Chives, a member of the allium family, this herb has globe shaped, mauve flowers. The chopped stems are usually eaten, but the flowers are also edible.
Chives are very low in calories; 100 g of fresh leaves provide just 30 calories. Nonetheless, they contain many noteworthy flavonoid anti-oxidants, plant fiber, minerals, and vitamins that have proven health benefits.
* Long, cylindrical, hollow leaves, tapering to a point and about the thickness of a crowsquill, 6-20 inches long (15-50 cm.). Some species’ leaves are flat, while others are tubular. They resemble green onions or scallions, but are thinner.
* There are several related species, including garlic chives.
*The flowers are mauve on standard chives.
*Like other allium members, they too possess thio-sulfinites anti-oxidants. Thio-sufinites such as diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide and allyl propyl disulfide convert to allicin by enzymatic reaction when its leaves disrupted (crushing, cutting, etc.). Laboratory studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductaseenzyme in the liver cells. Further, it also found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal activities.
Additionally, allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness by releasing vasodilator compound, nitric oxide (NO); and, thereby, helping bring a reduction in the total blood pressure. It blocks platelet clot formation besides having fibrinolytic (clot-removal) action in the blood vessels, which helps decrease an overall risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), and stroke.
* One of the richest sources of vitamin K, comparatively more than that of in scallions. 100 g of fresh greens provide 212.7 µg or about 177% of daily recommended intake of this vitamin. Scientific studies suggest that vitamin K has a potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help in limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
* Contain many essential minerals, including cardiac-friendly potassium, bone- strengthening calcium, and blood-building iron
* Fresh chives are rich source of folates. 100 g leaves provide 105 µg or 26% of DRI of folates. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate levels in the diet during pregnancy may help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
* Chives surprisingly comprise more vitamin A than any other allium family member vegetables. 100 g of fresh leaves contain 4353 IU of vitamin-A or 145%of daily recommended levels. In addition, the green leaves contain other flavonoid-phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, zea-xanthin, and lutein. Together, these compounds offer the human body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
* Contains essential Vitamin C
*Furthermore, the leaves are packed with other B-complex vitamins as well as some essential minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc, and calcium. The leafy greens contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in healthy proportions.
* Stimulate appetite and promote digestion, especially when poor appetite is due to a cold.
* Have been used as a vermifuge (to expel intestinal worms).
Tips for Use:
* Chop finely with a knife and keep in air-tight container in refridgerator. Sprinkle on sandwiches, soups, salads and entrees.
* Chives lose their flavor when cooked for any length of time, so they are primarily used raw as a garnish, usually chopped.
* Snipped chives give a hint of onion flavor to egg dishes, cheese soufflés, salads, soups, cream cheese sandwiches, and sour cream dressing for baked potatoes.
* Chive butter is great with grilled chops and steak.
* These herbs do not dry well, but they can be chopped and frozen.
* Fresh leaves can be used in a variety of dishes including salad, soup, cheese, potatoes, meat, fish, eggs
* Flowers can be used fresh or dried in egg, cheese, and fish dishes or used as a garnish