Manataka American Indian Council

Proudly Presents

 

EARTH and HERBAL MEDICINE

 

Salba:

A Mystery of Energy and Power

 

Salba is a variety of ancient plant species belonging to the mint family called Chia. Its botanical name is Salvia hispanica L.

The brilliant Aztecs used Chia to sustain them on long and arduous hunting and trading expeditions and in battle. Runners would relay messages throughout their immense kingdom relying on it for their only source of nourishment.

The History of Salba
When the Conquistadors under the command of Hernando Cortez arrived in Mexico on November 8, 1519, they sought to establish their own rule by subjugating and plundering the legendary nation of the Aztecs. Cortez quickly realized that the grain Chia was at the very core of the Aztec nutritional foundation. It was an integral part of the rich and mysterious ceremonial pageants that were vital to their religious and spiritual culture. Chia in essence, became a symbol of life itself. The Aztecs believed it gave them mystical, almost supernatural energy and power. During the Conquistadors relentless campaign of terror and oppression, Cortez was convinced that if he could destroy Chia, he would win the empire and become master of all he surveyed. Acre upon acre of Chia was then set ablaze and a brutal battle of wills had begun, a battle that would eventually bring the Aztecs to their knees, leaving the magnificent “Kingdom of Gold” in ruins.

After the Spanish conquest of Mexico, Chia seeds were probably introduced to Spain around 1521. It was famed botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) who gave Chia the botanical name Salvia hispanica L. Chia was by this time growing wild in Spain and was mistakenly classified as a species native to that country. The Latin word for Spain is hispanica.

Now, after almost 500 years, Chia has emerged once again – reborn as Salba.

The Origin of Salba
Rooted in the past, rediscovered for the future, Salba is the culmination of almost 15 years of traditional plant breeding solely using Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) The first experimental plots for Salba were started in 1991 in Argentina by Adolfo and Alfredo Mealla. By painstakingly sorting out the few white grains from the mostly black grain Chia plant and replanting them, they were able not only to produce a primarily white grain, but amazingly the overall nutrient density of the Chia itself was greatly enhanced. Adolfo decided that this new grain should be honored with its own name. Thus Salba™ was born. The word "Salba" is a combination of Chia’s botanical name "Salvia hispanica L." and the Latin name for white, "Alba". The Mealla brothers would now embark on their long, concentrated effort of plant research that would span nearly 15 years. By 1994 they had successfully introduced Salba in Colombia and in 1997 further experimental crops were planted in Bolivia and Peru. Now in 2004, most of our Salba is grown under controlled conditions in Peru because of its ideal climate and pristine environment. Peru is home to the spectacular Amazon Basin and one of the last bastions of unspoiled countries in the world.

Salba vs. Chia
The differences between Salba and Chia are significant:
♦   Salba is nutritionally consistent
♦   Salba is higher in Omega-3 Fatty Acids than Mexican Chia
♦   Salba is higher in Protein than Mexican Chia
♦   Salba is more aesthetically appealing in food preparation
♦   Salba has higher water absorption capacity than Mexican Chia
♦   Salba is whitish grey in color/Chia is mostly black
♦   Salba has white flowers/Chia has blue/purple flowers
♦   Salba is grown under controlled conditions
♦   Salba is a registered variety

Most importantly,
Salba is the only type of Salvia hispanica that has undergone intensive clinical examination
Salba is the only type of Salvia hispanica for which there are Health Claims.
Claims Based on Nutrient Compositions

Due to its unique composition, unparalleled by any other food, Salba could be classified as a "functional food" in its fullest sense. Based on its composition, using data from major observational, animal and clinical studies, Salba can be recommended for the following various applications of consumer interest:

1. Sport/Exercise/Physical Activity
2. Elderly and Aging Population
3. Children & Adolescents
4. "On-the-Go" Meals
5. Women’s Health
6. Weight Loss/Wellness
7. Bowel Movement & Colonic Health
8. Vegetarian/Deficiency Diets/Famine
9. Specialty Diets

Medical Aspects
Salba has been investigated at the Risk Factor Modification Center, St.Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, by * Dr. Vladimir Vuksan, Associate Professor of Endocrinology and Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine in randomized, acute and long-term studies. In the acute study, Salba™ reduced after-meal blood glucose and plasma insulin levels, compared to control. In a long term trial (12 weeks), Salba reduced blood pressure, the major cardiovascular risk factor in inividuals with Type 2 Diabetes. In the same study, Salba proved to be effective with respect to reduction in inflammation and coagulation factors. These unexpected clinical results indicate the great health potential of Salba as a functional food, to be used as a novel agent in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

As Chief Investigator of clinical studies on Salba, Dr. Vuksan stated: "Due to its extremely high content of Omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient rich composition and results of preliminary clinical trials, Salba creates exceptional possibilities for the improvement of human health and nutrition. Salba can be considered the perfect functional food".

Uses
Salba is a grain rich in many key nutrients. Several of these, particularly calcium, iron, Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as dietary fiber, are deficient in the Western diet. Salba improves a product’s nutritional profile by providing high quality protein and extraordinarily rich Omega-3 fatty acids without the characteristic off flavor of many soy and flax ingredients. These superior attributes make Salba ideal for easy incorporation into almost any food product design.

Salba is functionally compatible with a range of widely accepted foods such as the following:

♦   Bakery products (breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, etc.)
♦   Dry breakfast foods (RTE cereal and hot cereal)
♦   Snack foods (tortilla chips, rice cakes, pretzels, etc.)
♦   Bars (meal replacement, nutritional, weight loss, sport, etc.)
♦   Packaged/Prepared foods (canned and dry soups, mayonnaise, jam)
♦   Pasta (fresh and dry)
♦   Beverages and powdered drink mixes

Suggested Use:
Grind Salba before use for optimum nutritional benefits. Salba can be added to yogurt, cereal, salad, water, beverages and used for baking.

Submitted by: Ray Beard Vinson 06-02-07 Vgraybeard@aol.com

 


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