman   Wed Dec 5 2007

I have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, with permanent atrial fibrillation. For this reason I must take Warfarin (Coumadin). As chia /Salba seems to thin blood, this may be a problem. Could you refer me to a study where I can get more information on this aspect of the seed? Many thanks. Zoltan Roman

joy Veazey   Sun Feb 10 2008

Being that salba is a grain does anyone know if it is tolerated by gluten intolerant people?

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Sun Feb 10 2008

Although salba is an edible seed, it is not a grain in the sense that grain usually refers to the seeds of various grasses - the cereals such as wheat and oats. Whilst many cereals do contain gluten, salba is completely gluten-free and suitable for people with a gluten intolerance.

Jeffrey R Savoie   Sat Aug 9 2008

I am looking for more information on growing and harvesting salvia hispanica. Is there a thorough growing guide with fertilization recomendatios? We have the proper soils & are about 60 miles north of Champaign, Illinois

   Thu Aug 14 2008

Salba costs more and it is not any better, just all one color.

Frank Fernandez   Sun Sep 21 2008

Salvia Hispanica is gluten free. There are many resources online, and although this is a month late, and you probably have your answer,I feel anyone else onlooking may be interested. Now I have a question, does anyone know of a place I could find information on growing these perhaps in Florida? I'm new to gardening but am really intrigued, I bought a book and have been looking up information, but for beginners it seems that the internet is not gardener friendly, and this kind of disturbs me.

Frank Fernandez   Mon Sep 22 2008

I almost forgot to mention, there is proof in a lot of places on the web that Salba is indeed NOT any better, and it may be true that the wild 'black' seed is the better one. They simply interbred white varieties of the seed until they got a fully white seed. It has no added benefit to the normal ones, and in many cases is actually not as good. I'm not a botanist, but last I found the proof here, there are many other websites that prove it, look up white vs black chia seeds. http://buychiagrain.com/signature_grain_faq.htm#q8

Sean Hannigan   Sun Oct 12 2008

More important than the color of the seed, it appears that climate, rainfall, soil conditions, altitude, latitude and agronomic practices all contribute to the quality of the seed. A company called LifeMax produces a product called MILA™ that is reported to be better than other forms of Salvia hispanica L. out there. MILA is a mixture of the best seed which has been selected since they were grown under the most favorable conditions and in locations which achieve the highest quality and nutritional value. Combining that with enhanced processing technology, LifeMax assures maximum nutritional absorption. More importantly, to me at least, since MILA can only be grown in limited supply! The mission of LifeMax is to change the health of the world and whatever seed does not make the production cut is utilized in many different channels of distribution to achieve that mission. Read more about MILA at http://mykindofgrain.com

My Kind of Grain Introducing the Miracle Seed

Don Pooley   Mon Nov 10 2008

What's the difference between MILA and Salba?

Colin Coombe   Wed Nov 19 2008

Hi I live in Durban South Africa.Is seed available in this country? If not where could I get seed ? Colin

david n   Wed Nov 19 2008

If you can't find it in SA, B and T World Seed have it, they have the worlds largest seed catalogue , and do international orders on line. www.b-and-t-world-seeds.com

Frank Fernandez   Fri Nov 21 2008

Please don't advertise for companies that attempt to call their version of Salvia the best guys, there has been no medical proof documented for any of these groups that claim so, so all you're really doing is spreading their marketing tactics.

cleve magill   Fri Jan 2 2009

this sounds really great,but is there anyreal proof that it really is as beneficial as everyone seems to think.i have nearly all the symptoms mentioned it will help,my legs burn all the time from nuropathy and bad circulation in feet. .irratable bowl sendrome,fatigue,and many more.sounds to good to be true.but God said all the medicine we need is in the plants that he provided.sure sounds like one.dont want to spend more money on something else that doesnt work the way they say.

healthywarrior   Thu Jan 8 2009

There are many people her that post without doing their research. I assure you that Salba is more superior to generic or common chia because it jas indeed been proven in human clinical study. There was a study published in the November 2007 issue of Diabetes Care which shows absolutely that the Salba varieties were proven to lower cardiovascular risk factors in Type 2 Diabetes - the plain and simple fact is that no other variety has been proven to do this. I know beacuase I have tried many cheaper versions with sub-standard results. I suggest you contact Salba for a copy of the study! All you have to do is take alook around and you can see who backs their product and its efficacy.


Julie Bayer   Thu Feb 5 2009

I'm interested in planting salvia hispanica in my garden. How and where can I order seeds? Please help

Margaret   Mon Feb 23 2009

You can purchase edible chia seed online or through a health food store. This seed will grow. However, if you garden in a temperate climate (outside the subtropics) it is unlikely that your plants will complete their life cycle and produce seeds before the first frost.

Growing Chia seed @ www.chiativity.org A collection of links and notes for growing chia seeds.

Terry   Mon Mar 9 2009

I have used both Salba and Chia seeds. I live in Toronto and winter in B Barbados. I have planted Salba seeds, about 3 months ago; and have about 60 plants varing from plants from 4 in. to 4 ft. Some have small flowers and seed pods. Others are tall and no flower seeds. How do I harvest the green not ripe pods ?

Darcy Crary   Wed Apr 29 2009

I have Crohn's Disease and cannot eat anything made from a grain, such as wheat. Therefore, I must grind to a powder nuts in order to make cookies, etc. tha t would normally be made with regular flour. So, I need to know is the Salba seed oil okay for people with Crohn's Disease. Thank you, Darcy Crary

Margaret   Sat May 2 2009

It is usually certified gluten free.


Camar A. Umpa   Wed May 13 2009

I want to grow Salvia Hispanica L in the Philippines but most seed outlets in the United States, Canada do not ship to the Philippines. I have a credit card and want to charge it but the addresses to whom shipments can be sent to do not include the Philippines. Anyone out there can help me? Thank you.

david   Wed May 13 2009

You could try B and T world seeds (b-and-t-world-seeds.com) I don't know if they will ship to the Phillipines but they have seed of this plant and are the worlds largest international supplier of seed, based in England, it's possible they can tell you where to look if they cant supply to you.

may   Tue Sep 1 2009

can this be helpful in patients with polycystic ovaries? i wanted to know if this can be of great help.

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