Onion is most commonly used for scarring. It is also used for other skin conditions and to prevent cancer and heart disease, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- Scarring. Most research shows that applying gel containing onion extract to the skin, alone or with other ingredients, for at least 10 weeks improves the appearance of scars. Applying onion extract along with other ingredients for less time doesn't seem to work.
Possibly Ineffective for
Insufficient Evidence for
- Patchy hair loss (alopecia areata). Early research shows that applying onion juice to the scalp for 8 weeks might improve hair growth in people with hair loss due to a condition called alopecia areata.
- Diabetes. Early research shows that eating 20 grams of onion while dieting reduces blood sugar in people with diabetes better than dieting alone after 8 weeks of treatment.
- Stomach cancer. People who eat more onions might have a reduced risk of stomach cancer.
- High blood pressure. Research shows that taking onion extract for 6 weeks slightly reduces systolic blood pressure (the top number) in people with high blood pressure. Early research also shows that taking a combination product containing onion and other ingredients for one week lowers systolic blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. But neither supplement seems to improve diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).
- Insomnia. Early research suggests that taking onion extract may slightly reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, but does not improve overall sleep quality.
- A hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS). Eating large amounts of raw red onion (80-120 grams daily) does not improve cholesterol or blood sugar levels in people with polycystic ovary syndrome compared to eating smaller amounts (20-30 grams daily). Eating large amounts might actually increase body mass index (BMI) by a small amount.
- Prostate cancer. People who eat more onions don't seem to have a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
- Stretch marks. Early research shows that applying a skin cream containing onion extract, gotu kola, and hyaluronic acid for 12 weeks improves the look of stretch marks.
- Loss of appetite.
- Preventing hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
- Swelling (inflammation) of the mouth and throat.
- Upset stomach.
- Other conditions.
When applied to the skin: Onion extract is LIKELY SAFE when applied to the skin. Side effects might include skin irritation or eczema following skin contact with onion.
Special Precautions and Warnings
When applied to the skin: Onion extract is LIKELY SAFE when applied to the skin. Side effects might include skin irritation or eczema following skin contact with onion. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if onion is safe to use as medicine when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using onion in amounts larger than usual food amounts.
Bleeding disorder: Onion might slow blood clotting. There is concern that onion might increase the risk of bleeding when taken as a medicine. Don't use medicinal amounts of onion or onion extract if you have a bleeding disorder.
Cross-allergens: People with allergies to mugwort and celery might also be allergic to onion. Don't use in medicinal amounts if you have these allergies.
Diabetes: Onion might lower blood sugar. If you have diabetes and use onion in medicinal amounts, check your blood sugar carefully.
Surgery to place a pouch near the anus (ileal pouch-anal anastomosis): People that have had surgery to place a pouch near the anus might find that onion increases feelings of gas. Don't eat large amounts of onion if you have had this surgery.
Indigestion: People that experience indigestion often find that eating onion increases symptoms. Don't eat large amounts of onion if it increases your symptoms.
Surgery: Onion might slow blood clotting and lower blood sugar. In theory, onion might increase the risk for bleeding or interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgical procedures. Stop using onion as a medicine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Aspirin interacts with ONION
Some people are allergic to onions. Aspirin might increase your sensitivity to onions if you are allergic to onions. This has only been reported in one person. But to be on the safe side, if you are allergic to onions do not take aspirin and eat onions.
Lithium interacts with ONION
Onion might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking onion might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with ONION
Onion might lower blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking onion along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with ONION
Onion might slow blood clotting. Taking onion along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) substrates) interacts with ONION
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Onion might slow down how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking onion along with some medications that are broken down by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking onion, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.
Medications that might be affected include acetaminophen, chlorzoxazone (Parafon Forte), ethanol, theophylline, and anesthetics such as enflurane (Ethrane), halothane (Fluothane), isoflurane (Forane), methoxyflurane (Penthrane), and others.
Be cautious with this combination
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
- For scarring: Products containing onion extract and other ingredients such as heparin plus allantoin (Contractubex, Merz Pharmaceuticals), allantoin plus pentaglycan (Kaloidon gel, Laboratori Farmacologici Milanesi), or a silicon derivative (Cybele scagel, Bangkok Botanica) have been applied to the affected area for 10 weeks to 6 months.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
- For scarring: Products containing onion extract and other ingredients such as heparin plus allantoin (Contractubex, Merz Pharmaceuticals) or allantoin plus pentaglycan (Kaloidon gel) have been applied to the affected area once or twice daily for 6 months in children aged 6 months to 15 years.
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