Onion, one of the most widely used vegetables of the world, is a root vegetable used as a seasoning in fresh and dry forms. This underground bulb is known for its distinct/pungent flavor and aroma. It is an inseparable element of almost every meat dish. But its use is not only confined to the non-vegetarian items, it also mixes well with various vegetables. Needless to explain its utility in preparing the soup, stew, stir-fry, salad and sauce. Today, onions are used in a variety of dishes and rank sixth among the world's leading vegetable crops.
For the past five thousand years, this root vegetable is used in one form or another by humans. In the general sense, the word 'onion' can be used for any plant in the genus Allium, but used without qualifiers usually means Allium cepa, which is also known by the names of 'garden onion' or 'bulb' onion and 'shallot'. Onions are classified in two categories viz. green ("scallions") and dry onions. It is believed that this plant has been originated in Asia. It contains protein, sugars, cellulose, minerals, a fixed oil, an essential oil and over 80 per cent water.
Onion...in Different Languages
Onion is one of the most widely cultivated vegetables of the world. In various regions, it is known by different names. Some of them are:
- French: Oignon
- German: Zwiebel
- Italian: Cipolla
- Spanish: Cebolla
- Arabic: Basal
- Chinese: Choong
- Indian: Palandu, Pe(e)az, Piaz, Pyaz
- Indonesian: Bawang Merah, Daun Bawang (Spring Onion)
- Japanese: Naganegi (Spring Onion), Negi, Nira (Chive), Rakkyo (Chinese Onion), Tamanegi
- Malay: Bawang Merah, Daun Bawang (Spring Onion)
- Tamil: Vungium, Vunguim
- Thai: Hua Horm, Ton Horm (Spring Onion).
Onions are regarded as an antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant and rubefacient by the nutritionists. Its juice or paste is used for wound healing, skin complaints (acne), insect bites, hemorrhoids, boils and toothache. The raw juice is diuretic and the whole onion is an appetite stimulant and digestant.