Medicinal Herb Reference

Years ago, I found a book about using vegetables, fruits, and herbs for medicinal purposes. I am ecstatic to learn that the author of the book, Angela-Michelle, has put the entire book online – Herbal Medical Guide. An excerpt from the book about onions follows:

For medicinal purposes, onions may be used both internally and externally.

Photo by Clement Belleudy
Photo by Clement Belleudy
As with garlic and leek, internal use of onion increases circulation and stimulates and warms the body. Use roasted onions as a poultice for earaches, and raw and bruised onions for sprains, bruises, and unbroken chilblains (minor frostbite).

“Where the Lilies Bloom” is a film about orphan children in Appalachia who learn the technique of wildcroftingpicking medicinal herbs for the botanical market. One unforgettable scene shows them saving a neighbor’s life by immersing him in a bathtub filled with cut onions. Onions used in this way restore health by forcing intense body “weeping,” which releases destructive toxins from the body.

Internal Uses

Photo by Tim Sackton
Photo by Tim Sackton
Indian researchers using double blind controls concluded in Lancet, the British medical journal, that onion (and garlic) help to reduce serum cholesterol after a fatty meal. “Both garlic and onion juices have now been found very significant in preventing fat induced increase in serum cholesterol and plasma fibrinogen…. They may prove to be a convenient and safe dietary measure for everyday use in persons who appear to be predisposed to atherosclerosis on account of family history, hyperlipemia, hypertension, or diabetes. ”

Flu: Note the recipe for onion soup in Section Three. Drink the soup very hot.

Coughs: An old pioneer remedy consists of simmered honey and onion syrup. The onion may be juiced first and added to the honey if this seems more desirable. Add a pinch of thyme and ginseng powder, as both are very helpful in chest complaints. Aftertaste: To eliminate aftertaste in eating raw onions, Craig Claiborne of The New York Times advises:

After you slice or chop the raw onions, put them in a sieve and pour boiling water over them, draining
quickly under cold running water. Or you can put the prepared onions in a mixing bowl and pour boiling water over them.Do this quickly and do not let the pieces steep in the water. Instead, drain them immediately and add cold water to cover and a few ice cubes to chill them quickly. If you do this quickly enough, the onions will remain crisp and that strong flavor that bothers will be diminished.

External Uses Cough: Apply roasted onion to the chest.

Photo by Jim Lightfoot
Photo by Jim Lightfoot
Sinus: Inhale fresh cut onion until the nasal passages are unclogged. Bruises: Hold a fresh cut onion to the bump, bruise, or ankle or elbow sprain, and the pain will be relieved. For large areas, place the cut onion on the body, cover the area with a sheet of plastic wrap, and attach it to the body with a large elastic bandage. To increase the effect of the onion on sprains, combine equal parts of onion and common salt.

Hemorrhoids: Another old English remedy is the use of raw, bruised onions. Attach a portion to protruding or inflamed hemorrhoids for relief of pain.

Chilblains: Combine salt and raw onions. Pound them together, and apply the result to unbroken skin. For skin showing lesions, use no salt and apply roasted onions.

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