Herb: Potato Onion

Latin name: Allium cepa aggregatum

Family: Alliaceae (Onion Family)

Medicinal use of Potato Onion:

Although rarely used specifically as a medicinal herb, the onion has a wide range of beneficial actions on the body and when eaten (especially raw) on a regular basis will promote the general health of the body. The bulb is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, lithontripic, stomachic and tonic. When used regularly in the diet it offsets tendencies towards angina, arteriosclerosis and heart attack. It is also useful in preventing oral infection and tooth decay. Baked onions can be used as a poultice to remove pus from sores. Fresh onion juice is a very useful first aid treatment for bee and wasp stings, bites, grazes or fungal skin complaints. When warmed the juice can be dropped into the ear to treat earache. It also aids the formation of scar tissue on wounds, thus speeding up the healing process, and has been used as a cosmetic to remove freckles.

Description of the plant:


120 cm
(4 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in wild.

Edible parts of Potato Onion:

Bulb - raw or cooked. A nice onion flavour, when chopped up finely they make a nice addition to salads and can also be used as a cooked vegetable or as a flavouring in cooked foods. Some of the cultivars are considered to be gourmet onions. Leaves - raw or cooked. A strong onion flavour. Flowers - raw. Used as a garnish on salads. The flowers are somewhat dry and are less pleasant than many other species.

Other uses of the herb:

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent and can also be rubbed onto the skin to repel insects. The plant juice can be used as a rust preventative on metals and as a polish for copper and glass. A yellow-brown dye is obtained from the skins of the bulbs. Onion juice rubbed into the skin is said to promote the growth of hair and to be a remedy for baldness. It is also used as a cosmetic to get rid of freckles. The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles. A spray made by pouring enough boiling water to cover 1kg of chopped unpeeled onions is said to increase the resistance of other plants to diseases and parasites.

Propagation of Potato Onion:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Seed is seldom produced by this plant. Division in late summer. Harvest the bulbs as the foliage dies down and store them in a cool place. In areas with mild winters the bulbs are traditionally replanted on the shortest day of the year, but in colder areas it is best to wait until late winter or even early spring. Plant the bulbs only just below the soil surface.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in wild.

Known hazards of Allium cepa aggregatum:

There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of this plant. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.