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Allium Schoenoprasum: Chive


The chive (Allium schoenoprasum) is a species of the onion family. The plant grows up to one foot in diameter, and two feet tall. The chive is a perennial and grows well in soil with a neutral pH of six to eight and has purple or pink flowers which bloom from April to May.


Members of the Allium family inhibit lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenases, which results in an inhibitory effect on inflammation and blood clotting by stopping the generation of inflammatory prostaglandins and thromboxanes (Vanderhoek reference). Onions also contain chemicals called quercetin (a flavonoid) and isothiocyanates (found in mustad oils) that are thought to have inhibitory effects on cytochrome P450 enzymes, and inhibit carcinogenesis (Dorsch reference).

Fun Fact:



The chive was thought to have originated in Siberia, but today are grown from coast to coast in the United States. Some time around 330 B.C., it was said that Siberians heard of Alexander the Great approaching their land and they offered chives as a gift to honor his upcoming marriage to Princess Roxana. The herb was thought to have aphrodisiacal properties.


Onions are found to result in lower blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol levels, and in the Orient, chives are recommended as a cold, flu, and lung congestion remedy.


Today chives are used commonly in cuisine and taste great in foods with cheese, egg, or potato. Chives have a long growing season, and their taste increases when prepared in recipes and stored overnight. The flowers are used to make a unique vinegar.

Chive Blossom Vinegar:

1 pint (500 ML) fresh chive blossoms

1 quart (1 L) white vinegar or wine vinegar

Contraindications/Interactions/Adverse Reactions:



  1. Bremness, Lesley. The Complete Book of Herbs A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs. London: Studio, 1994.
  2. Dorsch reference (need details)
  3. Keville, Kathi. Herbs: An Illustrated Encyclopedia A Complete Culinary, Cosmetic, Medicinal, and Ornamental Guide. Grand Rapids: Friedman/Fairfax, 1999.
  4. Murray, Michael, and Joseph Pizzorno. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised Second Edition. New York: Three Rivers P, 1997.
  5. Ody, Penelope. Complete medicinal herbal. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1993.
  6. Vanderhoek (need details)

Researched By: Chad Rounds