Chia sage -or- California sage -or- Golden chia -or- Desert chia -or- Chia (Salvia columbasriae), family Lamiaceae (Mint)
USES: Per PLANTS FOR A FUTURE: Seed - raw or cooked. Usually ground into a powder and used as piole or made into dark-coloured cakes and loaves, it has a nutty flavour. It can also be mixed with corn meal when making mush or with ground wheat for gruel. Rich in niacin, thiamine, zinc, calcium and manganese, it is also a good source of protein and easily digested fats. It has a high food value and is easily digested. The sprouted seeds can be added to salads and sandwiches. A refreshing drink can be made by steeping the seed in cold water. Alternatively, the seed can be roasted and ground into a powder then mixed with water when it soon becomes a copious gelatinous mass. It is very palatable and nutritious. The seed has been used to render water palatable by removing the alkalis. The leaves are occasionally used as a sage-like seasoning.
From the outstanding website NATIVE AMERICAN ETHNOBOTANY are the following native american uses of Chia Sage: Cahuilla Poultice of seed mush applied to infections. Seeds used to cleanse the eyes or remove foreign matter from the eyes. Seeds used to make a beverage. Seeds used to render water palatable by removing the alkalies. Parched seeds ground into flour and used to make cakes or mush. Costanoan: Gelatinous seeds placed in the eye to remove foreign objects. Infusion of seeds taken for fevers. Seeds used for pinole. Diegueno: Seeds kept in the mouth and chewed during long journeys on foot, to give strength. Seeds added to wheat to improve the flavor. The list continues impressively with uses by other tribes as well.
Plant location: Found in the Joshua Tree National Park - California - February 23, 2017