There are many good reasons why onions should be used as part of your diet. Studies on its nutritional value have concluded that they have a number of health benefits and are effective in:
Onions can be incorporated into a wide variety of dishes, so it is easy to fit them into your weekly dietary plan. Eating onions just two or three times a week can make a big difference. However, including them in your diet is not the only way you can use onions to positively affect your health. They have a number of medicinal and healing properties that can be used to fight various ailments. We fully expect some of them to surprise you!
Onions contain a compound called Quercetin which has both strong anti-bacterial properties and the ability to fight harmful toxins. It is a powerful antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and can lower cholesterol levels. The densest concentration of Quercetin is found in the outer rings nearest to the bulb's skin as well as the part of the onion that is closest to the root. This goodness is found in both red and white onions, and both types can be used as part of these natural remedies.
Onions are effective in the treatment of cuts to the skin. If you nick yourself with a knife cutting one, apply a slice of the onion to the injured area immediately. The raw onion will prevent infection and clean the wound. Next, take a piece of the onion's skin and place it over the top of the wound, sealing it with an adhesive. You will find that the bleeding stops quickly and the wound looks clean. If you have a larger cut or graze, use gauze to fix a piece of onion over the top of it. You can keep the onion on the wound for as long as required, just make sure you change the gauze regularly.
While it may sound odd, putting an onion in a sock is a surprisingly successful means of lowering your body temperature when you are suffering from a high fever!
Chop up some potatoes and slice an onion in half. Put one half of the onion into one sock, and the other half into the other sock (and add some potato slices in each of the socks as well). Next, put the socks on your feet - ensure that the mixture is pressed against your soles. You should find that your temperature lowers in a relatively short time.
An onion's anti-inflammatory properties make it a powerful defense against earache and it can also be used to soften ear wax, making the wax easier to remove. If you are suffering from an earache, chop up an onion, take the inner part (that is the hard section at the 'heart' of the onion) and place it in your ear for remedial relief. You will achieve the best results by implementing the procedure shortly before you got to sleep. If you are someone who suffers from regular, excessive wax build-up, then you might want to perform this trick regularly.
One of the oldest recognized uses of an onion is its employment as a weapon to fight the common cold. If you feel you are developing the tell-tale signs of a coming cold (sniffles, sore throat, etc) then raid your cupboard for an onion. It is most effective when eaten raw, and you should try and eat a whole one (perhaps chop it up and mix it in a salad to make it more palatable). Alternatively, boil the onion and use it alongside ginger and honey to make a tea. It will raise your defenses and help you fight off the cold.
Onions are incredibly effective in soothing small burns and the recipe for doing so could not be simpler. If you have burnt yourself in the kitchen or garage, simply take half a chopped onion and apply it directly to the wound. Hold it in place for a few minutes and the pain should quickly start to ease.
For further relief, whip up two or three egg whites in a bowl and use them to cover the affected area. Hold the mixture in place using a breathable bandage for a natural, protective layer that will quicken your recovery.
The use of onions as part of a cheap, effective cough remedy is another practice that dates back centuries. It is best employed with a few other basic ingredients and there are a couple of things you can try.
Firstly, peel a red or white onion, and cut it into large slices. Layer the slices in a sealable jar and place brown sugar on top. Close the lid of the jar and let it sit for some time (around 6 hours is optimum). A syrup will form in the jar. Take a spoonful of the syrup as regularly as needed. The brown sugar makes the syrup more palatable and the resulting mixture does not taste too bad. Re-make the syrup every couple of days, replacing the old mixture with the new.
If you want an alternative, pour honey over the sliced onion instead of the brown sugar (use both if you have a particularly sweet tooth). Add a sprinkling of grated garlic for an extra health boost.
Here is where the antihistamine properties of an onion come in handy. If you got stung by a bee or wasp, then a bit of crushed or grated onion applied directly to the skin can be extremely beneficial for pain relief.
The antihistamine will prevent an allergic reaction while the anti-inflammatory qualities of the onion will reduce any associated swelling. Keep the onion in place until the pain has subsided by using a breathable bandage that you should replace regularly.