Herbs & Plants

Allium macropetalum

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Botanical Name: Allium macropetalum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Tribe: Allieae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. macropetalum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
*Allium deserticola (M.E. Jones) Wooton & Standl.
*Allium reticulatum var. deserticola M.E. Jones

Common Name: Largeflower Wild Onion, Desert onion

Habitat : Allium macropetalum is native to the desert regions of southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is known from desert plains and hills in Sonora, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, at elevations up to 2500 m. It grows on desert plains and hills at elevations of 300 to 2500 metres.

Allium macropetalum forms egg-shaped bulbs up to 2.5 cm long. Leaves are green, long (6 inches) and thin; half-cylindrical (semiterete) in cross-section. Flowers are attractive bell-shaped, mostly light pink but with a distinct, dark pink or purple vertical stripe along the middle. Each flower has 6 tepals, and they occur in clusters (umbels) of between 10 and 20 heads. Tepals are lanceolate in shape, and approximately equal in size. Tepal tips may be pointed or obtuse. Anthers are yellow or purplish.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. 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.
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. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Bulb – raw or cooked. They can be dried and stored for winter use. The North American Indians would singe the bulb to reduce the strong flavour and then eat it immediately or dry it for later use. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and 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.
Other Uses:

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles
Known Hazards : Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

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


News on Health & Science

The Real Cause of Influenza Epidemics

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Influenza does not follow the predicted patterns for infectious diseases. In fact, there are several conundrums associated with influenza epidemics, such as:

1. Why is influenza both seasonal and ubiquitous — and where is the virus between epidemics?

2. Why are influenza epidemics so explosive?

3. Why do epidemics end so abruptly?

4. What explains the frequent coincidental timing of epidemics in countries of similar latitudes?

5. Why did epidemics in previous ages spread so rapidly, despite the lack of modern transport?

A theory gaining weight in the scientific community explains influenza epidemics as a result of a dormant disease, which become active in response to vitamin D deficiency. This theory provides answers for many of the above questions. A disease that remains dormant until vitamin D-producing sunlight exposure is reduced by a winter or rainy season would explain a widespread seasonal disease with a rapid onset and decline.


There is compelling epidemiological evidence that indicates vitamin D deficiency is just such a “seasonal stimulus.”Recent evidence confirms that lower respiratory tract infections are more frequent, sometimes dramatically so, in those with low levels of vitamin D. Researchers have also found that 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day abolished the seasonality of influenza, and dramatically reduced its self-reported incidence.

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