We love onions. We love to saute them, dice them and use them in onion rings. We like them fresh, we like them dried and we like them in powdered form. But, the humble onion is far more than a tasty addition to your evening meal. An onion can be the difference between a major reaction to a bee sting and a harmless little red bump. An onion can loosen congestion and be the main ingredient in a soothing balm for a hacking cough. Dried onions are the most powerful anti-histamine known.
Many years ago, when Master Hand Grenade was a little tyke, he was toddling around the perimeter of our garden as Sir Knight and I were pulling weeds. Suddenly, Master Hand Grenade fell to the ground, screaming, while yellow jackets, from an underground nest, stung him repeatedly. Sir Knight sprinted, plucked up Master Hand Grenade and kept running. When we got our little boy into the house, he was a mess. He had been stung 17 times on his head alone. Angry red welts dotted his tummy and back and he had more than a few stings on his arms and legs. Wasting no time, we slathered his head with Benedryl cream and then started cutting onions. Over every welt, we placed an onion piece, slimy side down and taped it into place. It took almost an entire onion to place one on every sting, and Master Hand Grenade looked like something out of a horror show. We watched him very closely for signs of anaphylaxis, but his breathing remained clear. Within 10 minutes, our little boy quit crying, said it didn't hurt, and returned to playing.
After the onions had been in place for about an hour, we tenderly removed each onion piece. Where angry welts had been, there was nothing. No swelling, no redness - nothing. The onions had drawn all of the poison out of our sons body. We were hooked.
The onion's drawing power is not limited to venom. It works for infections and slivers alike. Onion is also a particularly effective expectorant. Back in the day, onion poultices were used to treat pneumonia and Typhoid fever, with relatively good success.
Our recent illness has caused me to further investigate the onion's medicinal attributes. Before we were aware that we had Pertussis, a friend suggested that I make "Onion Syrup" to help alleviate the cough. Already a great fan of onions, I didn't hesitate to give it a try. The syrup, while effective on the cough in the beginning, wasn't enough to keep the Whooping Cough at bay (apparently, you shouldn't use an expectorant with Pertussis). The short time that we did use, I was very impressed. The kids actually like it (mostly) and it did encourage a very productive cough.
In addition to the onion syrup, I made an onion poultice to use on Master Hand Grenade. He was having a really hard time getting goop up with his cough, so I thought he would be a good one to experiment on. Within 15 minutes of putting a poultice on him, was was sitting up expelling large green chunks. He was immediately clearer and slept without coughing for almost 7 hours. The onion poultice was unequivocally an effective expectorant.
As we see the rise in health care costs and the very real potential for limited access to modern medicine, learning to use what we have may well one of our best preparedness assets.
1 C Chopped Onion (fresh)
1/4 C Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Ginger Root (optional - fresh is best, but I used powdered)
Enough honey to cover
Place onion, lemon juice and ginger (a friend used garlic too - I think it was a wonderful addition). Cover with honey. Stir to remove the air bubbles and cover. Let sit overnight or 8 hours.
The honey will suck the juices out of the onion. After sitting overnight, strain out the onion solids (or you can munch on them if you prefer).
Dosage: Child (7 - 11 years) 1 tsp. every 3-4 hours
Adult 1 TBL. every 3 - 4 hours
|Pouring lemon juice over the onion|
|Stirring in the honey|
|Sealed up to sit overnight|
|Straining onions out|
|The finished Onion Syrup|
- Cut onion up in rings.
- Saute in cast iron skillet, with a little olive oil, until transparent (not caramelized)
- Add enough flour or cornmeal to make a thick paste
- Using a clean piece of cloth, cover your patients chest with two layers of cloth.
- Spread moderately cooled (just cool enough not to burn) onions over the chest.
- Cover with another layer of cloth.
- Place warm (not hot, to burn) hot water bottle over the poultice.
- Let sit until poultice cools.
- Repeat if necessary.