Natural Flu Remedies
Welcome to the first post in my new “Natural Myths Busted” series that dives into natural flu remedies and answers the question “Can onions cure the flu?” I decided to create this series to help debunk any strange facts about the natural community.
Many people have a hard time taking a natural lifestyle seriously, and I can understand why. I’ll be the first to admit that some advice is completely worthless. Before modern medicine, our only knowledge of health relied on herbs and a bunch of superstition.
This leads us to think that anything having to do with early medicine is usually “an old wive’s tale” and shouldn’t be taken seriously. The reality is that some early medicine was actually very effective, but the rest…not so much.
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The Claim on Natural Flu Remedies
We’ve learned a lot since then, but sadly, some false facts are still floating around. Any many people believe them, despite having better access to knowledge! But the internet can be a dark place full of false information.
While I was laying in bed surfing Facebook late one night, I came across a meme that someone shared. It detailed how an onion cut open and left in a room prevented a family from catching a deadly flu virus. Supposedly, an onion’s insides are like a sponge, and absorbs any bacteria floating in the air.
Now, if you know how germs work, you should be suspicious at this point already. But don’t worry otherwise. Everything will be explained soon. I’ve got the full meme below so you can see for yourself:
“FW: ONIONS FOR COLLECTING THE FLU VIRUS
In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died.
The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn’t believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and placed it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the virus, therefore, keeping the family healthy.
Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser in AZ. She said that several years ago many of her employees were coming down with the flu and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work.. (And no, she is not in the onion business.)
The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu.
If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. If you do get the flu, it just might be a mild case..
Whatever, what have you to lose? Just a few bucks on onions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
The “Research” Behind Natural Flu Remedies
Naturally (no pun intended), I was intrigued by this claim. So I decided to do some searching on natural flu remedies and see if this was a hoax or not. I was already a bit skeptical, based on the mediocre writing style of the meme.
Historically, the idea that onions cure the flu originates from the 1500’s, when the bubonic plague was at its height. (source) At this point in time, it was believed that sickness spread through the air, so natural flu remedies wanted to purify it.
That belief has since changed thanks to scientific advances. We know now that germs mainly spread through direct contact. For example, if someone sneezes in their hand, it becomes covered with a cold virus. Then the person shakes someone else’s hand, and that person rubs their eye. Now that virus has just entered another person’s body.
Another variation of this onion hack for natural flu remedies is slicing an onion and putting them in a sock to wear. The onion should be touching the balls of your feet, and you leave them on like this for a few hours to overnight. (source) This originates from the practice of Chinese reflexology, and there are no studies to suggest this actually works.
Although science gives this treatment a hard “no,” I stumbled across this article while I was doing research for this post. It talks about a couple’s experience from trying the onion-in-sock trick, and I thought it was interesting enough to mention.
They claimed that they soon starting smelling and tasting the onion, and after sleeping in these socks, their symptoms of severe hay fever completely disappeared! They also set out a cut up onion to get rid of a nasty smell in their house, and that also vanished.
Despite onions working for some people, there is still not studies that suggest they work at all. But there are plenty of natural ways to help with preventing and treating the flu! Even Amazon is full of great options for you:
The Facts About Natural Flu Remedies
Fortunately, onions are very good for your health. But it is clearly false that onions are great for natural flu remedies. Instead, “They are a low-calorie, high-fiber, high-nutrient food and contain vitamin C.” (source) The high amount of vitamin C helps hair and nails grow, as well as strengthen the immune system.
Onions also contain high amounts of vitamin B9, which helps maintain mental and emotional health. The high acidity of the onions also help with detoxing and flushing out your gut of any toxins left behind. Whenever I feel like my body needs a reset, I always put a few extra onions in my diet!
Plus, onions add great flavor to your favorite foods! So don’t be afraid to add onions to your salads, sandwiches, or anything else that sounds good to you! You’ll be doing your body a big favor. I personally love to add some chopped up onions to any sheet pan meal to help add a little more flavor.
Can Onions Cure the Flu?
The answer here is clearly “no!” If you have a basic understanding of germs and how they spread, then this meme should come as a complete hoax. But some people still believe it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have shown up on my Facebook feed!
This goes to show that if you ever come across a new treatment of some sort in the natural community, always fact check it first. Any scientific studies should be considered before anecdotes you find online. Natural flu remedies are a perfect example of this.
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, some people claim that onions have helped them. So there might be something there to back up this claim, but you shouldn’t rely on it. If you ever feel a case of the sniffles coming on, don’t rush out to the nearest grocery store for a bag of onions!
Sip some tea and honey, get plenty of rest, and make sure to wash your hands. Modern medicine is your friend when it comes to keeping germs at bay!
That’s it for now, are there any other natural claims that sound fishy to you? Let me know in the comments below!
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