Chives health benefits and side effects


Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) is an herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Alliaceae family. It is used as a common household herb and grown as a garden crop and available in grocery stores. Mainly cultivated for its cylindrical leaves, similar to the grass, which have both food and medicinal uses with mild spicy flavor caused by the content of garlic oil. It is also known as Snow Mountain Garlic or Kashmiri garlic or Batak onions (1). Chives health benefits are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in nature. Improves brain, kidney, and heart health.


It is believed that chive is originated from Siberia from there it spread to Asia, Europe, and North America. Chives are now cultivated in Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and the U.S.A.

Nutritional value 

According to the USDA National Nutrient database, it is low in calories, contains both essential as well as non-essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and copper (2).

Compound                                                                                     Amounts per 100 g.
Water 90.65 g
Energy 30 Kcal
Protein 3.27 g
Total lipid (fat) 0.73 g
Carbohydrate, by difference 4.35 g
Fiber, total dietary 2.5 g
Sugar 1.85 g
Calcium 92 mg
Iron, Fe 1.6 mg
Magnesium 42 mg
Phosphorus 58 mg
Potassium 296 mg
Sodium 3 mg
Zinc 0.56 mg
Copper 0.15 mg
Manganese 0.37 mg
Selenium 0.9 µg
Vitamin C 58.1 mg
Thiamin 0.08 mg
Riboflavin 0.11 mg
Niacin 0.64 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.32mg
Vitamin B-6 0.14 mg
Folate, DFE 105 µg
Vitamin A, RAE 218 µg
Vitamin A 4353 IU
Vitamin E 0.216 mg
Vitamin K 212.7 µg
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.15 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.09 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.26 g

Chives flower nutritional value

It is widely used to beautify the garden or dry bouquets and prepare chive vinegar, salads or soups, and sauces. Contains a good amount of important fatty acids such as palmitic acid (7.94–16.94%),  linoleic acid  (7.63–13.45%)  and stearic acid  (3.13–31.16%),  as well as sterols (4.72–8.67%), vitamin E (0.16–0.49%), sulfur-containing compounds  (0.39–0.81%), sitosterol  (3.41–6.42%),  campesterol  (0.34–0.66%),  fucosterol  (0.29–0.51%)  and vitamin  E  (0.16–0.49%).

Health Benefits of Chives

1. Anti-inflammatory properties

Chives leaves contain Phenolic constituents, as well as allicin, b-sitosterol, and campesterol which reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Thus chives are useful as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of inflammatory diseases (3).

2. Presence of natural antioxidants

Carotenoids and vitamin C found in chives leaves participate in the antioxidant defense of plants and protect them from various chronic diseases (4).

3. Anticancer properties

Chives flower is a rich source of phenolic compounds and steroidal glycosides that inhibit cell proliferation and arrest tumors thus chives may useful for the treatment and prevention of human colon cancer (5,6).

4. Antiplatelet properties

The presence of organosulfur and phenolic compounds in chives helps to stop blood cells (platelets) from sticking together and forming a blood clot. Thus chives show wonderful antiplatelet and antioxidant activity (7).

5. Treat brain injury

Intake of chives leaf extract shows neuroprotective effect by enhancing the antioxidant defense after brain injury because it contains a high amount of phenolic acids including flavonoids, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, sinapic acid, and gallic acid which inhibits cerebral infarction (blockage), free-radical-induced apoptosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress thus possess neuroprotective properties (8).

5. Antimicrobial properties

Chive oil contains Diallyl sulfides (diallyl monosulfide, dially disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, and diallyl tetrasulfide) which fight against different food-borne pathogenic bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Bacillus cerus, Camoylobacter jejuni, Clostridium botulinum, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteric, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella dysenteriae and Vibrio cholera (9).

6. Improve digestion

Alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, saponins, and triterpenoids/steroids, which inhibit the growth of ‘bad bacteria’ and promote the growth of ‘good bacteria’ such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. Thus chive may useful for the development of food products, especially probiotic food (10).

7. Treat Kidney stone

Chives leaves are a good source of flavonoids and various minerals like potassium, magnesium, and sodium, in which potassium has the ability to dissolve calcium oxalate in kidney stones and flavonoids can form complexes with calculi (stone)  forming compounds and make it become soluble therefore intake of fresh and dried chives leaves act as an anticalculi drug for the breakdown of kidney stone (11).

8. Keep heart healthy

Daily consumption of chives leaves helps to decrease total serum cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and VLDL while increasing the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in serum due to the presence of flavonoids and phenols in chives leaves thus prevent atherogenesis, coronary heart disease and ischemia (12).

Side effect of Chives

1. Risk of heavy metal accumulation

Chive has the ability to accumulate and tolerate heave metal such cadmium (60 mg Cd/kg) thus chive has decontamination or phytoremediation potential from the soil but also intake of this plant by human or animal increase the risk of heavy metals accumulations (13, 14).

2. Toxic for pets

Chives contain organic sulfur compounds that are absorbed through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and converted to highly reactive oxidants. So if you have dogs and cats you should avoid the ingestion of chives by them because it may cause toxicosis such as hemolytic anemia with Heinz body formation which is dangerous for their health (15).

3. Presence of selenium

Chives accumulate a high amount of inorganic selenium which is bio-accessible but the toxic level of selenium makes them inappropriate for human supplementation (16).

Edited By: Dr. Asha Jyoti Bharati