National Public Radio (NPR) recently interviewed Dr. Catherine Ulbricht, Founder and CEO of Natural Standard, about the available scientific evidence on chia.
Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) is a plant that belongs to the Lamiaceae (mint) family. Chia is believed to have come from Central America where the chia seed was considered a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. Native Americans in the southwestern United States used the seeds of a related plant, "golden chia" or Salva columbariae. People in China and other countries use the roots of another relative, "dan shen" or Salvia miltiorrhiza, for medicinal purposes.
In the article, "Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia: Not Just A Potted Pet. Now It's Health Food," Elana Gordon discussed the increased interest in chia throughout the United States.
"If you look at chia as an isolated product, the scientific data that's available is comparably lacking," Dr. Ulbricht told NPR.
Chia is often promoted for its high omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 content. Animal studies suggest that chia may lower blood cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoproteins or "bad" cholesterol), and triglycerides while increasing HDL (high density lipoproteins or "good" cholesterol). Chia may also have anti-cancer activity. However, studies in humans are limited.
To read the full article, please visit www.npr.org.
For more information about chia, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.