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What is commonly known as onion is a vegetable of the onion family that belongs to the botanical family of Alliaceae. It has been known as a food item for more than 5000 years and is one of the oldest vegetables used by mankind. Its origin probably lies in Asia but it is grown and used all over the world. In most countries it is one of the most important vegetables. Many different varieties are grown and sold. Their difference in form and colour depends on the variety but also surrounding conditions during growth. Where the weather is moist and plants grow close together they tend to form round to pear-shaped onions. In dry conditions and further apart flat shapes are more common.

As with leeks and garlic the essential oil Allicin is responsible for the mild to hot taste. When onions are cut, Allicin irritates the mucous membranes. The eyes water and the nose runs.

Note: A sip of water kept in the mouth during cutting of an onion is supposed to prevent the irritation of the eyes.

Besides the sulphurous Allicin onions also contain minerals, trace elements, vitamins, glucose and other nutrients. Their combination results in the onion being a potent natural remedy.

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