The Nodding Onion-Allium cernuum
For our first edition of Healing Herbs & Plants I wanted to start with one that comes out early in the spring with the dandelions and yarrow, and persists through most of the summer at 10,500 feet elevation. A local medicinal, nutritive, and hardy plant, this spicy little onion is a very tasty addition to salads, simmering sauces, or even a home-made tincture.
These are cool season perennials so try to ethically harvest and be aware of population numbers in the area of harvest. Tiny leaves like chives, when rubbed the aromas of garlic, chives, and shallots come to mind. Like many hardy plants in the high country, this is a tiny plant, standing about 6” off the ground with a tiny flower standing tall amongst the leaves with a nodding violet flower on top. Native to the Rocky Mountains this tiny little onion plant that can be a tasty addition to food as well as a helpful medicinal plant to consume. In the Allium family, the flavor is reminiscent of sulfur-smelling compounds in garlic. The leaves, flower, and bulb can all be consumed raw or cooked.
Research into these sulfur containing compounds shows that what we enjoy as an aromatic spice or flavoring component in cooking has quite profound effects on the immune system.
Eric Chatt N.D.
BPEEC Site Manager