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Medicinal plant of the year 2015

The onion is the medicinal plant of the year 2015. With their choice, the German Theophrastus Natural Healing Association (NHV) intends to draw attention to the onion’s medicinal properties. In whatever form – as a syrup, juice, tea or tincture – the onion contains substances that help with problems as diverse as the first colds of spring, earache, and loss of appetite. It also helps to clear mucous from the bronchial tubes.

 

The history of people and onions

Onions have been cultivated as medicinal plants, and for culinary purposes as a flavouring or simply as a vegetable, for thousands of years. Onions featured largely in the diet of the slaves who built the pyramids and later of the Roman legions. In Germany onions were first known to have been cultivated in the twelfth century. Botanically they are members of the genus Allium and usually considered part of the lily family (Liliaceae). Today onions are second only to tomatoes as the most frequently eaten vegetable in much of Europe. In Germany, 9,000 hectares are planted with onions each year. Every German eats an average of seven kilos of onions a year.

 

Many beneficial substances

Onions have tried-and-tested healing properties for natural medicinal treatments. Cooked onions are thought to have a positive effect on the digestive system and to prevent age-related deterioration in the circulatory system. A syrup of onion juice with sugar or honey has long been a household remedy for coughs.

Onions add flavour to many dishes and also contain many beneficial substances. These include vitamin C, vitamins A and E and B vitamins, minerals and trace elements such as potassium, phosphorus, zinc and manganese. The organosulphur compounds in onions are thought to have an antibacterial effect and promote a healthy digestive system.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de

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