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.

Did you know?

Here’s one that demonstrates your brain power!
In a contest, people were shown a photograph of six mothers and their six children, arranged randomly in a group.  Contestants strangers to the photographed group were asked to link the six mother and child pairs.  Forty people responded, and each had paired all of the mothers and children correctly!

Imagine that!!  That’s the power of your brain, the ability to distinguish each adult form and estimate, using finer discrimination, which child’s features / head-shape / expression best fitted with which adult.

Did you know?

So these circulate all the time in those pesky forwarded emails.  I thought Why not have a space for them on the blog?  Besides, if any readers fumble on this post and can debunk any of these, it’d be fun and one would learn something as well.  Using “Google is my friend”, I have debunked a few of these already and am posting my results in parantheses for all to see.  So here it goes:

  • “Stewardesses” is the longest word typed only with Left Hand (For those touch typists who type with two hands out there)
  • “Lollipop” is apparently the longest word typed only with your right hand.  (Both of these are not true, I found a list of words on the web that can easily debunk both of these statements and here’s that list: AFTERCATARACTS (plural for a condition that sometimes follows cataract surgery), TESSERADECADES and TETRASTEARATES are the longest words which can be typed using only the fingers of the left hand. The first word appears in a Merriam-Webster medical dictionary; the second is in W2. Other such words (some of which are not in dictionaries) are ABSTRACTERS, ABSTRACTEST, AFTEREFFECT, AFTEREFFECTS, AFTERTASTES, AFTERWARDS, ASSEVERATED, ASSEVERATES, BEGGARWEEDS, CASEBEARERS, CRABGRASSES, DATABASES, DECEREBRATE, DECEREBRATED, DECEREBRATES, DESECRATERS, DESEGREGATE, DESEGREGATED, DESEGREGATES, DEVERTEBRATED, EFFERVESCED, EFFERVESCES, EXTRAVASATES, GAZETTEER, READDRESSED, READDRESSES, REAGGRAVATES, REASSEVERATE, RESEGREGATE, RESEGREGATED, RESEGREGATES, REVEGETATED, REVEGETATES, REVERBERATE, REVERBERATED, REVERBERATES, SASSAFRASES, STAGECRAFTS, STATECRAFTS, STAVESACRES, STEWARDESSES, SWEATERDRESSES, SWEETBREADS, TERRACEWARDS, TRADECRAFTS, VERTEBRATES, WASTEWATERS, WATERCRAFTS, WATERCRESSES.
  • In English language, no words rhyme with “Orange”, “Month”, “Silver” or “Purple”.  (While this may seem true in our current state of English language, you can always use archaic English language or different dialects of English language and debunk this fact.  Month can be seen as a rhyme for “oneth”, Orange also has one “sporange”,  and so does silver “chilver” , and finally for purple we have “Curple”
  • “Dreamt” is the only English word that ends with a “mt”.  (It seems that there is also adreamt and undreamt, hence this fun fact is not so true).
  • Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears don’t stop growing. (Not true so it seems, our eyes do grow, though they are very close to the adult eyes).
  • The sentence “Quick Brown Fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter in the alphabet.  (And most probably that’s why it is always a sentence used when trying to teach people how to touch-type, however it should be noted that this is not the only sentence that uses every letter in the alphabet).
  • These two words in English language have all the vowels in order: abstemious and facetious  (Vowel order – a e i o u)
  • “Typewriter” is the longest word that can be made using all letters on ONE row of the keyboard. (Again, it seems that there are several other words that can be typed using one row of the keyboard and are longer than “Typewriter”, you can google for an exhaustive list of these words as well, so this is not true).
  • A goldfish has a memory span of 3 seconds! (not True, a Goldfish actually has a memory span of 6 seconds)
  • A “Jiffy” is actually a unit of time indicating 1/100th of a second. (Here again, these emails are not quite on the ball — In computer engineering, a jiffy is the length of one cycle, or tick, of the computer’s system clock. In the past, this was often equal to one period of the alternating current powering the computer: 1/60 second in the U.S. and Canada, usually 1/50 second elsewhere. More recently the jiffy has become standardized, more or less, as 0.01 second (10 milliseconds). The word jiffy, with its ordinary meaning of an instant or very brief time, appeared in English during the eighteenth century, but its origin is not known.
    In chemistry and physics, a jiffy is equal to a “light centimeter,” that is, the time required for light to travel a distance of one centimeter. This is a very brief interval indeed, about 33.3564 picoseconds. This definition of the jiffy was proposed by the American physical chemist Gilbert N. Lewis (1875-1946), who was one of the first to apply principles of quantum physics in chemistry.
    SOURCE: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes (Again, wrong, Sharks Don’t Blink — now that’s a fun fact)
  • A cat has 32 muscles in each ear (Not true, a Cat has actually 30 muscles in each ear)
  • An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
  • Babies are born without kneecaps (they appear between the age of 2 and 6 years)  —– (Again, these pesky “Fact” emails are wrong on this one, this is NOT true)
  • February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon! (Again, we are being fed lies — there have been other years where no full moon was recorded and there will be more in future.  February 1809, 1847, 1866, 1885, 1915, 1934, 1961, 1999 did not have a full moon!
  • Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite (Indeed they are as they are used to make Glycerin, which is part of Nitroglycerin, but directly, no they are not used in dynamite)
  • Elastics last longer when refrigerated
  • The cruise liner QE2 moves only 6 inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns (talk about going green — and that would be true if it was true, however, it seems that the QE2 actually moves 50 feet / gallon)
  • The microwave was invented after a researcher walked past a radar tube and a chocolate bar in his pocket melted.
  • The Winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagra Falls froze completely over (and the same thing happened in 1911 as well ; oh and this deserves a special look, in fact, have a look at this link for more information on this — whether its true or not, is still being debated so it seems )
  • Women Blink twice as much as men (hmm, well this is not true and nothing is proven about that as blinking is affected by emotional state, health, age, etc.)

These were the only ones I received in my email, so if you find more of these fun facts and are attempting to debunk them, post ’em here, lets do that together.