Home Blogs Herbs Onion: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

Onion: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

By NS Desk | Herbs | Posted on :   19-Dec-2020

Onions are available in various types such as white, red, and spring onion and have a pungent smell. They are used in various dishes to add flavors; however, cutting onion can produce a volatile sulfur-rich oil that leads to teary eyes. This is because it can cause activation of the tear glands present in our eyes, leading to tears.
 
Onion has many benefits, such as eating raw onions, preventing heat strokes, improving bowel movement, and managing various digestive disorders.
 
According to Ayurveda, due to the presence of snigdha, meaning oily and ropan, meaning healing properties in onion, it can help reduce dryness, prevent hair fall, and increase hair growth. It can be used in various forms such as onion juice, paste, and oil. Onion also has aphrodisiac property and thus can help to improve erection time.
 
However, people suffering from Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS should keep the level of consumption of onion in check as high consumption of onion can lead to certain digestive disorders. 
 
Treating diseases/ health problems using onion
 
● Diabetes Mellitus ( type 1 and type 2)

          Scientific

               Ayurvedic

Due to the presence of anti-diabetic and antioxidant properties in onion, it can help to manage diabetes. The presence of quercetin in onion can help reduce diabetic complications as it improves glucose metabolism; insulin sensitivity is effective against free radicals and decreases the sudden increase in glucose levels after meals.

Diabetes is known as madhumeha in Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, its main causes are an imbalance of vata and impaired digestion, which further leads to the accumulation of ama that is harmful remains in the body in pancreatic cells and hinders insulin functioning. Onion has vata balancing property and also improves digestive fire. It further helps to enhance metabolism and regulates insulin levels and thus helps to control blood glucose levels.

 
● Asthma

            Scientific

             Ayurvedic

Due to antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antihistaminic properties in onion, it can help manage asthma.  The presence of quercetin in onion can help to decrease inflammation and allergy.

According to Ayurveda, onion can help to manage asthma and also prevents breathlessness. Asthma is a result of an imbalance in vata and kapha dosha. It occurs as vitiated vata combines with deranged kapha dosha inside the lungs, leading to obstruction in the respiratory system, which further results in difficulty in breathing. Asthma is known as swag roga in Ayurveda. Onion has vata balancing property and also removes excess mucus from the lungs.

 
● Hair loss
 

               Scientific

           Ayurvedic

Onion is a rich source of sulfur and thus can help to control hair fall. This sulfur helps to form protein for the hair, especially keratin.  Onion juice can be applied to the scalp for increasing blood circulation to the hair follicles, preventing hair fall and enhancing collagen production, which helps increase hair growth.

According to the ayurvedic view, onion can help to prevent hair fall and also increases hair growth. In Ayurveda, hair fall is a result of aggravation in vata; the onion can act as a vata balancing agent and prevent hair fall. Also, due to the presence of ropan and snigdha properties in onion, it can help to promote hair growth and prevent dryness.

 
For hair loss
● Take around 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or honey.
● Then add an equal amount of onion juice.
● Add some drops of tree tea oil.
● Mix it.
● Apply gently on the scalp.
● Let it stay for around 1 hour.
● Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
● Use this remedy regularly for better results.
 
Some other benefits of onion 
 
● For hypertension (high blood pressure)
Due to the presence of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hypertensive onion properties, it can help manage high blood pressure. Quercetin's presence in onion can help keep blood pressure in control and prevents the destruction of the blood vessels due to free radicals. Therefore, onions can be quite beneficial in managing heart-related disorders.
 
● For diarrhea 
In Ayurveda, diarrhea is called atisar. Its main causes are incomplete diet, impure food or water, toxins, mental stress, and agnimandya. This leads to aggravation in vata, and this aggravated vata leads to the excretion of fluids in the intestine from various tissues of the body and combines them with stool. This results in diarrhea, watery, and loss of motions. Onion has vata balancing property and thus helps to control the frequency of motion and prevents indigestion. However, onion is quite heavy to digest due to the presence of a guru or heavy nature in onion, and therefore it needs to be taken in small amounts.
 
● For prostate cancer
Due to Quercetin's presence, apigenin, and fisetin in onion, it possesses anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties are quite helpful in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. It induces apoptosis of cancer cells and also prevents its growth and multiplication. Regular consumption of onion can help to inhibit the prostate's enlargement and prevent the risk of prostate cancer. 
 
● For Atherosclerosis (plaque deposition inside the arteries)
Due to the presence of hyperlipidemia, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties in onions, it can help to manage atherosclerosis. Onion helps to prevent damage caused due to lipid peroxidation and also protects the blood vessels.
 
● For cough
According to Ayurveda, cough is a result of an imbalance in kapha caused due to the accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tract. You can use onion by frying it in ghee to get rid of accumulated mucus in the lungs. 
 
For cough
● Take 1 to 2 raw onions or as per your requirement.
● Put around ½ to 1 teaspoon of ghee in a pan.
● Add onion to it by chopping it into small pieces.
● Include it in your diet to get rid of cough.
 
● For appetite stimulant
Anorexia or loss of appetite refers to a situation in which there is a loss of desire to have food even when one is hungry. In Ayurveda, loss of appetite is known as aruchi and is caused due to accumulation of ama that is harmful remains in the body due to impaired digestion. This ama causes a blockage in the gastrointestinal channels of the body and therefore leads to anorexia. Due to the anushna property of onion, it can improve digestive fire and reduce ama.
 
Forms of Onion in Ayurveda along with recommended dosage
Onion can be used to cure various types of disorders. It is available in different forms such as oil, powder, capsule, juice, and many more. You can apply onion on the skin as well as use it in various dishes to add flavors. It also can be used in various forms to add side dishes to your food.
 
If you have not consulted any doctor regarding the dosage of onion, then you can follow the below-recommended dosages.
● Onion capsule – 1 to 2 capsules two times a day.
● Onion powder – ¼ to ½ teaspoon two times a day.
● Onion oil – used externally 2 to 5 drops per day.
If you have consulted any doctor regarding the dosage of onion, then we advise you to follow that prescription strongly.
 
Types of Ayurvedic care with onion
 
1. Onion capsule
● Take around 1 to 2 onion capsules.
● Swallow it with a glass of water, preferably after meals.
 
2. Onion powder
● Take around with a teaspoon of onion powder.
● Mix it in a glass of water or with some honey to enhance the taste.
● Then swallow it preferably after meals.
 
3. Onion salad
● Take 1 to 2 onion.
● Peel and slice these onions.
● Take 1 to 2 cucumbers and tomatoes.
● Peel and slice them also.
● Put them together on a plate.
● Add some lemon juice if you want.
● Put them in the refrigerator.
● Use coriander and black pepper as per your taste for garnishing.
 
4. Onion juice
● Take 2 to 3 onions or as per your requirement.
● Chop them very finely.
● Then put them in a blender or juicer.
● You can sieve these blended onions through a muslin cloth.
● You can store the juice in a glass container.
● Have 1 to 2 teaspoons two times a day after diluting it with water for better results.
 
5. Onion oil
● Take around 2 to 5 drops of onion oil.
● Apply it gently on the scalp before going asleep.
● Wash your hair using a mild shampoo the next morning.
● Use this remedy once a week to prevent dandruff and also promoting hair growth.
 
6. Onion juice for skin
● Take around 2 to 3 onions.
● Chop them very finely.
● Then put them in a juicer or blender.
● After that, sieve them through a muslin or cheesecloth in order to strain its juice.
● Use it after diluting it with water.
 
7. For hair loss
● Take around 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or honey.
● Then add an equal amount of onion juice.
● Add some drops of tree tea oil.
● Mix it.
● Apply gently on the scalp.
● Let it stay for around 1 hour.
● Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
● Use this remedy regularly for better results.
 
8. For cough
● Take 1 to 2 raw onions or as per your requirement.
● Put around ½ to 1 teaspoon of ghee in a pan.
● Add onion to it by chopping it into small pieces.
● Include it in your diet to get rid of cough.
 
9. For cold and influenza 
● Take equal amounts of onion juice and honey (to enhance the taste)
● Mix them.
● Consume 3 to 4 teaspoons of this mixture regularly.
 
Side effects of Onion
Even though onion is blessed with many magical benefits, it can also cause certain side effects if used in more amounts. Some of the side effects of onion are given below:
● It can cause eye irritation.
● It can lead to skin rashes.
Also, consuming onion in high amounts can lead to certain digestive issues. Therefore, it is required to consume a small amount of onion.
 
Precautionary guide while using Onion
It is quite safe to consume onion; however, there are certain precautions that you should consider while consuming onion.
 
● Due to the presence of sulfur in onion, it has antimicrobial properties; therefore, patients undergoing any kind of surgery are advised to stop using onion at least 2 weeks prior to the surgery. This is because onion consumption can lead to excessive bleeding.
 
● High consumption of onion can lead to the thinning of the blood. Therefore if you are taking any anticoagulants or blood thinners, then you must consult a doctor before consuming onion; however, it is safe to use onion in food amounts.
 
● People suffering from IBS are advised to consult a doctor before using onion as an onion can cause various digestive disorders due to the presence of indigestible carbohydrates. 
 
● Breastfeeding
Onion can be taken in food amounts; however, you are advised to consult a doctor if taking onion supplements at the time of breastfeeding.
 
● Moderate Medicine Interaction 
If you are taking CNS drugs, then it is advised to consult a doctor before consuming onion as an onion has the tendency to react with CNS drugs.
If you are consuming anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs, it is advised to consult a doctor before using onion as an onion can inhibit blood clotting.
 
● Diabetic patients 
If you are consuming any anti-diabetic drug, it is advised to consult a doctor before using onion to lower blood glucose levels. You need to keep your blood glucose level in check while consuming onion; however, it is safe to consume onion in food amounts.
 
● Heart disease
If you are consuming any anti-hypertensive drugs, it is advised to consult a doctor before using onion to lower blood pressure. You need to keep your blood pressure level in check while consuming onion; however, it is safe to consume onion in food amounts.
 
● Pregnancy
You are advised to consult a doctor before consuming onion at the time of pregnancy; however, you can consume onion in food amounts.
 
● Allergy
Some people can be allergic to onion; therefore, it is better to do a patch test before using onion on your skin.
 
Patch test
● Take 1 teaspoon of onion juice.
● Apply it to a small area of your skin.
● Check after 24 hours if there is any reaction.
● If there is no reaction, then you can use onion on your skin.
 
FAQ's about Onion 
 
Q Is it possible to make onion powder at home?
A
● Firstly wash, peel, and then chop the onions.
● Then put them on a baking tray.
● Bake them at 150° C.
● Then let it cool.
● Crush them through the hand or using mortar or pestle. 
● Store them in an airtight container, preferably in a cool and dry place.
 
Q What are the forms in which we can eat onion?
A Onion can be used in various forms such as raw, fried, baked, boiled, grilled, or powdered form. Onion is used in salad and is also used in various dishes to add taste.
 
Q How to remove bad breath occurred because of onion? 
A There are many ways to get rid of bad breath due to onion:
 
1. Eat apple, mint, and lettuce
Apple can help to reduce odor-causing compounds and therefore removes bad breath caused due to onion. Lettuce can help to leave a fresh taste in the mouth and deodorizes onion smell, whereas mint helps to leave a refreshing smell and masks the pungent onion smell.
 
2. Drink milk
Milk can help to inhibit odor-causing compounds and thus removes the bad breath caused due to the onion. 
 
3. Brush and floss
Plaque can get build-up on the teeth due to the deposition of odor-causing compounds and bacteria on the gum line; therefore, it is important to brush your teeth after meals, and it can also remove the onion breath from the mouth.
 
4. Lemon juice
Due to the presence of citric acid and antibacterial properties in lemon, it can neutralize odor-causing compounds and kill the odor-causing bacteria. This lemon can help to get rid of bad breath due to onion.
● Take a cup of lukewarm water. 
● Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to it.
● Mix it and rinse your mouth with this solution.
 
5. Diluted apple cider vinegar 
Due to pectin in apple cider vinegar, it can help promote good bacteria, which gets rid of bad breath caused due to onion.
● Take a cup of lukewarm water.
● Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of Apple cider vinegar to it.
● Mix it and rinse your mouth with this solution.
 
6. Sugar
Sugar granules can be quite beneficial to destroy the odor-causing compounds as well as to inhibit bad breath, causing bacteria. Thus, you can use sugar to remove the bad breath of onion from your mouth.
● Take some sugar granules.
● Let them stay in your mouth for a few seconds.
● Then chew them.
 
Q Is the carbohydrate content in onion high?
A The carbohydrate content in both raw and fried onion is around 9 to 10%, and this carbohydrate content is mainly due to the presence of simple sugars such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, and fibers.  In 100 grams of onion, there are 9.3 grams of carbohydrates and 10.7 grams of fibers, and thus total digestible carbohydrate content is 7.6 grams.
Q What is the disadvantage of consuming high amounts of onion?
A 

             Scientific

               Ayurvedic

Consuming onion in high amounts can be dangerous due to the presence of carbohydrates in onion. Onion can lead to gas problems and also causes indigestion. They do not help to control cholesterol and also increases body mass index.  Some people who are allergic to onion can experience nausea as well as vomiting.

According to Ayurveda, high consumption of onion can aggravate pitta and kapha dosha and thus cause problems such as gastritis, nausea, and vomiting.

 
Q Can upset lead to indigestion?

       Scientific  

               Ayurvedic

It is safe to consume onion in food amounts; however, consuming onion in high amounts can lead to indigestion and had the formation and eventually upset stomach.

According to the Ayurvedic view, onion is quite difficult to digest due to its guru nature. It can also cause a burning sensation in the stomach due to the ushna property. However, it is safe to consume onion in food amounts.

 
Q Why does chopping onion causes teary eyes?
A  

             Scientific

              Ayurvedic

This is because when the onion is cut, it leads to the production of a gas called a lachrymatory factor, which further acts as an irritating agent and causes a stinging sensation in the eyes. This leads to teary eyes.

According to the ayurvedic view, due to the presence of tikshna property in onion, it can cause irritation in the eyes as it irritates the lacrimal glands and thus leads to teary eyes.

 
Q Can we eat onion at night?
A Yes, you can; however, according to Ayurvedic view, due to the presence of tikshna and ushna properties in onion, it can worsen the problem of heartburn or acid reflux if consumed at night. Thus it is advised to avoid consumption of onion at night.
 
Q What is the use of onion for the liver?
A Due to the presence of flavonoids in onion, it has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and can help manage nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It can also help manage glucose, lipids, cholesterol, and liver enzymes in the blood. However, it is important to combine onion with a healthy diet in order to manage the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
 
Q Is onion helpful for tuberculosis?
A Yes, due to the presence of antitubercular and antimicrobial properties of onion, it can help manage tuberculosis. It can also help to inhibit the growth of microorganisms, causing tuberculosis.
 
Q Is onion helpful in increasing the levels of testosterone in men?
A Yes

              Scientific

              Ayurvedic

Onion can help promote the level of sex hormone in men due to its antioxidant property, which helps to fight free radicals in the testes, reduce cell damage, promote insulin resistance, and enhance the growth of certain hormones responsible for the production of testosterone.

According to the ayurvedic view, an imbalance of vata can lead to a disturbance in men's hormonal level. However, due to the vajikarna aphrodisiac property of onion, it can help manage testosterone levels and improve the reproductive system.

 
Q How is onion beneficial for men?

            Scientific

              Ayurvedic

Due to the presence of antioxidant property in onion, it can help to fight against free radicals and therefore promotes the quantity of sperm. It can also act as an aphrodisiac agent and thus improves sexual desire.

According to Ayurveda, due to the presence of vajikarna property in onion, it can help promote the quality of sperm and improve sexual desire.

 
Q Is there any advantage of drinking onion tea?
A Yes

               Scientific

            Ayurvedic

Due to the presence of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in onion, it can help fight against free radicals, reduce inflammation, and prevent fever, dysentery, cholera, and headache.

According to the Ayurvedic view, an imbalance of vata or pitta dosha can lead to swelling or inflammation in any part of the body; however, onion can reduce these problems due to its shothhar anti-inflammatory property and thus reduces swelling or inflammation and provides relief.

 
Q Are there any benefits of eating raw onion?
A Yes

             Scientific

                Ayurvedic

Raw onion is quite beneficial for tooth disorders as it can help reduce the growth of germs present in the mouth and kills them. It can also help to relieve toothache by putting a small piece of onion in the mouth.

According to the ayurvedic view, pain and swelling in the gum result from an imbalance in vata. However, due to the presence of vata balancing property in onion, it can help to relieve pain and swelling. Also, due to its value property, it can help improve a person's overall health.

 
Onion salad
● Take 1 to 2 onion.
● Peel and slice these onions.
● Take 1 to 2 cucumbers and tomatoes.
● Peel and slice them also.
● Put them together on a plate.
● Add some lemon juice if you want.
● Put them in the refrigerator.
● Use coriander and black pepper as per your taste for garnishing.
 
Q Are there any benefits of drinking onion juice? 
A Yes, due to the presence of expectorant property in onion, it can help prevent cough, enhance the sputum's secretion, and remove it from the air passages, which facilitates easy breathing.   It can also help to prevent cold and influenza.
● Take equal amounts of onion juice and honey (to enhance the taste)
● Mix them.
● Consume 3 to 4 teaspoons of this mixture regularly.
 
Q Is onion helpful in promoting hair growth?
A Yes, 

                 Scientific

              Ayurvedic

Since onion is a rich source of sulfur, it can provide extra sulfur to protein production, especially keratin, and thus improve hair growth. It also enhances the production of collagen, which helps to improve hair growth. You can also apply onion juice to hair to improve blood circulation to hair follicles and thus facilitate hair growth.

Aggravation of vata leads to hair fall in the Ayurveda; however, onion can act as a vata balancing agent, promoting hair growth.

 
Q Are there any benefits of applying onion juice?
A Yes 

                  Scientific

                Ayurvedic

Due to the presence of antibacterial and antifungal properties in onion, it can help to fight against bacterial and fungal infections. It can also be applied to the scalp to promote hair growth. It can be applied to mosquito bites and wounds as well. Warm onion juice can also be put in the ear to provide relief from earache.

According to the Ayurvedic view, an imbalance of vata can lead to an increase in insect bites. Due to ropan or healing and vata balancing property in onion, it can help manage eye pain, irritation, and insect bites.

 
Onion juice
● Take 2 to 3 onions or as per your requirement.
● Chop them very finely.
● Then put them in a blender or juicer.
● You can sieve these blended onions through a muslin cloth.
● You can store the juice in a glass container.
● Use 1 to 2 teaspoons two times a day after diluting it with water for better results.

NS Desk

Are you an Ayurveda doctor? Download our App from Google PlayStore now!

Download NirogStreet App for Ayurveda Doctors. Discuss cases with other doctors, share insights and experiences, read research papers and case studies. Get Free Consultation 9625991603 | 9625991607 | 8595299366

Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.