Old Wive’s Tale or Just Plain Wise?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Troy Farmers' Market - Troy, NY - 10, Jan - 06

I recently found this article in one of my favorite magazines – MaryJanesFarm. The simplicity of the message was so fascinating (and relevant for this time of year) that I had to share with all of you.

Fact or folklore?

When the 1918 flu pandemic killed 50-100 million people between 1918-1920, there was said to be a doctor who visited many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. The doctor came upon one household where everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the family was doing that was different, the wife replied that she had placed a dish of unpeeled onions in each room of the house. The doctor asked if he could have one of the onions to observe under a microscope. When he did, he found traces of the flu virus in the onion. It had absorbed the infection, keeping the family healthy.

I heard this story from my hairdresser in Arizona. She said that after hearing it, she placed onions around her shop during flu season. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick that year. Another friend reported, “I developed pneumonia after a bad cold and, needless to say, I was very ill…I came across an article that said cut both ends off an onion and place it in an empty jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would turn darker in color by morning from the germs. Sure enough, it happened just like that…and I began to feel better.”

MaryJane reports that during bouts with colds and flu, her grandma would have her eat a slice of onion sprinkled with salt to chase away the germs.

The moral of the story? Buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office. We did it last year, and no one in our family got the flu. If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. What have you got to lose?

I think I’m going to add extra onions to my shopping list. How ‘bout you?

Creative Commons License photo credit: sebastien.b

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