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This image taken from The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes, written by John Gerard in 1633. This book is available at the John R. Martin Rare Book Room in Hardin Library

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Allium schoenoprasum, from the family Amaryllidaceae, are more commonly known as Chives, which is derived from the French word ‘cive.’ Chives are perennial plants native to Europe, Asia, and North America and are often used as culinary herbs to flavor foods (Singh et al., 2018) (Fenwick & Hanley, 1985). Preliminary scientific evaluation of A. schoenoprasum identified potential medicinal use as an anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, anthelmintic or antihypertensive agent. Investigation of the medicinal uses of A. schoenoprasum in contemporary medicine are still in the early stages and more research is necessary (Singh et al., 2018).  

Historical Use

The text titled The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes, written by John Gerard in 1633 contains information on the historic medicinal uses of chives. According to Gerard, chives “attenuate or make thinne, open, [provoke] urine, ingender hot and grosse [vapors], and are [hurtful] to the eyes and [brain].” Gerard also writes that chives are known to “cause troublesome [dreams]” and that it “cureth the bitings of venomous beasts.” 

Latest Research


Singh, V., Chauhan, G., Krishan, P., & Shri, R. (2018). Allium schoenoprasum L.: a review of phytochemistry, pharmacology and future directions. Natural Product Research32(18), 2202–2216. 

Fenwick, G. R., & Hanley, A. B. (1985). The genus Allium–Part 3. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition23(1), 1–73.