How effectively can onions be used in treating cough and flu?

Coughing is not only annoying but also irritating to those nearby. Whether it is a loved one, someone in the front row at the movies or the entire auditorium during a quiet solo at a classical concert, it affects them all.

Coughing is not only annoying but also irritating to those nearby. Whether it is a loved one, someone in the front row at the movies or the entire auditorium during a quiet solo at a classical concert, it affects them all.

But if you have a productive cough, you don't want to suppress it; it's the body's way of clearing out mucus. You actually want to encourage it so that you can get rid of the phlegm quickly and get over with the coughing.

On the other hand, if you have a dry cough, the trick is to coat the throat and tame the tickle. Persons affected by this ailment experience fever, lack of appetite, red eyes, running nose, headache and sometimes general body weakness later on, the disturbance from too often cleaning of the nose from mucus running from inside their nostrils.

Coughing is the marked characteristic of the typical flu and the most painful sign especially in children. Upon arrival to the doctor, patients are given treatment for this disease and many of those I have managed to talk to, have had a significant improvement in all the signs I have mentioned except for the coughing which persists for weeks after treatment.

Salad made of white onions, lemon juice and honey are used to treat dry cough, the honey coats your throat, soothing irritated tissues, while the lemon reduces inflammation and delivers a dose of infection-fighting vitamin C, onions contain irritating compounds that trigger the cough reflex and bring up phlegm, but what would be the value of this?

Let us have a look on the value of onions in our daily life before questioning the now prevailing hypothesis that this mixture may prove usefulness than the usual modern treatment in the treatment of flu.

Onion is effective against many bacteria producing diseases including Bacillus which cause dysentery, Salmonella and E. coli both which cause enteric fevers associated with diarrhoes.

Onions have a variety of medicinal effects known from its history. We remember how Early American settlers used wild onions to treat colds, coughs, and asthma, and to repel insects.

Today in Chinese medicine that is also available in the city of Kigali, onions are used to treat angina, coughs, bacterial infections, and breathing problems.

The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of onions for the treatment of poor appetite and to prevent atherosclerosis.

In addition, onion extracts are recognized by WHO for providing relief in the treatment of coughs and colds, asthma and bronchitis.

Onions are known to decrease bronchial spasms and they have been found to decrease allergy-induced bronchial constriction in asthma patients.

As onions are safely consumed by most people, though however, consuming large quantities of onions can lead to stomach distress and gastrointestinal irritation that may result in nausea and diarrhea, there are no known interactions with drugs except that they can potentiate the action of coagulants.

Most coughs clear up on their own within a week to 10 days, but if your cough lasts more than 4 weeks, or you cough up green or bloody phlegm, see your doctor.

Coughing can be a symptom of a more serious illness, such as chronically obstructed airways or asthma. It can even indicate heart failure, especially if it's accompanied by wheezing shortness of breath.

If you have sharp chest pains, chills or a fever higher than 38°C (101°F) for more than 3 days, as well as a cough, you may have pneumonia.

It is very important not to stick on the use of onions or any other traditional medicine if the cough has not improved for the time I have mentioned.

I therefore would like to agree with most people now in our traditional medicine that onions are highly valued herbs possessing nutritional and medicinal value.

Some of their beneficial properties are seen after long-term usage. Also onion may be a useful herb for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, especially since they diminish the risk of blood clots.

Some studies have shown that onion can protect against stomach and other cancers, as well as protecting against certain infections including improved lung function, especially in asthmatics. 

The author can be reached at his e-mail: