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Onions Keep You From Getting Sick: Old Wives Tale or Truth?

TRUTH!*  I got this email from my aunt about Onions and how a cut up onion in your room can help prevent you from getting sick.  At first I thought, “Oh hog wash, onions can’t help a cold.”  Then, I checked around on the Internet and what do you know, lots of sites that validate yes, a cut up onion can keep you from getting sick.  During the flu & cold season, I am willing to try anything though to prevent my family from getting sick and this suggestion is easy and cheap.

* FALSE:  I got an email from a gracious reader pointing out the Snopes article.  I learned two things from this reader.  First, if you are going to say, “I checked around on the Internet”, be sure to include your sources to prevent saying to yourself, “I could have sworn I saw an article on this!”.  Second, and for the record, I did try this around the home and it appeared to work.  At least the  placebo effect is still true and works!
(From email)
ONIONS In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu.  Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died. The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn’t believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. 

She gave him one and when he did this, he found the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy. Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser in NZ. She said that several years ago many of her employees were coming down with the flu and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work. (And no, she is not in the onion business.)

The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere.   It’s so cheap, try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu. If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. If you do get the flu, it just might be a mild case. Whatever, what have you to lose? Just a few bucks on onions!
Now there is a P.S. to this for I sent it to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most interesting experience about onions:
“I don’t know about the farmers story…but, I do know that I contacted pneumonia and needless to say I was very ill…I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put one end on a fork and then place the forked end into an empty jar…placing the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs…sure enough it happened just like that…the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.”
Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties. But here is the other important side to remember.
LEFT OVER ONIONS ARE POISONOUS
I have used an onion which has been left in the fridge, and sometimes I don’t use a whole one at one time, so save the other half for later. Now with this info, I have changed my mind. I will buy smaller onions in the future.
I had the wonderful privilege of touring Mullins Food Products, Makers of mayonnaise. Mullins is huge, and is owned by 11 brothers and sisters in the Mullins family. My friend, Jeanne, is the CEO.
Questions about food poisoning came up, and I wanted to share what I learned from a chemist. The guy who gave us our tour is named Ed. He’s one of the brothers Ed is a chemistry expert and is involved in developing most of the sauce formula. He’s even developed sauce formula for McDonald’s.   Keep in mind that Ed is a food chemistry whiz. During the tour, someone asked if we really needed to worry about mayonnaise. People are always worried that mayonnaise will spoil. Ed’s answer will surprise you. Ed said that all commercially- made Mayo is completely safe. “It doesn’t even have to be refrigerated. There is no harm in refrigerating it but it’s not really necessary.” He explained that the PH in mayonnaise is set at a point that bacteria could not survive in that environment. He then talked about the quaint essential picnic, with the bowl of potato salad sitting on the table and how everyone blames the mayonnaise when someone gets sick. Ed says that when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the ‘victim’ last ate ONIONS and where those onions came from (in the potato salad?). Ed says it’s not the mayonnaise (as long as it’s not homemade Mayo) that spoils in the outdoors. It’s probably the onions, and if not the onions, it’s the POTATOES.
He explained, onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion. He says it’s not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in your refrigerator. It’s already contaminated enough just by being cut open and out for a bit, that it can be a danger to you (and doubly watch out for those onions you put in your hot dogs at the baseball park!)  Ed says if you take the leftover onion and cook it like crazy you’ll probably be okay, but if you slice that leftover onion and put on your sandwich, you’re asking for trouble. Both the onions and the moist potato in a potato salad will attract and grow bacteria faster than any commercial mayonnaise will even begin to break down.
Also, dogs should never eat onions. Their stomachs cannot metabolize onions.
Please remember it is dangerous to cut onions and try to use it to cook the next day, it becomes highly poisonous for even a single night and creates Toxic bacteria which may cause Adverse Stomach infections because of excess Bile secretions and even Food poisoning.   Yuck.

(RockStew:  I would give credit for this information, but the email was forwarded so many times I don’t know who “owns” it.)
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