Onion, Garlic and Chives (Allium spp.)

Picture it...

Do you go wild over your garlic and smile through your tears when chopping onions? Members of the allium family, such as onion, garlic and chives, have long been used around the world to add flavour and vitamins to food, despite the next day’s “garlic breath”, but additional medicinal properties have been much harder to prove.

1. The picture above shows onion and garlic bulbs together with some chives on a petri dish; you can also see the bottom of a measuring cylinder with some allium flower stalks and a volumetric flask in the background. While the petri dish is more often used in biological and biochemical labs, both measuring cylinders and volumetric flasks are key to chemical experiments involving liquids and solutions. On the left hand side is the structure of a molecule common to all members of the allium family, called alliin, which can be converted to the…

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