Natural Remedies Road Test #2: Onion Water.

The remedy I will be road testing this week is Red Onion Water, and I would like to apologise in advance to my husband for the onion breath I am likely to have over the next week. The story is that onions contain a chemical called quercetin, which is a natural antihistamine and bronchiodilator. In layman’s terms, it is supposed to reduce the body’s production of histamine (the chemical responsible for allergy symptoms) and increase airflow to the lungs. Quercetin is water soluble, so soaking your onions in water should cause it to leach out and remain in the water.

Apples also contain quercetin, so if you are really disgusted by the thought of drinking onion water or are allergic to onions, you could try eating apples instead. I may road test apples for this another time. It is interesting to note that walnuts are also supposed to help with coughing and wheezing, so a Waldorf salad might be a nice addition to your spring diet…

If you suffer from mild seasonal allergies, you can road test this too, and add your findings to the comments. Remember though that natural medicine is not a miracle cure, and life threatening ailments need to addressed by trained medical professionals. Natural is best, but don’t be stupid.

Red Onion Water

One thinly sliced red onion

1L water

Allow to infuse for 8-10 hours and drink a glassful 1-2 times a day. (I am choosing at bedtime and first thing in the morning). The recipes I have found suggest adding honey to make it more palatable, but honey is also considered to prevent hay fever, and I don’t want to ruin my results by taking two remedies at the same time. As I am a huge hayfever sufferer, I anticipate having ample opportunity to test both individually and in combination. 😦


Day 1:

8:00 I woke up this morning coughing and wheezing and with itchy eyes. A Perfect day to start testing. The Onion water has been infusing in my fridge all night, and I’m eager to get underway so I pour myself a glass and get sipping. It tastes exactly as you would expect raw onion water to taste. Disgusting. Well not really, I actually like raw onion in salads etc. so it’s not too bad.

9:00 the coughing is still here albeit *slightly* less frequent. I seem to be coughing up a little mucous, which only usually happens after I’ve taken my puffer. The onion aftertaste is pretty awful. I bet my breath is going to reek for this challenge. I’m off to eat breakfast and try to get the taste out of my mouth.

12:00 I still have onion breath, but my coughing has reduced to normal levels. I haven’t had any more coughing fits, or sneezing and eye-watering. Itching is present but bearable. I still feel a bit more tightness in my chest than I would normally have if I took the puffer, but over all the morning has been quite bearable.

8:00 pm Had second glass of onion water and refilled the jug to the top. since this morning i have only had one other decent coughing fit, and one fit of about 5-6 sneezes. On the whole my symptoms have been rather reserved, although I should add that it rained a little today. This may be affecting the amount of irritants in the air. My symptoms usually flare up when I go to bed though, so the real test will be how I handle night-time.


Day 2

8:00 Had no major events last night and no need to use the puffer, which makes the first time in a week I haven’t needed it before I could sleep. I have had a sneezing fit this morning accompanied by shortness of breath and chest tightness.

Day 3

Had a problem free night last night, but had quite the sneezing session while out this morning.

I noticed this evening that my onions are spent, and are not infusing anymore. my onion water is far more water than it is onion. I made a fresh batch with a new onion.

Day 4

Last night was awful. I had the worst attack of hayfever. I was sneezing and snorting and it took me more than 2 hours to get to a stage where I could sleep.

Back to drinking full strength today. From now on I’ll be changing my onions at least every two days. I plan on dicing the onions very finely too, to increase the surface area to leach from.

I had a pretty nasty attack this evening and ended up needing to use the puffer. I’m pretty disappointed that it has gotten this bad again, and I wonder if it has anything to do with the reduced strength of the last couple of doses. I’m going to keep going, changing out the onions more frequently.

Day 5

Not much to tell today. I took my doses and had some milder hayfever symptoms a couple of times. My enthusiasm for this remedy is really starting to wane. It tastes pretty bad, and the attack I had last night has shaken my confidence a bit. I feel guilty about all the onion I’m wasting, too, but I would just die if I had to eat it all.

Day 6




I tried using a blender to extract the most from my onions this morning. It was a bad idea to leave the pulp in. it was so revolting I nearly threw up. I could only drink half of it. I think I’ll be straining the next dose before I try and drink it. I haven’t had much in the way of hayfever symptoms today, so that’s something. Hopefully it’s starting to work again. One time needing the puffer in 6 days, when I WAS using it daily is still pretty good, but I’m starting to have some serious doubts as to whether the constant onion taste in my mouth is worth it.


OK, so I got kind of bored with this experiment, and tired of the bad taste in my mouth, and I gave up. My hay fever has been relentless since then. I definitely feel like the onion water must have made a difference while I was taking it, but I really have a hard time committing to making and drinking it regularly enough to feel the benefits. It might be worth it if you are the kind of person who has an odd bout of hay fever that lasts about a week, but mine can hang around for months.



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