Monday, August 3, 2015

The Onion - a real tear jerker.

There is more to this vegetable than meets the eye.  Whoever has cut an onion and shed a tear would have thought that they hold something special.  Interestingly, onions, like garlic, belong to the lily family.  Onions come in different varieties, such as white, brown or red. Red onions are milder in flavour than white or brown onions.

All I knew about them was that they are healthy and taste good either raw or cooked. However I came across an interesting article, which to my surprise, showed me that there are other ways onions can be used. I thought to share it with you.

Onions are a vegetable that would be present in almost every kitchen, but what I just learnt is that they also have curative powers, making them an important medicinal plant.  I have read  that the reason the onion is so much more active in its raw state than when cooked, is that it contains a variety of organic sulphur compounds, contained in a volatile oil, that provide the health benefits. These are partly destroyed by heat. When eaten raw, its juice can act as an irritant and some people find it difficult to digest. Those who are not tempted by the idea of eating raw onions can follow simple cooking methods that may make them more palatable. For people with sensitive stomachs, this is a more suitable way to enjoy the health benefits of onions.

Quite apart from its medicinal properties the onion is simply delicious. It forms the basis of so many dishes - whether raw, sautéed, baked, steamed or boiled, that it would be difficult to imagine the cuisine of any country without it.  Onions baked in their skins, in a similar way to baked potatoes, are also delicious. This method of cooking keeps all the goodness inside, but the resulting flavour is milder and more aromatic than that of raw onions. I know of people who absolutely hate onions, and I feel sorry for them, as they don’t know what they are missing. I love eating onions, and use them in variety of ways, mostly raw. I love to cut up an onion and mix it with French salad dressing, and use is as a side dish with lunch. So, you may find the following article about this not so humble vegetable, quite interesting. - Werner
Surprising Ways Onions Can Be Used as a Medicine.
The onion is a staple ingredient of a whole variety of dishes around the world. However it also offers a wealth of health benefits that most people don't know about. Its medicinal qualities have been recognized for centuries and it has been used for its healing powers by a number of cultures and civilizations. If you didn't already know about the incredible healing powers of the humble onion, then prepare to be amazed! There are many good reasons why onions should be used as part of your diet. Studies into its nutritional value have concluded that they have a number of health benefits and are effective in:
Lowering your susceptibility to Colon Cancer
Lowering your susceptibility to Prostrate Cancer
Lowering your susceptibility to Stomach Cancer
Helping your sleep patterns and improving your mood
Providing strength and structure for your skin and hair

Onions can be incorporated into a wide variety of dishes, so it is easy to fit them into a weekly dietary plan. Eating onions just two or three times a week can make a big difference. However, including them in your diet is not the only way you can use onions to positively affect your health. They have a number of medicinal and healing properties that can be used to fight various ailments. We fully expect some of them to surprise you!

Which Properties of an Onion make It such an effective Healer?
Onions are packed full of a compound called Quercetin which has both strong anti-bacterial properties and the ability to fight harmful toxins. It is a powerful antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and a lowerer of cholesterol levels. The densest concentration of Quercetin is found in the outer rings nearest to the bulb's skin as well as the part of the onion that is closest to the root. This goodness is found in both red and white onions, and both types can be used as part of these natural remedies.

1. Onions Can Heal Cuts.
Onions are effective in the treatment of cuts to the skin. If you nick yourself with a knife cutting one, try applying a slice of the onion to the injured area immediately. The raw onion will prevent infection and clean the wound. Next, take a piece of the onion's skin and place it over the top of the wound, sealing it with an adhesive. You should find the bleeding stops quickly and the wound looks clean. If you have a larger cut or graze, use gauze to fix a piece of onion over the top of it. You can keep the onion on the wound for as long as required, just make sure you change the gauze regularly.

 2. Onions Can Lower a Fever.

Here's an odd one for you, but an onion in a sock is a surprisingly successful means of lowering your body temperature when you are suffering from a high fever! Socks. Chop up some potatoes and slice an onion in half. Put one half of the onion into one sock, and the other half into another (with some potato slices in each of the socks as well). Next, put the socks on your feet trying to ensure that the mixture is pressed against your soles. You should find that your temperature lowers in a relatively short time - it might sound crazy, but there are many examples of success stories!

3. Onions Can Cure Earache and Help Remove Wax.
An onion's anti-inflammatory properties make it a powerful defence against earache and they can also be used to soften ear wax, making the wax easier to remove. If you are suffering from an earache, chop up an onion, take the inner part (that is the hard section at the 'heart' of the onion) and place it in your ear for remedial relief. You will achieve best results by completing the procedure shortly before you got to sleep. If you are someone who suffers from regular, excessive wax build-up, then you might want to perform this trick regularly.

4. Onions Can Fight the Common Cold.
One of the oldest recognized uses of an onion is its employment as a weapon to fight the common cold. If you feel you are developing the tell-tale signs of a coming cold (sniffles, sore throat etc) then raid your cupboard for an onion. It is most effective when eaten raw, and you should try and eat a whole one (perhaps chop it up and mix it in a salad to make to the process more palatable). Alternatively, boil the onion and use it alongside ginger and honey to make a tea. It will raise your defences and help you fight off the cold.

5. Onions Can Sooth Burns.
Onions are incredibly effective in soothing small burns, and the recipe for doing so could not be simpler. If you have burnt yourself in the kitchen or garage, simply take half a chopped onion and apply it directly to the wound. Hold it in place for a few minutes and the pain should quickly start to ease. For further relief, whip up two or three egg whites in a bowl and use them to cover the affected area. Hold the mixture in place using a breathable bandage and you will have a natural, protective layer that will quicken your recovery.

6. Onions Can Provide Cough Relief.

Onion Mixture. The use of onions as part of a cheap, effective cough remedy is another practice which dates back centuries. It is best employed with a few other basic ingredients and there are a couple of things you can try. Firstly, you can peel a red or white onion, and cut it into large slices. Layer the slices in a sealable jar and place brown sugar on top. Close the lid of the jar and let it sit for some time (around 6 hours is optimum). Syrup will form in the jar. Take a spoonful of the syrup as regularly as needed. The brown sugar makes the syrup more palatable and the resulting mixture does not taste too bad. Re-make the syrup every couple of days, replacing the old mixture with new. If you want an alternative, pour honey over the sliced onion instead of the brown sugar (use both if you have a particularly sweet tooth). Add a sprinkling of grated garlic for an extra health boost.

7. Onions Can Remove Eye Irritations.
An onion's ability to remove eye irritants is derived from its most widely known feature - its ability to make our eyes water when chopped. This is a great property if you need to form some liquid in your eye to flush out an unwanted bit of dirt, a pesky fly or any other small irritant before it turns your whole eye red. Simply chop an onion and let nature takes its course! It is important you make sure you don't touch your eye after chopping the onion though - that will add to your pain. Wash your hands thoroughly before you do so.

8. Onions Can Fight Insect Stings.

Here is where the antihistamine properties of an onion come in handy. If you are stung by a bee, or a wasp; then a bit of crushed or grated onion applied directly to the skin can be extremely beneficial for pain relief. The antihistamine will prevent an allergic reaction while the anti-inflammatory qualities of the onion will reduce any associated swelling. Keep the onion in place until the pain has subsided by using a breathable bandage that you should replace regularly.
Source: Click here.
More reading.

My thought for today. – Werner

"Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time; and sometimes you weep. - Carl Sandburg,
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1 comment:

Betty Sander said...

Thank you, Werner, for this very interesting posting about onions. We love onion too, but never knew about these other uses. From now on I will forgive the onion for putting tears in my eyes.:-)