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History of Spirulina

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teotihuacan

 

Well, ancient cultures around Lake Chad in Africa and in central Mexico used to eat spirulina. Let us tell you a little history on it.

The Aztecs in Mexico actually considered spirulina as part of their daily diet. Spirulina used to float around the lakes that surrounded the massive ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City today). It gave the lakes a green-blue color, especially the lake of Texcoco. They collected it with a lattice made of fabric. The Aztecs used to call it “teculitlatl” which meant “stone’s excrement”. They let it dry and then mixed it with the mass that they used to make tortillas. No wonder the Aztecs conquered almost the entire territory that today we know as Mexico; they really were the strongest of them all.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, in Lake Chad, it started with the Kanembu people thousands of years ago and up until today, the communities around lake Chad still consume spirulina. Not only the people but the animals that live around Eastern Africa’s Rift Valley, especially the flamingos, include spirulina in their daily diet as well. This is what made French scientist, Pierre Dangeard, incredibly passionate about spirulina.

Pink flamingos

 

Dangeard was fascinated by seeing how spirulina kept such large quantities of flamingos alive for longer than their regular lifespan. His research efforts around the year of 1940 went unnoticed until french scientists did more research on spirulina around lake Texcoco in Mexico in the 1960’s. The Belgians also gained interest when they were in Africa during the same decade. By 1969, the french created the first farm to harvest spirulina.

NASA and UN on Spirulina

In 1974, the United Nations declared spirulina as a superfood, as well as the FDA described it as the best supplement. In 1983, spirulina won the “best natural food” award at West Germany’s International Food Expo.

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