Pungent, zesty, earthy, sometimes slightly warming and even sweet; chives are part of the allium family.
They are related to onions and garlic. For such a small herb they have a powerful flavor, delivering many of the characteristics of onion or garlic but in a much softer, more complex way. The use of chives, both culinary and medicinal, has been part of recorded history for over 5,000 years. They are best fresh and raw, although having some dried chives in your herbal arsenal can be quite useful. Chives are delicate, despite their strongish flavor, so it’s a good idea to sprinkle them on and in things as a finishing touch, rather than cooking with them. That way you get the full benefit of their flavor and their healthy goodness.
Some interesting uses for chives besides on your plate? They can be planted around the edges or sporadically throughout other plants to help deter pests, and yet, when they flower the bees love them, so you get a double delight if you cultivate them in your garden. Like their counterparts, the onion and garlic, chives are also antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial. The juice from a chive can be used as an insect repellent and as an agent against fungal infections.
From a medicinal perspective, chives have many of the same properties of other Allium family members, just in a lighter dose. Chives are a good source of Vitamin A and K, and a multitude of minerals like potassium, magnesium and copper. They have anti-inflammatory properties and can also help alleviate pain and irritation if used topically. Apparently, Romans used the juice of chives to treat sunburn and chewed on raw chive stems to heal sore throat. I wonder if just sprinkling them over a nice plate of scrambled eggs is good enough??