Historically Used to Treat: urinary tract problems, infections, anemia, bleeding, sunburn, sore throat, low blood pressure
Other Uses: Thought to ward off evil spirits and disease, considered an aphrodisiac.
Chives are best known now, as in the past, as a cooking herb, related to onions and leeks. 17th-century herbalist Nicolas Culpeper was not particularly fond of chives: “If they be eaten raw. . . they send up very hurtful vapours to the brain, causing troublesome sleep, and spoiling the eye-sight, yet of them, prepared by the art of the alchymist, may be made an excellent remedy for the stoppage of the urine.” (There is, however, no modern evidence of any harmful vapors from chives.)
“He who bears chives on the breath
Is safe from being kissed to death.”
-Marcus Valerius Martialus, circa 100 CE
Culpeper's The Complete Herbal (1653) - On Chives
“Called also Rush Leeks, Chives, Civet, and Sweth.
[Government and virtues] I confess I had not added these, had it not been for a country gentleman, who by a letter certified me, that amongst other herbs, I had left these out; they are indeed a kind of leeks, hot and dry in the fourth degree as they are, and so under the dominion of Mars; If they be eaten raw, (I do not mean raw, opposite to roasted or boiled, but raw, opposite to chymical preparation) they send up very hurtful vapours to the brain, causing troublesome sleep, and spoiling the eye-sight, yet of them prepared by the art of the alchymist, may be made an excellent remedy for the stoppage of the urine.”