Chinese Chives

Botanical Name :Allium odorum – L.
Family : Alliaceae
Genus   : Allium
Other scientific Names
: Allium porrum Merr. non Linn..  ,Allium tuberosum Roxb. ,Allium angulosum Lour. ,Allium tricoccum Blanco non Ait.
Common Names:Gana (Bis.),Kieu-tsai (Chin.),non Linn. Kuchai (Tag.), Kutsai (Chin.),Chinese chives (Engl.)
Habitat :E. Asia – China, Mongolia, Russia. Meadows and grassy slopes. Sunny hills and pastures at elevations of 500 – 2100 metres in northern China.


Description:

Plant is a kind of leek, ranked-scented, green, growing 20 to 40 cm high. Bulbs are small, white and clustered. Leaves are green, grasslike, narrowly linear, flattish, 15 to 30 cm long, 3 to 6 mm wide. Umbel has a few to many flowers. The perianth is bell-shaped. Fruits are on pedicels of 2 to 3 cm long, obovoid, 3-lobed, 5 to 7 mm in diameter. Seeds are black, depressed, globose or reniform, 2.5 to 3 mm in diameter. In the Philippines, the plant seldom flowers.

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It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. A very ornamental plant, the flowers are especially attractive. Very closely related to A. tuberosum . Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

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Used like onion or food flavoring spice.

Bulb – raw or cooked. The small bulbs are about 10mm in diameter. Leaves – raw or cooked. The flavour is somewhat between that of garlic and chives. An excellent taste, the leaves have a pleasant sweetness mixed with a strong onion flavour. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves and bulbs contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour), saponins and bitter substances. They possess antibacterial properties and are used in Vietnam in the treatment of haemoptysis, epistaxis, cough, sore throat, asthma, dysentery, dyspepsia etc. When added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system. The seed contains alkaloids and saponins. It is used in the treatment of spermatorrhoea, haematuria, incontinence, lumbago etc.

Folkloric :-
• Externally, the fresh leaves and bulbs are used as antiseptic and vulnerary.
• Leaves taken internally, act as a cordial.
• In Indo-Chiina, whole plant used as a diuretic.
• In Manipur, used for hemolytic anemia and insomnia.

Studies
• Antoxidant: Study showed part of the Allium family possess antioxidant capability. Heat treatments reduced the antioxidant activity for most foods.
Antifungal: Study of extracts of 7 Allium plants, including Chinese chive, were examined for antifungal activity against three Aspergillus species: A niger, A flavus and A fumigatus. All the plants possessed antifungal activity, the inhibitory activity decreased with increasing incubation and heating temperature. Acetic acid plus heat treatment of the extracts resulted in greater inhibition.

Other Uses:
Repellent.
The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.stuartxchange.com/Kuchai.html
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Allium+ramosum

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