Onion, also known as ‘pyaz‘ or ‘kanda‘ (Hindi) is a daily must-have that helps you stay away from many infections and diseases.
This humble vegetable can provide you with a healthy and glowing skin, thanks to the presence of rich amounts of the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. Both the consumption and the topical application of onions can provide numerous benefits to your skin as well.
Onions have been known to possess curative value since ancient times. Even the World Health Organization confirms that onions are beneficial for people with a reduced appetite and those suffering from atherosclerosis. Health experts acknowledge the fact that onion provides great respite for patients with chronic asthma, allergic bronchitis, common cold-related cough and cold syndromes.
The antibacterial properties of onion include extensive antifungal applications, which have made it a household name in antifungal relief. The onion plant can be grown on well-drained and moist soil. You can even grow them in your own backyard or garden to reap its health benefits. They form an important part of many culinary preparations in cuisines around the world, and they are also known as ‘companion plants’, meaning they grow well when around other vegetables and plants.
Some of the most valuable and well-known health benefits of onions are as follows:
Good Oral Health:
Onions are often used to prevent tooth decay and oral infections. Chewing raw onions for 2 to 3 minutes can potentially kill all the germs present in the oral area and surrounding places like the throat and lips.
Immune System Strength:
The phytochemicals that, are present in significant amounts in onions act as a stimulant to vitamin C within the body. The efficacy of vitamin C, and subsequently your immune system, is boosted when you eat onions, since it supercharges your immune system against toxins and various foreign bodies that can lead to disease and illness.
Treatment for Heart Ailments:
Onions act as anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners, which in turn prevents the red blood cells from forming clumps. These blocks and clots can lead to heart disorders or cardiovascular diseases.
Onions contain chromium, which is a relatively unusual mineral to find naturally in food. Chromium helps the body manage blood sugar levels and ensure a slow, gradual release of glucose to the muscles and the body cells. Therefore, eating onions can help modulate your blood sugar levels, which is vitally important for diabetic patients.
Used as Insect Repellent:
You can apply onion juice to reduce the pain caused from honeybee stings. Fresh onion juice or paste can be used for external applications for other insect bites and scorpion stings as well. The smell of onions also causes insects to flee, which is why onions can be used as insect repellents as well as a form of sting treatment.
Prevention of Cancer:
Onions are rich in active compounds that successfully inhibit the development and spread of cancerous cells. Quercetin is a very powerful antioxidant compound that has been consistently linked to the prevention or reduction of the spread of cancer, they have a significant amount of quercetin! Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant, which can reduce the presence and impact of free radicals throughout the body. Free radicals are the chemical byproducts of cellular metabolism, and they can cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous cells. Therefore, any food rich in antioxidants, which neutralize these free radicals, are beneficial for anyone, since every person is susceptible to this internal attack due to oxidative stress!
A few drops of onion juice may actually prove immensely beneficial to individuals suffering from acute earache. The ringing sound in the ear may be cured by applying onion juice through a piece of cotton wool.
Onion juice mixed with honey or olive oil is said to be best treatment for treating symptoms or signs of acne. Onions are also notorious anti-inflammatory vegetables, so the active compounds in onions can reduce the redness and swelling that is commonly associated with skin conditions like acne. It also helps to reduce the associated pain and inflammation of conditions like gout and arthritis.
Treatment for Cough:
Consuming an equal mixture of onion juice and honey can relive sore throats and coughing symptoms.
Boosts Sexual Drive:
Onions are said to increase the urge for a healthy sex life. One table spoon of onion juice along with one spoonful of ginger juice, taken three times a day, can boost the libido and sex drive.
Treatment of Anemia:
Even anemic conditions can be improved by eating onions along with jaggery and water, because this adds to the mineral content of the body, especially iron, which is an essential part of producing new red blood cells. Therefore, anemia, also known as iron deficiency, can be prevented by having a health amount of onions in your diet.
Relieves Stomach Aches:
Onions have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that give relief to upset stomach and other related gastric syndromes. This is due to the saponins that can be found in onions. These saponins have anti-spasmodic capabilities that ensure that stomach disturbances do not continue and that your bowels are clear and smoothly functioning.
Treating Urinary Disorders:
For those suffering from a burning sensation during urination, onions can provide considerable relief. People suffering from this condition should drink water boiled with 6 to 7 grams of onions.
According to Peace Health, onions have long been useful for treating various human diseases such as tumors, persistent coughs and colds. Medical practitioners consider this plant form as a perfect home remedy for relieving various metabolic disorders and disease syndromes. Peace Health further states that onion consumption can even help in the prevention of stomach and breast cancer.
Onions Consist of Sulfur Rich Compounds-
Medical studies have revealed that these sulfuric compounds stop biochemical chain formations that could possibly lead to asthmatic conditions. The sulfuric content of onions facilitates the melting of phlegm in a patient suffering from severe coughing. Fresh onion juices are recommended for patients who lose consciousness, because the aroma and inhalant qualities of onions bring immediate vigor and energy into people.
Multiple studies show onion to be a food that provides protection for the heart and blood vessels when consumed in a diet that is rich in other vegetables and fruits—especially flavonoid-containing vegetables and fruits. The benefits of onion in this overall dietary context extend to prevention of heart attack. In virtually all of these diet-based studies, participants with the greatest intake of vegetables (including onions) gain the most protection. The outstanding flavonoid content of onions supports these research findings. It’s also interesting to note that onion is most commonly consumed in relatively small amounts along with other foods rather than by itself. For this reason, it can be more difficult to study in large-scale dietary research studies that involve thousands of participants and rely on diet diaries to determine onion consumption.
Support for Bone and Connective Tissue:
Human studies have shown that onion can help increase our bone density and may be of special benefit to women of menopausal age who are experiencing loss of bone density. In addition, there is evidence that women who have passed the age of menopause may be able to lower their risk of hip fracture through frequent consumption of onions. “Frequent” in this context means onion consumption on a daily basis! In this research on bone density in older women, very sporadic eating of onion (once a month or less) did not provide much benefit. That finding, of course, was very expected. But less expected was the finding that it took daily consumption of onion to show robust benefits for bone density. Just as in the cancer-related onion research, the take-away message here is clear: you don’t want to skimp on onions when you are incorporating them into your meal plan.
While onion is not as well researched as garlic in terms of specific inflammatory health problems like rheumatoid arthritis or allergic airway inflammation, this allium vegetable has nevertheless been shown to provide important anti-inflammatory benefits. Onionin A—a unique sulfur molecule in onion that is found in the bulb portion of the plant—has been shown to inhibit the activity of macrophages, specialized white blood cells that play a key role in our body’s immune defense system, and one of their defense activities involves the triggering of large-scale inflammatory responses. While macrophage activity is typically a good thing, inhibition of their activity can sometimes be critical in getting chronic unwanted inflammation under control.
Onion’s antioxidants—including its hallmark flavonoid antioxidant, quercetin—also provide us with anti-inflammatory benefits. These antioxidants help prevent the oxidation of fatty acids in our body. When we have lower levels of oxidized fatty acids, our body produces fewer pro-inflammatory messaging molecules, and our level of inflammation is kept in check.
Onion juice has long been used to stimulate hair growth. Aromatic foods like onions contain many natural compounds that help to stimulate the hair follicles and cleanse the scalp. Onion juice can help remove toxins from the body and stimulate blood circulation which is essential for strong and healthy hair roots. Strong and healthy hair follicles minimize hair loss. Combining onion juice with your shampoo can help nourish your hair and minimize hair loss. Read in detail about onion juice for dandruff and hair loss
Onion juice can also be used to provide relief from an itchy scalp that is caused by dandruff. The anti-bacterial properties in onions helps reduce the itching and can provide relief from dandruff in a few weeks. Some medicated shampoos even contain onion extracts which helps in the treatment of dandruff. Important nutrients in onions which play a role in keeping your scalp healthy are vitamins C & B6, potassium, magnesium, germanium and sulfur.
For hair loss, rub a sliced raw onion on the roots of your hair before going to sleep. Let it dry for an hour and then massage your scalp with olive oil. Leave it overnight and shampoo it off with a mild shampoo the next morning. You will notice the difference in the quality of your hair within a few days. Keep repeating the treatment for a few weeks and you will notice a marked improvement.
In clinical tests using onion juice, mild cases of alopecia areata with a few bald patches experienced positive results in almost half the cases. The onion juice seemed to have a steroidal effect on the hair follicles and boosted their growth capacity.
Individuals suffering from earache can benefit immensely by applying a few drops of onion juice to the affected ear. This is due to the presence of essential oils which can rapidly relieve earache. Ear infections also respond well to onion juice largely due to its potent anti-bacterial action. It is also effective in providing relief from tinnitus, the ringing in the ear that affects some people.
To use onion juice for ear problems, steam or bake an onion until the skin is soft and then crush it to extract the juice. Place a few drops of the warm juice into the ear using a dropper. This will usually relieve the pain within a few minutes. Raw onion juice can also be used, but this may cause burning which can aggravate the problem. It is better to mix the raw juice with a little olive oil before application.
Studies show that the sulfur compounds in onion juice help in relieving chest congestion and are beneficial in warding off the common cold. It acts as a mucolytic agent by helping to liquefy mucus and prevents its formation. Consuming a mixture of onion juice and honey can help relieve a sore throat and provide relief from cough and even bronchitis.
The sulfur compounds also stop the biochemical reactions that cause asthma attacks from occurring. Once again, asthmatics should consume a mixture of onion juice and honey to ward off attacks.
The mixture of honey and onion juice should be in a 50-50 ratio and has to be kept aside for about 5 to 6 hours. It should be taken 2 to 3 times a day. In cases of bronchitis, the mixture should be had every hour till the symptoms subside.
In terms of onions’ role in various culinary delights, onions has been used for thousands of years in many food preparations. It is especially used for preparing non-vegetarian food in order to hide some of the harsher tastes and smells of meat. Onions can be consumed raw, pickled in vinegar, fried in oil, baked or boiled. Onions are certainly a boon to mankind that might make us cry, but they should be tears of joy, considering all the health benefits we are getting at the same time!
SIDE EFFECTS OF ONION JUICE
One of the adverse effects on health due to the consumption of large quantities of onion juice is gastric irritation. To avoid this, onion juice must be drunk in moderation. Onion juice may also cause nausea and vomiting in some cases. Application of raw onion juice can lead to skin irritation and should be tested on a small area before application on the affected areas.