Allii Cepae Bulbus, Allium cepa, Cebolla, Échalote, Green Onion, Jeju Steamed Onion, Oignon, Oignon Vert, Onions, Palandu, Piyaj, Shallot.


Overview Information

Onion is a plant. The bulb (rounded underground part) of the onion is used to make medicine.

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?

Onion contains chemicals that seem to reduce swelling (inflammation), reduce lung tightness in people with asthma, and reduce levels of cholesterol and sugar in the blood.


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

  • Obesity. Most research shows that taking onion skin or onion extract for 12 weeks doesn't reduce body weight in people who are overweight or obese.

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).
  • 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.
  • Asthma.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Fever.
  • Colds.
  • Cough.
  • Swelling (inflammation) of the mouth and throat.
  • Wounds.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Preventing hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of onion for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Onion is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food. Onion extract is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth as a medicine. Daily doses of up to 900 mg of onion extract have been safely used for 12 weeks. Side effects might include stomach distress or pain after eating onion.

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 & Warnings:

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.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • 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 decrease 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.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:



  • 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.

  • 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.

View References


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