* Height: 18 to 24"
* Germination: 7 days
* It's one of the easiest and healthiest plants to grow. It has beautiful blue flowers.
* How to Use Chia Seeds and Leaves:
- Chia Sprouts:
Sprouting chia seeds increases their vitamin content and makes them even more nutritious. Just like sprouted alfalfa and mung beans, chia sprouts are a great addition to a salad. Place the chia seeds in a tray and moisten them with water. Cover the tray and keep it at a temperature of 24-29 degrees C for about four days or until they reach 1/2", the usual size for eating.
- Chia Leaves:
Sow seed on surface of compost and gently firm down compost. Keep soil damp but not wet. Do not exclude light, sealing in a polythene bag after sowing is helpful. Prefer dry soil and should not be watered regularly unless drought conditions persist. Transplant and spacing them 12-15" apart after 4-6 weeks.
Harvest fresh leaves as soon as the plant reaches a height of 6".
The leaves, fresh or dried, make a relaxing and therapeutic tea. Chia tea has traditionally been used for fevers and pain relief, to relieve arthritis and respiratory problems, as a gargle for mouth ulcers and sore throats, and to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Chia Seeds:
Chia requires a long growing season to produce flowers and seed. If seed heads do mature, pick them when they start to turn dry and spread them out away from direct sunlight to dry completely. Thresh them to remove the seed, and store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Chia seeds are a very high source of linolenic acid (LNA) and linoleic acid (LA). Both these essential fatty acids attract oxygen and help cell membranes to be flexible and fluid, plus strengthen our immune system to help protect our bodies from viruses, bacteria, and allergies.
Most people's diets are dangerously low in essential fatty acids, which results in tired muscles, fatigue, and a range of health problems. We need to eat EFAs daily because the human body cannot manufacture them. If your diet includes a lot of refined oils and processed foods, you are most at risk.
EFAs, such as those found in chia, can assist with weight loss and removal of toxins from the body.
Enzymes in chia also help with digestion of other foods.