Onions and Flu — Beneficial or not?


There’s no doubt that onions can be extremely beneficial for health when eaten.  Some of the benefits are:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-carcinogen
  • anti-cholestrol
  • anti-oxydant (they contain quercetin, an antioxydant, other major sources of quercetin are tea and apples)
  • Aphrodisiac (in fact some sects in India don’t consume onion due to that reason)
  • Can be used to treat blisters and boils
  • Application of raw onions can be used to reduce swelling from bee stings
  • Products that treat topical scars usually contain extracts from onions
  • They can be used to treat sore throats (In fact, again in India they are used in a mixture with Jaggery as a remedy against sore throat)
  • There are claims that show them to be beneficial against diabetes, osteoprosis, gastric ulcers, cataracts and cardio-vascular diseases (by being a potent blood-thinner)
  • Source of Vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid, calcium, iron, have a high protein quality and are low in sodium and contain no fat.

Onion Rings Baked Onions

There have been studies done that show that increased consumption of onions can be good to reduce the risks of head and neck cancer (http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/84/5/1027).

So yeah, apart from adding flavouring to your food, they have tons of beneficial attribu


s, so don’t say no to Onions.

So what about this email I received saying leave the onion open

Here’s how the email goes:

A friend of mine told me a story about  when he was a kid he was in the hospital & nearly dying.  His Italian grandmother came to the hospital & told a family member to go buy her a large onion & a new pair of white cotton socks.  She sliced the onion open then put a slice on the bottom of each of his feet & put the white cotton socks on him.  In the morning when he awoke they removed the socks.  The slices of onion were black & his fever was gone.  The following story that someone sent to me might have some truth in it & we are going to try it this winter.

In 1919 when the flu killed 40  million people there was this Doctor that visited the many  farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and  many died.

The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise,  everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what  the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied  that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms  of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The  doctor couldn’t believe it and asked if he could have one of  the onions and place it under the microscope.  She gave  him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in  the onion.  It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser in AZ.   She said that several years ago many of her employees were  coming down with the flu and so were many of her  customers.  The next year she placed several bowls with  onions around in her shop.  To her surprise, none of  her staff got sick.  It must work..  (And no, she is not in the onion business.)

The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them  in bowls around your home.  If you work at a desk,  place one or two in your office or under your desk or even  on top somewhere.  Try it and see what happens.   We did it last year and we never  got the flu. !!!!!! !!!!!!!!

I contacted pneumonia and needless to say I was very ill…I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put one end on a fork and then place the forked end into an empty jar…placing the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs…sure enough it happened just like that…the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.

Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties.

One more thing, never store cut onions and consume the next day.

Is that true?

We can easily debunk the story, while I can’t tell you if that’s true or not, there are facts in this story that can be easily shown to be false.

Consider this:

1.  In 1919, Electron Microscope hadn’t been invented, which means that the doctor saw the virus under an optical microscope.  That is not possible.
2.  Electron Microscope was invented in 1931
3.  The Influenza virus itself was first shown and extracted in 1933 in United Kingdom.

So the 1919 doctor could not have seen the virus (not bacteria as said in the email) absorbed by the onion.  It has to be impossible.  So one story debunked.

The hair-dresser in AZ that placed onions in onions41vj9bowls all over her salon, though speaking in jest, this must have caused a lot of people to not user her salon, less people = less infectious agents.  LOL

So what about leaving an onion open in the bowl and it becomes black soaking all the germs?  Comeon!!! Leave an apple open and it becomes black, leave a banana open and it becomes black.  This only happens because of oxidation as the vegetable or fruit reacts with the oxygen in the air and becomes oxidized.  This in turn gives it a black or brown color.  So no it doesn’t become black because it soaks up all the germs in the air.  Onion is not a bacterial / viral magnet!

Look, the cut onions soaking up viruses and bacteria to ward off diseases is just a old-wife tale as they call it, nothing magical about it and it has been around for ages! Read this link to find more about how old this tale really is: http://www.snopes.com/medical/swineflu/onion.asp

While I can’t explain how the kid whose grandmother placed cut onions in socks got better the next day, I can confidently say that the onion got black because of oxidation.  The last guy whose pneumonia got better because of onions that also (surprise surprise) turned black overnight, well that could be more of a psychotropic effect.  Psychology has a huge role to play in sickness, the placebo effect is well documented and often seems miraculous.  You can read more about placebo effect in the wikipedia or on the web.

onionNow lets talk about the last part of the email, eating a cut onion the next day…  Now this is interesting.  My research showed that onions, due to the fact that they have ground contact, could have bacteria on the surface which could go from the outside to the inside if the onion is not washed before chopping.  Now of course if you peel your onions, you are safe in that regard.  This can happen with other ground vegetables and fruit as well such as watermelon and cantaloupes and potatoes.  Well anything grown in soil, the outside can be contaminated with fecal bacteria or other soil bacteria, so you should wash them regardless, in fact, wash any raw vegetable or fruit before you eat them is a good advice.  As far as onions becoming toxic when left cut, I can’t see why they would become toxic!  If you took proper care in handling it and then you are going to cook it later on, then they shouldn’t be toxic to eat, especially if wrapped and left in the fridge.  If you are going to eat them raw after a couple of days, then they probably won’t taste so good as they would lose their pungency left open.  There is no logical reason for the onions to become toxic when left open for next day in the fridge, if anybody can think of one or can show me a source, I’d appreciate it.

Till then, don’t believe everything you get in a chain email, do some research to find out the truth or take everything with a grain of salt.

2 thoughts on “Onions and Flu — Beneficial or not?

  1. I received this so called tale in an email in 2007. I decided to try it, as I would get the cold or the flu twice in every winter. I peeled the onion, cut it in half, placed it by my bed and in other areas of my home. At first the onions would turn black. It is now June 2011 and I now place new onions around at least every month. They do not turn black but dry up and shrivel. I have never had a cold or the flu in 4 years. I am 66 years old on my birthday and have never seen my doctor in all this time.

  2. Um..onions don’t turn black from oxidation overnight…try it! They only turn black if it absorbs a toxin.

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