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Chive as an Herb

Chive as an Herb

Pimpinellaa anisum

The Chive is the smallest, though one of the finest-flavored of the onion family, belonging to the botanical group of plants that goes under the name of Allium, which includes also the garlic, leek and shallot.

Other Names: Cive Garlic, Civet, Chive

Chives contain essential oils, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, allicin, alliin, and a trace diosgenin.

Chives as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

The medicinal parts are the fresh or dried aerial parts of the plant.

In ancient times, chives had been used for bleeding, internal mucous, tuberculosis, urinary problems, and general debility. Leaves have also been juiced in combination with fruits and vegetables. Chinese medicine used chives for colds, flu, and lung congestion.

Chives are rarely used medicinally today, but probably helpful to a lesser degree as garlic and onions. Dried chives are fantastic. Use dried chives on baked potatoes and in salad dressings. They stay fresh in the freezer and are always on hand when needed.

Chive tea is used as a spray for apple scab, powdery mildew on cucumbers and black spot on roses. Also used 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.

Culinary Uses of Chives

Note: Cooking destroys the flavor of chives; always add your chives at the very last minute.

Chives are used where a mild onion-like flavor is desired such as mashed potatoes and other potato dishes, egg dishes, cream cheese, omeletes, sauces, salad dressings, soups, croquettes and sausages. The leaves, flowers, and bulbs are used to flavor soups and salads. Leaves and flowers are often used as a garnish.

You can substitute the bulbs for onions; cooked and pickled for winter salads.

The beautiful pink blossoms of the chive make flavored vinegar when steeped for a few weeks in white wine 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. Add 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives; stir in the chives and remove from heat and serve.

Incorporate chives into in salads, sandwiches, and soups and as a garnish. Mix into butter, sour cream or cream cheese.

Chive Garden Salad: Combine chunks of cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, with fresh minced chive leaves; toss and serve with Italian or French bread

Snipped chive leaves should be used to flavor butter or oil. It must be frozen if kept more than a week or so (in the refrigerator). You can seal in plastic bags and freeze. It is not worthwhile to dry chives.

An Old Saying About Chives

"The chef whose potato salad lacks chives is a chef who himself lacks soul." (Source unknown.)


  • Bunches of chives were once hung from the rafters of homes in the belief they would drive away disease and evil influences.
  • Plant chives in your dooryard or door way to bring good luck. This is an old British tradition whereby it was believed doing so would prevent evil spirits from entering.


No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. The intake of large quantities can lead to stomach irritation.

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