Allium acuminatum (Full Resolution )
Idaho State University, Ray J. Davis Herbarium
U.S.A., Idaho, Bannock County: Poison trail area near City Creek trails and the women's prison.
All wild onion species have nutritious value, but they can be easily confused with Death Camas (Zigadenus spp.) a potentially deadly plant which grows in the same areas and looks similar. However, the two can be distinguished by smell, wild onions smell like onions. Wild onions are, in my opinion, some of the most exciting and best tasting wild plants found in this area. Traditionally onions have been used to treat a variety of infections, digestive ailments, and stress induced impotency. Similar plants in the Allium genus have been found to be comparable to conventional pharmacological treatments in the management of essential hypertension. Allium compounds can reduce the tissue damage and metabolic imbalance caused by acute myocardial ischemia (heart attack) in rats. Quercetin, an antioxidant flavonoid abundantly found in onions, improves the health of endothelium tissue (the cells lining blood vessels), reducing atherosclerosis (artery hardening due to plaque adhesion, etc.) and improving cardiovascular health. Allium compounds decrease the activity of enzymes that break down sugars and carbohydrates in the gut, thereby slowing down the rise in blood sugar after meals. This property, along with several as-yet-unidentified processes, make onions a potentially useful plant for regulating blood sugar in diabetic people. Onions can be used in conjunction with heparin to treat and prevent keloids, hypertrophic scars, and other fibrotic tumors in humans by inducing the apoptosis (regulated cell death) of fibroblasts (a variety of connective tissue cell). Onion extracts have been shown to restore the normal sexual behavior of rats with delayed orgasm, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and ejaculation inhibition induced by the antidepressant, paroxetine.