Chives are native to Europe, Asia, and North America. They are commonly used as cooking herbs to give a mild onion flavor to many foods, including salads, soups, vegetables, and sauces. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) belong to the Liliaceae family, although they are sometimes grouped together with the onion family (Alliaceae).
Allium herbs such as Chinese chives, garlic, and onion contain the element sulfur, resulting in the strong smell of these herbs.
Chives and members of the onion family have been used for many centuries for their flavoring value in food and for their medicinal properties, including relief from sunburn and sore throat.
Chives may have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and some anticancer effects. Studies have found a possible link between the consumption of Allium vegetables, including chives, and a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
At this time, there is not enough evidence supporting the use of chives for any medical condition.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
A Chinese study linked consumption of Allium vegetables, including chives, to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. More well-designed trials are needed before a conclusion can be made.
* Key to grades
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use B: Good scientific evidence for this use C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work) F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)
Tradition / Theory
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to chives, its parts, or other plants in the Liliaceae family, including garlic, onion, scallions, and leeks.
Side Effects and Warnings
Chives are likely safe when consumed in amounts normally found in foods. Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to chives or other plants in the Liliaceae family.
Chives may cause skin irritation, skin lesions, and stomach irritation.
Chives may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Chives may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs, herbs, and supplements that lower blood pressure.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There is currently a lack of scientific evidence on the use of chives during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Chives may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Chives may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
Chives may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood and may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. People using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
Chives may also interact with antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungal agents, antiviral agents, cholesterol-lowering agents, and sex drive-enhancing agents.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Chives may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
Chives may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the cytochrome P450 system.
Chives may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
Chives may also interact with antibacterial herbs and supplements, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungal herbs and supplements, antioxidants, antiviral herbs and supplements, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, sex drive-enhancing herbs and supplements, and vitamin A.
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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.