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Home Naturopathy Food & Diet Onions are Good for Health
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Naturopathy - Food & Diet
Written by Parveen Kumar   

Use Onions, Be Healthy....

Dr R. Vatsyayan

Onion, which has been in the news for some time because of the price factor, has been an important part of human diet, whether oriental or modern, throughout the world. Believed to be having a Central Asian origin, onion continues to adore average Indian kitchen shelves, giving tears to the consumers’ eyes in real terms. It is one of the oldest cultivated plants.Onion

Scientifically known as allium cepa and “plandu” in Sanskrit, onion has been amply discussed in ancient ayurvedic literature. Sweet and pungent in tandem, it has been described as heavy, sharp, unctuous and slightly hot in action. With a sweet post-digestive effect, onion aggravates “kapha” and “pitta” but lessens “vata” in the body. The juice of the onion bulb and its seeds are of medicinal importance.

Onion is a very good source of calcium and B group of vitamins, but its total food value varies according to its stages of maturity. Ripe onion contains a large amount of moisture along with a kitty of other minerals like phosphorus and iron, besides a sufficient amount of fiber and nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein. Its typical odour is attributed to the presence of organic sulphur compounds, which come in contact with the atmosphere once it is cut open.

Charak, Sushruta and other leading lights of ayurveda have described onion to be carminative, digestive, liver stimulant, anti-inflammatory, expectorant diuretic, emmanagogue (that enhances the menstrual flow) and aphrodisiac in effect. Scientific studies have also found that onion is an anti-oxidant, anti-rheumatic, anti-tumour, lipid lowering and bronchodilatory agent. Many of its therapeutic effects match to those of garlic.

The use of onion has been found to be effective in conditions like anorexia, indigestion, flatulence, bronchitis, asthma, otalgia, osteoporosis and skin blemishes. Ancient references indicate that regular use of onion enhances glow on one’s face and keeps premature changes of age at bay. Researchers have found that under controlled studies onion inhibited platelet aggregation and increased the bleeding time. It was observed that an addition of onion to a fatty diet can protect against changes in serum cholesterol. It tends to keep fibrinolytic activity at normal levels in ischemic heart patients, thereby preventing further risk of arterial thrombosis. Reasonable consumption of the allium group of herbs like onion and garlic has been found to be protective against arthritic conditions and cancer of the stomach and the colon.

Onions are relied upon by millions of people as a home remedy in a number of conditions. Since it has properties to liquefy phlegm and prevent its recurrence, taking two to three teaspoonful of its juice mixed with a little of honey helps fight cold and cough and can also be used as a safe preventive in the winter season. In vomiting and diarrhoea also, 20 ml juice of onion mixed with a pinch of pounded black pepper controls the associated discomfort and helps early recovery.

In rural India, use of onion and jaggery together with food is a poor man’s recipe to gain strength after an exhaustive work. Around 50 gm of paste made by grinded onions and a teaspoon of sugar act as a good diuretic in summer, thus preventing urinary infections.

In combating teeth problems like caries and gum infections, onion also has a role to play. Data supported by researches say that consuming raw onion with meals helps cleanse the outer surface of the teeth and inhibits the growth of bacteria in the mouth.

During an unexpected episode of earache, mothers usually instil a few drops of warm onion juice in the ears of children till proper medical help arrives. A face pack consisting of onion juice and a little of turmeric, if applied regularly on the skin blemishes, gives very good results and improves the texture.

Onion is generally consumed as a vegetable or as an adjunct with other dishes or soups. As cooked or fried onions become heavy to digest, eating it raw as salad with food has more dietary advantages. The pungent mouth odour, which is perhaps the only negative feature of its consumption, can be countered by keeping a few leaves of fresh mint or a teaspoonful of fennel (saunf) in the mouth.

The therapeutic dose of onion juice is 10 to 30 ml whereas raw onion should not be consumed more than a 100 gm a day. Excessive consumption of onions can cause symptoms like acidity, belching, nausea and headache. Taking pomegranate juice works as an antidote in such situations.

The writer, a Ludhiana-based senior ayurvedic consultant, is a Guru at Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth. Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

source -The Tribune

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