Chives is the smallest species of the onion family alliceae. They bloom in May and June. The pretty lavender-pink globular flower heads of chives not only beautify the garden, but they can also be used as a garnish for salad dishes. It grows in clumps rather than as individual plants. Its species name dervives from the Greek word skhoinos(sedge) and prason(onion). Its English name chive is derived from the French word cive derived from cepa being the Latin word for onion.
The Romans seem to have believed that chives could relieve a sore throat and sunburns. Chives are native to the cool regions of Europe and Asia. Now they grow wild in North America, especially around the Great Lakes region. They can even be found growing wild in your backyard lawn. Chives are a popular hardy garden plant that grows from 8 to 15 inches tall.
Chives can be used for control of high blood pressure. The whole plant has a beneficial effect on the digestive system and blood circulation. It improves appetite, is a digestive, a hypotensive and a tonic. It possesses anti-bacterial properties and is used in Vietnam in the treatment of cough, sore throat, asthma dysentery and dyspepsia. When added to the diet on a regular basis chives help reduce blood cholesterol.
The seed contains alkaloids and saponins. It is used in the treatment of spermatorrhoea, haematuria, incontinence and lumbago. The most prominent vitamin contained in chives is vitamin K. They also contains vitamins A and C. Calcium is the most prominent mineral. Chives are known to be a mild anti-inflammatory. The health benefit of chives is that it reduces the risk of several types of cancers.
The leaves are shredded (straws) for use as a condiment in fish, potato and soup preparations. Chives are widely used in traditional dishes in France and Sweden. The flowers may also be used to garnish various dishes. Chives are one of the finest herbs of French cuisine, which also include tarragon, chervil and /or parsley. Both the leaves and the stalks of the flowers are used as flavouring similar to chives green onions or garlic and as a stir fry ingredient.
In China, they are often used to make dumplings with a combination of eff, shrimp and pork. The flowers may also be used as a spice. Chives are usually used fresh and are a common addition to baked potatoes, cream soups, and egg dishes. Chives have been cultivated since earliest times and are universally important as vegetables, flavorings, and medicinal plants.
Chives are widely used in stews and soups, especially potato and asparagus soups. The chopped leaves can be sprinkled in salads or used to flavor various sauces, dips, soy mayonnaise, and sour cream. Chives can also be used to garnish cottage cheese, and potatoes.
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