Lots of foods are once again being appreciated for their medicinal qualities. In particular, fermented foods are respected for keeping our guts healthy, which results in much better overall health. Turmeric is being used in place or addition to many commonly prescribed drugs. Ginger, garlic, fresh herbs — it’s nothing new to turn to the kitchen for wellness. But, for most of us, onions have never really made a splash on the medicinal food scene. Well, until today.
Onions for the Flu
In the days of yore (that’s right, yore), onions were used by mothers and grandmothers, and likely some uncles and fathers, for treating and preventing the flu in their families. Onions do have components that would logically help. Sulfuric compounds kill off dangerous bacteria and strengthen the immune system. Certain antioxidants, such as quercetin in onions aid the body in attacking free-radicals while also sprucing up our immune systems. Got the flu? Don’t want the flu? Make a big pot of onion soup.
Onions for Earaches
Earaches are awful, and to watch a child have to endure one is possibly even worse. It’s an ailment that is often very difficult to soothe. Well, that’s where having an onion around the house can be handy. Dating back to the 19th-century, onions have been used as a treatment for earaches. Scientifically, onions do have anti-inflammatory properties that could help with this. But, for home remedy believers, the method is simply to heat up slices of onion and collect the juice that they secrete. Once cooled to warm but tolerable, put of few drops into the troublesome ear. That should help restore some balance in the world.
Onions for Coughs
Coughs can be incredibly debilitating, often keeping sufferers up through the night, as well as creating an all-around nasty, germy atmosphere. In addition to being naturally antibiotic and antibacterial, not to mention good for strengthening the immune system, onions (and their cousin garlic) are also expectorants. Obviously, including extra doses of onion and garlic in meals, especially a nice soup, just perfect for cough and colds, can help. But, it’s also possible to make an onion cough syrup: Slice a peeled onion into rounds and put the rounds into a jar with a bit of brown sugar between each round, then let it all get juicy overnight (about 8 hours). Use the juice from the jar as cough syrup. It’ll last for a couple of days in the fridge.
Onions for Cuts
Onions can work double time for treating cuts. First of all, applying onion skins to wounds that are bleeding will help with stopping the blood flow. Obviously, this would be for minor nicks and slices, such as one might get when chopping an onion. Secondly, to prevent infection, or if a wound seems to be getting infected (irritably red), rub in a little onion juice and the onions antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory powers will do a number on any germs causing problems.
Onions for Stings/Bites
Ugh, as much as bugs and bees can be a great thing, especially in the garden, every now and again, on a bad day, they can do some serious damage. It’s just part of nature and part of their nature. Luckily, onions can provide some comfort. For bee stings (after the stinger is removed—sorry bee) or bug bites, shred an onion or crush up a diced one and cover up the area. The anti-inflammatory elements will help with the swelling, and onions are also a natural antihistamine, providing on the spot relief.
Onions for Warts
Funny how both onions and warts are both associated with ogres (oh, the layers, Mr. Shrek). In reality, onions are a good, natural way to get rid of warts. In order to do so, carefully cut a piece of onion down to the exact size of the wart. Then, fasten the onion in place atop it, either with a Band-Aid or gauze. Within a few days, the onion will have burned the wart away. Be warned, however, that if the onion is pressed up against the skin the whole time, it will burn skin as well. Nevertheless, it’s way better than a trip to the dermatologist and a scary vat of liquid nitrogen.
Really, things with onions are just getting warmed up, which generally smells delicious. Of course, this time, we are talking medicinally, though. There are loads more remedies out there that utilize the most regular of vegetables. What an amazing food and a useful thing to learn. Now, check out some more natural ways to deal with common ailments: cures for skin rashes, remedies for indigestion, and treatments for sore throats.
Jonathon Engels – One Green Planet
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