Morgan Botanicals

  (Loveland, Colorado)
Herbal Information and Recipes
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Crazy About Chia!

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Chia is often found growing on sunny hillsides, disturbed fields, prairies, and plains throughout the West and often after fires. This member of the sage family (Salvia columbariae) is very aromatic and worth growing. Chia will grow anywhere from 6- 24 inches tall and will have as many as 5 flower heads per stalk. The leaves are opposite, mostly basal and up to 4 inches long.

Seeds of this plant and the related species, S. mexicana, were an important food to the Indians and early settlers. These seeds are not only nutritious but easily digested. Some Indian tribes believed that a tablespoon of chia seed would give a warrior enough energy to go on a 24-hour forced march. When moistened, the seeds become mucilaginous and can be used to calm an upset stomach or made into poultices for topical wounds. If placed under the eyelid before retiring, this will help clean dirt from the eyes.

I think chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods known to man, and besides providing an enormous amount of energy, they are high in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and calcium.  These seeds are a good option for a child or adolescent, the pregnant women, vegetarian, or athletes and weight lifters who need that extra protein in their diet.

So what to do with all these Chia seeds you wonder? Well, Chia can be eaten raw, sprouted, roasted, or ground as a mush or as flour for bread. I mix them into meat loaf, breads and smoothies. One of my favorite ways to use them though is as a popular drink in Mexico called Agua de chia or Chia Seed Water. Here a great recipe to try at home.

Agua de Chia

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 2 quarts pure water
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime or lemon juice, or to taste
  • A sprinkling of powdered cinnamon

1. Soak chia seeds in water until they soften and take on a spongy consistency.

2. Sweeten the 2 quarts of water with the sugar, stirring to dissolve, and add the chia seeds and citrus juice.

2. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve chilled.

 -Enjoy!

Find Chia seeds in my Local Harvest Store. 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

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Comments:

Hi Morgan:
I grow chia seeds and I know they are good for sprouts .I did try them so.But I want to know if eating the green leaves and flowers is OK?
I am starting my fall season and need to exchange some local florida harvest with you .Is that possible?
Let me know what you need from florida and I will let you knoe what seed s I need from your end>Is that fair?
tony

Posted by tony on September 24, 2009 at 09:54 AM PDT #

Hi Tony- Sorry about the delayed reply.
As far as I'm aware the nutritional content of chia is in the seeds. I eat chia sprouts, but I have never eaten the full grown leaves or blossoms. I know chia leaf (fresh or dried) and blossom tea is used as a blood cleanser and tonic, for fevers, pain relief, arthritis, respiratory problems, mouth ulcers, diabetes, diarrhea, gargle, to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and to strengthen the nervous system.
As far as a cooked greens or salads- I haven't found much relevant information for use in food other than sprouts. I encourage any other comments and information relevant to this topic.

Take care-Jessica Morgan

Posted by Jessica -Morgan Botanicals on September 30, 2009 at 09:59 AM PDT #

hi guys,
mayan villages in the Yucatan eat chia leaves, sauteed or steamed to soften the prickly stems before eating. two common recipes are scrambled eggs with chia, and chia cut up real thin and mixed into tortilla dough. they believe the leaves do have a number of vitamins, although i haven't seen any exact studies.
buen provecho,
lauren--austin, tx

Posted by lauren on February 28, 2010 at 10:08 PM PST #

Beware of the so so informed. Chia leaves are toxic that is why the Maya eat the leaves steamed. The hairs on the stems (unless you have the hairless variety) can be a bit of an irritant. These are the physical properties of the plant. With that said, chia has many minerals and vitamins, like magnesium, very high in vitamin C.

Posted by ed on May 24, 2010 at 07:11 AM PDT #

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