Monday, November 29, 2010

The Drawing Powers of Onion!

photo by ana traina
The common Onion is part of the Allium or lily plant family, which includes garlic, chives, leeks and shallots. It gets its name from the Latin word uniowhich means 'one' or 'single', because the onion produces only one bulb, unlike garlic. 
Traces of onions have been found in Bronze Age settlements dating back to 5000 B.C.E. Actual cultivation of onions by man is believed to have begun 4000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Alexander the Great fed his army onions with the belief that if they ate strong foods, they themselves would become stronger. Onions have strong antiseptic qualities, and their juice has been used for cleansing and healing wounds for centuries, all the way up to the American Civil War. When The Plague infected Europe, some believed it was caused by evil spirits. Some would wear strings of onions around their necks to protect themselves.  The Prophet Mohammed says that when Satan was banished from Paradise, onions sprang from his right foot. 
In ancient India they were used as a diuretic, in China they were used for many things like liver disease, constipation and wound healing. In Colonial America eating a raw wild onion was thought to cure measles. There is now medical research that proves onions can lower blood glucose, lower blood pressure, lower overall cholesterol, dissolve blood clots and help prevent cancer.
Everybody who has ever had to cut up strong onions knows what happens. It is a job that makes all of us cry. That is because onions contain sulfur, and when this air-borne sulfur reacts with the moisture in your eyes it creates a mild form of sulfuric acid! 
To prevent crying while cutting up onions, some methods practical, some not so practical. You cut them under water, or put them in the refrigerator an hour before cutting, or don't cut the root end until last. Some have even suggested putting on tight fitting swimming goggles!
10 1/2 Strange Old Wives’ Tales about onion.

. An onion placed under the pillow can produce prophetic dreams. (Naturally!) When you are in confusion what to decide then scratch your options on onions, each one on separate onion and keep them in dark. The first one that sprouts decides the answer.
. If you throw away the onion peelings on the ground, your prosperity will go out. To retain the riches burn them in the fireplace.
. Throw an onion after a bride to keep her happy. (But be careful not to actually hit her!)
. Sticking a small onion with full of pins and keeping it in a window guards the home from evils.
. Rub with the cut edge of an onion against the afflicted part of the body. Onion will receive the  trouble and relieve you from the pain. Then the onion should be burned for the permanent recovery.
. Rub the cut edge of an onion on warts and throw over your right shoulder without looking back to get permanent relief from warts.
. To protect against sickness, a large red onion is tied against the bed post; it is believed that this can help quick recovery too.
. It is believed that when a person is seriously ill, an onion should be burned for his recovery.
. Eating raw onions increases the energy flow in the body. Some even  say that    onions provoke lust.
. Rubbing with the cut edge of an onion on knives or swords purifies them.
         Bit of Odds and Ends: A remedy for ringworm, a poultice made of onions or garlic, treacle, rue, wormwood, borage, and soapwort. Nicholas Culpeper believed that the onion could draw poison from the bite of a venomous snake or a rabid dog.