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MSc (Clinical Embryology), M.Tech (Biotechnology)
Ayurvedic View By
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Last updated on:
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Onion

Onion
Onion or Pyaaz has a strong pungent smell and is used in various forms to impart flavour to dishes. There are various types of Onions such as white, red and spring Onion that can also be used raw in salads. Chopping Onions produces a volatile, sulphur-rich oil that causes teary eyes. It activates the tear glands in our eyes and produce tears.
Incorporating raw Onions in your diet during the summer season is the best way to protect yourself from heat stroke. Onions also help ease bowel movements thereby managing various digestive disorders.
According to Ayurveda, Onion may help improve erection time due to its aphrodisiac property. External application of Onion juice, paste or oil help remove excessive dryness, prevents hair fall as well as promotes hair growth due to its Snigdha (oily) and Ropan (healing) properties[2].
It must be kept in mind that excessive consumption of Onion may cause various digestive problems, especially in people suffering for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What are the synonyms of Onion?

Allium cepa, Plandu, Yevnesth, Sukand, Piyaaz, Pyaj, Piyas, Kando, Nirulli, Dungali, Ullipaya, Vengayam, Venkayam, Peyaj, Ganda, Piyaz, Kanda, Bawang, Cuvannulli, Garden Onion, Common Onion, Besala[1].

What is the source of Onion?

Plant Based

Benefits of Onion

What are the benefits of Onion for Diabetes mellitus (Type 1 & Type 2)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion might be beneficial in managing diabetes. Onion has anti-diabetic and antioxidant properties. It improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Onion reduces the sudden increase in glucose levels after meals. Quercetin in Onion fights against the free radicals to reduce the risk of diabetic complications[2][3].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Diabetes also known as Madhumeha is due to an aggravation of Vata and impaired digestion. Impaired digestion leads to an accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the pancreatic cells and impairs the function of insulin.Onion calms an aggravated Vata and improves digestive fire. It improves metabolism and maintains the insulin level. This helps maintain your blood glucose level.

What are the benefits of Onion for Hypertension (high blood pressure)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion might be beneficial in managing high blood pressure. Onion has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive property. Quercetin in Onion decreases blood pressure and protects the blood vessels from the damage caused by the free radicals. Thus, Onion has heart-protecting activity[2][3].

What are the benefits of Onion for Diarrhea?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Diarrhea is known as Atisar in Ayurveda. It is due to improper food, impure water, toxins, mental stress and Agnimandya (weak digestive fire). All these factors are responsible for aggravating Vata. This aggravated Vata brings fluid in the intestine from various tissues from the body and mixes with the stool. This leads to loose, watery motions or diarrhea. Onion helps to balance aggravated Vata, control the frequency of motion and correct upset stomach. But Onion is heavy to digest due to its Guru (heavy) nature so it should be used in small amount.

What are the benefits of Onion for Prostate cancer?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion might be beneficial in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Quercetin, apigenin and fisetin in Onion have good anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. It inhibits the multiplication and growth of cancer cells. It also induces apoptosis of cancer cells. Onion consumption controls the enlargement of prostate and lowers the risk of prostate cancer[2][3].

What are the benefits of Onion for Asthma?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion might be beneficial in managing asthma. Onion has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic properties. Quercetin in Onion reduces inflammation and allergy[2][3].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Onion helps to control the symptoms of asthma and gives relief in case of breathlessness. According to Ayurveda, the main doshas involved in asthma are Vata and Kapha. The vitiated ‘Vata’ combines with deranged ‘Kapha dosha’ in the lungs causing obstruction in the respiratory passage. This results in difficulty in breathing. This condition is known as Swas Roga (Asthma). Eating Onion helps to calm Vata and remove excess mucus from the lungs. This gives relief from the symptoms of asthma.

What are the benefits of Onion for Atherosclerosis (plaque deposition inside the arteries)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion might be beneficial in managing atherosclerosis. Onion has hypolipidemic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Onion lowers the level of bad cholesterol. Onion reduces the damage caused by lipid peroxidation and protects blood vessels[2][3].

What are the benefits of Onion for Cough?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Cough is commonly known as Kapha disorder in Ayurveda which is caused by accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tract. Onion helps to reduce cough when used after frying with Ghee because it removes accumulated mucus from the lungs.
Tips:
1. Take 1-2 raw Onion.
2. Peel and slice in small pieces.
3. Take 1/2 teaspoon Ghee and fry the Onion in it
4. Have it with meals to get rid of cough.

What are the benefits of Onion for Appetite stimulant?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Anorexia or loss of appetite means the loss of desire to have food even when one is hungry. In Ayurveda, anorexia is known as Aruchi which is due to accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion). Ama blocks the gastrointestinal channels of the body and thus leads to anorexia. Eating Onion helps to improve Agni (digestive) and reduce Ama which is the prime reason of loss of appetite. This is due to its Anushna (not very hot) property.

How effective is Onion?

Insufficient evidence
Appetite stimulant, Asthma, Atherosclerosis (plaque deposition inside the arteries), Common cold symptoms, Cough, Diabetes mellitus (Type 1 & Type 2), Diarrhea, Fever, Hypertension (high blood pressure), Inflammation of the airways (bronchitis), Obesity, Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Prostate cancer

Precautions when using Onion

Advice from Experts
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Sulfur compounds present in Onion have potential antithrombotic activity. Patients who have to undergo surgery are advised to avoid consuming Onion as it can increase the risk of excessive bleeding[9].

2. Although Onion is safe if taken in food amount, Onion supplements might cause thinning of blood. So it advisable to take Onion supplements only after consulting a doctor if you are taking anticoagulants or blood thinners[3][12].

3. Onion contains indigestible carbohydrates that can contribute to various digestive problems. People prone to IBS are advised to avoid consuming raw Onion in excess[8].
Breastfeeding
scientific
Modern Science View
It is safe to take Onion in food amounts. However, it is advised to consult your doctor before taking Onion supplements during breastfeeding[12].
Moderate Medicine Interaction
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Onion may interact with CNS drugs. So it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking Onion or Onion supplements along with CNS drugs[3].

2. Onion may slow blood clotting. So it is advisable to consult you doctor before taking Onion or Onion supplements along with anticoagulants/antiplatelet drugs[3].
Patients with diabetes
scientific
Modern Science View
Onion may lower blood glucose level. So, it is advised to monitor the blood glucose level while taking Onion supplements along with anti-diabetic drugs[3][12]. However, Onion is safe to be taken in food amounts.
Patients with heart disease
scientific
Modern Science View
Onion may lower blood pressure. So, it is advised to monitor the blood pressure while taking Onion supplements along with antihypertensive drugs. However, Onion is safe to be taken in food amounts[12].
Pregnancy
scientific
Modern Science View
It is safe to take Onion in food amounts. However, it is advised to consult your doctor before taking Onion supplements during pregnancy[12].

Recommended Dosage of Onion

  • Onion Capsule - 1-2 capsules twice a day.
  • Onion Powder - ¼-½ teaspoon twice a day.

How to use Onion

1. Onion Capsule
a. Take 1-2 Onion capsules.
b. Swallow it with water after taking lunch and dinner.

2. Onion Powder
a. Take ¼-½ teaspoon Onion powder.
b. Mix with water or honey and have it after lunch and dinner.

3. Onion Salad
a. Peel and slice the Onion.
b. Slice cucumbers and tomatoes.
c. Add Onions, cucumbers and tomatoes together.
d. Add few drops of lemon juice as per your taste.
e. Store in refrigerator for a few minutes.
f. Garnish with coriander and black pepper before serving.

4. Onion Juice
a. Wash and peel 2-3 Onions.
b. Chop them finely.
c. Put the finely chopped Onion in a juicer or blender.
d. Sieve the blended Onion using a muslin cloth to strain its juice.
e. Store the Onion juice in a glass container
f. Take 2-3 teaspoon twice a day after diluting in water for better digestion.x

Benefits of Onion

What are the benefits of Onion for Hair loss?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion can be useful in controlling hair loss due to its rich sulfur content. It helps provide extra sulfur for the formation of proteins, especially keratin (the protein component of hair). Onion also promotes collagen production which stimulates hair growth. Applying Onion juice on the scalp can help increase blood circulation to the hair follicles and prevents hair fall.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Onion or its juice helps to control hair fall and promote hair growth when applied on the scalp. This is because hair fall is mainly due to an aggravated Vata dosha in the body. Onion acts on hair fall by balancing Vata dosha. It also promotes new hair growth and removes excessive dryness. This is due to its Snigdha (oily) and Ropan (healing) properties.
Tips:
1. Take 2 tablespoons of Onion juice.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or honey.
3. Add 5 drops of tea tree oil.
4. Make a smooth blend.
5. Apply on the scalp and massage for a couple of minutes.
6. Leave the mixture for about 30 -60 minutes.
7. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
8. Repeat this to control hair fall.

How effective is Onion?

Insufficient evidence
Hair loss, Stretch Marks, Wound infection

Precautions when using Onion

Allergy
scientific
Modern Science View
Apply Onion extract gel or juice to a small area first to test for possible allergic reactions[6][7].
Side Effects
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Eye irritation[10]
2. Skin rash[12]

Recommended Dosage of Onion

  • Onion Oil - 2-5 drops or as per your requirement.

How to use Onion

1. Onion Oil
a. Take 2-5 drops of Onion oil or per your requirement.
b. Apply on the scalp once before sleeping at night.
c. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo the next morning.
d. Repeat this once a week to get rid of dandruff and for promoting hair growth.

2. Onion Juice for skin
a. Wash and peel 2-3 Onions.
b. Chop them finely.
c. Put the finely chopped Onion in a juicer or blender.
d. Sieve the blended Onion using a muslin cloth/cheesecloth to strain its juice.
e. Store the Onion juice in a glass container.
f. Dilute the juice with water before using.

3. Onion Juice for hair growth
a. Take 2 tablespoons Onion juice.
b. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or honey.
c. Add 5 drops of tea tree oil.
d. Make a smooth blend.
e. Apply on the scalp and massage for a couple of minutes
f. Leave the mixture on for about 30 minutes.
g. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.

Frequently asked questions

Q. How to make Onion powder at home?

scientific
Modern Science View
1. Wash and peel the Onions.
2. Finely chop them and spread on a baking tray.
3. Bake them at 150℃ and allow the baked Onion to cool.
4. Crush them with hand or use a mortar and pestle to make powder.
5. Store the Onion powder in an airtight container in a cool and dry place (freeze if excess).

Q. What are the ways to eat Onion?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion can be eaten raw, fried, roasted, baked, boiled, grilled as well in powdered form. Raw Onion can be eaten in the form of a salad or alone. Onion can also be used to cook various dishes.

Q. How to get rid of bad breath due to Onion?

scientific
Modern Science View
Tips:
1. Eat apple, lettuce or mint:
Apples break down the odour-causing compounds and help in getting rid of odour. Lettuce leaves a fresh taste in the mouth and deodorizes Onion breath while the fresh scent of mint masks the pungent Onion odour leaving the mouth refreshed.

2. Drink milk:
Milk reduces the amount of odour-causing compounds and deodorizes Onion breath.

3. Brush and floss after meals:
Odour-causing compounds and bacteria can deposit in the gum line and teeth. This might cause build-up of plaque. This can be removed by brushing and flossing after meals to get rid of bad breath caused by Onion.

4. Lemon:
Lemon is rich in citric acid that can neutralize Onion odour. It also has antibacterial property and can kill odour-causing bacteria.
a. Take 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
b. Add it to a cup of water and mix well.
c. Rinse your mouth with this lemon water 2-3 times till the bad odour is gone.

5. Diluted apple cider vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar helps the good bacteria to flourish due to the presence of pectin. It helps in getting rid of bad breath due to Onion.
a. Take 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
b. Mix it well in a cup of water.
c. Drink or rinse your mouth with it for 10-15 seconds after meals.

6. Sugar:
Sugar granules help get rid of odour-causing byproducts of Onion as well as bad breath-causing bacteria. Put a few sugar granules in your mouth for a few seconds before chewing them.

Q. Are Onions high in carbohydrates?

scientific
Modern Science View
Raw and cooked Onion both contains about 9-10% carbohydrate content. Carbohydrates in Onion mainly consist of simple sugars, such as glucose, fructose and sucrose, as well as fibers. About 100 grams of Onion has 9.3 grams of carbohydrates and 1.7 grams of fiber, so the total digestible carbohydrate content is 7.6 grams.

Q. What are the dangers of eating large quantities of Onions every day?

scientific
Modern Science View
Eating large quantities of Onion every day is considered to be dangerous. The carbohydrates present in Onion might cause gas problems. They do not help in improving cholesterol and increases body mass index. Individuals who are intolerant to Onions might experience nausea and vomiting[3][12].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Excessive intake of onion might increase the level of Pitta and Kapha dosha in the body which might aggravate the problems related to these doshas inside the body like gastritis, nausea and vomiting.

Q. Can Onion cause upset stomach?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, excess consumption of Onion can elevate the symptoms of indigestion such as upset stomach[3][12].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Onion can upset stomach if taken in large amounts. This is because Onion is heavy to digest due to its Guru (heavy) nature. It might also cause burning sensation in the stomach due to its Ushna (hot) potency.

Q. Why does chopping an Onion make you cry?

scientific
Modern Science View
When Onion is cut, it produces a gas known as lachrymatory factor. This gas acts as an irritant that causes a stinging sensation in the eyes. To remove this irritant, tears are produced in the eyes[10].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Chopping an Onion can make you cry because of its Tikshna (strong) nature. It irritates the lacrimal glands (tear glands) and produces tears.

Q. Is it harmful to eat Onion at night?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
No, you can take Onion at night but if you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux it can worsen your problem. This is due to its Tikshna (sharp) and Ushna (hot) properties. So it is advisable to avoid Onion especially in raw form for a few hours before bed.

Q. Is Onion good for liver?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Onion is good for the management of non alcoholic fatty liver disease. Flavonoids in Onion have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Onion also controls the level of glucose, lipids, cholesterol and liver enzymes in the blood[14].
Tip:
Consumption of Onion should be combined with a healthy diet for the management of non alcoholic fatty liver disease[14]

Q. Can Onion be used in tuberculosis?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Onion can be used for the management of tuberculosis. Onion has antitubercular and antimicrobial activities. Onion helps to prevent the growth of micro-organisms responsible for tuberculosis[15].

Q. Do Onions help increase testosterone level in men?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Onion help improve the level of the sex hormone testosterone in males by a number of possible mechanisms. Some of the possible mechanisms might be the strong antioxidant property of Onion that helps to fight against free radicals in the testes and prevent cell damage, improving insulin resistance and increasing the production of a certain hormone (luteinizing hormone) that stimulates the production of testosterone[15].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Onion helps in the management of testosterone level. An imbalance in the Vata dosha leads to a disturbed hormonal level in men. Onion helps to manage this condition due to its Vajikarana (aphrodisiac) property and improve the function of reproductive system.

Q. What are the benefits of Onion for a male?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion juice help increase the concentration of antioxidants in the body which fights against the free radicals. This further helps in improving the quantity of sperm. It also increases the sexual desire by acting as an aphrodisiac[13][16].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Onion is beneficial for men because it helps to improve the sperm quality and reduce sexual weakness due to its Vajikarana (aphrodisiac) property.

Q. What are the benefits of Onion tea?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion tea has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It fights against the free radicals and reduces inflammation on the affected area.This prevents fever, headache,dysentery and cholera[14].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Onion can also be consumed in the form of tea. It helps to reduce inflammation or swelling in any part of the body. These conditions occurs due to an imbalance of Vata or Pitta dosha. It helps to manage these conditions due to its Shothhar (anti-inflammatory) property. This helps to reduce the swelling or inflammation, thus providing relief.

Q. What are the benefits of eating raw Onions?

scientific
Modern Science View
Consumption of raw onions helps manage tooth disorders. It inhibits the growth of bacteria and kills germs present in the mouth. In case of a toothache, placing a small piece of onion in the mouth helps reduce the pain[13].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Raw Onion helps to manage pain and swelling of teeth or gums due to its Vata balancing property. It helps to manage the overall health of a person due to its Balya (strength provider) property.
Tips
1. Peel and slice the Onion.
2. Slice cucumbers and tomatoes.
3. Add Onions, cucumbers and tomatoes together.
4. Add few drops of lemon juice as per your taste.
5. Store in refrigerator for a few minutes.
6. Garnish with coriander and black pepper before serving.

Q. What benefits can I get from drinking Onion juice?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion juice helps in the prevention of cough due to its expectorant activity. It promotes the secretion of sputum and helps to expel it from the air passages. This helps in easy breathing. It is also used for the management of cold and influenza.
Tips:
1. Mix Onion juice and honey in equal proportions
2. Take 3-4 teaspoons of this mixture daily[13].

Q. How does Onion help in hair growth?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion can be useful in promoting hair growth. Onion is a rich source of dietary sulfur. It helps provide extra sulfur for the formation of proteins, especially keratin (protein component of hair). Onion also promotes collagen production which stimulates hair growth. Applying Onion juice on the scalp can help increase blood circulation to the hair follicles and promote the growth of hair[5].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
According to Ayurveda, hair fall is due to an aggravated Vata dosha in the body. Onion acts on hair fall by balancing Vata Dosha and promotes hair growth.

Q. What are the benefits of applying onion juice ?

scientific
Modern Science View
Onion juice, when applied externally is used to prevent bacterial and fungal infections due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties respectively. It can be applied to skin wounds and bites. Application of Onion juice on the scalp improves hair growth as well. Warm onion juice also provides relief from earache when put in the ear[13].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Applying Onion juice is helpful in the management of eye pain, irritation or insect bite which might increase due to an imbalanced Vata dosha. This is due to the Ropana (healing) and Vata balancing properties of Onion juice.
Tips
1. Wash and peel 2-3 Onions.
2. Chop them finely.
3. Put the finely chopped Onion in a juicer or blender.
4. Sieve the blended Onion using a muslin cloth/cheesecloth to strain its juice.
5. Store the Onion juice in a glass container.
6. Dilute the juice with water before using.

References

  1. Balkrishnan A.Pyaaz.Ayurved Jadi Buti Rehsya. Danik Bhaskar.2017.
  2. Upadhyay RK.Nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and therapeutic uses of Allium cepa: A review.International Journal of Green Pharmacy.2016;10(1):S46-S64.
  3. WebMD.Onion: Uses, Side effects, Doses, Interactions [Internet].Atlanta [last updated in 2016].
  4. Lanzotti V.The analysis of Onion and garlic.Journal of Chromatography A.2006;1112(1-2):3-22.
  5. Sharquie KE, Al-Obaidi HK.Onion juice (Allium cepa L.), a new topical treatment for alopecia areata.J Dermatol.2002;29(6):343-346.
  6. Almogren A, Shakoor Z, Adam MH.Garlic and Onion sensitization among Saudi patients screened for food allergy: A hospital based study.Afr Health Sci.2013;13(3):689-693.
  7. Arochena L, Gámez C, del Pozo V et al.Cutaneous allergy at the supermarket.J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol.2012;22(6):437-459.
  8. Magge S, Lembo A.Low-FODMAP diet for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y).2012;9(7):450-452.
  9. Bordia T, Mohammed N, Thomson M et al.An evaluation of garlic and Onion as antithrombotic agents.Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fat Acids.1996;54(3):183-186.
  10. Imai S, Tsuge N, Tomotake M et al.An Onion enzyme that makes the eyes water.Nature.2002;419(6908):685.
  11. Randle W, Lancaster J, Shaw M et al.Quantifying Onion flavor compounds responding to sulfur fertility-sulfur increases levels of Alk(en)yl cysteine sulfoxides and biosynthetic intermediates.J Am Soc Hortic Sci.1995;120(6):1075-1081.
  12. Ulbricht CE.Natural Standard:Herb and Supplement Guide, An Evidence Based Reference.Elsevier;2010.
  13. Kumar KPS,Bhowmik D, Chiranjib, et al. Allium cepa : A traditional medicinal herb and its health benefits.J. Chem. Pharm. Res.2010;2(1):283-291.
  14. Martinez MC, Villamiel M.Onion consumption and health.Nova science publishers:2012.
  15. Banihani SA.Testosterone in males as enhanced by onion (Allium sepa L.).Biomolecules.2019;9(2):2-9.
  16. Shokoohi M,Madarek EO, Khaki A, et al.Investigating the Effects of Onion Juice on Male Fertility Factors and Pregnancy Rate After Testicular Torsion/ Detorsion by Intrauterine Insemination Method.IJWHR.2018;6(4):499-505.
  17. Javadzadeh A, Ghorbanihagjho A, Bonyadi S, et al. Preventive effect of onion juice on selenite-induced experimental cataract. Indian J Ophthalmol.2009;57(3):185-189.
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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