Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. The 16th-century Codex Mendoza provides evidence that it was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times; economic historians have suggested it was as important as maize as a food crop.
Ground or whole chia seeds are still used in Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico and Guatemala for nutritious drinks and as a food source. Chia seed is harvested in mid to late summer and is the world's richest source of Omega-3 EFA's. Chia is also rich in calcium, anti-oxidants, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Chia, is familiar to most of us as a seed used for the novelty of the Chia Pet, clay animals with sprouted Chia seeds covering their bodies. Little is known, however, of the seeds tremendous nutritional value and medicinal properties. For centuries this tiny little seed was used as a staple food by the Indians of the south west and Mexico. Known as the running food, its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the ancient Aztecs.