Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) is the smallest member of the Allium genus. Chives are bulbous in nature but their stems are long and hollow. Both the bulbous part and the stem of chives are edible (the primary edible part of chives is the stem). Furthermore, the unopen flower buds of chives could be ground and used as a spice.
Chives are native to North America, Europe, and Asia. However, they are now cultivated in different parts of the world.
Chives have a more subtle flavor and aroma than other members of the Allium genus (such as onions and garlic). Chives have been used for its medicinal and therapeutic benefits since the Roman Empire. They have similar medicinal properties to garlic although chives are less potent.
Chives Nutritional Facts
|Amount Per Serving (100 grams Per Serving)|
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.7g
Saturated Fat 0.1g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Total Carbohydrates 4.4g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Vitamin A 87%
Vitamin C 96%
Below are some uses and benefits of chives;
1. Skin Treatment
Chives contain high contents of vitamin C. Vitamin C is crucial for collagen formation. Collagen is a fibrous protein and is the most crucial protein in all connective tissues including skin tissues. High levels of collagen are reflected by reduced facial aging lines. Furthermore, anti-oxidant properties of vitamin C are important in accelerating the healing of wounds and protection of the skin from other infections.
2. Prevention Of Cardiac Related Problems
Just like the other members of the family Alliaceae, chives contain high levels of allicin, a very active organic sulfur compound that plays a key role in the circulatory system. Allicin reduces the levels of fats in the body. Chives also contain 0% cholesterol. Allicin also acts as an agent that prevents blood coagulation. Therefore, there’s a reduced risk of heart attack and other heart-related problems.
3. Enhanced Digestion
Chives can be chopped and added to food to make it look more appealing and boost appetite. When consumed in this form, chives increase the fiber content of the food. Fiber is important in enhancing digestion. It reduces constipation. The other way chives improve food digestion is through the presence of important nutrients that enhances the digestion process. Such nutrients are zinc, pantothenic acid, and niacin.
4. Reduced Risk Of Cancer
Various cancers that could be prevented by inclusion of chives in your diet include stomach, prostate, lung and breast cancer. Chives contain Dipropyl disulfide which is one of the organic sulfur components of the essential oil obtained from chives. Dipropyl disulfide is responsible for preventing some forms of induced cancer. Vitamin A is also important in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Vitamin C has been found to improve cancer treatment in patients undergoing therapy. Both vitamin A and C are nutritional constituents of chives.
5. Prevention Of Rickets And Weak Bone Related Conditions
Rickets is a disorder which results from weak bones due to lack of calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D. The bones become soft and weak. Rickets mainly attacks children and the common symptoms are bowlegs and a curved spine. The other skeletal condition that is prevented through the consumption of allicin rich foods such as chives, onions, and garlic is the attack by Arthritis. Chives are rich in calcium, phosphorous and vitamin K.
6. Used In Vision Therapy
Vitamin A, in the form of retinal which is a component of the compound rhodopsin (a biological pigment found in the rods of the retina ), is essential in attaining a clear vision. Chives also contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Research has shown that these two organic pigments are responsible for reducing macular degeneration due to old age. They also reduce the risk of cataract generation and increases the immunity of the eyes against damage of the optic nerve.
7. Aids In Detoxification
Detoxification is the process by which the body gets rid of harmful substances. Chives have agents which are known to stimulate sweating, urination, and formation of pulse. This research is still ongoing, though the early results have shown that some of the compounds found in chives are highly active in stimulating these excretory processes thus keeping the body safe from malignant internal damage.
8. Strengthening Of Hair
Some research has indicated that chive oil could be responsible for improving hair properties such as strengthening the hair roots thus enhancing the growth of hair. Chives also make the hair look naturally healthy.
9. Improvement Of The General Body Immunity
Vitamin C is found in large quantities in chives. Vitamin C is also a key factor in the synthesis of white blood cells. White blood cells are responsible for providing the defense mechanism of the body against infections.
10. Natural Garden Beauty
The violet flowers of chives and the shiny green leaves would give your flower garden an adorable outlook. A chives flower garden, well nurtured and cared for in fertile soil, could serve as an ornamental asset for your garden. Furthermore, the wide spreading of the stems, leaves and the flowers make these plants ideal for flower gardening.
11. Prevention Of Both Forms Of Mildew
Fungi that cause both powdery mildew and the downy mildew don’t thrive well with some of the compounds found in chives. As such, the use of chives is among the best natural organic control of crop diseases recommended by agronomists. You can use chives to inhibit the spread of downy mildew and powdery mildew by spraying a water solution of boiled chive leaves around the affected crops.
12. Food Flavoring
The best way to include your chive in the diet is through garnishing, in fruits and vegetable salads, sandwiches, and egg omelets. This way, the nutritional qualities are retained. Chives have a somewhat onion-like flavor just like most of the other members of the family Alliaceae. Their sweet aroma is also very subtle. Chives are also excellent in food seasoning especially for seasoning of marine foods.
13. Beneficial In Apiculture
In Apiculture, it is recommended that the apiary is within a radius of 1 to 6 km from the flower garden. This can happen in two ways; planting a chives garden and maximizing production by constructing an apiary to harvest the honey or constructing an apiary and offer your bees a gift of a chives garden. The chives garden would help to repel insect pests, thus, reducing the competition the bees would face with the flowers in the garden.
14. Anti-Pest Agent
Crop pests usually bring huge losses to farmers. As such, farmers look out for the easiest, affordable and the safest ways to get rid of the crop pests. Among the most terrible pests are aphids which are known to cause leaf curling and death of the leaves. Planting chives next to your leafy vegetables such as kales and lettuce, in open field farms, is an economical and ecologically safe way to control aphids.
15. Boosting Fertility
Research has identified and proven chives as a natural fertility booster especially in women. It is recommended to eat chives in meals as one awaits to undergo an impotence treatment. Chives contain folic acids and folic acid helps to increase the chances of conception.
16. Environmental Benefits
Chives grow close and intact when planted orderly and nurtured well. They also develop dense roots that hold the surrounding soil compactly preventing possible soil erosion by wind or water. Chive roots provide the crop with enough stability and for this reason, they can be planted on slopes where soil erosion is most susceptible. Chives play a key role in the carbon cycle.
17. Available Market
Chives are easy to grow thus there is low cost of production involved. The largest market for chives includes Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. It is clear that chive farmers would have a readily available market in the foreseeable future. Chives also fetch encouraging returns on one’s investment.
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