PHARMACOLOGICAL PROPERTIES OF SALVIA HISPANICA (CHIA) SEEDS: A REVIEW
There is a growing interest worldwide to identify novel functional foods capable of acting on various biochemical targets with limited toxicity. Accordingly, there is a revived interest in Salvia hispanica L. (chia) a Mexican herb, as an agriculture crop owing to the nutritional value of the seed oil. Chia seed oil is reported to contain alpha-linolenic acid in abundance besides antioxidant polyphenols. Many researchers have focussed on assessing the possible health benefits of Chia as a dietary supplement and efforts are underway in order to promote it as â€˜functional foodâ€™ owing to the presence of Î±-linolenic acid, an essential precursor fatty acid of physiologically significant polyunsaturated fatty acids. Dietary supplementation of Chia seed oil in rats and humans has demonstrated alleviation of serum lipid profile and diabetic severity. In addition, chia seed oil also acts as an antioxidant in vivo and modulates the antioxidant enzyme activities in liver and blood. Here we have reviewed the literature for various therapeutic aspects of Chia seed oil. Dietary Chia provides an array of pharmacological properties, however understanding the nature of bioactive and fatty acids responsible for its biological activity using mechanistic approaches in cell and mammalian models are a prerequisite prior to its usage as a therapeutic agent or functional food.
Keywords: Alpha-linolenic acid, Antioxidant polyphenols, Chia seed oil, Salvia hispanica, Pharmacological properties
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