The Onion (Allium cepa) is one of the oldest and most versatile herbal remedies. Long before commercial cold treatments, herbalists used a syrup made from the juice of one onion, mixed with honey, to alleviate congestion. This worked as well as today’s over-the-counter cough medicines without some of the negative side effects such as drowsiness or nervousness.
Onion is also excellent for indigestion. Onion is believed to be a natural source of energy and some people swear that an Onion a day can prevent hair loss. According to folklore, Onion also helps restore sexual potency.
Applied directly to the skin, Onion has special healing properties. A roasted Onion can be used as a poultice for earaches. Salted Onions are useful for troublesome warts. Onion juice rubbed between the toes 2 to 3 times daily can cure athlete’s foot. A mixture of 1 to 2 teaspoons of Onion juice with 1 teaspoon of vinegar can fade unsightly liver spots or dark blemishes.
An Onion a day may also keep the cardiologist away. Studies show that people who eat a medium-sized Onion daily can lower their overall cholesterol and raise their HDL, or “good” cholesterol. Onion has also been shown to lower blood pressure and help prevent blood clots. A recent study by the National Cancer Institute showed that people who eat diets high in allium vegetables such as Onion (and garlic) suffer from less stomach cancer that those who don’t .
A word of caution for nursing mothers: if you’re breast-feeding an infant, stay clear of Onions, because they could cause the baby to suffer colic.