Onion – Introduction, Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects of Allium Cepa – 2022

Introduction

Onion scientific name is Allium Cepa, and some other common names are piyaz, and Kanda, it is one of the oldest cultivated herbs, and the Sanskrit word for onion is palandu, which is mentioned in the Garuda Purana. Maharishi Atteya and Lord Dhanwantri have described the use of onions in detail.

Onion has been used as an herbal remedy since ancient times, and physicians of ancient Egypt prescribed onions for various diseases. Dioscorides in the first century A.D. attributed many healing virtues to onions. In 1835, onion and milk diets were advocated for dropsy.

Onion – Introduction, Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects of Allium Cepa – 2022

Onion was a popular food in ancient Egypt, it is high in food value, moderate in protein content, and rich in calcium and riboflavin. There is considerable variation in the composition of different varieties.

Morphology of Onion

The onion is an annual biennial herb, it has a superficial root system and a very short, flattened stem at the base which increases in diameter as it grows. Leaves are long, linear, and hollow, a bulb is formed by the thickening of the leaf base when the plant reaches a critical stage. The fruit is a spherical capsule, and all parts of the onion produce a strong odor when crushed.

Chemical Composition of Onion

The chemical composition also varies with the stage of maturity and the length of storage, the matured onions contain approx. 86.6% moisture, 1.2% protein, 0.1% fat, 0.6% fiber, 0.4% minerals and 11.1% carbohydrate, per 100 grams of edible portion. Carbohydrate is principally in the form of sugars. It's mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C. Its calorific value is 51.

The scales of onion contain catechol and protocatechuic acid, the odor in onion is due to organic sulfur compounds and is produced only when the tissues are cut or injured by enzyme action. On a water-soluble amino acid. Heat or freeze-drying prevents the enzyme’s action so that cooking produces a different odor, flavor, and pungency.

Habitat of Onion

Onion is believed to have originated in Central Asia but has been cultivated since ancient times in the Middle East and India. Present areas of cultivation include India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, China, Egypt, West and East Africa, tropical south and Central America, and the Caribbean.

Onion – Introduction, Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects of Allium Cepa – 2022

In India, it is cultivated throughout the country, the most important onion-growing states are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.

Health Benefits and Uses of Onion

Onions are of great therapeutic value; they are stimulated and mildly counter-irritant. They have diuretic properties and promote the removal of catarrhal matter and phlegm from bronchial tubes.

Here are some Health Benefits and Uses of Onion

Anemia

Onions are noted for their easily assimilable iron content, they are therefore beneficial in treating anemia.

Cholera

Onion is an effective remedy for cholera, about 30 grams of onion and finely pounded seven black peppers can be given to the patient. It allays thirst, and restlessness and lessens vomiting and diarrhea. The addition of a little sugar to the recipe increases its effectiveness.

Ear Disorders

Cotton wool dipped in onion juice and put into the ear is a popular Russian remedy for noises in the ear, a few drops of heated juice put into the ear relieve earache. 

Heart Attack

Scientific researchers have established onion as an effective preventive edible against heart attack. This benefit is due to the presence of essential oil, Allyl propyl disulfide, catechol, protocatechuic acid, Thio propionaldehyde, thiocyanate, minerals, and vitamins.

After years if research, Dr. N. Radhakrishnan, Principle of the Trivandrum Medical College, and Dr. K. Madhavan Kutty established, that to get rid of the disorders due to coronary disease or blood pressure, one should take 100 grams of onion pre day. It assists the functioning of the heart by correcting thrombosis besides reducing blood cholesterol.

Piles

Onions are very effective in bleeding piles, about 30 grams of onions finely ground on a slab with water and 60 grams of sugar added taken twice daily brings relief within a few days.

Respiratory Diseases

Onions have the property to liquefy the phlegm and prevent its recurrence, it has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries for cold, cough, bronchitis, and influenza. Three to four tsp of onion juice and honey mixed in equal proportions taken daily is effective in treating these conditions, it is one of the safest preventive medicines against the common cold during winter.

Skin Disorders

Onion irritates the skin and stimulates blood circulation in mucous membranes. Warts sometimes disappear when rubbed with cut onions.

Teeth Disorders

New Russian medical research has reconfirmed the bactericidal properties of onion, a person consuming at least one raw onion every day after thorough mastication is protected from a host of teeth disorders. Chewing raw onion for 3 minutes is sufficient to kill all germs in the mouth. Toothache is often alleviated by placing a small piece of onion on the affected tooth or gum.

Tuberculosis

Onions possess some germicidal properties has been known for centuries, recently two Italian doctors, E. Cuboin and C. Moriandi found that the injection of onion juice prevented the development of tuberculosis in animals injected with germs of tuberculosis. Patients with tuberculosis have improved following adequate consumption of onions.

Urinary Disorders

Onions are highly beneficial in treating disorders of the urinary system, for burning sensation while passing urine, take 6 grams of onion boiled in 500 grams of water till water reduces to half, then cool, strain, and give to the patient to relieve burning sensation.

Onion grated with water on a stone slab and mixed with 60 grams of sugar, is effective in treating urine, it stimulates free urination within a short time.

Other Uses

Onion is an important aphrodisiac food, second only to garlic, it increases libido and strengthens the reproductive organs. The white onion should be peeled, crushed, and fired in pure butter. This mixture acts as an excellent aphrodisiac tonic if taken regularly with a spoon of honey on an empty stomach.

The immature and mature onion bulbs can be eaten raw or cooked, they are used in soups and sauces for seasoning much food. Small white leaf bases – before the bulbs are formed – are eaten raw or in salads.

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Side Effects of Onions

All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based and don’t have any side effects, but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have unique health issues.

White onion is preferable to the red and yellow varieties, onions should be taken with meals preferably raw, fried, or cooked onions are comparatively difficult to digest. For therapeutic purposes, it is advisable to use onion juice instead of whole onion. Being a stimulating and irritating food, one should avoid excess consumption.

 


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