Salvia Hispanica; Benefits and Side Effects

The second name for salvia hispanica is chia, which is the one more famously known, making it more clear know what are the different benefits and side effects that salvia hispanica could deliver. The salvia hispanica plant might not be much known among people with that name, making them always confused about the different benefits that it carries and how much it might be considered different from chia seeds. There are different benefits for salvia hispanica, whether it is the fiber that helps people in losing weight, or the omega-3 fatty acids that help in preventing and dealing with different types of diseases; the salvia or the chia plant, should be added to your diet plan for a better health results.

What is Salvia Hispanica?

Salvia Hispanica is also known as chia plant or chia seed; this plant comes from the mint family and is a flower plant which is native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala. Being used in its different forms; ground and whole, chia seeds are grown in Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, and Guatemala, for the different benefits that it delivers to the body, and is used in different nutritious drinks as well as a source of food.

Back in the pre-Columbian times, salvia hispanica was used by the Aztecs and was highly appreciated by them for the different benefits it used to provide them with. The Aztecs used chia seeds as a medicine, for gaining energy, and they even valued them and considered them sacred since they used to sacrifice them in their religious ceremonies. Being so much appreciated and valued in the religious ceremonies back in the old times, made the Spanish ruin them all when they conquered Mexico.

The salvia hispanica plant made a tribe in Mexico, known as Tarahumara, famous for their runners who used to depend on them in order to gain energy and run for longer distances without losing their energy or becoming tired too soon.

Salvia Hispanica Health Benefits

Salvia hispanica is just another name for chia seeds, so when the benefits of salvia hispanica are mentioned, it means that the benefits of chia seeds are the ones being talked about. Chia seeds are filled with different nutrients such as fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and calcium, and every single one of these nutrients or minerals carries its effects and benefits to the body.

Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, protein, essential acids, and they are also high in some minerals like sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and manganese. These seeds are famously known to be the richest when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, but they also carry omega-6, and both help in balancing the body and supporting the immune, cardiovascular, reproductive, and nervous system.

The most important thing to mention about chia seeds before going deep into their benefits is that they do not carry oestrogen, which means that they do not mess with the body’s natural balance.

  • It Energizes the Body

The Aztecs used to depend on chia seed (salvia hispanica) in order to heal themselves and to gain more energy, so the first most important benefit of salvia hispanica is gaining more energy. Chia seeds contain balanced amounts of fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and fats, which could give the person the needed amount of energy for 24 hours by one tablespoon only. The word “chia” in the Mayan language means strength, and this shows how much chia and energy gain are related to one another.

  • It Helps in Weight Loss

The second most famous thing known about chia seed, or seeds in general, is the helping hand they offer for those who are trying to lose some weight and maintain their overall shape and appearance. In addition to the fiber that gives people the chance to eat less by making them filled up for longer hours, salvia hispanica is also known for the omega-3 fatty acids that it carries which helps in boosting metabolism and promoting lean muscle mass.

  • It Supports Heart Health

The essential fatty acids found in the salvia hispanica seeds, omega-3 and omega-6, are both important when it comes to the health of the heart. One of the most important essential acids found in omega-3 is the alpha linolenic acid, and all these help in lowering the blood pressure. The essential fatty acids cannot by synthesized by the body and that is why it is important to provide the body with them in order to support the immune, cardiovascular, nervous, and reproductive systems.

  • It Maintains Blood Sugar

Salvia hispanica carries soluble fiber, which helps in stabilizing blood glucose levels, resulting in steady and sustained energy. Chia seeds, or salvia hispanica seeds, also play a great role when it comes to slowing down the rate at which the complex carbohydrates are digested and then assimilated into the body.

  • It Empowers the Brain

There were several studies done on pregnant women in order to know whether eating chia seeds is dangerous for them or not, and although they still did not reach a final decision about that, salvia hispanica is considered healthy for pregnant women and even those who are breastfeeding because it helps in the brain development of their child. The essential fatty acids found in salvia hispanica are not only delivered for the child, but they are also important for making the cell membranes more flexible, the efficient making nutrients more available, and nerve transmission more efficient. All this helps in improving the function of the brain, including the memory and the concentration factors.

  • It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Chia seeds can help in reducing inflammation since the high amount of omega-3 found in it helps in lubricating the joints and keeping them supple. In addition to that, omega-3s are converted into prostaglandins which are important for relieving pain and anti-inflammatory effects.

  • It Detoxifies and Eliminates

Last but not least, another good benefit about salvia hispanica is the ability it carries to cleanse and soothe the colon due to its ability to swell inside the body, and this is in addition to absorbing toxins while lubricating and strengthening peristaltic action.

Salvia Hispanica Side Effects

Counting the different benefits that salvia hispanica carries should never stop you from counting the different side effects that it might also deliver to your body especially if you did not pay much attention to the amounts that you are eating. This supernatural food has some disadvantages to pay attention to:

  • It Might Be Allergic

If you are one of those who might have some allergies from specific types of seeds then you should watch out, because they might turn out to be allergic to chia seeds as well. Allergic reactions to chia protein are possible, and it is also cross-reactive in people who are allergic to sesame and mustard seeds.

  • It Might Interact with Some Drugs

There are specific health conditions that ban people from eating or consuming chia seeds, such as those who are taking medication for their low blood pressure because it might increase the risk of bleeding with blood thinners, such as warfarin. Salba seed, which is a type of chia, may lower the blood pressure and thus should be always taken with much care with those who might be taking heart medications because it might turn to be addictive with them. Salvia hispanica might also affect the way in which the liver breaks down some drugs.

  • It Might Interact with Dietary Supplements and Herbs

In addition to the interactions that chia seeds might have with some drugs and medical conditions, it might also interact with dietary supplements as well as some herbs. According to research, salvia hispanica might interact with herbs and supplements that have anti-clotting activity. Those who are taking supplements or herbs that lower the blood pressure or have other effects on the heart should always watch out when they are consuming salba seeds because they lower the blood pressure as well.

Smoking Salvia Hispanica

One of the most dangerous uses of salvia hispanica is when people use it like hashish and start smoking it. The reason behind the appearance of this smoking idea came from salvia being legal in different countries around the world. Smoking salvia is considered an act that people do in order to put themselves in that high state of mind, but it carries different dangerous effects to the mind and body as well.

  • It Affects the Body Physically

Salvia contains a substance known as Salvinorin-A, which has its psychoactive side effects on people. From the different reported side effects appearing from smoking salvia; there are those who see bright lights in a motion like effects, those who become unable to move or function until the height of the drug is tapered off – which might actually take 30 minutes, and there are others who report being able to move in one direction only with the other part of their bodies not functioning. The worst part about smoking salvia hispanica is the fearful side effects that occur when the drug starts to wear off, since some of them may thrash or appear to have seizure-like symptoms in which they may run into walls and injure themselves with not feeling of pain.

  • It Might Turn into Addiction

One of the advises always given to those consuming chia seeds in general is to have breaks between adding them to their diet plans because it might turn into an addiction. Smoking salvia is another story, although it is still not added to the list of drugs being addictive, next to PCP, heroine, and cocaine; those who had a good drug experience after smoking salvia, might start to use it again and thus get addicted to it.

  • It Might Have Psychiatric Dangers

In addition to the physical symptoms related to salvia smoking, there are other psychiatric dangers related to it. For those who might have suffered before from mental illnesses might experience a relapse or induced psychosis from taking salvia, since it is known to re-trigger panic attacks, schizophrenia relapses, and borderline personality traits. Going back to these psychiatric related issues will lead to the appearance of suicidal thoughts for those dealing with the issue, in addition to depression, anti-social acts, fighting, anger, and uncontrollable crying to the surface. Some of these symptoms might start to subside when the effect of salvia wears off, but for some people, it can trigger a relapse due to certain memories or parts of the brain that are stimulated by the drug.

Salvia hispanica – or the chia seeds – carry different benefits for the body, but in addition to knowing the dose that you are supposed to take per day, it is also important to know the different uses of salvia which might take you to a totally different direction with several other side effects, just like the case with smoking salvia hispanica. 

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