Cinnamon Tre

Name: Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)


Family: Amaryllidaceae

Common names: Rush leek

Range: Native to Asia, Europe and North America.

Parts Used: Fresh and dried stems, which are called scapes.

Preparations: Chives are used fresh or dried in cooking and to prepare tea.

History: As a member of the Allium genus, chives are related to garlic and onion. In fact, A. schoenoprasum is the oldest species of edible onion known and the only member of this genus that grows wild in both the New World (the Americas) and the Old World (Europe, Africa and Asia). The herb pairs well with fish and potatoes and the flowers are used to garnish soups and salads. It is also included in the classic French fines herbes seasoning blend and is an ingredient in tvorog, a type of soft cheese enjoyed in Russia and Poland.

Gardening enthusiasts appreciate the purple blossoms supported by lofty stems, and the fact that their emergence signals the onset of spring because they are one of the first to break through the ground. An ornamental plant, it is stately in appearance and makes a colorful backdrop in borders. The blooms enhance pollination throughout the garden because they attract bees, while the organosulfur compounds in the stems repel several species of garden pests, including Japanese beetles. Chives in the garden also reduce the incidence of fungal diseases and mildew. Medicinally, chives have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine to promote sweating and male fertility, effects that are attributed to the stimulatory properties of allyl sulfides and alkyl sulfoxides. Chives also contain high levels of iron and calcium and several antioxidant compounds, including beta-carotene, kaempferol and quercetin. Constituents: Beta-carotene, kaempferol, quercetin, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, malic acid, glycine, thiamine, niacin and vitamin C.

Cautions/Contraindications: No significant side effects or adverse reactions are reported, although consuming very large quantities may upset the stomach.

Disclaimer: This information has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.