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Health benefits of Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)


Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) is the smallest herb of the Allium genus. This genus includes other well-known herbs as garlic (Allium sativum) and onions (Allium cepa) among many others. The name Chives derives from the Latin name for onion, cepa [10].

As part of the "Fines herbes" the benefits exerted by this herb are incredible, let's see some of them. Image: See credits under ref. [14] below.


Family: Amaryllidaceae

Genus: Allium

Common name: Chives, wild chives. Chives in Hindi is known as Chives in Hindi is known as प्याज़



It is believed in the popular culture that Chives was first found by the explorer Marco polo in one of his trips to China, where it has been used for more than 4000 years ago, and from where he brought it to Europe later on, becoming one of the four herbs, together with:

  • parsley (Petroselinum hortense),
  • tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) and
  • chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium).

These three herbs are the so-called "Fines herbes" [1,2,3], a mixture of fresh cut herbs used in many traditional Mediterranean dishes and part of the Mediterranean diet about which so much has been written.

Chives are still used in the Chinese gastronomy, where we can find them as part of the well-known stir-fries and soups. Chives in Hindi is known as प्याज़.



Chives contains several antioxidant enzymes, namely:

  • superoxide dismutase,
  • catalase,
  • peroxidase,
  • glutathione peroxidase malonyldialdehyde,
  • chlorophylls a and b,
  • carotenoids,
  • vitamin C,
  • flavonoids,
  • glutathione [1] and
  • alliin

The compound allicin is produced enzymatically from alliin, found in the aerial parts of the Chives [9]. The flowers' phenolic compounds inhibited cell proliferation significantly [2].



CHIVESThe properties and characteristics of Allium schoenoprasum (Chives), namely its anti-cancer, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and are mainly due to the high amount of active constituents exerting those properties found in chives, mainly allicin (produced from alliin), flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic compounds...etc.



All organs of Allium schoenoprasum (bulb, leaf and stalk), exhibited antioxidant activity in studies performed on this plant, being the highest amount of antioxidants found in the leaves [1]. The highest antioxidant activity was observed in the leaves [1].




Among the list of active constituents found in Chives, there is one that deserves special attention, mainly due to its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, allicin.

Allicin, which is not a natural active constituent of Chives, is naturally produced by our bodies enzymes after Chives is digested. It is enzymatically produced in less than six seconds [9] by the action of Alliinase, the enzyme that converts alliin into allicin.

Allicin is a well-known antibacterial and antifungal agent found in Allium species, that has also exerted anticancer (antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic activities) [7], as well as antibiotic effects [6].

In studies done on murine models [7] allicin was effectively in inhibiting the proliferation of EL-4 cells in vitro.



Some studies suggest an additional hypocholesterolemic efficacy, or the ability to lower bad cholesterol LDL levels to allicin [11]. It seems that this property is exerted by garlic supplements due to the presence of allicin on those, being the effect directly proportional to the amount of allicin present in the used extracts.

Another study on the subject, this time using mice for the clinical tests, showed how allicin was able to reduce the formation of fatty streaks (atherosclerosis) in hyperlipidemic mice [12].



Chives is a great condiment, and as we already mentioned it belongs to the "Fines herbes" combination with which so many recipes and traditional dishes have been prepared. Have a look at some of them.

  1. Steak Diane

If there is one recipe among the ones using Chives that I like is Steak Diane, not only because it contains chives, but also parsley and many other beneficial herbs, additionally it has a delicious taste to fresh cut herbs and spices. You can find the recipe here.

  1. Lemon chive rice

A rice recipe that can surprise you. Lemon chive rice contains as ingredients some of our top favourite and most healthy ones, as Curcumin (good against Alzheimer's and neurodegenerative diseases), onions, rich in alliin that once digested will be converted in allicin, about which we already mentioned some health benefits and some others.

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not intended to prescribe or give in any way or form medical advice, recommend or diagnose. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page for more info.



[1] Allium schoenoprasum L., as a natural antioxidant. Stajner D, Canadanovic-Brunet J, Pavlovic A. Faculty of Agriculture, University of Novi Sad, Trg Dositeja Obradovica 8, 21000 Novi Sad, Yugoslavia.
[2] Phenolic compounds from Allium schoenoprasum, Tragopogon pratensis and Rumexacetosa and their antiproliferative effects. Kucekova Z, Mlcek J, Humpolicek P, Rop O, Valasek P, Saha P. Polymer Centre, Faculty of Technology, Tomas Bata University at Zlin, 76272 Zlin, Czech Republic.
[3] Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking vol. I p 18.
[4] Wikipedia article on Fine herbs under CC License..
[5] Le Cordon Bleu Cuisine Foundations By Le Cordon Bleu.
[6] Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary by C. P. Khare
[7] Allicin induces apoptosis in EL-4 cells in vitro by activation of expression of caspase-3 and -12 and up-regulation of the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2. Wang Z, Liu Z, Cao Z, Li L. a School of Life Sciences , Lanzhou University , Lanzhou 730000 , PR China.
[8] Herbs by Lesley Bremness.
[9] Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary by C. P. Khare.
[10] Wikipedia article on Chives under CC License.
[11] Hypocholesterolemic effect of an enteric-coated garlic supplement. Kannar D, Wattanapenpaiboon N, Savige GS, Wahlqvist ML. Department of Medicine, Monash Medical Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
[13] Allicin-induced decrease in formation of fatty streaks (atherosclerosis) in mice fed a cholesterol-rich diet. Abramovitz D, Gavri S, Harats D, Levkovitz H, Mirelman D, Miron T, Eilat-Adar S, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Eldar M, Vered Z. Neufeld Cardiovascular Research Institute, Tel Hashomer, Israel.
[14] Pixabay image under Public Domain License CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).