Did you know that onion poultices have been used traditionally to relieve chest congestion and symptoms of flu? Onions are able fight off bacteria, parasites and yeast. Onions contain the antioxidant quercetin which aids in relieving congestion. According to historical reports from those who survived the influenza epidemic of 1918, chopped onions are believed to prevent and relieve cold symptoms when left in a room. This is because onions are rich in antiviral sulphuric compounds. These compounds give onions their unique flavor and they are the reason you cry while cutting them.
In an early 1900s Los Angeles Times article, the following suggestion was offered to the public:
- In a sickroom you cannot have a better disinfectant than the onion. It has a wonderful capacity for absorbing germs. A dish of sliced onions placed in a sickroom will draw away the disease; they must be removed as soon as they lose their odor and become discolored, and be replaced by fresh ones.
How to Make an Onion Poultice:
Chop an onion into small pieces. Throw in frying pan and sweat onion slowly until very soft.
Apply the mixture to a clean cloth. Fold over to hold poultice and heat in.
Place the poultice on the patients chest or soles of the feet. Leave the poultice in place for around half an hour as long as no discomfort persists.