No wonder this isn't widely known - the pharmaceutical companies would go bankrupt!!)
Very important subject.. especially for those who love to eat onions.
In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people, there was a Doctor that visited many farmers to see if he could help them combat this flu, as many of the farmers and their families had contracted it and many had died.
The doctor came upon this one farmer and, to his surprise, everyone in his family was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different, the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She obliged and when he tested it, he found that the onion was riddled with flu virus. It had obviously absorbed the bacteria and therefore, kept the family healthy.
I heard this story from my hairdresser: she said that several years ago, many of her employees were coming down with the flu and also many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop and, to her surprise, none of her staff got sick (and no, she is not in the onion business).
So the sensible answer would seem to be, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office (under your desk or even a windowsill). Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and none of us contracted the flu.
If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. If you do get the flu, it just might be a mild case.
Whatever, what have you to lose? Just a few pennies on onions!!
Now there is a P.S. to this, for I sent it to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most interesting experience about onions:
"Thanks for the reminder. I don't know about the farmers story, but I do remember that I contracted pneumonia and, needless to say, I was very ill. I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion, put one end on a fork and then place the forked end into an empty jar, placing the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs. Sure enough, it happened just like that.. the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.
Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial and antiseptic properties."
Here is another point:
LEFT OVER ONIONS ARE POISONOUS!
I have often used an onion which has been left in the fridge and sometimes don't use a whole one at a time and so save the other half for later.
Now with this information, I have changed my habits and buy smaller onions!
I had the wonderful privilege of touring Mullins Food Products, makers of mayonnaise. Mullins is huge and is owned by 11 brothers and sisters of the Mullins family. My friend, Jeanne, is the CEO.
Questions about food poisoning came up and I wanted to share what I'd learned from a chemist.
The guy who gave us our tour is named Ed. Ed is one of the brothers and a chemistry expert who is involved in developing most of the sauce formula. He's even developed a sauce formula for McDonald's.
Keep in mind that Ed is a food chemistry whiz.
During the tour, someone asked if we really needed to worry about mayonnaise.. people are always worried that mayonnaise will spoil. Ed's answer will surprise you, as he said that all commercially made Mayo is completely safe. "It doesn't even have to be refrigerated - there's no harm in refrigerating it, but it's not really necessary", he explained. He said that the pH in mayonnaise is set at an environmental point that bacteria could not survive in and he then talked about the quintessential picnic, with the bowl of potato salad sitting on the table and how everyone blames the mayonnaise when someone gets sick. Ed says that when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the victim last ate onions and where those onions came from (in the potato salad?). Ed says that it's not the mayonnaise (as long as it's not homemade Mayo) that spoils in the outdoors, it's the onions and/or the potatoes (ever seen a potato go black? Thought so..).
He explained that onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion and he says it's not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in your refrigerator. It's already contaminated enough just by being cut open and exposed to the air for a while and can be a real danger to you (and doubly watch out for those onions you have put in your hotdogs and burgers at the vendors!).