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Earthnotes
Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



CHIVES
LILIACEAE
aka Ail civitte (Fr), Cives, Petite poureau (Fr), Seithes, Sieves
(Allium schoenoprasum syn Allium sibiricum)
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Also see: Garlic Chives

FYI A plant which is native to Asia and Europe with dense, grasslike clumps of straight, hollow leaves with sharp tips growing from 1 to 2 feet from clumps of small BULBS. BLOOMS (umbels) are pink to purple compact spheres at the top of the stem which are composed of many small FLOWERS. FRUIT is a SEED capsule containing tiny, black, 3-sided seeds. Can be found growing in moist pastures and along stream banks §

CONTAINS: Essential oils, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine, niacin, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, allicin, alliin, trace diosgenin.


PROPAGATION By SEED; germinates in 10 to 14 days; plant 8 inches apart in well-drained, slightly acid garden soil which is 60 to 70ºF in full sun to part shade. By DIVISION (best) in spring or fall; lift and divide clumps every 3 or 4 years and transplant clusters from the outer edges of the main clump. Perennial to zone 3.
NEEDS Full sun to part shade. Moderately rich well drained site. A good container plant both indoors and out and one of the few plants that can be enjoyed year round. Makes a good edging for an herb bed.
FLOWERS Pink globes. April-June.
PART USED Leaves, bulbs, flowers; best used fresh.
HARVEST Leaves anytime; take a few from each clump, cutting 2 inches above the base. Flowers at full bloom.
CULTIVATED VARIETIES
A.s. 'Forescate'
RELATED SPECIES
CHINESE CHIVES (A. macrostemon): The bulb is used in Chinese medicine. Is considered acrid, bitter, warming, carminative, antispasmodic, analgesic; affects lung, stomach, colon; contains scorodose. Has been used for bloating, chest pains, angina pain, heart disease, upper back and buttock pain, dyspnea, and coughing.


USES

MEDICINAL:
♦ Rarely used medicinally today, but probably helpful to a lesser degree as garlic and onions.
Mildly antibiotic, appetite stimulant, vermifuge; leaves mildly laxative.
Has been used as part of the diet (leaves chewed slowly or minced and sprinkled on food) to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and to prevent miscarriage as well as for anemia, bleeding, internal mucous, tuberculosis, urinary problems, general debility. Leaves have also been juiced in combination with fruits and vegetables.
Has been used in Chinese medicine for colds, flu, and lung congestion.

VETERINARY:
Used for livestock as a tonic, vermifuge, and internal cleansing aid. DOSE being 1 handful in bran mash, given daily.
The leaves are cut up and added to the feed of turkey hatchlings.

CULINARY:
♦ Cooking destroys the flavor; always added at the very last minute.
Also see: Cooking with Chives.
Used where the mild onion-like flavor is desired such as mashed potatoes and other potato dishes, egg dishes, cream cheese, omelettes, sauces, salad dressings, soups, croquettes and sausages.
Leaves, flowers, and bulbs used to flavor soups and salads.
Flowers and leaves used as a garnish.
Bulbs substituted for onions; cooked and pickled for winter salads.
An ingredient of fines herbes.
Used to make Chive Vinegar.
TOPPING for meat and vegetable dishes = Saute 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, then add 2 cups of chopped tomatoes; saute 3 or 4 minutes, then add 2 tbsp minced fresh chives; stir in the chives and remove from heat and serve.
GARDEN SALAD = Combine chunks of cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, with fresh minced chive leaves; toss and serve with Italian or French bread.

CRAFT:
Pick blossoms for air drying when fairly open; used in herb and flower arrangements.

HORTICULTURE:
Chive tea is used as a spray for apple scab, powdery mildew on cucumbers, black spot on roses; also on gooseberry. Pour boiling water over dried or fresh chives; infuse 15 minutes and dilute with 2 or 3 parts water and spray at once.

INSECT:
Planted near roses to deter Japanese beetle.

OTHER
Bunches of chives were once hung from the rafters of homes in the belief they would drive away disease and evil influences.

COMPANION:
Carrots, grapes, roses, tomatoes.

LANGUAGE:
Usefulness



CHIVES, GARLIC
LILIACEAE
a.k.a. Chinese Chives, Cuchay, Nire (Jap), Oriental Chives, Oriental Garlic
(Allium tuberosum syn Allium odoratum)
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FYI Native to southeast Asia, this plant has the same growth pattern as A. schoenoprasum, except that the LEAVES (4 to 9 inches long) are flat and solid and the fragrant BLOOMS are slightly domed umbels containing many FLOWERS atop 20 inch scapes. Often confused with A. ramosum (Fragrant-flowered Garlic). Has a mild onion-garlic flavor. Cultivated in China, India, and the East Indies §


PROPAGATION By seed or division. Perennial.
NEEDS Full sun. Well-drained soil.
HARVEST LEAVES anytime. FLOWERS while in bud; can also be picked in full bloom for other uses. BULBS anytime. SEEDS as available.
PART USED LEAVES, FLOWER BUDS, BULBS, SEEDS [jiu zi].
FLOWERS White (there is also a pink form called 'Mauve'). Blooms August.


USES

MEDICINAL:
In Chinese medicine it is considered antiemetic and beneficial to kidney and bladder function. It has been used to warm the kidneys and to treat impotence, urinary incontinence, and weak, sore lower back.
The seeds have been used for stomach chills and to stop vomiting.
Has been used externally in combination with Cape Jasmine as a poultice for knee injury.

CULINARY:
♦ Cooking destroys the flavor; always added at the last moment.
Same uses as chives but used where a garlic flavor is desired.
The flower buds are added to salads, soft cheeses, and stir fries.
Leaves are blanched and added to to rice and pork dishes in Chinese cookery.

CRAFT:
Pick blossoms for air drying when fairly open; used for herb and flower arrangements.




©2000 & 2006 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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