Allium Cepa Linn

Botanical Name: Allium Cepa Linn

Sanskrit Name: Palandu

Family Name: LILIACEAE


Vernacular names :

  1. Hindi – pyaz
  2. English –onion
  3. Tamil –venkaayam
  4. Telugu – ullipaya

 Synonyms –yavanesta, mukhadusaka


It is an annual herb with bulb and white flowers. It is cultivated all   over India.Palandu is quoted by all theBrihatTrayi texts. Some     consider Grinjana as LohitaPalandu (red onion).

Botanical details

Onions have cylindrical, hollow leaves and an enlarged bulb that develops at ground level. The roots come off the bottom of the bulb. The flowers are produced in the second growing season (following a required “rest” period) in a rounded umbel (cluster with all flower stems originating from the same point) on a stalk 2-4 ft tall. The umbels, about 2 in in diameter and consisting of many small purplish flowers, are quite showy. There are hundreds of onion cultivars, differing in day-length requirement, skin color (white, brown, yellow, red, or purple), size (1-6 in or 2.5-15.2 cm in diameter), shape (globe-shaped, flattened or spindle-shaped), pungency and sweetness. Both pungency and sweetness (which are not mutually exclusive) are determined to a considerable extent by the chemical characteristics of the soil in which the onion is grown.


Cultivated widely althrougoutindia

 Chemical constituents

Cycloallin, quercetin, oleanolic acid etc.


Rasa –madhura, katu

Guna – guru, snigdha, tikshna

Virya – anushna

Vipaka –madhura

Karma –vatahara, vrishya, rasayana


Rakthapitha, prameha

Onions are helpful in following health conditions. Scar removal ,Burns and wounds, Hair loss, Diabetes, Atherosclerosis, High cholesterol, High blood pressure, Asthma, Upset stomach , Loss of appetite, Common clod, Whooping cough, Sore throat, Bronchitis

Part used

Bulb, seeds


Juice 10-20 ml, seed powder 1-3 g

Therapeutic uses

  1. Hikka&Svasa- Bulb of Girinjana should be mixed with Naaristanya (breast milk) and applied as nasal   drops   (C.S.Ci. 17).
  2. Visuchika- Juice   of Palandu should   be taken   in the dose of 80ml. (S.B.M.)
  3. Preventing infections

Onions have antiseptic, anti-biotic, carminative and antimicrobial properties, which help in staying away from different kinds of infections. Onions active constituents inhibit bacterial growth and are effective against both types of bacteria gram positive and gram negative. (1, 2, 3)

  1. Common Cold & Cough

A mixture of onion juice along with honey can help in common cold. You can also add a pinch of black pepper in the mixture for instant results stopping nasal discharge. This mixture also helps curing cough. (4, 5)

  1. Bronchitis & Asthma

Onions have mild anti-asthmatic and potent anti-inflammatory effects. However, onions cannot be used for therapeutic purposes in bronchitis and asthma, but it can be a good diet for patients with bronchitis and asthma. (6, 7, 8) . For asthma, a mixture of onion juice, honey and black pepper is useful. It reduces chest congestion, wheezing and gives relief from breathing difficulty.

  1. High blood pressure

Onion has mild anti-hypertensive property. It can help in reducing and managing the elevated blood pressure. However, its effect is not so potent that can alone help reducing blood pressure, but it is a good diet for people with hypertensive heart diseases. The active compound QUERCETIN is responsible for anti-hypertensive property of onions.

  1. High cholesterol & Atherosclerosis

Some studies suggest that onion prevents atherosclerosis (hardening of blood vessels) and reduces serum cholesterol. Raw and processed onions both are beneficial for inhibition of atherosclerosis and reduction of elevated lipids.

  1. Prevents heart attacks

Onions are good for patients prone to heart attack or other heart diseases. Onions exhibit fibrinolytic and anti-coagulant characteristics, which help preventing clot formation in the coronary arteries of the heart.

  1. Hair loss (alopecia areata)

Onion juice tropical application can help reducing hair loss and increasing re-growth of hairs on the scalp. Onion juice improves the blood circulation to the hair roots and scalp. Sulfur present in onion juice helps in production of collagen tissues. Collagen formation is necessary for the hair growth. Onion juice is also anti-dandruff and anti-microbial, which helps reducing scalp infections and provides strength to the hairs. It further prevents hair thinning.

10.Eyesight & Cataract

Onion juice and honey mixture is used for instillation in eyes for improving eyesight and preventing formation of cataract. (22)

In India, many people are using this mixture for stopping progress of cataract and delaying eye operation for it, but it lacks scientific evidences.Ayurveda recommends using onion juice and honey eye drops for blaring vision, reduced eyesight, eye infections, eye occlusions, chalazion, eye floaters and hazy vision.

11.Loss of appetite & Indigestion

Onion can help your digestive system due to release of the digestive juices and curing loss of appetite. Onion is digestive stimulant and stimulates the production of gastricOnion is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food or when applied to the skin. It is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in larger amounts. Taking up to a maximum of 35 mg of the onion ingredient “diphenylamine” per day for several months seems to be safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking onion as a medicine if you are 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.
  • Diabetes: Onion might lower blood sugar. If you have diabetes and use onion in medicinal amounts, check your blood sugar carefully.
  • 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.


(1) The   effect of onion   juice and essential oil of onion   on alimentary hyperlipaemia induced by feeding 100g of butter was studied in 10 healthy subjects. Onion juice was   found to have protective action against fat-induced increase in serum cholesterol   and descrease in coagulation time   and fibrinolytic   activity

(2) The   ethyl ether extract (0.25 g/kg   orally) of the   onion juice had   maximum hypoglycaemia activity both in the   normal and alloxan rabbits. The   hypoglycaemic effect was significant as that of tolbutamide in alloxan diabetic rabbits also. The hypoglycaemic action of the extract may be due to the increased insulin-like activity of plasma after the   administration of the extract (Augusti, 1973).

(3) Administration of purified water-soluble extract (i.p.)   to rabbit caused marked leucocytosis and counteracted the leucopenic side-effect of antitumor agent, nitromin, but accelerated antitumour effect of nitromin on.Yoshida sarcoma, LD50 in mice 2.5 g/kg (ChemAbstr. 1961,   55, 9643b).

( 4) Chloroform fraction of plant extract showed bronchodilatory activity (Ind.Drugs1983, 20, 239).


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, GlynasePresTab, 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.

Red Onions Vs White Onions

When it comes to onions, we have plenty of choices, red, yellow, or white. Have you ever wondered which type of onion is healthier?

Both types of onions are powerful superfoods with anti-carcinogenic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. Onions are packed with beneficial nutrients and compounds.

Many think that the only difference is the appearance and taste, but when you examine the nutritional differences of red onions vs white onions, one contains more health benefits than the other.

Red onions have a deep purple layer of outer skin and are most often used raw, in salads, sandwiches, or dips. White onions have a more mild flavor and an off white or white colored skin.

What’s The Difference Red Onions Vs White Onions ?

  • There are quite a few commonalities between both red and white onions. Both types of onions are considered low on the glycemic index, with a rating of 10. They both also provide about 10 percent of the daily value for vitamin C and the same amount of calcium per serving. Although white onions contain .5 more grams of fiber and a higher amount of sulfur, red onions have been found to contain a higher amount of many other beneficial nutrients.
  • In general, the rule is that onions with a sharply strong taste, such as red onions, contain a higher amount of antioxidants. Red onions also win in the category of cancer prevention and blood thinning properties. Additionally, red onions contain less sugar compared to white onions, which is where they get their sweet taste from.
  • Antioxidant Properties – Overall, red onions contain a higher amount of antioxidant compounds. They are higher in total flavonoids than white onions and yellow onions are considered to be in the middle. Red onions contain 415 to 1917 mg of flavonols compared to yellow ones, which only contain 270 to 1187 mg.One of the most beneficial compounds in red onions is quercetin, which is a polyphenol compound. Quercetin is a powerful compound which is beneficial for scavenging free radicals in the body. Red onions are also richer in anthocyanins which give them the red/purple color. Red onions were found to contain at least 25 different anthocyanins.
  • Cancer Fighting

Due to the high amount of antioxidant properties contained in red onions compared to white, red onions provide stronger protection against cancer. The quercetin and allicin in red onions have been shown to reduce inflammation and be beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of cancer. Studies have shown that the consumption of onions reduces the risk of stomach, colorectal, oral, laryngeal, esophageal and ovarian cancer. According to one study, the risk of stomach cancer was reduced by 50% when half an onion was eaten daily.

  • Blood Thinning

Both types of onions have blood thinning properties as they contain a high amount of flavonoids and sulfur compounds. However, red onions are an even more effective natural blood thinner as they are richer in flavonoids, which helps thin the blood.

Detailing Medicinal Uses ( research)

  • Onion finds varied medicinal uses. Externally it acts as a rubifacient. Roasted bulbs are used as poultice for boils and abscesses. The juice of onion is used for treating ophthalmia and earache. Onions possess tonic, stomachic, diuretic and appetite improving properties. They   are useful   in jaundice and   biliousness   as they stimulate   bile production. Onions are stimulant and expectorant and are, therefore, useful in respiratory affections.
  • Onion is reported to possess aphrodisiac, anti-malarial and anti-rheumatic properties. It is used for tumours, and diseases of spleen [Vohra et al, Planta med, 1973, 23, 381; Chakravarty, Bull bot Soc Bengal, 1975, 29(1), 97; Chopra et al, 1958, 662; Sood&Joshi, J Indian chemSoc, 1974, 51,975].
  • Fresh onion juice is used against flatulence, dysentery and   cholera,   and also for restoring consciousness   in fainting and hysteric fits. It possesses hypoglycaemic activity. Experiments indicate the possibility of onion extract being used as a substitute for tolbutamide in controlling alloxan diabetes in rabbits, its action being similar to tolbutamide.
  • Regular use of onion (50 g/day) reduces the insulin requirement of a diabetic patient from 40 to 20 units a day. The onion oil and dipropyldisulphide oxide also produce significant hypoglycaemic effect. Administration of allylpropyldisulphide to human beings after 12 hr fast caused a significant fall in the blood glucose levels, and a significant rise in the serum insulin levels during the subsequent 4hr (Augusti, Naturwissenschaften, 1974, 61,172; ChemAbstr,   1974, 81, 58238;   1975, 83,   22593; Augusti, Indian J expBiol, 1976, 14, llO).
  • Fresh juice of onion is bactericidal. It inhibits the growth of Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas pyocyaneus and Salmonella typhi (Chakravarty, loc. cit.; PhilippAbstr, 1963, 4, 270; Abdou et al, Qua/it Plant Mat Veg, 1972-73,22, 29).
  • Onion extract also reduced blood sugar during intravenous glucose tolerance test and adrenaline induced hyperglycaemia in man. The active principle is soluble in ether. Extract stabilized   in solid carbon   dioxide gave better results (Patil, loc. cit.; Brahmachari&Augusti, J Pharm Pharmacol, 1962, 14, 617; Mathew &Augusti, Indian J expBiol, 1973, 11, 573; Sharma et al, Indian J med Res, 1977, 65, 422; Mukerji, J sciindustr Res, 1957, 16A, suppl, 1).
  • Onion produces a sustained hypocholesteraemic and fibrinolytic enhancing effect on long term basis in experimentally induced hyperchofesteraemia in rabbits. In induced alimentary lipaemia in man, onions taken raw or boiled prevent the rise in serum cholesterol. The effect is evident on taking onion after 2 hrs of taking a fatty meal. It may find a place in the treatment of clinical diabetes. It can be used as a hypocholesteraemic agent both as a preventive   and   as a therapeutic measure (Shanna et al, Indian J med Res, 1975, 63, 1629; Sharma et al, Indian J NutrDietel, 1975, 12, 288, 388).
  • Dried   onion   skins are the best natural source of quercetin. The extract prepared from the onion skin has pronounced anti-oxidant properties. It exhibits copperchelating properties and shows varying degrees of synergism with ascorbic acid and the activity is attributed to the presence of flavonoid compounds in it. The onion skin is also used in the preparation of hair dye and vitamin P. The presence of pectic substances (11-12%) is reported in the skin of white onions

Courtesy : The Wealth of India series , DravyaGuna by Dr. J.L.N. Sastry , InidanMateriaMedica by VaidyaBhagwan Dash , DravyaGuna by Dr. GnjanendraPandey