Although Allium cepa L. is usually thought of as a vegetable, it also has a long history of medicinal use. Mainly the fleshy bulb that grows below the ground is used medicinally as well as for food but other parts of the plant also have a place in the traditional medicines. It contain anti inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and antioxidant components and are considered effective against the respiratory disease, tooth disorders, anemia, skin disorders, ear disorders, cholera, urinary system disorders, bleeding piles common cold, heart disease, and other diseases.
Main active components
- Amino-acids: glutamic acid , arginine, lysine, glycine, etc.
- Minerals: Mainly: Potassium, phosphorous, calcium, manganese , sodium, sulphur and , in less quantity, iron, manganese, zinc, copper and selenium.
- Vitamins: vitamin C, Folic acid, Vitamin E.
- Essential oil with many sulphurous components: dipropyl disulfide ..methyl methanethiosulfinate , etc.
- Allicin, in less quantity than in garlic.
Uses of onion as food
It is a vegetable that should never be lacking in our tables. It always should be eaten raw, since boiling destroys its essential components. One can eat onion soup, onion broth or cooked with other vegetables. It is advised to prepare raw salads which keep all the plant properties. However, stomach refusal can be solved by leaving onion in maceration with olive oil during the night. The onion can be "softened" if we introduce it in a water container with some lemon juice.
- Circulation: The presence of allicin, although in less proportion than in garlic, gives this plant antithrombotic properties ( avoids the formation of blood platelets )so, it becomes very interesting to make blood fluid, which prevents much of the following circulatory diseases: arteriosclerosis, cholesterol, hypertension, angina pectoris , heart attack and some other ones related with a bad blood flow such haemorrhoids or hearing loss.
- Diuretic: It favours the removal of body liquids, being very suitable in case of obesity, rheumatism, gout, arthritis, dropsy, diabetes, edemas, and bladder .
Its diuretic properties gives it power to get rid of body toxins, something that is very useful to treat some anomalies as urticaria.
- Natural antibiotic: Because of its highly sulphurous contents, it becomes together with garlic, in one of the best natural remedies to fight infectious processes of respiratory tract (common cold, influenza, bronchitis, sinusitis, pharyngitis, etc..) digestive tract diseases ( intestine decomposition, diarrhoea, etc.
Being one of best natural antibiotics, the habitual ingestion of onion can prevent the bacterial infections or many inflammations of the excretory system ( cystitis, nephritis, etc.)
- Digestive: It helps digestion by stimulating the liver, the bladder and pancreas, although it should be avoided when having hyperchloridia stomach acidity ) as well as in fragile stomachs. Because of its content in quercetin, it helps to reduce inflammation in those people affected by celiac disease. (Decoction of an onion skin in a liter of water. Drink the water that throughout the day)
- Hay fever: It helps you breathe better by means of decongesting your nose (maceration of a peeled onion for a couple of minutes in water. Drink the liquid)
- Anti-cancer: Recent studies attempt to associate the consumption of onion with cancer inhibition .Among the sulphurous products, diallyl disulfide seems to be responsible ft the inhibition of cancerous cells in stomach. Flavonoid quercetin, because of its antioxidant properties, seems to play the same role in this sense.
- Aphrodisiac: Onion is a remedy for the lack of sexual desire caused by lack of power as a result of damage to the nerves that control blood flow to the penis. (Eat onions with a little olive oil in salad.) You can increase the aphrodisiac power of the onion in salads if you add some cumin seeds which are used to increase the desire in people who have little appetite because of stress problems.
- Insect stings : Its bactericide properties make it a good disinfectant against animal bites of stings , specially those of insects . ( Soak the affected zone with the liquid of a fresh smashed onion)
- Warts: Warts can be eliminated by applying a plaster with the juice of an onion smashed in vinegar twice or three times a day.
- Chilblains: To eliminate itching, very common in the presence of chilblains, as well as for its wealth of alliin, one of the best natural antibiotics, using raw onion can be very appropriate (Rub a raw onion on chilblains) (Make a poultice with sautéed onions)
- Hair lotion: Besides stimulating the hairy follicle, sulphur gets rid of dandruff and helps to preserve hair . Quercetin is fundamental in this subject (Make daily friction with the juice of a fresh onion).