Will Onions Help Fight the Flu?

Recently there has been some e-mails circulating online regarding the use of onions for reducing or preventing flu symptoms. I have been asked to comment on this and give my opinion on the validity of this remedy. So here is what I have found…

What centuries of grandmothers have instinctively known is now being confirmed by everyone from modern scientists to naturopathic doctors. Onions may have the ability to ward off and relieve symptoms of the common flu. And in a world where, according to the CDC, many Americans will get the seasonal flu every year, the simple method of boiling onions into a drinkable broth may be a good practice to return to.

Moreover, the outbreak of H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, has caused many people to consider getting flu vaccinations that, in my opinion, will do more harm than good. Prevention is the best method, and the following post will offer some insight into this ancient technique of using onions for flu prevention.

How Onions Help with the Flu

The idea that onions could ward off disease through their potent medicinal properties hails back thousands of years. Ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine revered onions for their anti-inflammatory and congestion-relieving properties. The Ancient Greeks rubbed onions on sore muscles and the Native Americans used them to ward off the common cold and flu.

In fact, the World Health Organization has even recognized the onion for its ability to help relieve symptoms of the flu such as coughs, congestion, respiratory infections and bronchitis. Some traditions have even recommended placing sliced onions beside the bed at night, or even just around the house, to help prevent yourself from getting the flu.

The theory was that the raw onion would absorb germs in the air, preventing them from entering the body. Even though, it must be noted, that one of the most common ways to get the flu, is by contact with contaminated surfaces or people. So remember to wash your hands, especially before eating or scratching your eyes.

In an early 1900’s Los Angeles Times article, the following suggestion was offered to the public:

“In a sickroom you cannot have a better disinfectant than the onion. It has a wonderful capacity for absorbing germs. A dish of sliced onions placed in a sickroom will draw away the disease; they must be removed as soon as they lose their odor and become discolored, and be replaced by fresh ones.”

Onions are known for both their anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also high in sulfuric compounds such as thiosulfinates, sulfoxides, and other odorous cysteine sulfoxides. These compounds give onions their pungent flavor and are what make you cry when cutting them. Research shows that the thiosulfinates in onions are responsible for their antimicrobial properties. Thiosulfinates have even been shown to kill off salmonella and E. coli. Sulfuric compounds also play a role in cancer and heart disease prevention, and therefore act as a great immune-boosting food for general disease prevention.

Onions are also extremely high in the anti-oxidant quercetin. Quercetin helps the body fight free-radicals, and boosts the immune response. A recent study from the British Journal of Nutrition, showed that individuals who ate foods high in quercetin (onion soup was used in the study), had better immune responses and less likelihood for cardiovascular disease.

The Delmar’s Integrative Herb Guide states that, “Onions help break up or clear mucous and other substances that block the immune system from doing its work.” So this season, if you feel a cold or flu coming on, make yourself a big pot of soup using the simple recipe below.

Onion Soup: Easy, Health Restoring Recipe

Ingredients Needed for Onion Soup Recipe:

  •     * 3 large organic yellow onions
  •     * 3 organic cloves of garlic
  •     * 1/4 cup of fresh, finely-chopped organic oregano
  •     * 4 cups of purified or distilled water
  •     * Add Himalayan salt, to your taste.

Preparation: Chop both the onions and the garlic into cubes. Bring water to boil and add onions, garlic and oregano. Let simmer for 15 minutes, or until you notice that the onions are translucent and soft. Drink the hot soup and allow the body temperature to rise enough to induce mild sweating.

Onions For the House and Work

Cut fresh organic onions in 4 cubes, place on plates and put throughout house, office, and bedrooms to absorb any harmful organisms that may be floating around in the air. Especially during flu season. Replace with fresh onions every 2 days or when onions lose their odor or become discolored.

Another Onion Remedy

Similar to detox foot pads, try cutting a piece of onion large enough to place directly on the bottom of each foot, cover with a sock before bed and remove in the morning. Do this every night if you are experiencing flu like symptoms.

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Dr. Edward Group

Dr. Edward F. Group III has his Naturopathic Doctorate, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutritionist certifications, and is a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition and the American Board of Functional Medicine. He founded Global Healing Center Inc. in 1998 which has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

A dynamic author and speaker, Dr. Group focuses solely on spreading the message of health and wellness to the global community with the philosophy of full body cleansing, most importantly colon cleansing, consuming pure clean organic food, water, air, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Visit GlobalHealingCenter.com to learn more about living green and healthy!

Dr. Edward Group

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  1. Anonymous says

    …and another thing

    Of all the ways you can describe the U.S., here’s one that might not immediately spring to mind: potato nation.
    The average U.S. citizen consumes about 140 pounds of potatoes per year. Come on. That’s a LOT of potatoes.
    And what’s wrong with stuffing yourself with potatoes?

    Well, besides the things mentioned in the article…
    the refined sugar feeds fungus… and potato skins often have fungal spots which can extend into the ‘meat’ of the potato. Fungus is not destroyed by cooking. Voila!

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