Healing Power of Onions: Can Onions absorb Bacteria, Viruses and Flu?

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.

Praise for the Onion!

Praise for the Onion!


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.

My NEW book: Green Smoothies for Dummies

Literally, I "wrote the book" on Green Smoothies!

I “wrote the book” on Green Smoothies, literally!

Sip your way to ultimate nutrition and feel better than ever!

Whether you’re looking to detox, lose weight, or just add more veggies to your diet, green smoothies are the way to go. Easy to prepare, portable, and endlessly customizable, green smoothies are the trendy new beverage in everyone’s cup. Green smoothies are the easiest, most painless way to add more nutrients to your diet, so you can feel better than ever before.

Green Smoothies For Dummies is your beginner’s guide to the world of drinkable greens. Author and international smoothie guru Jennifer Thompson explains the benefits of green smoothies, and provides over 100 recipes that will make you start craving your vegetables. You’ll get to know the flavors and properties of each ingredient, and how to combine ingredients for complete nutrition. Available on amazon.com.


More on Prevention:

The following two tabs change content below.
Jennifer Thompson has been working with raw food, juices, smoothies and detox for over two decades to help people heal. Today, she shares her expertise worldwide, offering lectures, workshops, training and one-on-one consultations at various health and detox retreat centers. She provides Iridology Readings & Health Coaching via Skype and Phone to clients and continues to educate, motivate and inspire others on their journey of healing. When she’s not working, you’ll find her hiking in the mountains, power-walking along the sea or globe-trotting to a new and exotic health destination.
79 replies
« Older Comments
  1. floiya
    floiya says:

    Obviously the onion will absorb or trap some viruses but i think the main emphasis of the onions is that it releases sulphur in the air which burns the viruses… just imagine if it can cause you to shred tears in your eyes, how much a small virus. it will really destroy a viruses in minutes. the air will feel clear and you will wonder why didnt you know this years ago. I have been using cut onions around the house every now and then just to maintain health… it really works.

  2. Juliana
    Juliana says:

    I started taking the idea of using onions only this year, after I heard or read how effective it was for the cold or body pain. Right now I hv cut white onion tied to the side of my face. My face got swollen from an infection. Plus I’m taking my doctor’s prescribed antibiotics. Good read. Thanks :)

  3. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    I’m a teacher who is constantly around sick children, and one of my co-workers gave me an onion to keep on my desk in my classroom. Additionally, I eat onion and garlic several times per week. I’m currently sick with cold/flu-like symptoms for the third time this winter (all since getting the onion).

  4. Grace Saiz
    Grace Saiz says:

    Had a friend that emailed me the story of a flu epedemic in the 1800 that killed many people, so an scientist or professor went around to study this and found a farmer that had a peeled onion in all the rooms in his home. No one in that home got sick. The scientist asked if he could take the onion with him. He studied it and found the flu virus in it. After I read this I have used the onion in my home for 7 yrs. And me and my family have not had the flu…

  5. CocoaBean
    CocoaBean says:

    Do you have any research backing up the fact that onions absorb bacteria? It should be pretty easy to prove or disprove, since all you’d have to do is do a count on bacteria/virus after the onion has been sitting. I have yet to see any scientific information on this. Also, I find it really hard to believe that bacteria or virus, which “live” on things (like living organisms) are magically drawn to an onion. How would they move?

  6. Martin
    Martin says:

    Just tried this last night. I don’t feel any different!

    Am I doing it wrong or is it a hoax? I keep reading online people saying it doesn’t work but everyone on this blog is convincing me it does.

    I used a yellow onion and put it on my feet and also cut another in half and put it in a bowl next to my bed. My terrible sinus infection is still here in the morning.

  7. araba
    araba says:

    I am using onion now on my heels which got tender and painful after wearing heels….I can barely walk on the right foot….tied the onion up wit a kerchief and started having twings and burning sensations intermittently….hope the swelling and pain goes away

  8. Joan
    Joan says:

    My symptoms are allergies, cold, and ver bad night time cough. I will be trying the onion socks tonight and will report back tomorrow.

  9. Rosana
    Rosana says:

    Odd question. Did anyone that tried the onion socks have any unpleasant side effects like uncontrollable rancid smelling gas and or diarrhea? I don’t know if this is my body purging toxins or something else. I did the onion socks two days in a row and it did help with my allergies / sinuses but now I have this horrible gas and very loose bowels light in color that looks almost like oil or mucus. I’m not sure if it’s an unwanted side effect of wearing the onion socks or maybe something else.

  10. Carradee
    Carradee says:

    I’ve heard about the sock onion for a while, and even the “cut onion in half” thing. Well, I started trying the “cut onion in half” and found it helped. When I cut up an onion, I started taking the root and top and the outer peel and sticking them in a dish near me. When sick, I noticed faster improvement when I had an onion near me.

    Then I had an ear infection, and I put the onion *on* my ear, and noticed even faster relief.

    Then one day, I felt as if I had strep (which I’ve had multiple times—short version: adrenal stress sucks). I knew pau d’arco would help, but I didn’t have the wherewithal to boil it and all at the time. If I’d tried, I would’ve gotten splinters. So I thought, “I have an onion. I’ll try the onion sock thing, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll call the doctor.” (Note that my regular doctor has recently retired, and I have a list of odd allergies to popular medical items that make diagnosis difficult.)

    Within 20 minutes, I started feeling better. “No way that’s placebo,” I thought. I started doing it more, and I noticed that it improved my allergies—and the effect lasted for days. It also seems to be helping some other health issues. I now aim to wear onions in my socks for at least one day per week. (I work from home, so I can do that sort of thing.)

    Rather than cut the onion in half, though, I peel off fleshy layers and stick them under my arch. It works. :)

      • Fareena James
        Fareena James says:


        I really need some urgent advise on this Onion socks, My very good friend is suffering from extremely bad cough since last 5 month,s he is diabetic ( type 1). He has visited his GP and have been give antibiotic and syrup but nothing seems to be working,I really need advice do U think this onion thing will be helpful.Thanks in advance reply on my e-mail will be preferable.

  11. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Tess Hernandez,

    Please don’t try the onions on your new baby. Its skin is not ready for the strength of the onion, nor is its body able to handle it and may be very allergic not to mention would make it very sick.

    • Anna
      Anna says:

      I know that this was an old post but hopefully this will help someone in the same position. My baby was 3 months old when she had her first sniffles. My first daughter and I had a cold and coughs for about 3 days. I breastfed my baby, she didn’t get it bad like we did, just uncomfortable with runny and blocked nose. I put few slices of onion in her socks that day and night. I expected her to have a hard time breathing , but she slept through the night as usual (she was already doing it at that time).

      You can put few pieces of thinly sliced onion in a baby’s socks. It’s not harmful at all.
      Also slice some onion and put on a plate in the room.

  12. diane barrios
    diane barrios says:

    I am about to try this onion sock. I am not feeling well due to flu that just set in this morning. My two kids just got well from fever and colds/cough. I believe it is viral. I will give you update later. I will be using red onions because I cannot go to the supermarket to get the white onions. I believed God made these onions so special.

  13. Martha
    Martha says:

    Aug 16,2014 11:15pm well I’m trying the onion sock detox because I have joint pain through out my body all night so I was willing to try this . I will tell everyone how it works out.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

« Older Comments

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion? Please be respectful of other participants in the conversation and keep your comments respectful, friendly and relevant. Differences of opinion are welcome, but trolling and abuse of other commentators and the Healthy Bliss team is not and will result in blacklisting. Thank you for keeping this a bully-free zone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>