The onion boasts a whole host of vitamins and minerals, such as; potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, iodine and selenium. It is, however, the sulphides - a group of pungent, sulphurous essential oils - that provides the onion with its famous healing properties (as well as the ensuing tears).
These powerful compounds have an antibacterial effect on the mucous membranes and help to prevent infection. Working together with certain protein compounds and flavonoids, these substances are believed to have a lowering effect on blood pressure, cholesterol and blood lipids. The mustard oils present can promote appetite, stimulate the digestive tract and can support the function of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys and bladder. Onion are not only believed to be cardio-protective, but they may also help to increase libido and reduce certain cancers.
First Aid for Colds
Onion juice has long been considered a home remedy and natural antibiotic for colds, especially when there is congestion of the airways. The essential oils actually loosen the mucus and act as an expectorant. To prepare a tonic for the common cold, roughly dice a large onion and place in a jar with 3 tablespoons of honey. Put a lid on the jar and leave it for a couple of hours. Following this, sieve the contents of the jar and sip the juice, a tablespoon at a time, throughout the day.
Best Eaten Raw
The east Europeans have known about the blood thinning properties of onions for centuries. Cut thinly in to rings, the onion is often added to fresh salads to give an extra punch as well as making them even healthier. These blood thinning qualities can be attributed to the compounds allicin and ajoene, which are present in the onion. In the countries where raw onions are eaten abundantly, it is believed that they offer some protection against heart attacks and also thrombosis, which is why they are included in the diet almost daily. Onions are also a great source of vitamin C.