Onions: An Ancient Remedy

Onions: An Ancient Remedy

Last update: 11 March, 2015

What do you really know about humble onions? They’re not just for adding flavour. Within their layers, you’ll find remedies for almost any illness or infection. In the past, the onion had magical connotations. It was purported to chase away evil spirits and people believed that placing an onion underneath your pillow would bring you prophetic dreams.

Mythology aside, it’s quite true that onions’ medicinal powers have been known for hundreds of years. Scientific proof, however, first appeared in 1919 in the United States during an influenza pandemic. A doctor, terrified of the ferocity of this particular strain, noted that there was a family of farmers who were completely healthy. None of the members of the large family had contracted the virus. The doctor investigated and found that the matriarch of the family had followed the traditions that their European ancestors used during the plague and cholera epidemics. They put onions on their windowsills and elsewhere around the  house. Upon microscopic analysis, the doctor observed that the flu virus was stuck to the onion’s layers!

We now know that the onion is an effective remedy. In addition, it’s delicious and multifunctional. It’s culinary attributes are widely known.

Benefits of the Onion

Regulates Hypertension and Improves Circulation

These little wonders contain the compound allicin, which is also present in its cousin, garlic. This constituent has great anti-thrombotic properties. It can also prevent blood clots and improve blood flow by regulating cholesterol and hypertension. This reduces the chances of suffering a coronary crisis or angina. How do we make the onion work for us? Simply soak 300 grams of minced onion in a litre of water for 15 hours, then enjoy sipping up to three glasses a day.


Onion helps you eliminate excessive bodily fluid, so it’s extremely beneficial for conditions such as rheumatism, gout, and edema. To treat these conditions, soak 50 grams of minced onions in one glass of wine and add this to three glasses of water. You can drink up to 3 glasses each day.

Appetite stimulant

You’ll often find onions paired with garlic and red pepper. This culinary triumvirate is commonly used in many countries as a lovely and flavourful seasoning. Onion’s vitamin C content aids in the absorption of iron and provides various anti-bodies as well. In addition, it boasts  vitamins C, E, and B, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and fibre in its nutritional profile.


Sulphur is the culprit in onions that makes us cry. It’s what assaults our nostrils as we cut into one – and it’s an important feature. Sulphur is what helps rid the body of infection. Whether it is fighting the flu, pharyngitis or  bronchitis, onion is a true ally. It’s also perfect when you are afflicted with some sort of diarrhoea or intestinal bacteria. Need a quick cure? Make a simple onion syrup. All you do is cook two onions in a half litre of water. Add five tablespoons of agave nectar or maple syrup to the resulting broth. Stir the mixture until it becomes a syrup and drink three cups a day. You’ll also find some relief by breathing in the steam as you’re boiling the broth.

Digestive Benefits of the Onion

Onion is a superb stimulant for the liver and gallbladder. It aids digestion, too – so, adding onions to stews is great when combined with a healthy, well-balanced diet. One word of caution: if you suffer from stomach acid or have a sensitive stomach, onions should be avoided. However, research shows that eating onions can prevent cancer cells from developing in the abdomen. Balance is always best. Moderate your onion consumption for optimal benefit.

For Insect Bites

Onions are excellent disinfectants for bug bites due to their anti-bacterial powers. Moisten the infected area with the juice of a fresh onion.

What About Bad Breath?

Halved onion

As delightful as they taste and as healthy as they can be, the onion does have its faults. Bad breath is the unpleasant side effect of eating them. Fear not. There is a simple remedy! California scientist, John Graham, discovered that drinking a glass of water immediately after eating an onion mitigates its effects. So, eat onions to your heart’s content. You can even kiss someone afterward!