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Common Name

Latin Name Family Country/Origin
Allium schoenoprasum Allium schoenoprasum Allium schoenoprasum

Marco Polo is said to have brought chives to Europe from China on one of his many travels. While the Chinese have been using chives as a culinary herb for almost 3,000 years, it is estimated that they have been otherwise used for over 5,000 years.

In ancient civilizations, bunches of dried chives hung from ceilings inside homes as the herb was thought to ward off evil spirits and disease. The Romans used chives to reduce pain from sunburn and as a diuretic, but and also for fortune telling.

Today chives are known more for their culinary use than as a medicine, however, they do possess and inherent ability to repel insects and are sometimes planted in rose gardens in order to keep away beetles.

Chives are related to onions and garlic and are a member of the lily family. This small perennial generally grows no more than one foot high. Its bright green, straw-like stems grow from a small white bulb and have a mild onion flavor, with a slight trace of garlic. Chives are easily grown in gardens throughout the world and make an excellent addition to any dish.

Chive oil, which can be made easily by steeping pureed chives in olive oil and then straining through a fine cloth is growing in popularity.

Purported Medicinal Qualities*

Although chives have similar health benefits to garlic, they are rarely used as a medicine or remedy because the components that make garlic a healthy food are found in much smaller proportions in chives. However, chives contain Vitamin A and C, iron and sulfur.

*Always check with your healthcare provider before consuming, inhaling, applying or otherwise ingesting any non-prescription of prescription natural or homeopathic substance of pharmaceutical. is not recommending, suggesting, inferring or otherwise endorsing the use of any herb or spice as a medicine or therapeutic remedy.

Culinary/Suggested Use

Chives are best when added fresh to a dish immediately before serving. Their delicate flavor complements almost any savory dish and can therefore be used generously.

Chives are also one of the main ingredients in French cuisine's delicate fines herbs, a mixture of parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil, which release their flavors quickly in cooking, in direct contrast to their pungent cousins in bouquet garni which release their flavors slowly. Food for thought:

  • Mix finely chopped chives into mashed potatoes for a different take on the classic baked potato
  • Add chives to tacos, burritos or fajitas
  • Drizzle lemon juice over fish, then sprinkle with a confetti of chopped chives
  • Chopped chives make scrambled eggs and omelete's more savory and delicious.
  • Add chopped chives to any vegetable, egg or potato salad
  • Create a quick and easy herb butter by adding chives and chervil
  • Add pureed chives to olive oil, strain and serve as chive oil for dipping or drizzling

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