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Family Liliaceae
Kuchai
Allium odorum Linn.

CHINESE CHIVES
Kieu-tsai

Scientific names  Common names
Allium odorum Linn. Gana (Bis.)
Allium porrum Merr. non Linn.. Kieu-tsai (Chin.)
Allium tuberosum Roxb. Kuchai (Tag.)
Allium angulosum Lour. non Linn. Kutsai (Chin.)
Allium tricoccum Blanco non Ait. Chinese chives (Engl.)
  Flowering leek (Engl.)
  Flowering garlic chives (Engl.)
  Fragrant flowered garlic (Engl.)
  Jia cai hua (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Nian hua, Nian hua jiu cai, Nin fa kau ts'oi (Hong Kong).
GERMAN: NAusdauernder Lauch, Schnittporree.
INDIA: Maroi-nakuppi.
RUSSIAN: Luk dushistyi.
VIETNAMESE: Hẹ, Rau hẹ.

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

Distribution
- Cultivated in the Manila area by the Chinese.
- Probably introduced in early times.
- Native of China and Japan.

Properties
- Bulbs considere4d antiseptic and vulnerary.
- Whole plant considered diuretic.

Parts utilized
- Leaves, bulb, whole plant.

Uses
Culinary
- Used like onion or food flavoring spice.
- Leaves used in the preparation of Chinese dishes, and often cooked with liver.
- Excellent source of calcium, phosphorus and iron.

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.
• In Peru, used for bronchitis and asthma: fresh, whole plant diced, boiled with sugar and ginger until thick, and taken a spoonful every six hours for one week.


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.
Hypotensive / Antihypertensive: Study of ethanol extract of Chinese chives (Allium odorum) showed hypotensive and antihypertensive effect.

Availability
Cultivated.

Extracts and seeds in the cybermarket.

Last Update March 2013

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Seeds / Allium odorum L. - Chinese chives ALOD2 / Tracey Slotta @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Antioxidant Activity of Several Allium Member / J. Agric. Food Chem., 1998, 46 (10), pp 4097–4101 DOI: 10.1021/jf980344x

(2)
Inhibitory effect of seven Allium plants upon three Aspergillus species / Mei-chin Yin and Shih-ming Tsao / International Journal of Food Microbiology, Volume 49, Issues 1-2, 1 August 1999, Pages 49-56
(3)
UJI EFEK ANTIHIPERTENSI EKSTRAK ETANOL DAUN GANDA (Allium odorum L.) PADA TIKUS PUTIH / Yoppi Iskander, Eli Halimah et al /
(4)
Sorting Allium names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne
(5)
Medicinal plants used in Peru for the treatment of respiratory disorders / Rainer W. Bussmann* and Ashley Glenn / Rev. peru. biol. 17(2): 331 - 346 (Agosto 2010)


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