Does Placing 1 Onion Under The Bed Really Stop a Cold or The Flu?

Over the centuries, people have resorted to home remedies to treat colds. Placing an onion under a sick person’s bed is a “cure” that is passed down in some families and shared on social media every cold and flu season.

The idea is that onions have the ability to absorb bacteria and viruses and that they “absorb germs” from the sick person. These assertions are unfounded. The NOAin fact, said there is no scientific evidence that an onion under the bed absorbs germs or clears the air of toxins and poisons.

This article discusses the idea of ​​onions under the bed and how there is no evidence that it can help prevent the flu or cold.

Does an onion under the bed really help cure colds?

A home remedy that I have often heard is to place an onion under the bed where you are going to sleep. A few websites I found even recommend using an “onion poultice” when sick. The theory is that the onion absorbs the bacteria and eventually turns black. I found many homeopathic and holistic websites that showed how to use an onion for this purpose, including one that recommended placing sachets of onions in a child’s room to help cure colds.

I have only found one source answering the question of whether this remedy is effective or not, and that source stated bluntly ” Nope “. In response to the question about the onion on Best Food Facts, Dr. Ruth MacDonald said: “The idea that a vegetable can attract and suck bacteria from the air into it doesn’t even make sense. »

Why an onion under the bed does not work

Onions do not provide an environment for bacteria or viruses to multiply or live. Even if an onion could attract or eliminate a person’s germs (which is scientifically impossible), there is nothing special about an onion that can kill these organisms.

On the other hand, bacteria and viruses think your body is a great place to live. When you get sick, germs enter your body and multiply there. Your body acts as a “host”. This means that your body provides a place where the bacteria or virus can grow and spread. Fortunately, your body knows how to defend itself.

When your immune system notices these invading germs, it releases antibodies (special proteins that attack foreign substances entering the body) to try to fight them off. This causes inflammation and the symptoms you experience when you are sick, such as excess mucus, cough, sore throat, and headache. You need your immune system to help you feel better and beat an infection.

Origin of the onion technique under the bed

The folk remedy of keeping raw onions in the room when you’re sick dates back to the 1500s, according to the NOA. During the bubonic plague, onions were placed under the beds of houses to prevent people from contracting the deadly disease.

At the time, it was believed that all diseases were spread through the air. These disease clouds – or miasmas – were thought to exist when the air smelled bad.

In more recent history, people used onions in a room in an attempt to protect against the 1918 flu pandemic. In one case, a doctor asked his patients to place an onion under the bed in their home. The patients all remained healthy, while other members of the community were not.


While many home remedies involve putting an onion under the bed in a sick person’s bedroom, there is no evidence that it works. Onions lack the ability to absorb germs and toxins floating around the room. Instead, your immune system attacks any virus or bacteria invading your body. It helps your body recover from illness.

Throughout history, many people have believed that onions have the power to help sick people feel better or even prevent them from getting sick. But the best way to fight a cold or flu is to follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Our opinion

Placing an onion in the room will not cure a cold or prevent you from catching it. Washing your hands regularly, avoiding crowds during flu season, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep can help you stay healthy.

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