Can Sleeping with Onions in Your Socks Cure the Flu?
We take a closer look at this popular (and pungent) folk remedy.
It turns out that when it comes to fighting the flu, there are a lot people will try this.
We recently got wind of an old folk remedy that claims to banish cold and flu symptoms at the drop of a, well… sock. A number of people still swear by the old wives' tale that a night spent sleeping cozied up with cut onions—either in the bottoms of your socks or in the room around you—will have you cured of the flu by morning.
The old-world remedy, still popular in Ayurvedic medicine, is based on the belief that a cut raw onion has the ability to absorb toxins and purify the blood. That thinking is not completely unfounded. Onions, like garlic and other alliums, get their pungency from sulfur compounds, which work as the plants' defense mechanism. They also give them their distinctive flavors, as well as the ability to kill microbes and repel insects.
Be that as it may, there is no real medical evidence that onions have the ability to zap the flu overnight.
"There's no medical magic to placing peeled or cut onions around the home: they don't act as sponges that soak up whatever viruses or other nasty microbes are in their immediate vicinity," Snopes declares.
The National Onion Association agrees. "There is no scientific evidence that a cut raw onion absorbs germs or rids the air of toxins/poisons," their official website warns.
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But that isn't stopping certain flu sufferers from gambling on good old-fashioned onions to kickstart their immune systems. Our advice? Stick to rest, hydration and doctor-approved treatments. But if you do try it, pick a pair of socks you're not particularly fond of. And you might want to consider sleeping in the guest room…