Unani Piyaaz

Siddha/Tamil ► Venkaayam.

Action ► Antibiotic, antibacterial, antisclerotic, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, antiasthmatic, expectorant, carminative, anti-

spasmodic, diuretic, hypotensive, antidiabetic.

Key application ► For the prevention of atherosclerosis (German Commission E) and age-dependent changes in the blood vessels, and loss of appetite (WHO).

The official onion bulb of the Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China is a different species, Allium macrostemon Bge., than that of the German Commission E monographs, A. cepa. Chinese onion is used for cough, dyspnoea, angina pectoris and dysentery.

Scallions or Spring Onion of Chinese medicine are equated with Allium fistulosum.

Onion bulbs contain a volatile oil with sulphurous constituents, including allylpropyldisulphide; sulphur-containing compounds, including al-licin, alliin; flavonoids; phenolic acids and sterols.

Hypoglycaemic activity of the onion is attributed to the allylpropyldisul-phide and allicin. Diphenylamine, isolated from mature bulbs, also exhibits potent antihyperglycaemic activity.

Alliin and allicin have an inhibitory effect on platelet aggregation. Antibiotic activity is due mainly to alli-cin.

Regular use of onion (50 g/day) reduces insulin requirement of a diabetic patient from 40 to 20 units a day.

Thiosulphinates, isolated from onion juice, exhibited antiasthmatic activity in vivo.

34 Allium macleanii Baker.

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