Chia seeds (Salviae hispanicae semen) are obtained from Salvia hispanica L. This raw material is distinguished by its rich chemical composition and valuable nutritional properties. It is currently referred to as "health food". The purpose of the present work was to perform a literature review on S. hispanica and chia seeds, focusing on their chemical composition, biological properties, dietary importance, and medicinal uses. The valuable biological properties of chia seeds are related to their rich chemical composition, with particularly high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, essential amino acids, polyphenols, as well as vitamins and bioelements. The available scientific literature indicates the cardioprotective, hypotensive, antidiabetic, and antiatherosclerotic effects of this raw material. In addition, studies based on in vitro assays and animal and human models have proven that chia seeds are characterized by neuroprotective, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. These properties indicate a valuable role of chia in the prevention of civilization diseases. Chia seeds are increasingly popular in functional food and cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. That is attributed not only to their desirable chemical composition and biological activity but also to their high availability. Nevertheless, S. hispanica is also the object of specific biotechnological studies aimed at elaboration of micropropagation protocols of this plant species.
Keywords: Salvia hispanica; biological activity; chia; chia seeds; cosmetological application; essential amino acids; essential fatty acids; functional food; medicinal uses.