I love spring. The air is cool yet warm, trees are budding and as I look in my garden- hello herbs!
Fresh herbs make me sooo happy. they smell great, they repel critters and most of all they bring amazing taste to our food while healing our bodies they way only Mother Nature can do. One of my favorite is chives!
As a member of the Allium genus, chives are related to garlic and onion. In fact, A. schoenoprasum is the oldest species of edible onion known and the only member of this genus that grows wild in both the New World (the Americas) and the Old World (Europe, Africa and Asia). Gardening enthusiasts appreciate the purple blossoms supported by lofty stems, and the fact that their emergence signals the onset of spring because they are one of the first to break through the ground. An ornamental plant, it is stately in appearance and makes a colorful backdrop in borders. The blooms enhance pollination throughout the garden because they attract bees, while the organosulfur compounds in the stems repel several species of garden pests, including Japanese beetles. Chives in the garden also reduce the incidence of fungal diseases and mildew.
Chives are amazing and here is why according to Organic Facts:
Treats Digestive Issues
The allyl sulfides and other unique organic compounds found in chives deliver similar benefits to the body as garlic, and as such, can effectively ease digestive discomfort. Furthermore, chives have natural antibacterial qualities that can eliminate a wide range of bacteria, particularly those in the salmonella family, which can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal system. More specifically, chives can increase the nutrient uptake efficiency of your gut, ensuring that you get as many of the nutrients from your food as possible.
Improves Heart Health
One of the most important organic compounds found in chives is allicin, which has recently been linked to reduced levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body and improved heart health. Allicin is also connected to lowering blood pressure; when combined with the vasodilatory effects of the potassium found in chives, this unassuming herb can have a major impact on reducing cardiovascular strain. Furthermore, another organic compound found in chives, quercetin, has been directly connected to lowering cholesterol levels and plaque in the arteries, effectively preventing atherosclerosis and lowering your risk for stroke and heart attacks.
Most of the attention gets thrown at the organic compounds in chives, but the traditional nutrients are important too! The high levels of vitamin C found in chives help to boost the efficacy of the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells and stimulating the production of collagen, which is an essential component in the creation of new blood vessels, cells, tissues, and muscles.
Increases Bone Health
There is a wide range of vitamins and minerals found in chives, but one of the most important is certainly vitamin K, an essential nutrient that isn’t widely found in many common foods. Vitamin K is very important in the maintenance of bone mineral density and bone integrity. As we age, our bone mineral density begins to drop, leading to conditions like osteoporosis and exacerbating inflammatory conditions like arthritis. High levels of vitamin K, like those found in chives, can help to produce osteocalcin, which is a key part of maintaining mineral density in the bones.
One of the most exciting areas of research for all members of the Allium genus is the role of quercetin in preventing certain types of cancers. Although research is still ongoing, early results show that quercetin can effectively prevent a wide range of cancers, including breast, prostate, colon, lungs, and ovaries. The antioxidant activities of vitamin C and vitamin K contribute to this prevention as well, helping to reduce levels of free radicals in the body that can hasten the spread or appearance of cancerous cells. Zeaxanthin and lutein, two other antioxidant compounds found in chives, have been linked to lower chances of oral cancers.
Detoxifies the Body
Chives have mild diuretic properties and combined with the other free-radical scavenging and antibacterial qualities, chives are a wonderful way to detoxify the body. By stimulating urination, chives can help the body get ride of excess toxins, salts, water, and even fat, keeping the organ systems running smoothly and clearing out any dangerous substances that could do us harm.
Chives are not typically considered to be an allergenic substance and very few reports of negative reactions exist. However, an excessive amount of chives, with a high concentration of powerful organic compounds, can cause stomach discomfort. If you are allergic to onions or other members of the Allium genus, consult a medical professional before adding chives to your regular diet.
These sweet plants are so easy to grow! Grab a pot, high quality soil and talk lovingly to them. They will give back most of the year!
Happy Healthy Eating! Dana