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The Almighty Onion…is she more powerful than we previously thought? This is an interesting topic that I discovered online several times in various forms, all relating to the theory that if you put an onion in the room of a person who is sick, the onion will ‘absorb’ the illness, and sometimes in just a few hours, the person is better. It seemed unbelievable, but I thought to myself, “Remember that one Jennifer, and if you ever need it, you have nothing to lose by giving the onion theory a try.”

Cut an onion in half to absorb bad smells & even ‘pull’ viruses/sickness from the air

A few points to note on Onion Healing:

This is not a new idea. Onions were used by certain individuals in Europe to successfully fight off the plague in the early 1900′s. Ayurvedic medicine has been using an onion poultice for the chest or feet to cure coughs, fevers and flus for centuries. They also use the onion poultice to reduce pain and inflammation in the joints. Homeopathic doctors also use the healing power of onions to heal from viruses and illness. I even know people in the North American Hutterite community, a pacifist community similar to the Amish whose traditions date back to the 16th century, who tell me it is common practice to place onions in their homes during winter flu season and to use cut onions in the room of an ill person to relieve their symptoms quickly and naturally.

It is said that white onions work better than red onions. Yellow onions would be an acceptable alternative, but white onions, with the latin name Allium Cepa, work best.

The onions need to be peeled if left around the home as a preventive measure against flu and viruses. Many people do this during flu season and find that no one gets sick, whereas in previous years with no onions, they had several members of the family fall ill. If placed around the home for prevention, the onions should be replaced every 3 months.

If someone falls ill with a cough, flu, cold or fever, immediately place a peeled white onion cut in half in a bowl in their room. The onion needs to be cut in half in order to expose the most amount of ‘healing power’ from its pungent odor.

Cut onions can also be used to eliminate mold smells in a closet, drawer or room.

It’s best not to leave a cut onion open in the fridge (to eat later) because as soon as an onion is cut, it will start to absorb bacteria, etc. So, if you cut an onion for a salad, either use the whole thing or put the other half in your garage or basement to absorb bad smells! Once the onion is in a salad in a sealed container, it is safe and can be eaten at a later time.

Perhaps the most interesting onion remedy is the Sock Onion. This is a ‘modern-day’ version of the Ayurvedic poultice, and involves cutting the white onion in half and placing one half on the bottom of each foot so that the cut onion is against the skin. Place a sock on top of the onion so it stays secure in place and leave the ‘Onion Sock’ on overnight. This is especially good for flus and fevers. One of my twitter followers recently shared her success with the Sock Onion:

The Mighty Healing Power of Onions!

Health Benefits of Onions

Onions are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their strong odor. Sulfur is a powerful detox element and helps the body to release toxins, especially for the liver. Foods naturally high in sulfur also help the body to detox from heavy metals like lead, arsenic and cadmium.

The onion is the richest dietary source of quercitin, a powerful antioxidant flavonoid that has been shown to thin the blood, lower cholesterol, ward off blood clots, and fight asthma, chronic bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, atherosclerosis and infections and is even linked to inhibiting certain types of cancer.

Onions are also naturally anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral. That, of course, is when you eat them!

Onions to Heal: First to Remove Odors

Fast-forward to me being in Vilcabamba, Ecuador where I’m here renting a house for 2 months to do an extended water fast. In the first few days in the house, we noticed a very bad septic smell coming from both toilets which never got better, no matter how many times we flushed or cleaned the toilets. After we started the water fast and became more sensitive to smell, I thought to myself, What can we do which is completely natural and will still take this smell away? Then I remembered everything I read about the Almighty Onion!

That night, we sliced 2 white onions in half, placed 1 onion in each of 2 bowls and put one bowl in each bathroom overnight. The onion smell at first was very strong, but that is actually a great smell when you are water fasting (we dreamed of tomato gazpacho with onions!). The next morning, to our complete amazement, there was no more onion smell, and guess what? There was no more septic smell either!!!

Onions to Heal: Taking the Onion Sock Test

I became so excited with this discovery that I wanted to try to Onion Sock theory. Luckily, we still had 1 onion left in the house, so the very next night, we cut the onion into 4 lateral thick slices (each slice about 1/2″ thick). I use 2 slices on my my feet and gave the remaining 2 to my boyfriend who willing put them on his feet. (Yes, he is a willing participant in all of this stuff including the water fast because, one, he is very open to try new things and he trusts my skills and experience, and two, because he lost his mom to cancer 8 years ago and knows that clean diet, clean body and clean mind are the keys to good health).

Now, the interesting part of this story is that we were on Day 5 of a water fast when we tried the Onion Socks. Mainly, I wanted to see if the onion could be used as a tool to amplify the detox effects. Especially with the body being so clean, the fumes from the onion could theoretically be absorbed through the skin and pass through the body more quickly, and perhaps eliminate internal bad bacteria or even parasites.

With Onion Socks on, we waited anxiously to see what would happen. Note that both of us were feeling good all day and I felt great when we placed the onions on our feet. My boyfriend was feeling pretty tired and weak after his evening enema but had felt really good earlier in the day.

Results of the Onion Sock Experiment

After about 30 minutes with the Onion Socks on, I started to feel distinct quivers in my calves and a twitch on my left side at the rib cage. 20 minutes later, I started feeling heartburn! That was amazing. I have not had any acid reflux at all during this water fast (although is was an issue during my last water fast, all of which I explain in my ebook: Water Fasting Guide & 40-Day Journal). Shortly after that, I started to feel hot in the head. In another 10 minutes, my eyes started to tear as if I had just cut an onion, although a much milder sensation but clearly a distinct tearing.

5 minutes after that, my boyfriend told me he had the taste of onion in his mouth!

So clearly, something was happening, even if it was only onion fumes passing through our bodies and nothing else.

The next morning, we compared notes about how we felt. My boyfriend had a terrible night and barely slept and felt that the onion fumes had upset his intestinal worms (which we are sure he has and are hoping the water fast will eliminate). I felt tired and weak, the first day for me to feel that way, but I did feel better. I don’t think it was the placebo effect as I am very open to trying something and saying it doesn’t work.

And the real reason why I think it worked is because 90% of my hay fever and allergy symptoms disappeared overnight!! That is the best part of this story so far. Ever since we arrived to Vilcabama, I have been sneezing like crazy, scratching my nose all the time with excessive mucous coming out of my nose almost constantly. Well, they say that raw foodists don’t have allergies so I could not understand what was going on and I was hoping that the water fast would help. But, we went through Day 1-4 with absolutely no change and no relief, still sneezing up to 50 times a day easily. Well, after the Onion Socks, I did not have any mucous, and I went through the whole day with no itchy eyes and no itchy nose and I think I sneezed only 2 times the entire day!! Now, that is no placebo effect! Anyone who suffers from allergies can appreciate how wonderful the sense of relief is, and to find a natural ‘cure’ and experience allergy relief from 1/2 of an onion?! Wow!!

Today we went out and bought 10 more onions and we are going to continue with the Onion Socks intermittently during our water fast. I’ll update later with more results. Meanwhile, consider trying this yourself at home. I mean, what do you have to lose except for the cost of a few onions? In my opinion, it’s a safe and effective method with nothing to lose and a lot to possibly gain.

UPDATE: I did the Onion Sock again the next night, and that was it. One month later, eating again, and all sign of hayfever are still gone! I recommended this to a Natural Hygiene Raw Foodist in Vilcabamba who was also having hay fever allergies, and he had noticeable reduction of symptoms after 24 hours.

This article is not meant to diagnose any disease. For any serious medical concerns, always consult with your doctor.

32 Responses to “Healing Power of Onions: Can Onions absorb Bacteria, Viruses and Flu?”

  1. Mary says:

    When I was 10 years old, I had a terrible cold. I was alone at home as my parents both worked. I felt miserable and as I sat bemoaning my state of being ,I recalled my father saying that his mother always gave her children onions (and cabbage) to ward off illness. She was a Polish immigrant. I made a concoction of chopped onion, pepper, and vinegar. I ate it all, had a bit of an upset stomach…but … I began to breathe better and the next day my cold was GONE! I have been sold on nature’s power in integrating the body’s health with the natural principles the earth provides. I eat onions nearly every day, raw or cooked, they have unique properties.

  2. Trina says:

    Hi there,

    I understand Garlic will absorb into your system through the skin as well.

    We had a friend turn up one day with strong Garlic breath yet she claimed to not have eaten any Garlic, instead, go to bed at night with a crushed clove in her sock.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your story Mary!

  4. bayani incomio says:

    i will try it,i believe it can help so much and very cheap medicine for indigent people

  5. Barbara-jean. says:

    Great info,I’ll be trying this,thanks,and have a good day!

  6. Tasha says:

    I am just like you in the fact that, I’m up to trying something to test if it works, with the open mind that it may be crock…but the onion sock is not a crock! I woke up this morning with the flu and stuffed sinuses. Put two onion socks on and within a half hour, my sinuses were clear! I have a new litter of puppies we are caring for right now, so I had to take the socks off to do some whelping box cleaning and such, and within the hour of taking them off, my sinuses started plugging up again. I have just finally within the last 20 minutes put my onion socks back on for the night, and am already feeling my sinuses clearing up again! The onion sock works!!

  7. Liz Villafañe says:

    I am placing onions in my entire house, my desk at work, even hotels…and we never got sick since the last 6 years. It really works!

  8. Helena Hayes says:

    My 16 year old son was sick last night and feeling very dizzy. I went under his bed and found an array of moldy food and removed it. I then placed a half an onion in his room, and he woke up this morning feeling fine and off to school.

  9. Angelique says:

    Ok, I tried this onion business last night. I can’t tell yet if my sinuses are any better this morning but I can tell you that my entire apartment smells like sweaty gym socks. I dreamt of body odor last night. It’s disgusting. How can I get rid of the onion smell without destroying the properties of the onion? Also, how long do I keep the onion out, uncovered, by my bed?

  10. Marlene says:

    Its no bull…this works..I had the flu,nose running like a river,and Bronchitis to boot…I never had the white onions so I used the red onions.

    Woke up the next morning..It was unbelievable. Everything was gone.All except the bronchitis.I’m doing this again with the white onions…

  11. aileen m. says:

    I was always getting colds, flu and bronchitis whenever the weather changed here in NY. About 2 yrs ago my father in law told me to place a cut onion in a water bowl in each room in my apt. and i havent gotten sick since. It really works, beleive me i am amazed by this and swear by the healing powers of the onion.

  12. Michelle.C says:

    I heard about the healing properties of onions and the sock onion a few days ago. I suffer from urticaria as a result of type 1 diabetes. Normally I have to take anti-fungal tablets for 10 days and then wait for 14 days for it to clear. I put the onions in my socks and over night my urticaria was reduced to almost nothing. I did this the following night and had some emotional garbage released as well and in the morning the urticaria had completely disappeared. I also noticed my itchy nose (due to hayfever at present was no longer itchy either.). I am a believer.

  13. Erika says:

    Does anyone here understand science? None of this makes any sense. How on earth could a dead vegetable fight disease?

  14. Jennifer says:

    Hi Erika,

    That is a pretty interesting comment using the word science and “dead vegetable.” Actually a raw onion is a live food, because technically (we’re talking science now so brace yourself!), you can plant it in the soil and it will continue to grow. Science has proven the disease-fighting effects of Vitamin C and countless other anti-oxidants that are found in (drumroll please) raw fruits and vegetables to reverse and prevent many types of cancers not to mention colds, coughs and flus. I hope that someday you can pull the wool from over your eyes. Thank you!


  15. Tammy says:

    Don’t know much about the SCIENCE part of this, but I do know as a child when me or one of the other kids in our family had a fever the first thing my grandma did was head for the onions it worked 100% of the time – didn’t really enjoy the smell or the feel of onions in my socks but the fever always went away and as a grandma myself now I’d rather go for the onion

  16. Jessica says:

    I am 11 weeks pregnant and in the past couple of days haven’t been able to hold any food down. It hits me really bad every day at about 3pm. Today I started feeling it coming on and decided I would try and put the onions in my socks and lay here to see if it would help in any way. Just the smell of the onion to begin with eased my queasiness, but I am about 30 minutes in and am feeling ok. I am really excited and going to keep them on to see if it helps the rest of the afternoon. The past couple of days I have been beyond miserable, but feel so much better right now. I will update later.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Wow! That’s amazing! Please keep us updated on your progress and thanks for sharing!

    To your good health,

  18. Amber says:

    My 3 year old is so sick with a terrible cold! I hate loading him up with medicine and ive always wondered if the onion thing could actually work. So tonight I am doing the onion sock as well as placing a sliced onion in the room. I will definitely update with the results!

  19. sjane says:

    I believe we should all try these natural healing remedies beats the meds that kill us slowly

  20. Ashley says:

    I am trying this for the first time right now out of desperation. I get really bad sinus headaches sometimes and I don’t know if its my body trying to fight off illness or what, sometimes I get sick and sometimes I don’t. So I want to see if this helps me feel better tonight.

  21. ilovedanet says:

    scientific or not… my wife uses it and so far no colds or flu for the kids… some problem with science is that they say you need to “buy” medicine… its always about money :(

  22. ilovedanet says:

    my wife uses it and so far no colds or flu for the kids… some problem with science is that they say you need to “buy” medicine… its always about money :(

  23. kathleen says:

    I’ve been coughing viciously for a week. Today I cut slices of white onion …placed them on my feet with socks. After three hours..there is no coughing. My daughter noticed the difference immediately. We are now trying this on her asthmatic son

  24. kathleen says:

    So….I’m still not coughing and he isn’t wheezing. He thinks it’s funny having onions in his socks. This has made a believer out of me!!!

  25. Jennifer says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    Thanks for sharing your success! It does seem crazy but definitely works!

    Blessings to your health,


  26. michelle says:

    i am trying the onion sock and onion in all the rooms even the hallway for the first time today and as i only had a red one am using that, so far after a hour all i can smell is onion and taste it, and as my 5 year old is sat next to me we have both coughed less, and im feeling my throat not so scratchy and swollen, so would def recommend this to anyone, and will be telling my sons teacher in the morning about it as alot of the kids are or have had illness lately, thank you from what was a very achy poorly mum xxx

  27. Gail says:

    I learned about using a slice of onion on wasp stings years ago and believe me it works! My daughter got stung and had baseball sized swelling. 30 minutes of the onion slice and the inflammation was COMPLETELY gone. So I have a cyst on my finger called a Heberden’s cyst. (It is related to arthritis). On a whim I decided what the heck, I’ll try it. So I sliced a tiny fleck of onion, placed in on the cyst and wrapped it with sticky gauze. I have changed it twice in 24 hours and voila it is almost completely GONE.

  28. Jennifer says:

    Hi Gail,

    Thanks for sharing even more ways to use the healing power of onions – wow, that’s so great. Happy to hear of your success!

    To your health,


  29. Danya says:

    My 3 yo has kept me up for the last couple of nights. Crying and so stuffy he can’t breath. I myself have lost my voice due to a constant cough with sticky green plegm. I made a spicy dinner tonight to try and help. I was cutting up the onion and remembered hearing about this. I am excited to give it a go this evening. We will both have onion socks and one sliced onion in each bedroom.

  30. Cass says:

    This is going to sound really weird but would it work to get rid of warts too?

  31. Hal says:

    Hi Jenn-
    I’m wanting to subscribe to your news/blog but the promised email didn’t arrive…I’m still holding my breath!

  32. Jennifer says:

    Hi Hal,
    I received your email about 10 minutes after this post saying that you received the promised email…so everything is ok and you can breathe again! Thanks for your amazing patience and welcome to your Healthy Bliss!

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