Onion Healing Folklore and History
Throughout history onions have been credited with special healing properties.
Did you know?*
- Egyptians believed onions had strength-producing powers and fed them to workers building pyramids.
- Alexander the Great ordered his troops to eat onions to improve their vitality, while the Romans ate them to gain strength and courage.
- In ancient Greece, athletes ate large quantities of onions because it was believed that it would lighten the balance of blood.
- In Chinese medicine, onions have been used to treat angina, coughs, bacterial infections, and breathing problems.
- Folklore credits onions as a cure for baldness and as an antidote to venomous bites. Although there is no evidence to support the baldness claim and there are many better ways to treat a snake bite, modern research suggests that onions can offer true health benefits.
- During the Middle Ages, onions were a dietary staple in Europe, where they were often eaten with bread as a main course.
- Captain James Cook also applied the onion remedy in the eighteenth century for scurvy on his voyages to the remote areas of the Pacific. At one point, Cook refused to sail until each man in his crew ate 20 pounds of onions, followed by 10 pounds two days later.
- Early American settlers used wild onions to treat colds, coughs, breathing problems and repel insects.
- During World War II, Russian soldiers applied Onions to battle wounds as an antiseptic.
*The information presented here are common myths and are not claims of the Vidalia® Onion Committee. The suggestions are not FDA approved or scientific substantiated claims for medical or preventive care. It is highly advised that you consult health care professionals for your medical and preventive care needs.