Onions have many uses beyond flavoring dishes in the kitchen. For centuries they have been used for a wide variety of treatments, and are particularly useful in treating a number of health issues and concerns.
Their antimicrobial and antiseptic properties make them a great alternative to antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, especially for common ailments like ear infections and small wounds. These properties also mean onions can be used in the kitchen to disinfect utensils and serving ware.
Onions For Serious Health Issues
Like the equally powerful garlic, onions are a member of the allium family.
They’re also a good source of fiber, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, sulfur, antioxidants, and flavonoids (1).
It even contains quercetin, a power antioxidant that protects against heart disease and cancer while also treating hypertension and high cholesterol. Plus, it relieves allergy symptoms by preventing the release of histamines from immune cells (2).
Thanks to these nutrients and more, onions can play a crucial role in fighting major health issues, including diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease (3).
Onions As Medicine
Here are popular home health remedies that utilize the healing benefits of onions:
1. Ear Infections
To cure ear infections, chop onions finely and tie into a double-layer of cheesecloth. Hold the onion poultice firmly against the affected ear and secure in place using a cloth bandage or snug hat. Keep for up to 12 hours and replace with fresh onions as needed.
Cure the common cold by placing onion slices on the soles of your feet. Secure with plastic wrap and cover with a sock. Keep them on overnight to help draw out toxins through your feet and speed up your healing process.
Grate a large onion finely and squeeze out the juice by wrapping the grated onion in cheesecloth and pressing firmly. Then, steep a cup of strong peppermint tea and let it cool. Drink 2 teaspoons of the onion juice and wait 5 minutes. Follow up with 2 teaspoons of tea and wait another 5 minutes. Repeat as needed.
Do not eat or drink in between each treatment. Your symptoms should subside within 15-20 minutes.
4. Cough & Bronchitis
Combine finely chopped onions with coconut oil to make a paste. Apply the mixture to your chest, cover with a dishtowel, and secure in place using a cloth bandage. Leave it on overnight and clean up in the morning. This will help expel phlegm from your lungs to shorten the duration of your illness.
You can also use onions to make a cough syrup. All you need to do is peel a large onion and slice in half. Cover the cut side of each half with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Cover with plastic wrap for an hour. Chop the onion and store in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Take a tablespoon of the mixture twice a day as needed.
Cure infant colic by boiling 4 (1/4-inch) slices yellow onion in 2 cups of water and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. Let it cool and strain. Feed 4 tablespoons twice a day during a colic attack (5). If symptoms persist for more than a day, contact your pediatrician immediately.
Treat a paper cut by covering it with the transparent film of the onion’s skin. Not only will it stop the bleeding, it’ll even prevent infection.
In addition to healing common ailments, onions have a number of other uses around the home, particularly due to their antibacterial qualities.
Household uses include:
Bug repellent: Keep bugs away by spraying your clothing with a mixture of equal parts onion juice and water. You can also rub fresh onion slices directly on exposed skin.
Moth solution: Keep a bottle of onion juice in your closet and make a few holes in the lid to keep moths away from your knits.
Air purifier: Slice onions on a plate in your bedroom and living room. The onions will absorb toxins and strong odors. Replace the slices every day or so.
All-purpose cleaner: Clean your cutting boards and counters by combining equal parts water, vinegar, and cooled onion water. Spray the mixture and let it sit for 10-15 minutes and wash as usual.
Tough kitchen cleaner: Remove burnt residue from pots and pans by rubbing the surface with a raw onion and letting it soak in onion juice for an hour.
Scalp magic: Promote hair growth by drenching your hair in onion juice, setting it sit for an hour and washing as usual. Use once a week for best results.
Rust prevention: Rub a sliced onion face-down on your iron pan to prevent rusting.
Dish polish: Polish copper serving ware and glassware with freshly cut onion slices.
Skin care: Cut an onion in half and rub on your skin after a long day in the sun to prevent freckling.
Keep onions on hand at home by storing them in a dark, cool pantry. Store them in paper bags with multiple holes and keep them away from potatoes. They’ll last for up to 3 months!