Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

Onions, the next generation’s superheroes?

August 04, 2013

Email

onion
onion

WE have heard a lot from our grandparents that onions, especially the raw ones, have special medicinal powers. They are antiseptic, antibacterial and can cure sickness. I have heard too that onions can actually absorb the bacteria from an ill person!

Like all things have both good and bad points, onions were believed to have a negative side too. It was believed earlier that eating an onion that has been left peeled and in the open for too long, can poison a person, or it could create toxins of its own.

But what does today’s science say? Does it support the notions that our previous generations had? Science says that yes, onions have no doubt antiseptic powers. Just like their cousins garlic, they can inhibit the growth of certain strains of E. Coli bacteria, which maybe resistant to antibiotics. Similarly, if onion powder is mixed with coconut powder, it can eliminate diseases created by round worms (a parasite, which frequently affects mammals).

Science, however, does not support the idea that onions can suck or absorb bacteria from a sick person. It is, however, correct that if bacteria reaches the surface of the onion, then the onion can counteract it. And there is the discovery of onion vapours though, that does have antimicrobial effects but then again it is limited by time and temperature.

The notion that onions can absorb bacteria to such an extent that they turn black is also wrong. Onions simply turn black because of the growth of the black mould fungus, scientifically known as aspergillus niger.

Lastly, onions do not create bacteria but bacteria simply comes from other sources. So one can say that onions can be your next iron man due to their antimicrobial and antioxidant power, until they turn black and slimy, when they are in!

— Sehrish Anwer