Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are members of the Liliaceae (Lily) Family, which makes them closely related to garlic and onions. The species name schoenoprasum is derived from two Greek words: schoinos, meaning reed-like and prason, meaning leek. Chives are native to Eurasia and have been cultivated for over five thousand years. A popular spring green, chives resemble scallions without the enlarged bulbs and have a more delicate flavor.
Chives are considered warm and pungent. They promote circulation of energy and blood and help dry excess dampness in the body. They have a special affinity for the liver, kidneys and stomach. Chives are used to treat stomachache and arthritis due to internal coldness. They help clean the circulatory system, lower blood pressure and inhibit the growth of viruses, fungi and unfriendly yeasts. Chives are used to strengthen the kidneys and increase sex drive. Chives are regarded as antiseptic and a digestive aid.
The hollow tops, are clipped and used fresh or dried. Cutting chives regularly ensures continued tender growth. Chives are added to complement the flavor of many other vegetables including carrots, onions and potatoes. Often added as a garnish to eggs, cottage cheese and salads. The flowers are edible and make an attractive purple addition. Those that find onions hard to digest might find chives a milder alternative. Avoid subjecting chives to heat, which will damage its flavor and add right before serving. Chives are a classic addition to the French culinary blend fines herbes.
Chives are rich in beta-carotene, B complex, vitamin C, calcium iron, sulfur. Chives are easy to cultivate and are often grown in kitchen window gardens. Growing chives in the garden helps deter aphids.