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.

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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.
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  1. vero4112
    vero4112 says:

    I didn;t try the onion on my feet but

    years ago I had a bad ear pain, it was so bad that I wanted to climb up the wall

    called my mom and was told to put onions around my neck, I thought how could that help, but IT HELPED, pain was gone and I could sleep peaceful thru the night,

    Same worked when I had excruciating tooth ache !!!

    and I had it a lot of times

    sometimes I hold the onion on the hurting cheek

    When I grew up my mom put a small linen sack around my neck with chopped onions. I wore it between undershirt and shirt./sweater.

    Everybody was sick in fall/winter but NOT ME !!!

    I grew up in Germany with a lot of snow, I NEVER wore a hat, scarf or gloves, I never buttoned my jacket or coat = I NEVER WAS SICK !!!

    well I might have smelled a bit strong but onion smell is better than garlic for me.

    and I NEVER was sick

    one important rule / how to use the onions

    I use a man’s handkerchief and chop onions in it,

    bind it around my neck

    then bind a kitchen towel on top of it

    leave it over night if possible

    when I take it off I dry with a towel and put a bathtowel around my neck

    slowly loosen the towel over a oeriod of 1-2 hours

    avoiding draft

    I was told, that the onions open the pores and clean your body,

    after the pores are open you have to avoid draft

    or you might get more sick.

    I have NO scientific proof, but it worked every time better than vicodin, tylenol etc.

    lately it is not working so good anymore,

    I think it is the quality of the onion

    now that everything is GMO even you try to go natural

    the wind / rain still contaminates the crop

    but it still works – only not so great !!!

  2. Jen
    Jen says:

    I have been placing cut onions in a bowl in my children’s rooms for years. They rarely get sick. If they become unbalanced, they recover quickly.
    Thank you for offering this sock experiment. I have had CHRONIC allergies since I was 16. I am 50 now. I am not having an acute reaction right now, but thought it might help my chronic issue.
    In my case, the socks create heat. I feel a strong Apana, downward pulling sensation. I fall asleep almost immediately. I do not wake up between 3-5 am with chronic congestion and itching as usual. What a relief! When I take the socks off my congestion and sneezing returns. So I will continue to purge. I am also attempting to adhere to an anti-hisatmine diet, especially dairy, alcohol, gluten and left over meats.
    Onions, garlic and ginger are the Trinity roots: very powerful healing benefits. But if you meditate, the Apana energy may affect your experience. Jennifer, you eat raw food, I suspect if you eat foods that grow above the earth, your meditation may elevate or lighten up. I plan to experiment with this during the summer when fresh fruits and veg are in season. Thanks for your inspiration.

  3. amelita yap
    amelita yap says:

    Hi i need an advice if this onion sock can help my son….i notice that his cough comes back again and again…he sure took medicine and antibiotic but still it goes back…i’m worried about this….i also let him took ascobic acid to have additional strength for his immune system…by the way his 15 year old…i have read positive comments about the onion sock thing please help me on how and what to do with it to help my son on his condition..i will appreciate your reply on my email…thanks in advice godbless

  4. jen mercado
    jen mercado says:

    The chemicals within the onions travels in your bloodstream, its the reason why you can taste it after 30mins.

  5. Loretta
    Loretta says:

    I have a male cat and he was urinating in our bathroom. I pulled up the tile floor, there is hard wood underneath soaked in urin. I tried bleach water and a scrub brush to get out the smell, I let Iit dry, but the smell was so strong I remembered reading about how onions soak up bad orders, so I had a left over piece from dinner and stuck it on the floor in the bathroom. The next morning the smell was gone, I couldn’t believe it!!!

  6. Roberto
    Roberto says:

    I have the flu ..and I was wondering wat if I used an onion that was already cut and left in the freezer. ..

  7. Veronica
    Veronica says:

    I will try the onion in the sock tonight but I was wondering is it okay for a one year old in the room she has a bad cough at night I believe mold is behind the paneling of the walls and her father has bad allergies and her mother is pregnant is a onion in a bowl by the bed ok

  8. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I have been doing the onion sock treatment for two days now. I must admit that strange things are happening to my body. Heat seems to be emanating through out my abdomen. I feel so much better in the mornings. My arches are not so painful and can carry me for most of the day. I shall persevere and hopefully it doesn’t continue to scare me as much because my legs are getting tingling sensations. How long do I need to do this before I start at once a week?

  9. mistic
    mistic says:

    Onion work! Since my baby was born we use it. My son like to take onion next to his bed when he feels symptoms of cold. And he say to me mam do we hawe an onion? Can you make me onion tea?. Yes, tea is grat medicine. It smell bad but the taste is not so bad. But now I use the sock onion and found that It helps with spiritual cleaning. First and second night I had bad dreams and pain in all of my muscles. But I felt great. So I Will continue for fife more days just to make shure that bad energies are weakened so I can do it once a week. Thank you so much!

  10. Jennifer Thompson
    Jennifer Thompson says:

    Maybe “modern science” is starting to catch up? Thousand-year-old Anglo-Saxon potion (made from onions and garlic) kills MRSA superbug: http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/31/health/anglo-saxon-potion-mrsa/index.html

    “The scientists weren’t holding out much hope that it would work — but they were astonished by the lab results.

    “What we found was very interesting — we found that Bald’s eyesalve is incredibly potent as an anti-Staphylococcal antibiotic in this context,” Harrison said.

    “We were going from a mature, established population of a few billion cells, all stuck together in this highly protected biofilm coat, to really just a few thousand cells left alive. This is a massive, massive killing ability.”

    The team says it now has good, replicated data showing that the medicine kills up to 90% of MRSA bacteria in “in vivo” wound biopsies from mice.”

  11. Sofie
    Sofie says:

    I’m allergic to capsicum and half way thru eating street vendor halal food I noticed a burning feeling thru out my body especially my feet. My food had pieces of green chillies with seeds intact I immediately threw out my food but suffered the consequences the rest of the day into the next day until I could not bare it any longer. My sister Good had mentioned the power of the onion a while ago and my sis Ahp always has remedies and recommended flat 7-up so I decided to google it. Last night I went to target and got a large white onion sliced it and onion socked it and immediately felt a cooling sensation and fell asleep around 11 and woke up at 3:30 am feeling great the burning and tingling are virtually gone I feel fab – “thus behold the power of the mighty Onion”. Thank you GOD, my Arc Angels,
    Mom & Dad (May God bless you’re souls I miss you both RIP” and my sister Good for the recommendation and sis Ahp for always having helpful advice! I love you all and hope this write up helps others as it has helped me.

  12. 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.

  13. 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 :)

  14. 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).

  15. 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…

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

        • samuel
          samuel says:

          wow,.. sound good,. am going to try it tonight,. bco i need to clean my system,.. can this also work for diabetics?

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.


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